Insider tips: Explore Tromsøya like a local
Megan & Aram is a travel blog that focuses mostly on travel in the Nordics and Eastern Europe with the occasional trip beyond those regions. We love coffee, promoting small businesses, and sports.
What should I do on my first trip to Tromsøya?
For the best views over Tromsøya, head across the Tromsø Bridge to the observation deck. You can get there on a hike or via the Fjellheisen cable car. You’ll get amazing views no matter the season; if you visit Tromsø in winter, you might even glimpse the Northern Lights at night. Another must-do activity is husky sledding. Visit the Tromsø Wilderness Center for a dog-sledding experience, where you can either drive or ride as a passenger, and learn more about the history and culture of the Sami people.
What are some hidden gems to see in Tromsøya?
The Arctic University Museum of Norway is a fantastic place to learn more about Norwegian culture, history, and wildlife and see exhibits about the Sami people and the Northern Lights. Visit the Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden — the northernmost botanic garden on the planet, cared for by Tromsø University — to walk through the stunning gardens full of local and international plant species.
How much time should I spend in Tromsøya?
Plan for at least three days to get the most out of your Tromsøya stay. This allows time to explore the city of Tromsø, do some outdoor activities, and take excursions, such as dog-sledding, visiting a reindeer farm, or chasing the Northern Lights.
What food is Tromsøya known for?
Fish plays a starring role in Norwegian cuisine, and there’s no shortage of tasty seafood dishes in Tromsø. Salmon is popular in its raw form, like sashimi, and some common meats might seem unusual to many visitors, so it’s the best place to try them. Whale, seal, and reindeer appear on many menus. Norway is also famous for its brown cheese, Brunost, which has a rich and sweet flavor.
What is the best way to get around Tromsøya?
Tromsø is a relatively small city. You can reach many of the attractions by foot, and when you can’t, there is a good public bus network that is efficient and reasonably priced. Taxis in Norway are very expensive. If you want to discover the island of Tromsøya and beyond, consider renting a car for the best flexibility.
What are the best months to visit Tromsøya?
While beautiful in every season, the best times to visit Tromsø are spring and fall. The weather is pleasant, there are fewer crowds, and you still have the chance to see the Northern Lights. Summer and winter can be busier with people enjoying all the outdoor activities. Winter is great for whale watching and snowshoeing, while hiking and biking are only really doable in summer, so if these are the most important things for you, then consider those seasons.
What are the best neighborhoods to visit in Tromsøya?
Downtown Tromsø is the heart of the city, with great cafes, museums, and restaurants. Storgata is the main pedestrian street with plenty of shops to pick up a souvenir from your Norway trip. A stroll along the harbor promenade is lovely too.
What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Tromsøya?
Downtown Tromsø is an excellent place for visitors to stay, as most of the amenities and activities are nearby. Immerse yourself in Norwegian life as you try traditional food, shop at local stores, and learn more about the area’s history at the museums. If you want a more remote spot, rent one of the cabins dotted across the island.
What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Tromsøya?
For a fun time for kids and adults alike, head to the Tromsøbadet (Tromsø’s public swimming pool), where you can find saunas, cold plunge pools, and heated outdoor pools. There’s a wellness area for adults and a wave machine, paddling pool, and water slides that the kids will love. The Ice Domes Hotel, a fantastic hotel built from snow, is also great to visit. You can get a guided tour, visit the reindeer nearby, and get a hot drink at the cafe. The Ice Hotel is rebuilt every winter, so it always looks slightly different.
What are the best annual events in Tromsøya?
Each February, Sami Week celebrates the indigenous people of northern Scandinavia. You can enjoy a variety of exhibitions, concerts, seminars, and festivities, and learn more about the Sami culture. In July, the Bukta Tromsø Open Air Festival is a rock music festival held on the south end of Tromsøya, with bands from all over Norway and a few international bands in the lineup.
What are the best things to do around Tromsøya?
Tromsø has a ton of outdoor activities. Enjoy hiking, swimming, relaxing on the beach, and sailing under the midnight sun in summer. In winter, try skiing, snowshoeing, dog-sledding, and whale watching. Taking a fjord cruise is lovely in any season. From October to April, if you’re lucky with a clear sky, you might even be able to see the amazing Northern Lights.
What are the best beaches around Tromsøya?
Telegrafbukta, on Tromsøya’s southern tip, is the best beach on the island. With beautiful sand, a grill area, and only a 30-minute walk or a short bus from the city center, it’s a great spot to spend a sunny afternoon. In the aurora season, you can often spot the Northern Lights from here on a clear night without going too far.