TROMSO

Norway

Tromsø (Romsa in Northern Sámi and Tromssa in Kvensk/Finnish) is a city in the very northernmost part of Norway. It is almost 350 km north of the Arctic Circle and is one of the best places to view the spectacular Northern Lights in winter.Tromsø is a surprise to most visitors: Here you find art, history, sophistication, good food and an infamous nightlife in a bustling, tiny city. All of it, though, is surrounded by spectacular scenery that is visible from everywhere in town.

Info Tromso

introduction

Tromsø is a city and municipality in Troms county,Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Tromsø. Outside of Norway, Tromso and Tromsöare alternative spellings of the city. Tromsø is considered the northernmost city in the world with a population above 50,000. The most populous town north of it is Alta, Norway, with a population of 14,272 (2013).

Tromsø lies in Northern Norway. The municipality has a population of (2015) 72,066, but with an annual influx of students it has over 75,000 most of the year. It is the largest urban area in Northern Norway and the third largest north of the Arctic Circle (following Murmansk and Norilsk). Most of Tromsø, including the city centre, is located on the island of Tromsøya, 350 kilometres (217 mi) north of the Arctic Circle. In 2012, Tromsøya had a population of 36,088. Substantial parts of the urban area are also situated on the mainland to the east, and on parts of Kvaløya—a large island to the west. Tromsøya is connected to the mainland by the Tromsø Bridge and theTromsøysund Tunnel, and to the island of Kvaløya by the Sandnessund Bridge. Tromsø Airport connects the city to many destinations in Europe. The city is warmer than most other places located on the same latitude, due to the warming effect of the Gulf Stream.

The city centre of Tromsø contains the highest number of old wooden houses in Northern Norway, the oldest house dating from 1789. The Arctic Cathedral, a modern church from 1965, is probably the most famous landmark in Tromsø. The city is a cultural centre for its region, with several festivals taking place in the summer. Some of Norway's best-known musicians, Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge of the electronica duo Röyksopp and Lene Marlin grew up and started their careers in Tromsø. Noted electronic musician Geir Jenssen also hails from Tromsø.

The most famous soccer team in the area, Tromsø IL, currently plays in the Norwegian Premier League.

info
POPULATION : 72,066
FOUNDED : 
TIME ZONE :• Time zone CET (UTC+1)
• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
LANGUAGE :
RELIGION :
AREA :• Total 2,520.11 km2 (973.02 sq mi)
• Land 2,473.36 km2 (954.97 sq mi)
• Water 46.75 km2
ELEVATION :
COORDINATES : 69°40′58″N 18°56′34″E
SEX RATIO : Male: 50.1%
 Female: 49.9%
ETHNIC :
AREA CODE :
POSTAL CODE :
DIALING CODE :
WEBSITE :www.tromso.kommune.no

Tourism

Tromsø (Romsa in Northern Sámi and Tromssa in Kvensk/Finnish) is a city in the very northernmost part of Norway. It is almost 350 km north of the Arctic Circle and is one of the best places to view the spectacular Northern Lights in winter.

Tromsø is a surprise to most visitors: Here you find art, history, sophistication, good food and an infamous nightlife in a bustling, tiny city. All of it, though, is surrounded by spectacular scenery that is visible from everywhere in town. The city is home to the world's northernmost university, as well as research institutes and satellite based industry. The population is therefore highly skilled, but retains the straightforwardness and sense of humor that the North is known for.

Most of Tromsø is situated on the small island of Tromsøya, in English often adapted to "Tromsø Island". This low island is 10 km long, and contains both built-up areas and birch forests, as well as the airport. The city centre is located in the south-eastern part of the island. This is where you find Polaria, the Polar Museum, The Art Museum of Northern Norway, the Contemporary Art Gallery as well as most of the shopping, good eating and nightlife. The main artery of the city is the 1 km long Storgata, where most of the people watching takes place (an activity in which tourists play but a modest role).

Elsewhere on the Island, you find the Tromsø Museum on the southern tip, and the Botanic Garden near the University, on the north-eastern side.

East of the Tromsø Island, across the Tromsø Sound, you find the mainland with the Arctic Cathedral, the Cable Car, the Military Museum and extensive residential areas. The island is connected to the mainland by the 3 km long Tromsø Sound Tunnel and the 1016 metres long Tromsø Bridge.

History

The area has been inhabited since the end of the ice age. Archeological excavations in Tønsvika, just outside the city limits, have turned up artifacts and remains of buildings estimated to be 9,000 to 10,000 years old.


Middle Ages: a fortress on the frontier

The area's rich Norse and Sámi heritage is well documented. The Norse chieftain Ohthere, who lived during the 890s, is assumed to have inhabited the southernmost reaches of today's Tromsø municipality. He described himself as living "furthest to the North of all Norwegians" with areas north of this being populated by Sámi.  An Icelandic source (Rimbegla) from the 12th century also describes the fjord Malangen in the south of today's Tromsø municipality as a border between Norse and Sámi coastal settlements during that part of the Middle Ages. There has also been extensive Sámi settlement on the coast south of this 'border' as well as scattered Norse settlements north of Malangen - for example, both Sámi and Norse Iron Age (0–1050 AD) remains have been found on southern Kvaløya.

The first church on the island of Tromsøya was erected in 1252. Ecclesia Sanctae Mariae de Trums juxta paganos ("The Church of Saint Mary in Troms near the Heathens" – the nominal "heathens" being the Sámi), was built during the reign of King Hákon Hákonarson.  At the time, it was the northernmost church in the world. Around the same time a turf rampart was built to protect the area against raids from Karelia and Russia.

Tromsø was not just a Norwegian outpost in an area mainly populated by the Sámi, but also a frontier city towards Russia; the Novgorod state had the right to tax the Sámi along the coast to Lyngstuva and inland to the Skibotn River or possibly the Målselv River, whereas Norway was allowed to tax areas east to - and including - the Kola Peninsula.  During the next five hundred years Norway's border with Russia and the limits of Norwegian settlement would be pushed eastwards to Sør-Varanger, making Tromsø lose its character as a "frontier town".


1700s and 1800s: the "Paris of the north"

During the 17th century, while Denmark–Norway was solidifying its claim to the northern coast of Scandinavia and during this period a redoubt, Skansen, was built. Despite only being home to around 80 people, Tromsø was issued its city charter in 1794 by King Christian VII. This coincided with, and was a direct consequence of, the abolition of the city of Bergen's centuries-old monopoly on the trade in cod. Tromsø quickly rose in importance. The Diocese of Hålogaland was created in 1804, with the first bishop being Mathias Bonsak Krogh.  The city was established as a municipality 1 January 1838 .

Arctic hunting, from Novaya Zemlya to Canada, started up around 1820. By 1850, Tromsø was the major centre of Arctic hunting, overtaking the former centre of Hammerfest, and the city was trading from Arkhangelsk to Bordeaux. The town also grew increasingly important in other maritime economic activities, with the first shipyard being established in 1848.

In 1848, the teacher training college was also moved from Trondenes (near current-day Harstad) to Tromsø, with part of its mission being to educate Sámi scholars - there was a quota ensuring that Sámi gained access. The teacher college was followed by the Tromsø Museum in 1872, and the Mack Brewery in 1877.

During the 19th century, Tromsø became known as the "Paris of the North". How this nickname came into being is uncertain, but the reason is generally assumed to be that people in Tromsø appeared far more sophisticated than visitors from the south typically expected.


Early 1900s: exploration and war

By the end of the 19th century, Tromsø had become a major Arctic trade centre from which many Arctic expeditions originated. Explorers like Roald Amundsen, Umberto Nobile and Fridtjof Nansen made use of the know-how in Tromsø on the conditions in the Arctic, and often recruited their crews in the city. The Northern lights observatory was founded in 1927.

When Germany invaded Norway in 1940, Tromsø served briefly as the seat of the Norwegian government. General Carl Gustav Fleischer arrived in Tromsø on 10 April 1940 after flying in terrible conditions. From Tromsø he issued orders for total civilian and military mobilisation and declared Northern Norway a theatre of war. Fleischer's strategic plan was to first wipe out the German forces at Narvik and then transfer his division to Nordland to meet a German advance from Trøndelag. The Germans eventually captured all of Norway, after allied support had been withdrawn, although they encountered fierce resistance from the Finnmark-based Alta Battalion at Narvik. Tromsø escaped the war unscathed, although the German battleship Tirpitz was sunk by the RAF off the Tromsøy island on 12 November 1944, killing close to 1,000 German sailors.

At the end of the war, the city received thousands of refugees from Finnmarkcounty and the North Troms area - which had been devastated by German forces using scorched earth tactics in expectation of the Red Armyoffensive.


Late 1900s – today: rapid expansion

Expansion after World War II has been rapid. The rural municipalities of Tromsøysund and Ullsfjord, and most of Hillesøy, were merged with Tromsø on 1 January 1964, creating today's Tromsø municipality and almost tripling Tromsø's population - from 12,430 to 32,664.  In addition, the population growth has been strong, with at times more than 1,000 new Tromsøværinger (residents of Tromsø) annually. The population of Tromsø municipality today is 68,239, and the urban area, Norway's ninth most populous, is home to 58,486 people.  This excludes most of the city's students, however, who often do not change their address when moving to Tromsø.

A major development was the opening of Tromsø Airport in 1964, situated on the main island, and in 1972 the University of Tromsø was opened, at the time one of four universities in Norway and the only one serving the northern half of the country. A local teacher's college and museum were eventually incorporated into the university. The Norwegian Polar Institute was moved to Tromsø from Oslo in 1998. More recently, the university has expanded further through two mergers, first with University College Tromsø in 2009 and then with University College Finnmark in 2013.

Climate

Winter in Tromsø is not as severe as other cities at the same latitude due to the Gulf Stream. Average January temperatures hover around -4. The coldest temperature record of Tromsø is -18C. Rain and temperatures up to +6 are not unusual, even in mid winter. Usually, there are large quantities of snow between December and May, and in April 1997, the snow depth in the city was 2.4 metres.

The summer temperatures are highly variable. Overcast, chilly and drizzly days are interspersed with beautiful, warm, sunny days. The July average is +11C and the heat record is +30.

Climate data for Tromsø, Norway

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)8.4
(47.1)
8.2
(46.8)
9.1
(48.4)
15.6
(60.1)
26.6
(79.9)
29.5
(85.1)
30.2
(86.4)
27.4
(81.3)
22.4
(72.3)
17.2
(63)
12.3
(54.1)
9.7
(49.5)
30.2
(86.4)
Average high °C (°F)−2.2
(28)
−2.1
(28.2)
−0.4
(31.3)
2.7
(36.9)
7.5
(45.5)
12.5
(54.5)
15.3
(59.5)
13.9
(57)
9.3
(48.7)
4.7
(40.5)
0.7
(33.3)
−1.3
(29.7)
5.1
(41.2)
Daily mean °C (°F)−4.4
(24.1)
−4.2
(24.4)
−2.7
(27.1)
0.3
(32.5)
4.8
(40.6)
9.1
(48.4)
11.8
(53.2)
10.8
(51.4)
6.7
(44.1)
2.7
(36.9)
−1.1
(30)
−3.3
(26.1)
2.5
(36.5)
Average low °C (°F)−6.5
(20.3)
−6.5
(20.3)
−5.1
(22.8)
−2.3
(27.9)
2.0
(35.6)
6.1
(43)
8.7
(47.7)
7.8
(46)
4.5
(40.1)
0.7
(33.3)
−3.0
(26.6)
−5.4
(22.3)
0.1
(32.2)
Record low °C (°F)−21.0
(−5.8)
−18.4
(−1.1)
−17.0
(1.4)
−14.7
(5.5)
−6.5
(20.3)
−2.5
(27.5)
0.7
(33.3)
1.1
(34)
−4.3
(24.3)
−9.6
(14.7)
−12.5
(9.5)
−16.8
(1.8)
−21.0
(−5.8)
              
Source: The Weather Network

Geography

Tromsø is the eighth-largest municipality in Norway with a population of 71,590, and the centre of the ninth-largest urban area, with a population of about 60,000. The city is home to the world's northernmost university and also houses the northernmost botanical garden and planetarium.

The city centre is located on the east side of the Tromsøya island — over 300 kilometres (190 mi) north of the Arctic Circle at 69°40′33″N 18°55′10″E. Suburban areas include Kroken, Tromsdalen (on the mainland, east of Tromsøya), the rest of the Tromsøya island, and the eastern part of the large Kvaløya, west of the Tromsøya island. The Tromsø Bridge and Tromsøysund Tunnel both cross the Tromsøysundet strait connecting the mainland with Tromsøya by road. On the western side of the city, the Sandnessund Bridgeconnects Tromsøya island with Kvaløya island.

There are many tall mountains within the municipality including Hamperokken,Jiehkkevárri, Store Blåmann, Store Fornestinden, and Tromsdalstinden. TheLyngen Alps mountain range lies along the Tromsø-Lyngen municipal border. There are many islands within the municipality of Tromsø including Hillesøya,Kvaløya, Rebbenesøya, Ringvassøya, Sommarøya, and Tromsøya. There are also several fjords that are located in Tromsø including the Balsfjorden,Kaldfjorden, Malangen, and Ullsfjorden.

Internet, Comunication

Free internet is found at the Public Library in the city centre (ask the main desk for WiFi access). Burger King also has free WiFi. The student house Driv (see Cafes section) offers eduroam, and unlike the library they stay open a lot longer. Coin operated machines are found at Dark Light and at Meieriet.

Free wireless zones are found in many places around town, including Peppe's Pizza and Kafé Verdensteatret, where it is free of charge. Many hotels also have it, but often charge you.

Prices in Tromso

PRICES LIST - EUR

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter€1.70
Tomatoes1 kg€4.50
Cheese0.5 kg€6.00
Apples1 kg€3.00
Oranges1 kg€2.10
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€3.20
Bottle of Wine1 bottle€13.90
Coca-Cola2 liters€4.00
Bread1 piece€2.50
Water1.5 l€1.80

PRICES LIST - EUR

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2€54.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2€75.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2€100.00
Mac Meal or similar1 meal€9.50
Water0.33 l€2.70
Cappuccino1 cup€3.70
Beer (Imported)0.33 l€8.00
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€8.00
Coca-Cola0.33 l€3.40
Coctail drink1 drink€12.00

PRICES LIST - EUR

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets€24.00
Gym1 month€50.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut
Theatar2 tickets€65.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.€0.16
Pack of Marlboro1 pack€11.50

PRICES LIST - EUR

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack€7.00
Tampons32 pieces€9.00
Deodorant50 ml.€5.10
Shampoo400 ml.€3.60
Toilet paper4 rolls€4.00
Toothpaste1 tube€3.30

PRICES LIST - EUR

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1 €70.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M )1 €43.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas )1 €105.00
Leather shoes1 €108.00

PRICES LIST - EUR

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter€1.61
TaxiStart€6.00
Taxi1 km€2.50
Local Transport1 ticket€4.50

Tourist (Backpacker)  

111 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

373 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Despite the location, it is fairly easy to reach Tromsø. Most people get to Tromsø by plane, but one can also go by bus or boat. Driving up is also an option, but take the 1700 km distance from Oslo into consideration. Considering the low speed limits on Norwegian convoluted roads along fjords, allow several days (a week is not too much) for the journey. There is also one ferry crossing, Skarberget-Bognes, unless you drive through Sweden. That said, you do not encounter any particular dangers on the way, and the distances between petrol stations, accommodation and shops are not frightening. The scenery is unforgettable.

Transportation - Get In

By plane

All international and domestic flights land at the small, modern Langnes Airport (IATA: TOS). There are about 10 daily departures to Oslo, by SAS and the low cost Norwegian. There are flights to Svalbard (Spitsbergen), and the city also has connections to Murmansk and Arkhangelsk(Nordavia) several times a week. In summer, there may be flights to Stockholm as well. The low cost airline Norwegian has a direct route to London/Gatwick, going through London may be the cheapest option for getting to Tromsø. From April 2009 AirBaltic has a direct route from Tromsø to Riga. SAS commuter airline Widerøe has routes to several other North-Norwegian airports, mainly STOLports. Both Widerøe and Norwegian offer a direct route from Tromsø to Bergenand Widerøe offers a summer route to Sandefjord. Both SAS and Norwegian have a route, via Bodø, to Trondheim. Check the Avinor webpages [www] for updated information on timetables to/from Tromsø.

Budget-conscious travellers should have the lower summer fares in mind, usually available in July/August. Furthermore, there are plenty of cheap tickets available in the Northern Lights months of January/February. Festivals, however, fill up the planes quickly. Friday and Sunday, planes are full all year. International travellers should bear in mind that some budget airlines promote the rather distant TRF, Torp Airport, in Sandefjord as "Oslo Airport". Nearly all flights to Tromsø, however, leave from OSL, Oslo Airport Gardermoen. Only Widerøe has a direct route from TRF (Summer). Norwegian has a route, via Bodø, to RYG, Rygge Airport near to Moss (Promoted as Oslo - Rygge). Connections between Torp, Rygge and Gardermoen are time-consuming. Budget-conscious travellers can, if lucky, find last-minute charter tickets to and from Turkey, Spain, Greece and various other charter destinations.

From the airport into town

The distance into town is very short.

  • The cheapest public transport option to the city centre is public bus 40 and 42, from across the airport parking lot (wait at the bus stop closest to the sea for transport into town). The bus ride is about 15 minutes, and costs 34NOK if you buy a ticket from the "Point" shop in the airport arrival terminal. It would be wise to buy your return ticket at the same time since the tickets are valid for 2 years, and it costs 50NOK if you buy a ticket on the bus.
  • There is also a dedicated Airport Express Bus (Flybussen) that will take you straight into the town centre, only stopping at a few hotels along the way (80 NOK in October 2015).
  • Taxis are also available, for about 120 NOK. (Please note that taxi can cost about 260 NOK on Sundays)

Transportation - Get In

By Train

There is no train all the way to Tromsø. Take a bus from the railheads in Fauske, Narvik and Rovaniemi. Check the timetable.

  • The Swedish railway network has a branch line to Narvik, some 4 hours by bus south of Tromsø. [www]. There are 2-4 buses a day to Narvik, depending on the day of the week. The bus from Narvik to Tromsø seems to cost NOK 170. See http://www.tromskortet.no/ Note that as af 2015 the trains arrive at 14:18 and 16:06, but the last bus departure is 15:20 so do take the early train. Sometimes the train is very late, so then you would need unplanned accommodation in Narvik.
  • There are also trains going from Helsinki to Rovaniemi, in the summer time there are bus connections all the way - in the winter time one has to take a taxi or hitch-hike from the border. The train tickets may cost around 100 euro per person to Rovaniemi. It's possible to take the car on the train as well, see below.
  • To reach the Norwegian network, one goes on to Fauske from Narvik by bus. If you arrive in Fauske by night train from Trondheim, it takes most of the day to reach Tromsø. [www]

Transportation - Get In

By car

The roads up to Tromsø are in good condition, but it is a long drive from Southern Scandinavia. When in Tromsø, renting a car is an option. In June, July and August, prices are high and reservation is a must. The rest of the year, it is relatively cheap (around NOK 1000) for a small car for a whole weekend. Make the reservation in the office hours before 4PM on Friday.


Winter

Driving in winter usually poses no problem even for two-wheel drives. However, the occasional snow storm closes the roads for shorter periods. This is broadcast on radio, but if you don't speak Norwegian, the petrol stations along the route are well updated.


From Oslo

The E6 goes all the way from Trelleborg, South Sweden, through Oslo,Trondheim and Narvik to Nordkjosbotn, from where you take off along the E8 to Tromsø. The distance to Oslo is about 1700 km.

The road conditions are good, especially compared to the traffic. Despite the long distances, there are plenty of accommodation options as well as petrol stations along the way, and you encounter no particular dangers. It's also possible to drive the inland road through Sweden, it's longer but may be faster.


From Sweden and Finland

From Stockholm and Luleå in Sweden the recommended route would be E10 toÖverkalix, road 392 to Pajala, crossing the border to Finland at Kolari, from where the E8 goes to Tromsø. Luleå – Tromsø is 700 km, 9 hours. Alternative longer routes are E10 – E45 – E8 over Gällivare – Karesuando or E10 – E6 – E8 over Kiruna.

The E8 from Helsinki through Tornio and Karesuvanto crosses the Norwegian border at Kilpisjärvi, a 160 km/3hours drive from Tromsø. When coming from southern Finland, one should also consider the car train option.


From the Baltics

It's just some six hours of actual driving from Tallinn to Tromsø. First there are plenty of ferries going from Tallinn to Helsinki [www] - the slowest ferries are often nicest and cheapest, Tallink has internet on board. The next step is to take a car train from Helsinki to Kolari (alternatively Rovaniemi) - three persons, a cabin plus the car from Helsinki to Kolari costs 116 euro [www].


From Finnmark and Russia

Driving south from the Nordkapp region is easy and straightforward along the E6. The National Highway 91, with a ferry from Olderdalen to Lyngseidet and again from Svensby to Breivikeidet saves you no time, but is a lot more relaxing. Driving from Kautokeino, Karasjok and parts of East-Finnmark the fastest route is through Finland, take the National Highway 93 to the south from Kautokeino to Enontekiö in Finland, turn northwards again when you hit the E8 and drive into Norway again in Kilpisjärvi. From the Norwegian-Russian border and the area around Kirkenes in Finnmark the fastest route is driving the E6 until Neiden, follow road 893 until you reach Finland. In Finland the same road changes name to 971, follow it until you reach E75 at Kaamanen. From Kaamanen you can drive to Karigasniemi and Karasjok, then follow the route described above. There is a shorter but more isolated route from Kaamanen; Take the E75 to Inari, then change to road 955 until Köngäs (note that the last 50 km of this road has no asphalt (2009)). From Köngäs take road 956 to Sirkka and Levi, then road 79 until you hit E8 at Muonio. From Muonio, keep heading northwards on the E8 until you reach the border at Kilpisjärvi and finally Tromsø.

Transportation - Get In

By bus

There is one daily bus to Alta, leaving at 16:00, and arriving at 22:30. If you intend to go on by bus to Nordkapp, you have to spend the night in Alta. There are three daily buses to Narvik, the first one at 06:20 (not week-ends), corresponding with Narvik-Kiruna-Luleå train. The second ones, at 10:30, corresponds with an onward bus Narvik-Fauske, from where you can take the night train to Trondheim. It also corresponds with a train to Sweden.

In summer, there is a daily bus to Rovaniemi, Finland. From there, you can take the train to Helsinki. In winter you must go via Alta to Tana, which has connections to Finland all the year.

Transportation - Get In

By boat

The legendary Hurtigruten ships stop in Tromsø. The northbound ships arrive daily at 14:30 and continues at 18:30 to Skjervøy, Hammerfest, the North Cape and Kirkenes. The southbound ships arrive at 23:45, and depart at 01:30 in the night, to Finnsnes —, Lofoten, Trondheim and Bergen all year round.

These ships depart from the Hurtigrute-terminal (Samuel Arnesens gate 4-5), less than 290 m (310 yd) from the church.

Be aware of (rare) cancellations of certain departures in winter, when harsh weather prevents any boat or ship to sail. Otherwise, the service is punctual. There is no official luggage storage for the southbound coastal express, but the Rica Ishavshotel has graciously allowed non-guests to store their luggage there. You can check times either with the Tourist Information or at the Hurtigrute website [www].

Due to a building project at Prostneset (near Kirkeparken ), this embarkment area will be modified by December 2010. The new “Prostneset” can be seen on this Tromsø Harbor page [www] .

Cruise boats for all parts of Europe and North America often often moor in Tromsø, too.

For  Hurtigbåter services, see below: Get around – By ferry


Transportation - Get Around

Generally, most things in Tromsø's compact centre are within walking distance. However, there is also a good network of buses. In summer, you can rent bikes, and in winter you can rent cross country skis, both allowing you to roam the built-up areas of Tromsø.

Transportation - Get Around

By bus

Buses are plentiful and very reliable. You currently pay NOK 50 for a one hour ticket when bought on board the bus. Buying a 1h30 ticket costs 35 NOK when bought from one of the locations listed here. Alternatively, you can use the very convenient Troms Mobillett app, that allows you to buy ticket from your mobile phone (beware though that mobile data may be needed!). Choose credit card payment rather than prepay account else you'll have to pay 200NOK upfront. Alternatively, a 24h ticket costs 100 NOK.

Note that many routes have the city centre in the middle of their route, therefore it is essential to catch a route in the right direction. If it says 'via sentrum' it might already have been there and drives away from the centre! F.ex. 42(Stakkevollan) is driving to a residential area on the Tromsø island, 42(Storelv)is driving to Kvaløya. The ride from Storelva to Stakkevollan takes 45 minutes.

From the city centre:

  • Bus 28(Solligården), 26, 20 (Kroken), and 24 (Kroken) are found in the Sjøgata/Havnegata street just down below the Torget (Main square). Any one of these is good for the Arctic Cathedral(Ishavskatedralen).
  • Bus 26 goes to the Cable Car from Peppe's Pizza near Torget (The Main Square). Ask for a "Fjellheisbillett" (Cable Car Ticket). This includes a return bus ticket and the Cable Car ride, and is cheaper than buying each ticket individually.
  • Bus 37 goes to The Tromsø Museum. It leaves from Fredrik Langes Gate, just down below the Åhléns outlet.
  • Bus 20(Stakkevollan) and 21(UiT/UNN) goes to the University. For the Botanic Garden, take the 20/21 to the (Bankrupt) Planetarium, walk down the nice foot path, enjoy the Garden and take bus 20 or 42 (Storelv) back into town.
  • Bus 34 from the southern end of Sjøgata (opposite Dolly Dimple's), just up from the Tourist Information for a tour of the Island. It takes you around the southern tip to the shopping centre of Jekta, from where there are lots of buses back into town: 24 (Kroken sør) and 26 (Kroken) tae rather long detours through several residential areas (26 also passes the Carmelite nunnery), 28 (Solligården) and 40 (Sentrum) take a somewhat more direct route, while 42 (Stakkevollan) takes you to Polaria and then downtown through a tunnel (with two roundabouts inside). Lots of scenery and cityscape for 34 kroner.
  • Bus 20(Stakkevollan) from Fredrik Langes gate or 42 (Stakkevollan) from Sjøgata to Stakkevollan Skole, walk up the hill at the water reservoire and watch Northern Lights to the north (less light pollution than elsewhere on the island).
  • Bus 20(Kroken) or 24(Kroken) from Havnegata to Tromsø alpine centre

Transportation - Get Around

By Taxi

There are plenty of taxis all over town, however, you will probably have to wait in line if you plan on taking a taxi home after a long night out. This especially goes for Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays as these days are particularly busy.

The rest of the time, there are plenty of taxis. Call them at 77 60 30 00. It is, however, cheaper to just go to a taxi stand and pick one up. Taxis are metered, and completely safe.

Transportation - Get Around

By ferry

  • Hurtigbåtene (The express ferries) are quick catamaran boats, of great benefit for those living here or visiting the area: they ply the waterways north and south of Tromsø. There are four daily departures from Tromsø to Harstad via Finnsnes, Brøstadbotn and Engenes (two services only on Saturdays and Sundays). The catamaran to Lysnes departs twice a day (once on Sundays), making a loop between the peninsulas south of Tromsø, with calls at Vikran, Lysnes and Tennskjær, and is a scenic boatride and back. A single daily service links Skjervøy to Tromsø once a day, via Finnkroken, Vannvåg, Nord-Lenangen, Arnøyhamn, Nikkeby and Vorterøya (two departures from Skjervøy to Tromsø on Tuesdays and Thursdays). The route differs according to the day. The boats are operated by Torghatten Nord. The Hurtigbåter depart from the pier facing Kaigata, by the Hurtigruten terminal
  • Fergene (ferries) ride four to six times a day from Bellvika (also calledBelvik, on the northeastern peninsula of Kvaløya), a 25 minute's drive northwest of Tromsø, to Vengsøya (70 inhabitants, according to the last census), Musvær (a tiny island where just 2 inhabitants live), Laukvika (Hersøya), Risøya and Mjølvika (Sandøya). Expect no on-board service, “just” a lovely ride between the islands and the occasional possibility to buy coffee. The ferries are operated by Torghatten Nord.

NB: Where the places above are not islands (øy in Norwegian bokmål and nynorsk, singular indefinite form, suolu in Northern Sámi) by themselves, the name of their island is given in brackets. Names may differ from what timetables indicate, e.g. Bellvika is also spelt (and pronounced) Belvik, Risøyamay be Risøy etc. This depends on the use (or not) of the definite article -a, in many cases, and on the fact that various dialects coexist, together with the Sámi language.

Transportation - Get Around

By train

There is no train, although there is a pub called Jernbanen (the train station), 3,48 metres above sea level. The project planned in 1872 has never been built.

Hotels

- BEST RATED -

Hotels

- BEST VALUE -

Shopping

Most shopping takes place in the busy main street, Storgata. These days, we can thank the Chinese for most souvenirs, but the attentive shopper will find locally made stuff. Keep in mind that business hours are traditional; most main street shops close at 5PM, although they usually stay up until 7PM on Thursdays. They close at 3-4PM on Saturdays, and remain closed all Sunday. Department stores stay open longer, though.


Department stores and shopping malls

Department stores in Tromsø are easy to overview, and hold no surprises. They are convenient for any necessity, though, since they stay open until 8PM (6PM on Saturdays).

  • Nerstranda (Steen & Strøm), Nerstranda 9. in the city centre allows shopping until 8 at night.
  • JektaHeiloveien 19. near the airport, is the biggest shopping mall in Northern Norway.
  • Pyramiden(Amfi), Solstrandveien 47. on the mainland side is also a sizable center.

Design

Original buys include:

  • BlåstPeder Hansensgate 4,   +47 77 68 34 60. the world's northernmost glass factory makes original glass objects. They also ship.
  • Tromsø Gift and Souvenir ShopStrandgaten 36+47 77 67 34 13.is the ultimate souvenir shop in town, and offers glitzy kitsch with a wink. Great fun, and the place to look for a gift for the person that looks after your cat.
  • Snarby StrikkestudioFredrik Langes Gate 18,   +47 77 64 13 20.has knitwear from Norway, as well as a vast array of souvenirs. Look for seal skin slippers.
  • HusflidenSjøgata 4,   +47 77 75 88 60. is part of a national chain of craft shops. The quality is high, and so are the prices.

Literature

The production of interesting books about the north in Norwegian language is huge. However, the selection of good titles in English is limited.

  • BokhusetStorgata 86,   +47 77 68 30 36. is the best place on town to look for books on Norwegian themes. Most books are in Norwegian, though.
  • Tromsø Museum, part of the University of Tromsø, has a rather good selection of scientific books on the north, again mostly in Norwegian.
  • For English-language pocket books, many Narvesen kiosks stock the latest best-sellers (Norwegians buy them too). Bookshops like Bokhuset,Ark and Tromsø Bokhandel (all in the main street) have a bigger selection. Prices hover around NOK 100 (USD 15), so you might consider bringing them from home instead.

Markets

Since Tromsø has a refreshing climate, the outdoor markets are not all that impressive. Look for the following, though:

  • The Main Square (Torget) has numerous souvenir sellers in summer. Russians sell souvenirs, and you get some knitwear and Sami souvenirs (sold by real Sami people). Due to the northern location, local vegetables are of limited volume. However, in August and September, little turnips and carrots that are really crunchy and tasty are for sale. In late July you might want to look for northern strawberries.
  • The fish port sells cod, coalfish and shrimps directly from the boat. This is not the biggest fish market in the world, but the catch is straight from the sea. If the boats are all gone by the time you come, go to Dragøy next to the dockside. Here you get good quality fish, they can even make you a picnic of varied fish and seafood. Another interesting place to purchase interesting food are the lorries selling fish, particularly during the winter cod fishery. Cod flesh, liver, roe, tongues, stomachs and chins are on sale. Ask how to bread your cod's tongue right to get that crunchy taste!
  • Before Christmas, the farmers from the inland valleys visit. In addition to Christmas trees, they sell local cakes and sweets.
  • Julemesse is another pre-Christmas specialty, meaning a little fair of craft. The knitting ladies from the whole area sell their mittens, tablecloths etc., and the income is often for some charity. An excellent way to stock up on original Christmas presents, and a deep dive into traditional craft.

Restaurants

A number of good seafood restaurants are worth the extra kroner, and especially in the winter, when the cod reaches the coast, there is a lot of good eating. It all comes at a price, though. Do note, however, that cheap food is relatively expensive in Tromsø (as in Norway in general), whereas exclusive food is relatively good value. In other words, a little extra money increases the experience immensely.

Vegetarians have a hard time in Tromsø, as the knowledge of vegetarian food is limited (however, there is at least one cafe with a vegetarian menu in town ). Most places can cook something up, but be prepared to explain your food requests in detail. There is probably no point in going to an expensive restaurant. Chinese places have stir fries etc. that can be filling enough. Vegans and vegetarian Hindus have to take special care.


Budget

Budget-conscious visitors should avoid anything named "restaurant". Instead, all the cafés in town are good for a quick bite. Expect friendly service at the counter; table service is a luxury in Norway. Expect to pay around NOK 100 for a filling meal.

The canteen for employees in the town hall serves reasonably cheap food, and there is also the student canteens at the university campus. It's possible to buy hot food in many supermarkets, and the price may be a bit lower than buying something in a café. Several greasy spoon bakeries and cafés serve the infamous tacobolle (taco bun), a doughy bun with mince, tomato sauce and cheese. Highly uncultured, but yummy, for NOK 30. Both Yonas andPeppes Pizza have lunch buffets (eat as much as you can) during the daytime on weekdays, for around NOK 100. Peppes Pizza has free internet as well.

  • AllegroTuristvegen 19+47 77 68 80 71. Su-Th 15-23,F-Sa 15-midnight. in Tromsdalen (behind the Arctic Cathedral) has thin, Italian pizzas for a good price
  • Blå RockStrandgata 14-16,   +47 77 61 00 20. Daily 11.30-2 except F 11.30-03.30 and Su 13-2. The best burgers in town with their infamous fried potato skins. Don't ask for a Diet Coke with it, it makes little difference.
  • Aunegården (OL Aune), Sjøgata 29,   +47 77 65 12 34. 11-23. Café in the front, with counter service. Restaurant with table service in the back. International menu, also a few local specialities. The cakes have many fans in Tromsø. 80-250.
  • Dolly Dimple'sHeiloveien 4. M-F 10-20,Sa 10-18. The "Pizzabuffet" (All you can eat - pizza buffet) is ok and cheap
  • DrivStorgata 6 (Walk south on storgata until the end of the shops),  +47 77 60 07 76. M-Th 14-1.30,F-Sa 12-3. Offers great food at a reasonable price in a nice atmosphere, and have discounts for members of the student society.
  • GründerStorgata 44+47 77 75 37 67. M-Th 11-2,F-Sa 11-3.30.The international menu is tasty and good value, and the service is humourously informal.
  • Peppes PizzaStortorget 2,   +47 22 22 55 55. daily 11-23.30. Part of an international chain, but the lunch specials are cheap.
  • Sivertsens KafekooperativRådstua Teaterhus, Vestregata 48. W-Sa noon-5PM. Vegetarian cafe with a small but good and affordable menu.
  • SkarvenStrandtorget 1,   +47 77 60 07 20. Daily from 11. has fish casseroles and other local specialities at good prices
  • YonasSjøgata 7,  +47 77 66 66 66. Daily 11-midnight. has good deep-pan American pizza. Taco-pizza is unknown in Mexico, but is a normal pizza with shredded Chinese cabbage and a mustard dressing. You love it, or you loathe it.

Mid-range

In this category expect sit-down friendly service and prices varying from NOK 150 to NOK 230 for a filling plate of food. Italian food is not found in the city centre, but a few neighbourhood places in residential areas serve up thin, Italian pizza and pasta. Picando and Allegro are found on the mainland side, and La Speranza is found at Håpet on the west side of the Island. On Kvaløya, genuine Thai food is found at Ban Thai where Kusaya prepares tasty home cooking from her homeland in a rather unassuming neighbourhood restaurant (Bus 42 takes you there, well worth the trip!). Finish off with some Thai karaoke. Chinese food is represented by Choi's Kjøkken and Shanghai, both situated in the north of the city. Mains here start at NOK 130. More upmarket alternatives include Tang's, Lotus and Il Mare. Authentic Thai food is found at Thai House Restaurant. Steakhouses are vastly popular (many people that cook good fish at home, prefer a good steak when they go out). Expect no local character.

  • ArctandriaStrandtorget 1,   +47 77 60 07 28. M-Sa from 16. has a lot of local fish specialities, as well as a humourous menu. Before Christmas, their lutefisk buffet is heaven for some, and hell for others.
  • Fiskekompaniet SjøsidenSjøgata 17B,  +47 77 68 76 00. Daily 15-23. has excellent fresh fish, and a menu of modern Norwegian cuisine. Seafood is considered an aphrodisiac, and after their delicious seafood platters, you're ready for anything.
  • Skarvens BiffhusStrandtorget 1,  +47 77 60 07 20. Daily from 15.30. in a 1820'ies wharf house, has thick steaks, but also specialises in goat meat. The waiters are humourous and professional.
  • SteakersFredrik Langesgate 13,   +47 77 61 33 30. M-Sa 15-23,Su 14-22. lining the inner port, offers no local character, but is constantly full of meat-hungry locals, and the American theme is matched by the enormous portions. The young staff is friendly and offers really good service.

Splurge

The price difference between mid-range and splurge is not that big, making the occasional splurge a good value.

  • CompagnietSjøgata 12,  +47 77 66 42 22. M-Sa 17-23. is situated in a merchant's home from the 1830s. Doubles as a nightclub in the weekends after 22.
  • Emmas DrømmekjøkkenKirkegaten 8,  +47 77 63 77 30, e-mail:. M-Sa from 18. A fantastic restaurant that has got excellent reviews in the Oslo press. A main course is around NOK 280, but compared to what you get and the standard of service, it's not that much. Look out for their excellently matched 5 course menus. The lunch menu isn't bad either, and comparatively cheap!

Coffe & Drink


Cafes

Cafes stay open from lunchtime to 3AM, and typically serve good value food and coffee specials before they turn into crowded bars at night. Being flexible is the key to survive the stiff competition in Tromsø.

  • Blå RockStrandgata 14,    +47 77 61 00 20. Daily 11.30-2, except F 11.30-3.30 and S 13-2. is the place for burgers, lots of international beer, rock'n'roll and concerts. A piercing in your ear (or somewhere else) will make you fit in.
  • CircaStorgata 36,   +47 77 68 10 20. is currently a very popular place, with the winning concept in Tromsø of lunch dishes, coffee specialites and beer at night. Students and younger professionals.
  • DrivStorgata 6,   +47 77 60 07 76. M-Th 14-1.30,F-Sa 12-3. is the Student House. An ambitious concert programme, quiz nights etc. Excellent place for the 18-30 years old, but far better in winter than in summer. The amount of visitors varies drastically depending on the occasion.
  • FlytSjøgata 25,   +47 77 69 68 00. M-Tu 11-23,W-Th 11-midnight,F 11-3.30,Sa noon-3.30,Su 15-23. sports a sport's theme, with off-piste skis decorating the walls, and cool recordings from the slopes entertain on every flat screen. Go there for a burger in the afternoon, or to hang around with the extreme sporters at night.
  • MeierietGrønnegata 37,   +47 77 61 36 39. Su-W 10-midnight,Th 10-2,F-Sa 10-3.30. is a young place, with lots of beer types and a good value menu.
  • PalettenStorgata 51,   +47 77 68 05 10. M-Th 11-1,F-Sa 11-3,Su noon-1. is a football pub with two large outdoor terraces, also serves food during the day
  • KaffebønnaStrandtorget 1 & Stortorget 3,   +47 77 63 94 00. M-F 8-18,Sa 9-18, Su 11-18. serves no alcohol, but serves up smart coffee, Italian ice cream, pain au chocolat and plenty of sandwiches. Minimalist décor and cool staff (occasionally too cool).
  • PerezSkippergata 6,   +47 92 23 33 13. at the northern end of the city centre, is tiny, but manages to offer lunch specials, coffees and a sophisticated wine selection. Loud and full in the evening, so keep your stomach in!
  • Skansen KaféTollbodgate 8. M-W 11-18,Th 11-22,F 11-2,Sa noon-2,Su noon-18. is housed in the annex of the oldest house in town. In summer, they serve fantastic shells and other lunch specials, along with good wine and coffee. In winter, they close, though.
  • SkarvenStrandtorget 1,   +47 77 60 07 20. Daily from 11. is another long-timer, and serves good food, including loads of fish (an welcome respite from the feta cheese and olive fare of the other cafés), and loads of beer way into the night in a 1920s margarine factory. The crowd is grown-up and well-heeled, but just as loud as the rest.
  • SånnErling Bangsunds plass 1,  +47 77 69 10 80. M-Th 11-midnight,F 11-1,Sa noon-1. at the upper end of the Main Square is another example of the Tromsø receipt: A good lunch menu (with realatively good prices), coffee specialities and a cool bar in the evening.
  • På ByenStrandgata 24,   +47 77 65 85 20. M-Th 11-2,F-Sa 11-3.30,Su 13-2. is for the 20' or 30' somethings, usually well-dressed. Their sheltered outdoor terrace with winter heating circumvents the smoking ban. Have some pasta with the after-office crowd, or taste some wine in the evening.
  • Kafé VerdensteatretStorgata 93b,   +47 77 75 30 90. M-Th 11-2,F-Sa 11-3.30,Su 13-2. is a friendly, sophisticated, ultra-modern place in the 1916 cinema "Verdensteatret", the oldest functioning cinema in Northern Europe. The sandwiches are good, but the main reason to come here is to hang about for a glass of wine and endless conversation. Thursday night has cheap drinks, with a Mack Pilsner for 55NOK. Friday and Saturday night, the place turns into a cool, crowded hangout. Mixed crowd, mixed ages.
  • ÅpenbarGrønnegata 81,   +47 77 68 46 00. Tu-Th 16-1.30,F 15-3,Sa 14-3. serves tapas made of seal and other arctic foodstuffs. Nice way to try it out... Rather stylish hang-out in the week-end
  • Grom cafeStorgata 67,   +47 77 68 90 69, e-mail:. M-F 10-23,Sa 10-18,Su 14-23. The city's best burgers and very good lunch for a nice price, come and enjoy.

Sights & Landmarks

Tromsø's most visited attractions include Polaria, The Arctic Cathedral, The Cable Car, The Tromsø Museum, the Polar Museum and the Botanic Garden.


Aurora

The Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights is a natural light phenomenon in the night sky.

Tromsø is very favorably located for viewing the Northern Lights, but you cannot see the aurora at all times.

  • The aurora is visible mostly between 6PM and midnight, occasionally between 4PM and 2AM.
  • It has to be dark for you to see it. Between late September and late March, it is dark after six, and you have maximum chances of seeing the lights.
  • Clouds obstruct the view of the Northern Lights. October and November are humid autumn months, and often you don't see the lights. From December onwards, the weather is drier. March is the driest month in this six-month period of good chances.
  • Conclusion: December to mid/late March are the best times. Pick December/January for atmospheric visits in the dark, or February/March for thrilling outdoor activities. Sporty, outdoorsy people are recommended to come in March, as this month gives the opportunity to do outdoor activities in plenty of sunshine and good weather, and still observe the aurora after dark. The mid term holiday in February in many European countries is also a good time to come.

Churches

Tromsø's inhabitants are overwhelmingly Lutheran, and at the same time overwhelmingly secular in attitude. Small communities of other faiths are also present, like around 400 Catholics, and probably a similar number of Muslims. Various non-Lutheran Protestant churches as well as Lutheran dissenters are also important.

  • Ishavskatedralen (Arctic cathedral), Hans Nilsens vei 41,   +47 47 68 06 68. The city's most photographed building. The striking 1965 structure contains one of the biggest stained-glass windows in Northern Europe, and enjoys a fantastic location on the mainland, just opposite the city centre.

Other churches in town of note include:

  • The Lutheran Cathedral(Tromsø Domkirka), Storgata 25,   +47 77 66 25 80. The world's northernmost Protestant cathedral, built in 1861. With 800 seats, it's one of Norway's major wooden churches.
  • Our Lady Church (Vår Frue Kirke), Storgata 94+47 77 68 59 05. This tiny church is the seat of the world's northernmost Catholic bishop, and also dates from 1861.
  • The Church of Elverhøy (Elverhøy kirke), Barduvegen 20,   +47 77 66 25 90. Dating back to 1803, it's the oldest church in town. Originally located in the city centre, it is now found in a residential area on top of the island.
  • The Carmel Monastery (Totus Tuus), Holtveien 38,   +47 77 69 10 80. The world's northernmost Carmelite nunnery. The nuns have recorded several CDs, and any mass in their chapel is a musical experience.

Occasionally, Orthodox masses are held on the premises of Kirkens Bymisjon on Jaklins plass. The most welcoming of the two mosques in Tromsø is the Alnor Senter, with prayer rooms for both men and women.


Other

  • Mack Brewery (Macks Ølbryggeri), Storgata 5 (just in front of the Hurtigbåter quay). Offers guided tours of the world's northernmost brewery. Established in the town's center in 1877, the brewery remains in the ownership of the same family. Monday to Thursday, they offer guided tours at 13:00. Unfortunately, they have now introduced a minimum number of participants to start up, 4. So you risk coming there for your tour, and not getting it.

This brewery is looking for an alternative place to set up a new factory, seemingly in Nordkjosbotn (Balsfjord municipality), 70 km (45 mi) to the south. But the town council is striving to keep the brewery in or near Tromsø, insisting on their ties with another famous place in Tromsø, Ølhallen — see below: Drink – Bars and pubs. The debate and the population's relationship with Mack is getting so passionate that some threaten the brewery to boycott their products if they leave town.

  • The Arctic Alpine Botanic Garden (Arktisk-alpin botanisk hage) (By the university (bus 20)),  +47 77 64 57 17. Open 24h. The world's northernmost botanic garden. Although not a particularly big garden, it has some interesting features: Free.
    • The Rhododendron Valley with specimens from the China and the Himalayas, as well as the local variety rhododendron lapponicum.
    • The Himalaya section with the blue poppy (Meconopsis).
    • The friendship garden, with plants donated by the Kirovsk Botanic Garden in Russia, previously the world's northernmost.
    • Various sections of alpine plants and southern hemisphere plants.
    • The pond, surrounded by giant perennials.
    • The traditional garden with plants used in traditional medicine, magics and even as aphrodisiacs.

Café inside the garden (open 11h30-15h30 daily in summer, on Sunday only otherwise).

  • The Cable Car (Fjellheisen), Sollivegen 12,   +47 77 63 87 37. in winter, half-hourly11:00 to 15:30. On Mount Storsteinen. Offers a fantastic view from 421metres/1382feet above sea level. In summer, make sure you go up there at midnight. The view from the top is amazing in winter also. Alternatively, you can walk (less than 1h one way). 150 kr (return).

Parks

The extent and quality of parks in Tromsø is no great draw for travellers. There are only a few parks in Tromsø, and they are not very large. Your best shot would probably be the Kirkeparken ("Church park") surrounding theDomkirken. Whenever the temperature exceeds +18C, bluish white flesh is frying in the sun.

Kongeparken, the Royal Park, a couple of blocks up from the main street, is curiously empty on warm days. There is also a patch of park down below the Art Society, just south of the city centre. But don't let the kids run wild there; this park is surrounded by heavy traffic.

A much larger park is Folkeparken (The Popular Park), surrounding the Tromsø Museum. This, though, seems like a patch of wild forest saved from development by its park status. When you visit the University Museum, take a stroll down to the Folk Museum, with a few old houses moved here from various parts of the county of Troms. The Telegrafbukta beach is also within easy reach. There is no lack of greenery in the residential areas, and the "Lysløypa" (floodlit ski track) runs from around the Tromsø Museum to the Northern tip of the Island. In winter, this is perfect for cross country skiing; in summer the locals enter it on sneakers, mountain bikes and horses. The residents of the residential areas on the mainland and on the Kvaløya Island usually have less than 5 minutes' walk to reach the surrounding forests and mountains.


Nature

The nature surrounding Tromsø is spectacular. Mountains, fjords and fauna in an arctic perspective. Just outside Tromsø you can find various birds (sea eagles, puffins, fulmars), musk oxen and the world's largest mammals - the whales.

Museums & Galleries

  • Tromsø Museum(University Museum), Lars Thørings veg 10 (Take bus 37 from Fredrik Langes gate),  +47 77 64 50 00. A rather large museum with a number of different exhibits on the North. Look out for their Sami exhibits, the Archaeological Exhibit, Religious art and Northern Lights machine. Avoid Sundays, as weekend daddies let their little monsters run screaming through the exhibits. In the summer of 2008 they invited everyone to a cup of coffee in "gammen", a traditional Sami turf house built outside the building.
  • Polar MuseumSøndre Tollbodgaten 11,   +47 77 60 66 30.Displays the Arctic hunting that took place from Tromsø, as well as the expeditions to the Arctic. The museum is housed in an old warehouse from 1830.
  • PolstjernaHjalmar Johansens gate 10,   +47 77 62 33 60. 1100-1700 June 15th-August 15th (Summer only). A preserved seal hunting vessel, right next door to Polaria. Combined entry with Polarmuseet, Tromsø Univerity Museum or Polaria available. 40NOK.
  • Perspektivet MuseumStorgata 95,   +47 77 60 19 10. Has temporary exhibits on the North. Their location in an 1838 building in the main street is superb, and there is free admission.
  • The Northern Norwegian Art Museum (Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum), Sjøgata 1,  +47 77 64 70 20. Has art from Northern Norway from 1800 onwards, as well as Norwegian art in general. Look out for their temporary exhibits.
  • The Tromsø Gallery of Contemporary Art (Tromsø Kunstforening), Muségata 2,   +47 77 65 58 27. Has temporary exhibits of contemporary art
  • Tromsø War Museum (Tromsø Forsvarsmuseum), Solstrandveien (Bus 28 from the main square),   +47 77 65 54 40. Situated in a wartime German bunker, focuses on the sinking of the "Tirpitz" in 1944. It's open in summer only, because of the temperature.
  • Telemuseet i Tromsø (Norsk Telemuseum), Kvaløyvegen (between the airport and the bridge to Kvaloya). wednesday 10–14. It is situated in the sender house of the defunct shortwave broadcaster, stuffed with telecommunication apparati of two centuries, some of them working and set up to be demonstrated by a staff person who has lots of experience and knowledge in the field. Numerous samples of models from different years show the evolution and the introduction of new game-changing inventions in e.g. telephones or teletype machines or telephone exchanges. free.

Other

  • Mack Brewery (Macks Ølbryggeri), Storgata 5 (just in front of the Hurtigbåter quay). Offers guided tours of the world's northernmost brewery. Established in the town's center in 1877, the brewery remains in the ownership of the same family. Monday to Thursday, they offer guided tours at 13:00. Unfortunately, they have now introduced a minimum number of participants to start up, 4. So you risk coming there for your tour, and not getting it.

This brewery is looking for an alternative place to set up a new factory, seemingly in Nordkjosbotn (Balsfjord municipality), 70 km (45 mi) to the south. But the town council is striving to keep the brewery in or near Tromsø, insisting on their ties with another famous place in Tromsø, Ølhallen — see below: Drink – Bars and pubs. The debate and the population's relationship with Mack is getting so passionate that some threaten the brewery to boycott their products if they leave town.

  • The Arctic Alpine Botanic Garden (Arktisk-alpin botanisk hage) (By the university (bus 20)),   +47 77 64 57 17. Open 24h. The world's northernmost botanic garden. Although not a particularly big garden, it has some interesting features: Free.
    • The Rhododendron Valley with specimens from the China and the Himalayas, as well as the local variety rhododendron lapponicum.
    • The Himalaya section with the blue poppy (Meconopsis).
    • The friendship garden, with plants donated by the Kirovsk Botanic Garden in Russia, previously the world's northernmost.
    • Various sections of alpine plants and southern hemisphere plants.
    • The pond, surrounded by giant perennials.
    • The traditional garden with plants used in traditional medicine, magics and even as aphrodisiacs.

Café inside the garden (open 11h30-15h30 daily in summer, on Sunday only otherwise).

  • The Cable Car (Fjellheisen), Sollivegen 12,   +47 77 63 87 37. in winter, half-hourly11:00 to 15:30. On Mount Storsteinen. Offers a fantastic view from 421metres/1382feet above sea level. In summer, make sure you go up there at midnight. The view from the top is amazing in winter also. Alternatively, you can walk (less than 1h one way). 150 kr (return).

Parks

The extent and quality of parks in Tromsø is no great draw for travellers. There are only a few parks in Tromsø, and they are not very large. Your best shot would probably be the Kirkeparken ("Church park") surrounding theDomkirken. Whenever the temperature exceeds +18C, bluish white flesh is frying in the sun.

Kongeparken, the Royal Park, a couple of blocks up from the main street, is curiously empty on warm days. There is also a patch of park down below the Art Society, just south of the city centre. But don't let the kids run wild there; this park is surrounded by heavy traffic.

A much larger park is Folkeparken (The Popular Park), surrounding the Tromsø Museum. This, though, seems like a patch of wild forest saved from development by its park status. When you visit the University Museum, take a stroll down to the Folk Museum, with a few old houses moved here from various parts of the county of Troms. The Telegrafbukta beach is also within easy reach. There is no lack of greenery in the residential areas, and the "Lysløypa" (floodlit ski track) runs from around the Tromsø Museum to the Northern tip of the Island. In winter, this is perfect for cross country skiing; in summer the locals enter it on sneakers, mountain bikes and horses. The residents of the residential areas on the mainland and on the Kvaløya Island usually have less than 5 minutes' walk to reach the surrounding forests and mountains.


Nature

The nature surrounding Tromsø is spectacular. Mountains, fjords and fauna in an arctic perspective. Just outside Tromsø you can find various birds (sea eagles, puffins, fulmars), musk oxen and the world's largest mammals - the whales.

Things to do

Most activities take place in the sheltered waters around the city area, or in the mountains surrounding the city. Check out the website of the Tourist Information for all the details. The Tourist Information also has a number of organised tours on offer.

Some activities are easy to do without assistance, whereas others require the guidance of a trained guide. Make sure you know what you're doing before setting off on your own.


Winter

The reason people go to Tromsø in the winter is to experience the Northern Lights and the spectacular winter landscapes. It's good to come for the Northern Lights between December and March. March and April are good for cross country treks and off-piste skiing.

The winter temperatures hover around -4C, occasionally dropping to -12/-15, or rising to around +5. This means it's never too cold to do outdoor activities. Snowmobiles are not allowed in the borough of Tromsø, but in neighbouring Lyngen, you can speed up assisted by Natur i nord

The Tourist Information has a number of activities on offer, and they can usually be reserved on short notice. i.e. Northern lights visits.

The Lyngen Alps and other mountains around Tromsø are among the best places in the world for Off piste. The catamaran Cetacea of Arctic Cruisesoffers rides from town to the Lyngen Alps in March/April, or you can stay in the Lyngen Area in huts.

  • SportshusetStorgata 87+47 77 66 11 00. Rents out cross country skis. There is a flood-lit cross country track all along the Island of Tromsø, and both on Kvaløya Island and on the mainland, there are plenty of tracks for the sunny late winter, in March/April. Natur i nord offers cross country crash courses.
  • Tromsø AlpinsenterJadevegen,   +47 77 60 66 80. The city's ski station. It's not the best ski station in the world, but is more than steep enough for most people.
  • Snowmobiles are not allowed in the borough of Tromsø, but in neighbouring [Lyngen], you can speed up assisted by Natur i nord

Summer

Seasoned mountaineers should seek out the Lyngen Alps as well as the Keel range close to the Finnish/Swedish border. This requires membership in the Troms Turlag (or its mother organisation, the Den Norske Turistforeningen) and careful planning (help provided by Troms Turlag).

  • On a warm summer day, visit the beach Telegrafbukta near the Tromsø Museum. Bring a picnic or barbeque (small disposable grills, available in grocery stores, are popular here). If you dare, take a dip in the water—it may just have reached 11C/52F.
  • Watch a soccer (football) match. Tromsø's team is in the Tippeliga (the highest division). [www]
  • Go fishing! You can try from the shore or even better from a boat. Fewer species are fished than in Southern Norway, but the amount and the size is far better. Common fish are coalfish, cod, halibut and seawolf. Fishing trips are organized by the Tourist Information in summer, but you can just as well go to Hella, next to an ocean current half an hour's drive out of the city.
  • Glacier walks in the Lyngen Alps are on offer from Tromsø Villmarkssenter and Lyngsfjord Adventure. Do NOT go glacier walking without a guide, you might fall into a crack.
  • Kayaking is a good idea between the islands off Tromsø, and trips are offered by both Tromsø Villmarkssenter and Arctic Adventure

Hiking

Hiking is safe and beautiful, although strenuous due to the topography.Troms Turlag in Kirkegata 2 (same house as the Tourist Information) offers maps and good information.

  • The mountains nearest to the city are suited for beginners : hiking to the top station of the cable car takes less than 1h from the bottom station. Hiking to the Fløya summit (675m) takes at most 2h one way (from the base cable car station). Bønntuva (776m) can be reached another 45mn further. Many further paths are available nearby.
  • Troms Turlag operates mountain refuges in the mountains on the mainland side, from North to South Trollvassbu, Nonsby, Blåkollkoia and Skarvassbu. Non-members can stay here from NOK 200/night. You just leave the sum there, and make use of woodfire and gas for cooking. Bring a sleeping bag. This is a trust thing, so don't cheat!

Tour operators

  • Arctic AdventureTisnes, Kvaløysletta,   +47 90 01 78 81, e-mail:. Dog sled tours, glacier walks, kayaking expeditions and hunting. Your best bet if you are looking for more adventurous options.
  • Chasing Lights,   +47 450 80 557, e-mail: .Northern Lights chases with professional photographer and aurora hunter. The only company that provides personalized all-inclusive northern lights holiday packages including accommodation, airport transfer, dog-sledding, reindeer sledding, snowmobiling, fjords excursion, whale watching and ice fishing.
  • Lyngsfjord AdventureGamle Helsehus, Oteren,   +47 77 71 55 88, e-mail: . In winter, dog sledding, reindeer sledding and snowmobiling, along with Northern Lights visits are available at this dark location in a dry climate, good for Northern Lights watching. In summer, the adventurous can join glacier walks, mountain hikes, mountain biking and canoeing.
  • Natur i NordNansenvegen 34+47 77 66 73 66, e-mail:. Fishing, Hiking, cross-country skiing courses and snowshoeing. The "Northern Lights Bus" in winter has a high hit rate.
  • Tromsø FriluftssenterRisvik, Kvaløysletta,   +47 90 01 78 81, e-mail: . Reindeer sledding and Northern Lights visits. Their location to the north of the city lights means they are a good place to watch the Northern Lights.
  • Tromsø VillmarkssenterHåkøybotn, Kvaløysletta,   +47 77 69 60 02, e-mail: . Dog-sledding, Hiking and Sea kayaking. In winter, they run a smooth operation with two daily dog sleddings, in the morning and in the evening. They are 25 mins outside the city.

Festivals and events

The cultural centre of the high north of Norway offers some interesting festivals.


Winter fun

When temperatures are freezing and the night seems endless, enjoying culture is a good idea.

  • Tromsø International Film Festival takes place the 3rd week in January.
  • The Northern Lights Festival happens in late January/early February
  • The Sami week is centered around the Day of the Sami people, on February 6.
  • No Siesta Fiesta is a festival of Latin Music, starting with a Samba parade in the snowy main street.
  • The Polar Night Half Marathon in early January

Luminous summer festivals

The summer festivals celebrate the endless days, and are preferably outdoor.

  • The Midnight Sun Marathon in mid June. NB! This festival fills up the city until bursting point. NEVER arrive without a hotel reservation.
  • The Bukta festival of rock in mid July
  • The Beer Festival in late August

Autumn festivals

  • Ordkalotten festival of literature in October.
  • Døgnvill outdoor music festival in September.

Nightlife

Tromsø is known throughout Norway for its hefty nightlife, and there's always room for one more barfly. Throughout the week, people hang around in cafés, and in the week-ends, it's always full at every dance floor.

People in Tromsø have an emotional relationship to their beer. Mack continues to resist takeover attempts from the dark forces of Southern Norwegian capitalism, and locals expect outsiders to join in on the battle. Other Norwegian beers are difficult to get, but a few places specialise in international brands. Blanding is half a pilsner and half bayer, a dark beer, in the same glass. Try it out!

The per capita consumption of cognac must be among the highest in the world, and don't be surprised to see 20 year olds nursing a fine VSOP at 2AM. Daiquiris, caipirinhas, mojitos etc. are in fashion, but not all places serve good ones, so look at the recommendations below!

Don't take the age and crowd indications too seriously; in Tromsø the stylish set mixes easily with everyone, and young and ex-young people can actually talk to each other.

The most original place to hang out in Tromsø is definitely Ølhallen, the Beer Hall. It opened its doors in 1928, and has hardly changed since then. Their only concession to modernity was the installation of a ladies' room in the seventies (in fact, they made a swanky, new toilet for the blokes, and gave the old one to the ladies...). They open at 9AM, and close at 6PM (Mon-Fri) and 3PM (Sat), and that's the way it is. Promise not to ask for Chardonnay...


Bars and pubs

  • Bastard BarStrandgata 22,  +47 9281 5001. M-Th 18:00-02:00, F 18:00-03:30, Sa 13:00-03:30, Su 13:00-02:00. In a cellar next to the Nerstranda shopping centre and offering one or two live concerts each week, a jam session every other Tuesday and showing English, Norwegian and European football. The only food offered is sausages with mustard. Bastard has a collection of international beers as well as Tromsø's own Mack.
  • Victoria Fun PubGrønnegata 81,  +47 7768 4906. M-Th 15:00-02:00, F 15:00-03:30, Sa 14:00-03:30, Su 19:00-02:00. A football place, and can be a fun pub for the not overdressed during week-ends; has a billiards table.
  • Grand BarenStorgata 44,  +47 7775 3764. M-Th 18:00-02:00, F-Sa 18:00-03:30. Caters for the more mature audience, and combines style and informality. Their heated smoking terrace with a view might tempt you to pick up the habit.
  • SkibsbroenFredrik Langesgate 2,  +47 7766 6400. Inside the Rica Ishavshotel offers a fantastic view towards the north, and is among the more elegant places. Armani-clad visitors from Oslo's west end rub shoulders with trawler crews with loads of money to spend.
  • Ølhallen (The Beer Hall), Storgata 4,  +47 7762 4580. M-F 09:00-18:00, Sa 09:00-15:00. Both well-known and much cherished by the population, undoubtedly linked to the Mack beer.
  • Tromso Jernbanestasjon (Tromsø Railwaystation), Strandgata 33,  +47 7761 2348, e-mail: . This bar established itself early as the cool place because of its complete railway thematic décor - especially since there is no train that comes to Tromsø. There are waiters in conductor uniforms and departures to places like Murmansk and Kautokeino are announced regularly through the speaker system.

Nightclubs

During week-ends, the places fill up. However, on a dull Monday, go to cafés to find people.

  • StrutGrønnegata 81+47 77 68 49 06. W 22-01.30, F-Sa 22-3. caters for the 20-somethings, with a retro theme. Make sure you wear cool clothes.
  • CompagnietSjøgata 12,  +47 77 66 42 22. F-Sa 22-3.30. Vastly popular with the 25-40 crowd, with lots of '80ies music. This is the place to get back in circulation after the divorce/break-up.
  • Level44Storgaten 44,  +47 77 75 37 77. W-Th 22-2,F-Sa 22-3.30.For the mature audience, and is the place to dance swing and rock'n'roll. Popularly named "Jurassic Park", the crowd is way beyond being cool for coolness' sake, and concentrates on having fun. Don't go there if you're too cool, you'll just spoil the atmosphere.

Oddities

  • The Chinese restaurant Il Mare doubles as a Latino dance hall on Saturdays. The crowd falls into three categories: the Latino community that always knew how to salsa, the salsa class Norwegians with more sedate hips counting their steps and the curious onlookers. ¡Que empiece la fiesta!
  • Despite Tromsø being a tolerant and open minded city, no gay place has managed to stay afloat. Open gays are possibly too well integrated, and closeted gays may be too visible in this, after all, small city. However, gay parties are occasionally organised. Check out: [www]. The first gay festival, Homsø, took place in October 2007.

Things to know


Orientation

Tromsø is found some 2200 km south of the North Pole, in the far north of Norway. The distance south to the Arctic Circle is about 350 km.

Most of Tromsø is situated on the small island of Tromsøya, in English often adapted to "Tromsø Island". This low island is 10 km long, and contains both built-up areas and birch forests, as well as the airport. The city centre is located in the south-eastern part of the island. This is where you find Polaria, the Polar Museum, The Art Museum of Northern Norway, the Contemporary Art Gallery as well as most of the shopping, good eating and nightlife. The main artery of the city is the 1 km long Storgata, where most of the people watching takes place (an activity in which tourists play but a modest role).

Elsewhere on the Island, you find the Tromsø Museum on the southern tip, and the Botanic Garden near the University, on the north-eastern side.

East of the Tromsø Island, across the Tromsø Sound, you find the mainland with the Arctic Cathedral, the Cable Car, the Military Museum and extensive residential areas. The island is connected to the mainland by the 3 km long Tromsø Sound Tunnel and the 1016 metres long Tromsø Bridge.


Light and darkness

The city enjoys midnight sun from May 18 to July 26. During this period, the sun is always above the horizon. Popular viewpoints include the Tromsø Bridge, the front of the Arctic Cathedral and most prominently the Upper Station of the Cable Car, but it can be seen at most points in the city area. Due to the topography, you cannot see the Midnight Sun in large parts of the east side of the Tromsø Island, including the upper reaches of the city centre. Recent construction has also blocked off the Midnight Sun from most of the main street.

In winter, the sun is below the horizon between November 26 and January 15. Because the city is surrounded by mountains, the period is prolonged a few days. In the city centre, the sun is not visible between November 21 and January 21. However, there is some daylight for a few hours, and often there are beautiful colours at midday.


Learn

Most locals will be happy to teach you a few Norwegian words and phrases over a few beers at one of the many pubs and bars. Use them with care down below the Arctic Circle, as the local lingo is peppered with colourful profanities.

The University offers several Master programs in English, including the Peace Studies, Visual Anthropology, the International course of linguistics, Indigenous studies etc. Check if your university has some kind of co-operation with or recognition of the University of Tromsø.

Norwegian classes are hard to come by. Immigrants receive basic education at Voksenopplæringen i Tromsø kommune. The University organizes classes for its international staff. Foreigners who just want a quick introduction, have few or no options. Neither is there anything on offer for short term visitors who would like to learn Sami.


Work

The University of Tromsø (UiT) [www] and the nearby University Hospital of Tromsø (UNN) [www] are situated at the northern end of the Tromsø island, and are the two largest workplaces in Tromsø. The Norwegian Telemedicine Centre at UNN is a WHO collaborating center. The Norwegian Polar Institute is another major institution. All these institutions employ a good many foreign nationals.

In Tromsø, more than 100 nationalities are represented. However, getting a job for someone with no special skills or no knowledge of Norwegian is difficult. Hotel housekeeping and cleaning, along with fish processing are often the only options. Health workers are much in demand, though.

Anyone who wants to work in Norway, needs a valid permit. These are readily available for residents of the EU, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland. For anyone else, getting a work permit means an endless papermill and probable rejection.

Safety in Tromso

Stay Safe


  • Norway is a fairly safe country in general, and Tromsø is no exception. Violence is usually limited to drunk 19 year olds fighting in the taxi line at 4 in the morning. Theft is not unheard of, though, and don't leave your camera unattended.
  • Earlier, the local drug addicts used to beg for money along the main street. They have now started selling "Virkelig", a local version of The Big Issue, and they have now been replaced by beggars from the Balkans. Neither represent a danger, though.
  • Far more life-threatening are outdoor activities. Tourists occasionally try unguided glacier walks, deep sea fishing, hiking and off-piste skiing without being properly trained or equipped, once in a while with fatal results. Do not try any glacier walks on your own. Deep sea fishing and off-piste need good training. Don't over-estimate yourself when hiking in the mountains, although there is a mountain for any level. Most accidents could be avoided by seeking local advice (tourist information, Troms Turlag etc.).
  • In winter, the city centre is occasionally a giant ice rink. Or bobsleigh track. To save your neck, make sure your shoe soles have plenty of rubber (as opposed to plastic), and consider purchasing a pair of crampons.

Very High /9.7

Safety (Walking alone - day)

Very High / 8.8

Safety (Walking alone - night)

Norway - Travel guide

TOP

Pin It on Pinterest