Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Tromso
Thanks to its spectacular location among a series of islands and skerries laced with waterways and scalloped inlets, and to its backdrop of snow-clad peaks, Tromsø is the epicenter of day trips out into fjords bordering the Norwegian Sea. These long, narrow sea inlets are characterized by steep, mountainous slopes carved out by glaciation during the last Ice Age. Within easy reach of Grøtfjord, Erdsfjord, Balsfjord, Lyngsfjord and Kattfjord on the neighboring island of Kvaløya, the city is connected to this spectacular seascape with a network of ferries, buses and bridges.
From half-day sightseeing trips to the sharp peaks of Balsfjord or into the pristine waters of Erdsfjord, surrounded by steep mountains; to fishing for cod, salmon and halibut in the deep fjord waters; and crewing yachts into the calm, sheltered waters, there’s a choice of tours from Tromsø.
Located 300 km (186 miles) into the Arctic Circle northeast of the city of Tromsø, the Lyngsalpene (Lyngen Alps) are a 90-km (56-mile) range of untamed mountains stretching from Lyngenfjord in the south and heading north to Ullsfjord almost on the border with Sweden. They form a spectacular landscape of deep gorges, gleaming icy glaciers and wild, boulder-filled rivers, with cliffs rising sharply up to 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) from the sea.
With the highest mountain of Jiekkevarre reaching 1,833 meters (6,104 feet), in winter the Lyngen Alps are a paradise for experienced climbers and extreme skiers. Their gentle, lower slopes become a snowy haven perfect for dog sledding, snow safaris and spotting the elusive Northern Lights, which dance merrily across the winter skies. In summer the mountains are illuminated by the eerie glow of the midnight sun; sailors flock to the calm, sheltered waters of the fjords; and fishing becomes the most popular sport.
Kvaløya is Norway’s fifth-largest island, covering 740 square km (285 square miles), and its name translates from Sami to "Whale Island" thanks to its cluster of central mountains. Lying west of Tromsø and connected by the elegant spans of the Sandnessund Bridge, the eastern shores of Kvaløya now form a suburb of the city, known as Kvaløysletta and home to a population of about 10,000.
Of its snow-capped peaks, Store Blåmann is the highest at 1,044 meters (3,425 feet) and can be scaled by intermediate climbers. Kvaløya is also indented by fjords and wild coastal scenery, with its western fringes hitting the untamed Atlantic, while the island of Sommarøy – famous for its glorious white sandy beaches – hangs off its southwestern coast. Humpback whales can be spotted offshore from late November until January, and the little settlement of Ersfjordbotn, dominated by the sheer cliffs of its fjord, is one of Norway’s top destinations for spotting the Northern Lights.