Norway’s Arctic gateway, Tromso is 250 miles (400 kilometers) above the Arctic Circle. Surrounded by icy fjords and snow-capped peaks, the small city is on Tromsoya island, connected to the mainland by a bridge. It draws adventurers year-round for whale-watching, aurora-viewing, and dog-sledding. Here’s how to spend one day in Tromso.
Morning: Take in the Sights
Begin your day in Tromso by getting acquainted with its most important sights. A guided walking tour usually showcases medieval settlements, monuments, and the striking Arctic Cathedral. At the Polar Museum, learn about the many explorers, sealers, and polar bear hunters who have passed through Tromso. Tours typically conclude at a local pub, an old-school explorers’ hangout with dozens of Norwegian microbrews are on tap. Alternatively, take in Tromso’s natural sights from the water on a fjord cruise aboard a classic wooden boat. Look out for seabirds,—including, in summer, puffins—dolphins, pilot whales, and more.
Afternoon: Go Sledding or Skiing
Spend a thrilling afternoon driving huskies across the snow-covered wilderness that surrounds Tromso. Tours typically depart from a husky farm and allow time to get acquainted with the dogs before you board your sled and zip across the icy tundra. Afterward, warm up with a provided hot drink and snack. Another option, for those who want to learn how to cross-country ski like a typical Norwegian, is to take an afternoon skiing lesson. In a short session, you can learn the basics of skiing, starting out on flat terrain and gradually progressing to small hills when you are ready for a challenge.
Night: Spot the Aurora or Midnight Sun
If you visit Tromso between November and March, you are in luck as this is prime northern lights season. Spotting the aurora by yourself can be tricky; instead, join a tour that's led by an experienced aurora hunter who knows the best viewing spots based on the weather. Your options include traveling by bus or boat. Some tours are specifically tailored to photographers, with experts on hand to assist with technical advice. Those visiting in summer can enjoy the midnight sun on board a catamaran that cruises through the Tromso fjords late in the evening when the sun is still shining.