20x Best things to do in Tromso (in winter): Info, photos & activities

Written by Sam Van den Haute aka CheckOutSam

In the north of Norway you will find the magnificent Tromsø, a city that cannot be compared to any other. It's not called the Arctic capital for nothing!
This magnificent place has a lot to offer in both winter and summer. Discover the twenty best things to do in Tromsø (and the surrounding area) during winter in this blog.

Sam Van den Haute CheckoutSam

Hi, I'm Sam, the blogger behind CheckOutSam!


Sam Van den Haute has been a full-time world traveler for ten years and has therefore gained a lot of travel and lifestyle inspiration on all continents. Do you still have questions after reading this blog? Ask them in the comments section or send me a message at [email protected] and I'll be happy to help you wherever I can!

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Things to do in Tromso

In this blog post, I will tell you all about my favorite sights and activities in Tromsø, but of course there is much more to do. If you want to get more inspiration or want to purchase some tours and tickets for some cool excursions already, I recommend GetYourGuide . On this website you can also cancel most activities in Tromsø completely free of charge up to 24 hours in advance.

 

activities tromso

1. Husky tour

If you love cute four-legged friends like I do, then a husky ride is something you simply can not skip! It is one of the most exciting activities in the north and you can perfectly combine it with the Northern Lights. As you glide through the beautiful wilderness, surrounded by mountains and fjords, you only hear soft panting and barking and dog paws running softly through the snow… Wonderful! Especially when the magical aurora also dance over your head.

There are many different companies that offer rides with the huskies. This is of course because it is one of the most popular sights in Tromsø in winter. Good thing, too! Because this way you can choose from many different excursions and the competition also reduces the price a bit.
There are options from a few hours to even a five-day trip for the real adventurers. For half a day of sledding you pay around $200 , including lunch.

After the tour you can also cuddle with the (sometimes not so) furry and friendly huskies. But don’t stay too long… There’s much more other fun things to do in Tromso!

sights tromso husky tour

Adventurous and cute at the same time.

Norway huskies

And when there are little ones, don’t you want to cuddle them too?!

2. Go on a Northern Lights safari

Tromsø is known as one of the best places in the world to spot the Northern Lights . The miraculous natural phenomenon is sometimes so strong that you can see it in the city center or from your hotel. The experience becomes even more intense when you leave the city and go to the areas where there are hardly any houses and street lights.

Viewing the Aurora Borealis is one of the most beautiful things to do in Tromsø. Everyone should experience it at least once in their life. Since the sun never rises above the horizon here from November 21 to January 21, these are the best months to admire the spectacle.

Personally, I would recommend booking a Northern Lights safari with a company. In fact, this is the only way to see the Northern Lights with almost one hundred percent certainty. Since these companies are in contact with other tours, but also with weathermen and women, they know exactly where they can see the light.
If you book a tour through GetYourGuide , you also get the option to cancel for free 24 hours in advance. This is an added value, because it allows you to keep an eye on the weather forecast. Will it be very cloudy? Then the chance of seeing the Northern Lights is very small and you can still cancel your tour.

You can book such a safari of about seven hours for $140 . That seems like a long time, but believe me… Once you see the aurora dancing, you’ll never want to leave! Does it seem too cold to go outside for so long? Then there are also shorter tours and they also cost less ( around $80 for three hours ).

As you can see, Tromsø is anything but a cheap destination, but it is still on the list of my favorite destinations!

northern lights Tromso sights

Tromsø is the perfect place to see the Northern Lights!

3. Whale watching

One of the reasons why I find Norway so fascinating is because here you can spot the largest mammals in the world. Between October and February, whales, dolphins and orcas migrate to the fjords around Tromsø to feed on herring. If you want to see these fabulous animals in person, Tromsø is truly the ideal place to do so. In the meantime, I have already admired these giants in various places, but I have never found it as beautiful as in Tromsø.

It is without a doubt the most popular activity in Tromsø and there are dozens of excursions to choose from.
If you like an adrenaline rush, I undoubtedly recommend a Safari on a RIB boat. Would you like it to be be a little less adventurous? Then a tour on an electric catamaran is highly recommended. You will see unique underwater images while you wait anxiously for the appearance of a group of whales. Moreover, it is much more ecological and because your boat makes no noise, the whales often come very close.

On average, a whale safari costs around $150 . Norway is an expensive country, but believe me… You will forget that when you discover the beautiful nature here!

Be sure to read the blog post about whale watching in Norway , because there are more places where you can admire them.

orca Tromsø whales norway

It really is a fantastic feeling when these giants swim so close to your boat.

whale watching Tromso

But don’t forget appropriate clothing! It can get very cold on such a boat.

4. Visit the Tromsø Polar Museum

Do you like informative museums with some fantastic exhibitions? Then the Polar Museum is one of the most interesting places in Tromsø. You will discover its unique position as the seal hunting capital and as the ‘gateway to the North Pole’.

The exhibition paints a good picture of the hard life of trappers on Spitsbergen (an island in the north of Norway, about 1000 kilometers away) in winter. Immerse yourself in the lives of famous trappers such as Wanny Wolstad and Henry Rudi and join an amazing polar expedition with Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen.

Tromsø Polar Museum

The Tromsø Polar Museum is very impressive!

5. The kayak across the fjord in Tromsø

This article mainly focuses on things to do in Tromso during the winter, but if you thought that there are no exciting adventures to be had in Northern Norway between May and August – Think again! There are also many nice sights in Tromsø in the summer. Here you can enjoy the (almost) never-setting Scandinavian sun and the breathtaking landscape, but if you are a bit adventurous, kayaking is perhaps the best way to admire nature and its glaciers.

On this incredible kayak tour you will learn how to smoothly navigate a kayak through Norwegian waters. You will sail through the beautiful fjords and around the islands that surround Tromsø and you will never have felt so close to nature and life at sea. With a bit of luck you may even see some whales, seals or dolphins!
You can only book this excursion during the summer months and it undoubtedly guarantees an unforgettable experience.

kayaking Norway

From the water, the area around Tromsø becomes even more impressive.

6. Be amazed at the Polaria Aquarium

If you are traveling with children and want to visit some educational places in Tromsø, Polaria is definitely a place you don’t want to miss. It is a kind of museum, but it is also so much more than that. The expo is a combination of an interactive exhibition and an aquarium where you can learn everything about Arctic nature and the animals that live here.

You can watch two great films about the Arctic and meet real live polar animals, such as wolffish and king crabs. But the real highlight is undoubtedly the moment when they feed the seals and the creatures perform their best tricks.

polaria aquarium tromso sights

You will find a colorful collection of animals here, but you will also learn a lot about the Arctic region!

7. Take a walk across the city bridge

When you are in Tromsø, you will probably want to take some long walks. And I can’t blame you at all, because the city is breathtaking – especially when it is covered with a fresh layer of snow. Don’t forget to have a walk on the Tromsøbrua during one of your mini-polar expeditions. Here you will undoubtedly get the most magnificent view of the Tromsdalstinden with the magisterial Arctic cathedral in the background.

The Tromsø Bridge has been part of the city’s special skyline since the late 1950s. For many years it was the longest bridge in Northern Europe thanks to its length of more than one kilometer.

walk bridge Tromso

During your walk on the bridge you will get some beautiful views of the city.

8. The Arctic Cathedral

Unfortunately, the many polar expeditions cause many victims and the best place to honor all those people is of course in a church. If you expect an ordinary church like in all European cities, then the Arctic Cathedral will definitely surprise you. This mastodon is shaped like an iceberg and in the front there is a magnificent glass mosaic window that sparkles with incredible colors when the sun shines through. It even looks a bit like the Northern Lights!
You can see the white church from almost anywhere in the city, but be sure to step inside if you want to admire the dazzling display of light.

Are you going to visit this attraction in Tromsø in winter? Then maybe you should consider attending a performance there. After all, the Christmas concert is very special.

arctic cathedral Tromso

This modern cathedral blends perfectly with its surroundings!

9. Tromsø Cathedral

Since we are now talking about religion, there is another place of worship that you should definitely see.

The Cathedral Church is probably one of the most charming sights in Tromsø. It is a special place because it is the only church in Norway that was built entirely of wood. But not only the outside is worth seeing, the interior is also a bit special. So be sure to step inside and admire the beautiful works of art that decorate the cathedral.

Did you know that this is the northernmost church in the world? In addition, it is one of the largest places of worship in Norway and was built in 1860, right in the heart of the city. A lot of greenery has been planted around the church, making it look like an idyllic Christmas card, especially in winter.

cathedral tromso things to do

Fortunately, there is not that much of a fire hazard here. A wooden church is not a bad idea, this far north.

10. The port of Tromsø

Of all the things to do in Tromsø, the harbor is one that is worth seeing in both summer and winter. You have an incredible view of the surrounding mountains and the endless sea. Colorful houses surround the place and there are always some beautiful boats floating on the water.

Fortunately, you have more than enough time to enjoy this idyllic spot, because the tastiest restaurants can also be found along the quay. Who knows, you might even see a whale or some seals jumping out of the water while you’re sitting here!

garden tromso

Cozy is not it!

11. Prestvannet lake

At the very top of the city you will find a beautiful lake that is really worth a visit. It is one of those interesting places in Tromsø that automatically makes you hold your breath because of the dazzling views. You can walk all the way around Lake Prestvannet, meeting joggers, walkers and even cross-country skiers along the way.

If you visit Tromsø during winter, you should definitely come to this place on a clear polar night. Then you can see the twilight colors very well and you have a beautiful and quiet place to photograph the Northern Lights.

prestvannet more walk

Idyllic!

Prestvannet meer Tromso

Don’t forget to take a rest every now and then. If the snow is not to deep, that is!

12. Tromsøbadet

The list of things to do in Tromsø certainly includes a day of relaxation in Tromsøbadet . By the way, it is much more than a wellness center. You can also swim there and have fun in the water amusement park. So it is also a fun activity that you can take your children to and escape the cold Norwegian weather.

One of the things you should definitely do here is take a dip in the heated outdoor pool with a beautiful view of the city.

Tromsøbadet

Fun for young and old!

13. An overnight stay at Camp Tamok

Have you always wanted to know what it feels like to spend the night in a tent when the temperature drops well below freezing? Then Camp Tamok might be something for you. This must-visit place in the Tromsø area is about a 75-minute drive from the center. It is located in a beautiful valley surrounded by the enchanting mountains and was built exclusively as a wilderness camp for the most adventurous tourists.

If you think you can only sleep in a tent here: don’t panic! Various accommodations are available. From a stay in a Sami shepherd’s tent to various huts. Camp Tamok is also the starting and ending point for various excursions, such as husky rides and reindeer sledding. Then you will be pampered with an open-air jacuzzi and sauna.

 

14. Getting to know the Sami

If Santa Claus needs even more reindeer, he prefers to enlist the help of his Sami friends. They have lived in northern Norway for hundreds of years and have a rich cultural heritage. Many think that these traditions only consist of colorful costumes, traditional handmade products and reindeer catching, but it is of course much more than that. The modern Sami can be an award-winning filmmaker or a reindeer herder on a snowmobile, but both still feel the same deep relationship with nature.

A great way to get to know the Sami is to visit a reindeer farm where you can learn more about their way of life and enjoy a delicious meal. You pay around $120 for this unforgettable activity .

When meeting the Sami, it is important to have an open mind, especially because they live in such harsh conditions. For example, they do not drive cars, they have no heating at home and they depend on the reindeer to provide them with everything they need. The complete opposite of what you are probably used to, but that does not stop them from welcoming you with open arms.

Sami Lapland

You might also meet a Sami shaman during your visit!

15. Reindeer feeding and sledding

According to Tripadvisor, this is one of the best things to do in Tromso. And I completely agree with that, because who wouldn’t want to feed reindeer and take a ride through Norwegian nature? Not only do they look cute, but they are also peaceful and friendly. This is mainly because the Sami have tamed them and herd them like farmers do with cows and sheep.

On this excursion you will not only go on a reindeer sleigh ride in the evening, but you can also watch the spectacular Northern Lights while enjoying a traditional Sami dinner. A fantastic combination if you ask me!

reindeer sleigh tromso

An encounter with the reindeer or a sleigh ride is definitely one of the best activities in Tromsø.

16. Visit the fjords

Of all the sights in Tromsø, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the fjords. You’ve probably seen them from a distance when you’ve gone on a whale safari , but nothing beats the feeling of seeing them up close. You can rent a car in Norway and set off on your own adventure to discover the amazing beauty of this area, or you can join one of the many tours where a guide will take you through the charming villages and all the other northern wonders.

This $125 day tour takes you on a five-hour tour from Tromsø. A minibus will take you past the most beautiful spots along the fjords. During the stops you will have time to take dazzling photos and of course you can also warm up along the way with a cup of coffee or tea at the campfire while you have a chat with the locals.

things to do Tromso fjords

The fjords are huge! Just look at the ratio of the boat sailing between the fjords…

17. Visit the Ice Domes

The Ice Domes are undoubtedly one of the most unique and magnificent sights in the Tromsø area. They are built entirely of ice and snow. Even the bar and restaurant. Super cool (figuratively and literally 😉 ), if I might say so! A visit to the Ice Domes completely changes your view of snow and ice. It’s amazing how they can build such large buildings and sculptures in this area with nothing more than ice crystals.

If you’re already amazed by the outside, wait until you see the inside! every space or room is beautifully decorated and illuminated by colored lights and ice sculptures. After the tour you will be treated to a free drink. From Tromsø it is possible to arrange a tour offered by Ice Domes itself (including transport). It takes about five hours and costs $120 per person . Of course you can also rent a car in Norway and go to this activity, but don’t forget that you will have to drive through snow! A ticket without transport costs around 500 NOK.

Would you like to stay a little longer? Then you can even spend the night in this Arctic accommodation. One night at the Ice Domes Hotel will undoubtedly be a winter adventure you will never forget. And neither does your wallet! After all, you pay €1250 per night here. Fortunately, this total price not only includes overnight accommodation, but also transfers, a guided tour of the Ice Domes, a snowshoe walk, dinner, breakfast and a sleigh ride with huskies. Fortunately, two people are allowed to stay in one room!

sights Tromsø Ice Domes

The attention to details is fantastic!

18. Take a snowshoe hike

Snowshoeing has become very popular in Tromsø in recent years. You walk through the snow with a special appendage on your shoes and from the mountains you get a spectacular view of nature. By the way, it’s not as tiring as it seems. If you prefer not to book a tour, you can arrange everything yourself. Ask at your hotel where you can rent suitable equipment and then take the bus to Rødtind, Fløya or Ersfjord.

In my opinion, the best option is to participate in a snowshoe hike accompanied by a guide . It takes about five hours and will cost you (unfortunately expensive again!) about $140 to walk through the gorgeous snow between the fjords. This is a great way to explore the Arctic Circle around Tromsø in a different way.

snowshoeing norway

Thanks to the large surface area of ​​a snowshoe, you can now step effortlessly through the snow.

19. The mountain cable car

The Fjellheisen cable car is one of the most iconic sights in Tromsø and is loved by locals and many travelers alike. From the top you have a sublime view of the city and the fairytale surroundings of mountains and fjords. With a bit of luck you can also see Kvaloya, one of the largest islands in Norway. If you’re really lucky, the spectacular Aurora Borealis might dance above you too! Then feel free to visit the cafe at the top and treat yourself to a delicious hot chocolate.

It is magical to see the Northern Lights dancing above the city in the breeze or to watch the midnight sun sparkle in the sea in summer. So it is an activity that you can do all year round, but nevertheless make sure that you always dress warmly. Even in the summer months it can be very chilly upstairs! If you book a tour , you can enjoy delicious chocolate milk and delicious Norwegian waffles after a ride on the cable car.

Fjellheisen cable car

The cable car takes you smoothly to the top.

view Fjellheisen tromso things to do

The view isn’t bad, huh?

20. Boat trip under the midnight sun

The long summer evenings where the sun never sets is, in my opinion, one of the most special things to do in Tromsø during the summer. It is pure magic to see how the sky seems to be on fire. The mix of yellow, orange, pink and red colors cannot be seen anywhere else as beautifully as here. Since it never gets dark in Norway during the summer, you might want to stay awake all night this way. Sometimes I wonder if the locals here become zombies during the summer? You wouldn’t want to miss a single moment of so much beauty, would you?!

The most beautiful way to view this natural wonder is with a boat trip under the midnight sun . Along the way you will see the beautiful fjords, the white beaches, the rugged mountains, the sparkling islands and with a bit of luck you can even spot Arctic wildlife.

midnight sun Norway

The midnight sun is a magical phenomenon!

Tours and trips in Tromsø

These twenty sights in Tromsø will win your heart. But there is much more to experience! For more inspiration or to book some fun tours, you can also take a look at GetYourGuide . Moreover, you can always cancel for free with them up to 24 hours in advance. In a place where the weather changes so quickly, that’s certainly not a bad promise!

 
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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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