23 Amazing Things To Do In Tromso Norway In Winter
There’s actually so many amazing things to do in Tromso Norway in Winter, you won’t be stuck for ideas.
If you’re wondering what are the best things to do in Norway, fear not; Tromso has it all! After doing a lot of research, there’s so much more to see than just going to specifically see the Tromso Northern Lights.
You’ll find everything from free things to do in Tromso to adventurous activities you probably won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Activities in Tromso can amount up quickly as it’s not a cheap city and most of the awesome things to do in Tromso revolve around doing a tour. But, there are some free activities in Tromso which we mention further below in this post!
Table of Contents
I visited Tromso at the end of November 2018 (during the polar night for five days), and absolutely loved it. Yes, I did wonder what the Tromso weather was going to be like seeing as we spent almost all day in darkness was an experience like no other.
If you’re wondering about whether it’s pitch black throughout the entire day during the Polar Night in Tromso, it’s not. Between 10am-1pm there is a little bit of light. The rest of the day is in darkness. This will through your body clock like there’s no tomorrow. I found by 2:30pm, I was ready for bed time but you power through and get used to it. It’s a weird experience!
If you have no idea what to pack for your trip to Tromso, we’ve written all about it here.
Snow Spikes are essential!
If there’s one thing you need to buy for your trip to Tromso, it’s snow spikes! Trust me, these are a life saver when it comes to sliding on the ice.
Here’s a breakdown of what to expect from the seasons in Tromso. You can find out what the forecast is looking like here.
September: 9.6°C / 88 mm / 2.3 m/s October: 4.5 °C / 89 mm / 2.9 m/s November: 0.1°C / 30.3 mm / 3.8 m/s December: 0.5°C / 235.6 mm / 4.4 m/s January: -1.5°C / 166.2 mm / 4.9 m/s February: -2.9°C / 108 mm / 3.6 m/s March: -1.6°C / 148 mm / 3.7 m/s
Most people actually only see the Northern Lights through their camera. It can be hard to detect on the naked eye – crazy I know. You’ll probably think it’s a cloud in the sky and if you look through your camera, you’ll see the green light come through.
Make sure you bring a tripod with you. You won’t be able to capture the Northern Lights on your phone or any other way other than having a decent camera and a tripod. You might be able to purchase photos on your tour if you get to see them.
Your tour might end up as a Northern Lights in Finland tour as they sometimes cross the boarder to chase the lights.
What Northern Lights tour would I recommend?
You’ll definitely need to do a Northern Lights tour in Tromso because they are the only people who know where to go to spot them. They also have a lot of people following the weather so if you try to do it yourself, you’ll probably waste money on a hire car.
So I went on a big tour bus and also on a small group tour. The difference was pretty big to be honest. I went on both to see what the difference would be like with Northern Shots and a personalised tour with Arctic Moments.
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 it’s pretty cold too so you’ll need to wrap up.
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 of finding them because he goes off the beaten track.
Check out the below Northern Lights tours
There are so many amazing and different Northern Lights tours in Tromso to choose from, here are some of the best to consider.
2. Dog Sledding In Tromso
Approximate cost: 1890 Nok per person / £168 / AU$310
Unfortunately we didn’t get time to go dog sledding in Tromso but it’s one of the top activities in Norway! Based at Tromsø Villmarkssenter, there are loads of various tours you can choose from.
Don’t worry! It’s not dangerous! The dogs are well trained and the tours will take good care of you during this experience.
Expect a truly authentic experience at a Sami camp where you’ll learn all about the culture, have lunch with them and feed the reindeer too. This was honestly one of the best things we did in Tromso!
It felt very authentic and ethically you can see their passion for their reindeer when they welcome you into their home. It’s truely a magical experience.
You can even opt for this 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.
There’s some fantastic skiing in Tromso for all levels as I’ve never seen as much snow in my life than I did in Tromso. You see the whole city is surrounded by mountains making it one of the best places to ski in the world!
A fjord cruise in Norway is a massively popular Tromso activity. Whilst we decided to go on this Tromso fjord bus tour instead, I have to say we had an awesome day.
We absolutely loved this tour with Polar Adventures. We spent a good 5 hours driving around at least three different fjords, spotted wild reindeer, had some awesome photography moments and had a fire and hotdogs 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!
75 minutes drive from Tromso will bring you to the stunning Camp Tamok. Here you can experience various different kinds of Tromso 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. Find out more here.
We only found out about the awesome Vulkana spa and adventure boat in Tromso after 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.
The jewellery shop itself is stunning, and sells all original pieces and custom made jewellery.
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, it was a much nicer experience to take home a piece of jewellery I made myself in Tromso.
11. Make you own Christmas bauble at Blast Glass Blowing Factory
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.
12. Visit the Tromso 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.
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.
14. The Cable Car: Fjellheisen
210 Nok return / £18 / AU$34
Put aside 2.5 hours to visit
Whilst the view is amazing, it’s freezing at the top!
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.
Walking over the bridge towards the Arctic Cathedral on the way to the cable car.
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.
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 best 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.
Mac Brewery 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.
Free Things To Do In Tromso Norway
Fear not, there’s loads of free things to do in Tromso that you won’t get bored! Here’s our favourite things to do in Tromso which won’t cost you anything!
17. 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. Y
ou 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.
18. Perspektivet Photography Museum in Tromso (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.
20. Visit Tromso 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.
21. Visit Domkirke Cathedral in Tromso
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.
22. Go shopping at the vintage shops in Tromso
Make sure you pop into the vintage shops opposite the Domkirke Cathedral as there’s some great finds to be had! They’re not the cheapest vintage shops but you’ll find some awesome things you won’t find anywhere else!
23. Visit the oldest cinema in Northern Europe in Tromso
We unfortunately didn’t get time but we would have gone to visit Verdensteateret, the oldest cinema in Northern Europe in Tromso ( it was 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.
Hotels In Tromso
Now we’ve told you all about the amazing things to do in Tromso, here’s our top picks for finding the best Tromso accommodation to suit you!
Tromso hotels for Northern Lights
If you really want to see the Northern Lights in Tromso, we recommend staying at one of the following accommodation options for a night or two because you’ll have much more of a chance to seeing them away from the city.
Raddison Blue Hotel Tromso is our top pick because it’s a stylish hotel, right in the centre of Tromso. It’s also the main pick up point for most of the tours (which makes it much easier than having to walk on the ice around town, trust me we had to rush over here for many tours!).
This is another fantastic Tromso accommodation option, right in the heart of the city so you won’t need to walk far to see the city sights. It’s a cash-free 3 star hip hotel with free wifi and bike rental.
Tromso Bed & Books is located in the middle of Tromso. This cosy Tromso accommodation includes a library, a sun deck, free wifi and laundry facilities. Just imagine it snowing outside and you’re curled up with a good book. Bliss!