When to go to Tromso activities

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The big advantage of Tromso is that you can go there all year round. But it’s not as simple as that! Every season, and even every month, brings its own set of activities to Tromso. And of course, not everything can be done at the same time, otherwise it would be too easy.

So in this article, I’d like to simplify your choice. When to go to Tromso, whether you want to see the Northern Lights, go hiking, see snow-covered landscapes, go boating with the whales, and so many other choices.

Because leaving at the right time means making the most of Tromso, avoiding any unpleasant surprises, and taking advantage of fair prices if you leave out of season.

But above all, and I insist on this point, there is NO bad season! There’s ALWAYS something to see and do. Landscapes, hikes, the Northern Lights. Of course, there are periods when the weather will be more difficult, but that shouldn’t stop you from seeing the Northern Lights if you’re prepared to drive for miles, and you’ll still be able to see landscapes and whales. In short, you have to go! 🙂

View over Tromso sunset Fjellheisen

Best time to go to Tromso by activity

    • They can be seen around Skjervoy, to the east of Tromso. They can usually be seen from early November to late January. 3 months of good activity. Sometimes they make a little extra time at the beginning of February, but in this case it’s only possible to book a tour at the last minute.
    • In practical terms, to do dog sledding, you need dogs, a sled and snow. And snow is the most unpredictable part. There’s usually enough snow from November to early April. But sometimes it arrives later (at the end of December) or melts with a big thaw, only to return a week or two later. The agencies are located in places where it snows more than normal, such as Camp Tamok or Breivikeidet. But they’re all good quality.
    • To make the most of it, you need plenty of light. In November, December and mid-January, the days are very short, so you only have a few hours to make the most of. I love February and March, full of snow and light. April is great because of the superb colours! And after that, there’s no night, so you’ve got as much scenery as you want! Places like Kvaloya island, Lyngen Alps… you definitely have to see them!
    • If the whales aren’t around, or if you want to explore the area around Tromso by boat, then this is the excursion for you, and it has the big advantage of being available all year round! As it’s not very long (around 3 hours), there’s no need to worry about the light or the season, you’ll always have enough light. And frankly, I’ve done it in winter, and the snowy landscapes are magnificent, while in autumn you get the superb colours
    • Two star activities in Tromso. During weekend and after work, they’re all out for a walk in nature, even in winter. There are dedicated trails in town, but especially in some valleys like Kattfjordvatnet and Breivikeidet. So you need snow and good weather. Normally from November onwards, but February to April is a wonderful time to do it!
    • Around Tromso, there are hundreds of magnificent hikes. But in practice, hiking in snow is not really easy, except for some with a thin layer, which can be done. So for me, the best time to go hiking is from the end of May to mid-October, when there’s hardly any snow and you can enjoy nature to the full. After that, some hikes can be done with crampons if there’s frost (especially from October onwards). Brosmetinden or Ornfloy are two of the best hikes around Tromso, but there are so many of them!
Sunset Tromso Sommaroy
how to see Northern lights tromso

Brightness in Tromso, polar night and midnight sun

As Tromso is located in the very north of Europe, there are huge differences in the length of daylight and the amount of light, depending on the season. It’s not at all like at the equator, where the sun rises at 6am and sets at 6pm all year round, and the sunset lasts 5 minutes. Up there, we discover the absence of night, the midnight sun, the polar night when the sun no longer appears. And sunsets lasting 2 hours, no less.

  • No night
    • Basically, in Tromso it won’t be dark from mid-April to the 3rd week of August. That doesn’t mean there’s sun all the time, but it does mean there’ll be light all the time. What a surprise! But the body reacts well, so you can do a lot more activities
  • Midnight sun
    • this is when you actually see the sun all night long, when it doesn’t set. It’s disturbing but funny. You’re having a drink in the sun and you realise it’s 3am. It’s from the end of May to the end of July, bearing in mind that 21 June, the summer solstice, is the longest day (and an opportunity to celebrate)
  • Little light
    • The light goes very quickly! Especially in November, you can really see the difference. At the beginning of November the days start to get very short, and we lose about 15 minutes of light a day. We have little or very little light from the beginning of November to the end of January
  • Polar night
    • This is when you can’t even see the sun any more, it doesn’t go above the horizon. So it’s the exact opposite of the midnight sun. Officially it runs from 27 November to 15 January. But because mountains can block the view, in some places the polar night begins on 21 November and lasts until 21 January.
      During the polar night, it is not complete night. It’s a sunset that lasts between 4 and 8 hours, a big twilight. That’s enough time to do all the activities (dog sledding, whale watching…) but you’ll need to be efficient to see the surrounding landscapes!
Road to Lyngen Alps Tromso fall Norway
lake Nakkevatnet tromso

Hotel and accommodation price in Tromso

Accommodation in Tromso can be extremely expensive in high season. And not just with accommodation, you can calculate your trip to Tromso here. So depending on what you want to do and see, it may be better not to go during the peak tourist season. Accommodation prices vary by a factor of three, and even at these rates, everything is booked up fairly quickly.

  • High tourist season and very high prices
    • From early November to mid-March, accommodation prices rocket. A good hotel that would normally cost €120 can cost as much as €300 a night.
      These good hotels, like the Scandic or the Radisson Blu, are full at these times. There are also some hotels that are not normally very expensive, such as the Enter Backpack or the Smart Hotel, but even these can get very expensive at this time of year.
    • The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is very popular with tourists, but the problem is that many agencies are closed, as are many shops.
    • The BIGGEST tourist period is from January to early March. That’s when you need to get in really early for accommodation and car hire
  • Low tourist season
    • Spring: April and May are an in-between period. There aren’t many tourists because there’s less snow and no visible auroras, but nature is beautiful. So you’ll have no trouble finding not expensive accommodation
    • Summer: from June to August, is great for nature walks, but not not touristic at all. Everyone goes to the Lofoten Islands, so that’s great because it means that even in summer prices are pretty low in Tromso!
    • Autumn: September and October, a season I love but not at all touristic. So you won’t have any trouble finding cheap accommodation, as prices are divided by 2 or 3 compared with the high season. Really great!

So as you can see, going off-season will really make your life and your budget easier when it comes to accommodation. There are huge savings to be made.

But it’s clear that if you want snow AND early mornings, then that’s the high season, and you’ll really need to book your accommodation early to avoid paying the maximum price.

And if you don’t have a big budget, consider September and October – it’s a really great time of year, with beautiful colours and auroras.

Tromso month by month

  • January:
    • advantage: there are whales, usually snow, the days get longer, the Northern Lights are visible
    • disadvantage: the days are very short, it’s polar night for 3 weeks, the weather may not be too incredible, usually one of the coldest months
  • February:
    • advantage: the days are getting longer, very good time for auroras, normally plenty of snow for activities
    • disadvantage: the whales may stay for a week, but no longer, very touristy
  • March:
    • advantage: beautiful colours, great time for the Northern Lights, snow, it’s also a great month for activities. I love march.
    • disadvantage: it’s still touristy, but less, so accommodation is expensive, and at the end of the month the days are very long, so it’s harder to see the aurora but still possible
  • April:
    • advantage: the very beginning of spring, but with snow, superb nature, still the auroras for a few days, it becomes less expensive
    • disadvantage: night is disappearing, which is great, but the auroras will no longer be visible from the 2nd part onwards
  • May:
    • advantage: the snow disappears, there’s light all the time, and you can go hiking again
    • disadvantage: the weather can be in between (between snow and rain), there’s no more snow or aurora activities
  • June / July:
    • advantage: great time for hiking, midnight sun, accommodation is not particularly expensive, not very touristy
    • disadvantages: frankly, I don’t know. It can be rainy, but otherwise it’s great for nature
  • August:
    • advantage: it’s still nature, with cheap accommodation, no overnight stays until the end of August and the start of the Northern Lights
    • disadvantage: perhaps a little touristy, but nothing to do with winter, it’s very local tourism
  • September/October:
    • advantage: autumn, the colours are magnificent, it’s a very good time to see the Northern Lights, but it’s not at all touristy, and you can go hiking
    • disadvantage: it can rain more or less regularly
  • November/December:
    • advantage: it usually snows enough for activities such as dog sledding, there are whales, early November there is still light and a little sunshine.
    • disadvantage: on the other hand, it’s really dark at the end of December! You lose the daylight really quickly. Moreover, the weather can be quite fickle, with more clouds and more precipitation
When to go to Tromso activities

Useful information about Tromso

Account Instagram Norway Northern Lights

Let’s connect on Instagram !

Map of Tromso

Now that you know when to go to Tromso, I offer you this map with all the most beautiful places around Tromso, places to see the Northern Lights, essential information. You’ll also find all the service providers, whales and accommodation. In short, absolutely everything!

You can also click on the map to access it 🙂

Free map Tromso Norway


The hotel and the view from Scandic Ishavshotel

  • A hotel ideally located in the city center, with a superb view of the mountains and the city (see the photo)
  • Great breakfast, excellent bedding and very good service
  • Prices from €130 (but increases quickly in high season)
best hotels tromso where to sleep

In conclusion

Now you know everything!

So the period will really depend on what you want to see. Whales, aurora borealis, beautiful hikes, or seeing snow-covered landscapes. It all has its own period.

Of course, if you have trouble with the extreme cold, don’t forget that autumn in Tromso is a great time of year and much less touristy, so less expensive too.

But I repeat, choose your period carefully according to what you want to do and above all, there is no bad period, there are always things to do, things to see, things to enjoy!

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