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Things to do in Tromsø

Sledding, the Northern Lights, and fjords are just a taste of what this gateway to the Arctic has to offer.

Our most recommended things to do in Tromsø

Tromsø: Reindeer Sledding & Feeding with a Sami Guide

1. Tromsø: Reindeer Sledding & Feeding with a Sami Guide

Discover the way of life of the Sami reindeer herders on this van day trip from Tromsø. Meet the herders and travel on a sled pulled by reindeer. Savor authentic Sami food as you listen to traditional stories and songs while gathered around an open fire. Be picked up from the city center and relax on a short seaside drive to the reindeer area. Be greeted by your host. Hop on a sled pulled by a reindeer and let your guide lead you on a magical sled ride through the snow. Make your way to the camp and feed the majestic reindeer herd of 300 animals. Gather inside the lavuu (Sami tent) for some warmth and a delicious traditional hot meal. Circle around the campfire as your guide tells stories about Sami culture and sings joiks, which are a form of Sami songs. Return to your meeting point in Tromsø at the end of your tour.

Breivikedet: Fun and Easy Dogsledding Adventure

2. Breivikedet: Fun and Easy Dogsledding Adventure

Drive your own team of huskies in an extraordinary experience and a must-do for anyone visiting Northern Norway. Get up close to raw Arctic nature and try this adventurous way of travel. Be welcomed by the activity staff upon arrival at the camp in Breivikeidet. Put on thermal suits, boots, hats, and mittens before heading out to meet the huskies, hear the safety instructions, and be taught the basics of driving the sled. Enjoy a fun and easy and a great way to experience Northern Norway's unparalleled landscapes. Two people will share one sled: one as a driver and the other as a passenger, with the chance to swap halfway through the tour.

From Tromsø: Northern Lights Guided Bus Chase

3. From Tromsø: Northern Lights Guided Bus Chase

Experience the northern lights on a guided excursion from Tromsø. Board a bus and head to a location where the chances of seeing this natural phenomenon are high. As you wait to spot this incredible light display, enjoy hot drinks and biscuits. Set off from the center of Tromsø and head to a location with low light pollution, minimal cloud coverage, and the highest chances of aurora viewing that day. Upon arrival, hot drinks will be served along with biscuits while you wait for the northern lights to occur. As the weather in Tromsø can change, you may need to throughout the night. Your guides will make sure you are as comfortable and warm as possible. If you're lucky and the northern lights start flickering above you in the sky, your guides will take some photos which will be sent to you after the tour.

From Tromsø: All-Inclusive Whale and Sea Bird Boat Cruise

4. From Tromsø: All-Inclusive Whale and Sea Bird Boat Cruise

Embark on a boat tour through the waters of Tromso and Skjervoy and watch for whales and wildlife as you gaze at the beautiful landscapes of Norway. Spot different animals, in particular, the Orca, and learn the history from your guide. Begin the tour at 8 AM and be the first boat into the whale-watching area from Tromso. Take your time admiring the majestic Orca whales in complete silence for the ultimate chance to hear their charming calls. While on board, delight in food and snacks, and sip on a hot drink. Look out over the landscape and hear the crew's stories and information about the whales, and other wildlife such as seagulls, the white-tailed eagle, guillemots, wider ducks, and cormorants. Discover the coast of Tromso and SKjerboy, widely considered among the best areas in the region for spotting whales. Be on the lookout for the inquisitive humpback and killer whales swimming and feeding on herring. Frame all the action through the lens of your camera. With outdoor decking and indoor seating on board the heated boat, you can enjoy an up-close experience with Norway’s native wildlife. 

Tromsø: Arctic Fjord Cruise by Hybrid-Electric Catamaran

5. Tromsø: Arctic Fjord Cruise by Hybrid-Electric Catamaran

Depart from Tromsø and set off to explore the bays, straights, and fjords of the Arctic which are rich in wildlife and history. Make a few stops en route including at modern fish farms, small fishing villages, and ancient island communities on the outside of Kvaløya or ‘whale island’. Watch as the crew deploys an underwater drone. See the rich marine life found in the crystal clear shallows. Purchase drinks and a warm lunch on board, to enjoy while taking in the magnificent panoramic views.

Tromsø: Lyngen Alps Snowmobile Safari

6. Tromsø: Lyngen Alps Snowmobile Safari

Experience the thrill of a snowmobile ride through the Lyngen Alps on this guided tour. You’ll see the beauty of an arctic fjord, take in an amazing mountain view, learn local history from your guide – and then warm up with delicious soup at a fishing village.  Departing from Tromsø, you’ll take a bus through arctic scenery and then transfer to a ferry to cross Ullsfjorden. After being escorted to the fishing village, you’ll get ready for the tour with driving and safety instructions, and be outfitted with warm clothing and safety equipment. Taking turns driving the snowmobile with a partner, you’ll follow the tour guide through epic nature with mountains surrounding you. Throughout the 2-hour trip there will be various stops at viewing points for photos and to learn the history of the area.  Once the trip is over, you’ll return to the fishing village for a warm homemade soup with fresh bread in a restaurant with a panoramic view. A warm drink and sweet cake will be the perfect end to a memorable day.

Tromsø: Ice Domes Guided Tour and Reindeer Visit

7. Tromsø: Ice Domes Guided Tour and Reindeer Visit

Treat yourself to a guided tour of the magical winter wonderland of Tromsø Ice Domes. Enjoy a scenic bus ride from the city center of Tromsø, discover the construction process of the domes, and marvel at intricate ice sculptures. Begin your day with a comfortable drive to the Tromsø Ice Domes in the mountains above Tamok Valley. Each year at the start of the winter season, new Tromsø Ice Domes are constructed. Upon arrival, join a guided tour through the domes, passing beautiful ice sculptures and snow carvings lit with magical special lighting effects. Learn about the typical northern Norwegian themes of the snow and ice sculptures, featuring the Northern Lights, Sami culture, and Arctic animals. Learn about the construction process of the domes and the impact the snow has on all life in the Arctic. After the guided tour, enjoy some free time to explore on your own, visit the herd of reindeer near the Domes, and have a non-alcoholic ice shot at the ice bar. Warm up around a fireplace and relax in a warm wooden lavvu (traditional Sami dwelling) while enjoying a traditional Norwegian soup or stew.

From Tromsø: Daytime Snowmobile Safari at Camp Tamok

8. From Tromsø: Daytime Snowmobile Safari at Camp Tamok

Join an unforgettable snowmobile safari above the Arctic Circle, at wilderness center Camp Tamok, only a 90-minute scenic bus drive from Tromsø. Experience the magical winter landscape and the spectacular fun of snowmobiling. Upon arrival, you will be directed to the equipment room, where you will be provided with warm clothes and other required gear for the day. Here you can also leave anything you don’t need on the tour. Listen to a safety briefing filled with practical demonstrations on how to drive. You will drive in pairs with one driver and one passenger per snowmobile, with the opportunity to switch places during this two-hour snowmobiling adventure between the snow-covered mountains up to a frozen lake. After driving back down the trail and parking the snowmobiles, enjoy a hot meal in a traditional North Norwegian setting around the open fire in a reindeer herder’s tent. After relaxing and warming up, it is time to head back to Tromsø and tick another adventure off your bucket list.

Tromsø: Self-Drive Husky Dog Sledding Adventure

9. Tromsø: Self-Drive Husky Dog Sledding Adventure

Embark on a guided sledding experience from Tromsø. Take turns directing the sled or simply enjoy the incredible Arctic scenery. After, trade stories around a warm fire with some hot chocolate and cake. Hop on the comfortable minibus and drive to the kennel on the island of Kvaløya. Once kitted out, head to the kennel and see the 130 Alaskan Huskies, who are always excited to meet guests. Get a short demonstration on how to drive a sled and feel free to ask any questions. Then, follow your guide and meet your huskies. Each pair, one passenger, and one driver will have their own sled. Enjoy several opportunities to swap between roles once the trip starts. Finally, head out to the snow and follow the guide along the trail. Take photos throughout the trip and take in the incredible landscapes. After your 90-minute sledding adventure, make your way into the Sami Lavvo for hot drinks and Hege's famous homemade chocolate cake. Trade stories from the trip around the cozy fireplace until it is time to change out of your suits and hop back on the bus. You will be returned to the pickup point. 

Tromsø: Whale Watching Tour by Hybrid-Electric Catamaran

10. Tromsø: Whale Watching Tour by Hybrid-Electric Catamaran

Set sail on a hybrid electric catamaran cruise for the Arctic waters and observe marine animals in their natural habitat. Watch orcas and humpback whales feed in the icy fjords and admire the stunning landscapes around you. Depart from Tromsø in the morning, and head out to where the whales are in time to enjoy the short hours of daylight. Take in the breathtaking views of frozen landscapes in comfortable, panoramic lounges, and multi-level decks. Find a selection of food and drinks for purchase on board. Sail for about 3 to 3.5 hours to reach the whales and spend about 1 to 1.5 hours with them. The boat uses a hybrid engine to reach their feeding grounds. As you near the whales, the captain will switch to a silent electric engine that allows you to get close without disturbing them.

Available activities

  • Northern Lights gems
  • Huskies, reindeer, & more
  • Fjords, whale watching, & more
  • Snowy adventures
  • Arctic landscapes
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Frequently asked questions about Tromsø

What top attractions are a must-see in Tromsø?

The must-see attractions in Tromsø are:

What are the most popular museums and exhibitions in Tromsø?

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Tromsø

Capture the Atlas is an award-winning travel and photography blog run by Dan and Ascen, a jet-setting couple who travels the world and documents their adventures. While Dan is in charge of photography, Ascen is the travel expert with a knack for finding unique spots to visit and condensing her experiences into helpful articles for fellow travelers. If you’re traveling to the Arctic Capital of Norway, checking their travel guide to Tromso is a must!

What should I do on my first trip to Tromsø?

Whether it’s your first trip or not, anyone visiting Tromso from September to April should go aurora hunting. Witnessing the beautiful colors of the Northern Lights dance across the sky is an utterly unforgettable experience and one of the best things to do in Tromso. Other than that, visiting Tromso Harbor is a must-do at any time of year. The charming, colorful waterfront buildings make for the perfect photo, and the views of the city skyline from the harbor are magical.

What are some hidden gems to see in Tromsø?

Plenty of people know about Tromso’s most popular museums, like the Polar Museum and Tromso Museum, but more unique spots like the Perspectives Museum often get overlooked. This museum aims to foster respect for different perspectives, hence its name, through various temporary exhibitions on art, culture, and more, so there’s always something exciting on offer. Another hidden gem is the Tromso Public Library and City Archives. Here, you can learn more about the history of Tromso with the archives and local history collection, admire the building’s beautiful architecture, and enjoy lovely views of the city from the large windows.

How much time should I spend in Tromsø?

Spending 3 to 4 days in Tromso should be enough time to hit all the highlights. You’ll have one day for exploring the city center and Arctic Cathedral, another day for visiting some museums and taking a fjord cruise, and another day or two to go hiking, take a day trip, or go aurora chasing. If you’re visiting Tromso in winter, however, there are so many things to do (Northern Lights tours, dog sledding, visiting the Tromso Ice Domes, reindeer sledding) that 5 days may be a better amount of time for fitting everything in.

What food is Tromsø known for?

As a coastal city, Tromso is, of course, famous for its fresh fish and seafood: crab, herring, cod, shrimp, oysters, and more. After all, these ingredients don’t have to travel very far to get to your plate! There are plenty of excellent fish and seafood restaurants in Tromso, including Mathallen, Fiskekompaniet, and Arctandria Seafood Restaurant, all of which use only the freshest local marine ingredients. If you’re more of a meat lover, reindeer is another delicacy that’s worth sampling. I highly recommend the reindeer stew at Full Steam Tromso, which includes mushrooms, potatoes, and cranberries - it’s absolutely delicious!

What is the best way to get around Tromsø?

Since Tromso is a relatively small city, walking is the best way to reach most places in the city center. For attractions that are a bit farther away, like the Tromso Museum and Northern Norwegian Science Center, Tromso’s city buses are your best bet. They run seven days a week and are quite reliable. If you want to venture even further afield on day trips or to hiking trails, I recommend booking a Tromso rental car, as it’s the simplest and most convenient way to explore the area around Tromso.

What are the best months to visit Tromsø?

The summer (June to August) and late fall to early winter (November to January) are the best times to visit Tromso. The summer’s mild weather makes it the perfect time to go hiking and camping or take a wildlife fjord cruise. Additionally, in June and July, you can experience the beautiful midnight sun, or 24 hours of daylight. On the other hand, the long, dark nights in late fall/early winter create ideal conditions for aurora viewing, plus November to January is whale watching season, so you’ll have a high chance of seeing cetaceans if you book a whale watching tour.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Tromsø?

Definitely Tromso Harbor! Most of the best hotels in Tromsos are located here, and you get absolutely incredible views of Tromso Sound, the Arctic Cathedral, and the city skyline from here. On top of that, you’re centrally located by many of the best attractions, including the Polar Museum and Storgata, and top restaurants, like Rå Sushi and Full Steam Tromso. Whether it’s your first time visiting or your tenth, you can’t go wrong with staying here!

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Tromsø?

Taking the Fjellheisen cable car is an activity that’s fun for the whole family. The four-minute cable car ride up to the mountain ledge of Storsteinen is exhilarating enough to pique kids’ interest but short enough that they won’t get too impatient on the way to the top. Once you reach Storsteinen, you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views of the city and surrounding islands and fjords. If you or the kids get hungry, grab a bite at Fjellstua, a restaurant at the upper station where you can take in the views while you eat.

What are the best things to do around Tromsø?

The area around Tromso boasts a lot of incredible hiking trails. Some of my favorites include the trail to Steindalsbreen, which takes you through a valley to a beautiful glacier that you can admire up close; the route to Blåvatnet, which leads you to an intensely blue alpine lake; and the hike to Rødtind, a mountain with stunning views of the area. Also, while you’re outside Tromso, I recommend staying in a charming, private cabin, like the log cabins at Viking Cabins, so you can enjoy some peaceful solitude and immerse yourself in nature.

Other Sightseeing Options in Tromsø

Want to discover all there is to do in Tromsø? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Tromsø

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 13,743 reviews

Amazing experience. We booked this last minute and it was the most magical end to our holiday. The people were lovely and can’t do enough for you. The Sami culture chat was so interesting and good fun as well especially the yoik. The reindeers were lovely and it was so much fun feeding them. You get unlimited food for them and trust me they keep going and going. The sleigh ride was also so magical, and we were even lucky enough to see the lights. The meal was lovely and had GF and DF options and vegetarian. Thank you so much for the experience it was so lovely.

Definitely recommending this experience! We were very much and saw the northern light already very close to Tromso. Then we drove south where we came across the most magical Aurora lasting for an hour and very intense. Photos, hot chocolate and cookies were a nice add on.

Terrific friendy crew led by Elizabeth. Leadig you to a marvelous chase and encounter with the Northern Lights.

relaxed experience learning a little about Sami culture and a fun experience reindeer sledding

super nice stuffs and clear instructions, great cookie and hot drinks on the boat