There’s actually so many things to do in Tromso Norway in winter, you won’t be stuck for ideas.
After doing a lot of research, there’s so much more to see than just going to specifically see The Northern Lights. I visited Tromso at the end of November 2018 (during the polar night for five days), and found it to be a very beautiful city.
You’ll find everything from free things to do in Tromso to adventurous activities you probably won’t find anywhere else in the world.
23 Things to do in Tromso Norway
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Free things to do in Tromso
Activities in Tromso can amount up quickly as it’s not a cheap city. But, there are some free activities we found, including the following:
1. The lake at the top of Tromso (FREE)
Prestvannet lake is a must visit during your trip to Tromso.
There’s an absolutely beautiful lake at the top of Tromso called Prestvannet which is definitely worth a visit. You can actually walk the whole way around it and you’ll find dog walkers, runners and even skiers up there. Because we went during the polar night, we were able to see the twilight colours. It’s a beautiful and quiet spot to photograph.
It’s about a 30 minute walk or a 10 minute cab ride to the lake from the centre of Tromso.
2. Perspektivet Photography Museum (FREE)
We didn’t know how good the Perspektivet photography museum would be but we were really impressed! When we visited they had an exhibition on by famous British photographer, Martin Parr which was brilliant. We honestly couldn’t believe there’s not an entrance fee for this awesome museum.
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3. Nordnorsk Kunst Art Museum (FREE)
Not mentioned at all in the Lonely Planet, the Nordnorsk Kunst Art Museum is definitely worth a look in and it’s free. It’s also much bigger than you imagine and we really loved that you can help yourself to free tea and biscuits at the end in the gift shop.
4. The Library (FREE)
The Library in Tromso is a piece of architecture that’s not only iconic but beautiful and sits right in the middle of the city. Spend the day wandering around and chilling out amongst a good book.
5. Domkirke Cathedral
The world’s most northern cathedral and is the only one in Norway to be made of wood. You’ll easily see this beautiful cathedral as it sits right in the middle of the city.
6. Go shopping at the vintage shops
Make sure you pop into the vintage shops opposite the Domkirke Cathedral as there’s some great finds to be had!
7. Visit the oldest cinema in Northern Europe
We unfortunately didn’t get time but we would have gone to visit Verdensteateret, the oldest cinema in Northern Europe (103 years old in 2018). If there’s nothing worth watching, we read that you could ask the ticket guys to let you in to see the theatre in between performances.
Activities in the city
8. Make your own jewellery at Wabi Sabi
£70 / AU$130 per person
One thing I really loved about Tromso was finding out about a beautiful jewellery company called Wabi Sabi on airbnb experiences.
The jewellery shop itself is stunning, and sells all original pieces and custom made jewellery. We made our own ring at Wabi Sabi in Tromso.
We were lucky to be able to make our own ring and it was fascinating to see how a ring is made at Wabi Sabi. What I really loved about this idea is that rather than wasting a lot of money at the tourist shops, why not take something home that you not only made yourself but something you can wear every single day to remind you of the experience you had in Tromso.
9. Make you own Christmas bauble
Just over the road from Wabi Sabi lies the Blast Glass Blowing Factory. We popped in just before we went to Wabi Sabi and wished we had also made our own Christmas bauble. Being able to make your own gifts is absolutely priceless.
10. Polar Museum
70 Nok per person / £6/AU$11
The Polar Museum was actually closed when I went as it was under renovations but this museum is known as one of the top 10 museums in Norway according to Trip Advisor.
The Polar Museum invites you to learn all about the polar expeditions. It’s located in the former Customs House which dates back to 1830.
11. The Aquarium: Polaria
145 Nok per person £13 / AU$24
The Polaria Aquarium is an incredible domino effect looking building and is one of the only two places in Europe where you can see the bearded seal up close. This is a great day out for the family and a must visit when you’re in Tromso.
12. The Cable Car: Fjellheisen
I definitely recommend taking the cable car right up to the top of the mountain to see the views over Tromso at twilight so you can see it in the light and also when it’s lit up with the city lights.
It’s absolutely breathtaking but be warned it’s incredibly cold as it’s 421 metres above sea level so make sure you wrap up! There’s loads of hiking routes up there too.
We walked over the bridge and got a bus back. The bus stop is right next to the cable car and costs £5 each back into the centre of Tromso, jus take Bus no.26. The cable car departs every half an hour and costs £21 per person.
There’s also a café and restaurant up the top although we didn’t eat there as we couldn’t justify spending £23 on a risotto or £4.50 for a hot chocolate.
13. Concerts at the Arctic Cathedral
200 Nok / £20 / AU$32
Concert lasts approx. 1.5 hours
If you visit Tromso during the Winter, you might be lucky enough to see one of their concerts. We went to watch an authentic local Christmas concert which was absolutely beautiful.
14. Mack Brewery
180 Nok for guided tour £16 AU$30/ 460 Nok for beer tasting £41 $75
Did you know Tromso has a lively pub scene? With a university in the city, it has many pubs to venture around.
Mack Brewery is one of the most iconic pubs in Tromso, serving up 72 different beers and it’s also a brewery. It’s the oldest pub in the city and also has the crown of being the world’s most northern brewery. They also have live music from time to time as well.
The guided tours start at 15:30 Mon-Fri, 14:30 on Sat and last for one hour. You’ll be able to taste one beer and it costs just 180 Nok per person. No need to book for this one, you can just drop in.
Beer tasting teaches you how to distinguish between five different kinds of beer by tasting them too and costs 460 Nok but you’ll need a group of 10 to book.
Activities outside of the city
From 895 Nok for brunch and spa / £80 AU$146
We only found out about the awesome Vulkana spa and adventure boat when we read a few local magazines. You can get brunch and spa for 895Nok, a fjord cruise with lunch for 1995 Nok, or a fjord cruise with dinner for 2495 Nok.
16. Reindeer Sledding and Sami Culture Tour
1695 Nok per adult / £151 / AU$277
We absolutely loved the reindeer and sami culture tour with Tromso Lapland. Expect a truly authentic experience at a Sami camp where you’ll learn all about their culture and get to go on a reindeer sledding tour and feed them too.
You can even opt for the night tour with hopefully sledding around the Northern Lights. To be honest, I’d be surprised if you didn’t see the lights at this camp as you need to be away from the city with clear skies which this camp is further enough away.
17. Snow Shoeing
1300 Nok per person / £116 / AU$213
It took me a while to figure out what shoe shoeing actually is until I realised it’s hiking in the snow. There are plenty of companies offering a snow shoeing tour but I’d probably go with Pukka Tours. Their snowshoeing hikes last 4-5 hours and cost 1300 Nok to hike around the beautiful fjords.
Beginner class 995 Nok / £88 / AU$163
Show shoe trip 795 Nok / £71 / $130
Tromso has some fantastic skiing for all levels. Go with Tromso Outdoor who specialise in skiing cross country, skiing for beginners and if you want to go on your own, you can even hire out skis from them too!
19. Dog Sledding
1890 Nok per person / £168 / AU$310
Unfortunately we didn’t get time to go dog sledding but it’s one of the top experiences in Tromso. The only place to book with is the Villmarkssenter. You’ll find plenty of tour companies offering up a dog sledding experience but Villmarkssenter cuts out the middle man as it’s the only dog sledding place in Tromso. You can choose between doing a self drive husky ride or having a guide.
20. Fjord Bus or Boat Tour
1250 Nok per person / £111 / AU$205
When deciding whether to do a Fjord boat or bus tour, we ended up going with the bus ride. Unsurprisingly, when we were picked up at the Raddison Blu hotel (the standard tour pick up spot in Tromso), most tourists were going on the boat tour instead.
After talking to some of the local people, we had heard the bus tour was better. Turns out you’ll see more on the bus tour.
We absolutely loved our tour with Polar Adventures. We spent a good 5 hours driving around at least three different fjords and had a fire and hot dogs on the beach. Our guide was really lovely and we had a brilliant day.
I’d hands down recommend this tour with Polar Adventures as you’ll be able to see the beauty of the surrounding areas of Tromso on this tour. One woman who joined us said she much preferred this tour to going on a Northern Lights tour!
21. Northern Lights Tour
Northern Shots: 990 (1 tour) 2,300 (7 nights)
Arctic Moments: prices vary
You have the option of going on a big tour bus or a small group option for the Northern Lights. I went on both to see what the difference would be like with Northern Shots and a personalised tour with Arctic Moments.
The Northern Lights can be pretty hard to be seen so you’ll probably need to book a few tours on your trip. The tours are quite tiring as they can start at 6pm and you won’t get back until maybe even 2am. There’s a lot of waiting around and what feels like pressure on the guides as well.
Personally having been on both tours, I’d opt for the tour with Arctic Moments. It’s literally like having your own tour guide who’s passionate about The Northern Lights and has a 95% success rate with finding them.
22. Camp Tamok
Overnight stay from 1295 Nok per person
75 minutes drive from Tromso will bring you to Camp Tamok. Here you can experience various different kinds of accommodation from staying in a Sami herdmen’s tent or in a cabin for example. Expect an outdoor hot tub and sauna as well as various activities to keep you entertained.
23. Ice Domes
Overnight stay: 12,500 per room (includes snow shoeing and Northern Lights tour, drink and breakfast.
Day Visit: 879 per person
So there you have my top 23 things to do in Tromso in Winter! If there’s anything I’ve missed out, please let me know.
23 Things to do in Tromso Norway
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Have you read my other blogs about Tromso yet?