Tromsø: Wikis


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Tromsø kommune
—  Municipality  —

Coat of arms

Troms within
Tromsø within Troms
Coordinates (city): 69°40′58″N 18°56′34″E / 69.68278°N 18.94278°E / 69.68278; 18.94278Coordinates: 69°40′58″N 18°56′34″E / 69.68278°N 18.94278°E / 69.68278; 18.94278
Country Norway
County Troms
District Nord-Troms
Municipality ID NO-1902
Administrative centre Tromsø
 - Mayor (2008) Arild Hausberg (Ap)
Area (Nr. 18 in Norway)
 - Total 2,566 km2 (990.7 sq mi)
 - Land 2,519 km2 (972.6 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 - Total 64,782
 Density 25/km2 (64.7/sq mi)
 - Change (10 years) 13.3 %
 - Rank in Norway 8
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Official language form Neutral
Norwegian demonym Tromsøværing[1]
Data from Statistics Norway

About this sound Tromsø (also: Romsa[2] in Northern Sami and Tromssa in Kven) is a city and municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Tromsø.

Tromsø city is the ninth largest urban area in Norway by population,[3] and the seventh largest city in Norway by population.[4] It is the largest city and the largest urban area in Northern Norway, and the second largest city and urban area in Sápmi (following Murmansk).

The area has been inhabited since the end of the ice age, and the Sámi culture is the first known culture of the region. Speakers of Norse, the ancestor of Norwegian brought their culture to the area during the migrations of the Vikings before AD 890, when Ohthere's settlement existed to the south of today's Tromsø. The first church on the island of Tromsøya was erected in the 13th century, and the area one of Denmark-Norway's very northernmost territories not contested by Russia. During the 1600s, Denmark-Norway solidified its claim to the northern coast of Scandinavia and during this period a redoubt, Skansen, was built. Tromsø was issued its city charter in 1794 by King Christian VII. The city was established as a municipality 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The rural municipalities of Tromsøysund and Ullsfjord, and most of Hillesøy, were merged with Tromsø on 1 January 1964. The population of Tromsø municipality is 63,596, and the urban area, Norway's ninth most populous, is home to 53,622 people.[5]

Most of Tromsø, including the city centre, is located on the small island of Tromsøya in the county of Troms, 350 kilometres (217 mi) inside the arctic circle. The island is connected to the mainland by the Tromsø Bridge and the Tromsøysund Tunnel, and to the island of Kvaløya by the Sandnessund Bridge. 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 North 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, several festivals taking place in the summer. The largest football team in the city, Tromsø I.L, plays in the Norwegian Premier League.



The area was first settled at the end of the ice age. The Sámi culture is indigenous to the region, but the Norse culture arrived quite early on the scene - sometime in the early Medieval Age. The first church, Ecclesia Sanctae Mariae de Trums juxta paganos ("The Church of Saint Mary in Troms near the Heathens"), was built in 1252 during the reign of king Hákon Hákonarson.[6] 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.

Peder Balke: Tromsø

Despite only being home to around 80 people, Tromsø was issued its city charter in 1794. However, the city quickly rose in importance. The diocese of Hålogaland was created in 1804, with the first bishop being Mathias Bonsach Krogh.[7] A teacher training college and the first shipyard were established in 1848, followed by the predecessor of the University of Tromsø, the Tromsø Museum, in 1872,[8] and the Mack Brewery in 1877.[9]

View of the Tromsø Cathedral, the northernmost cathedral in the world.

In the 19th century, Tromsø was known as the "Paris of the North", probably because people in Tromsø appeared as far more civilized than expected to foreign tourists.[10]

Arctic hunting, from Novaya Zemlya to Canada, started up around 1820. By 1850, Tromsø was the major center of Arctic hunting, overtaking the former center of Hammerfest, and the city was trading from Arkhangelsk to Bordeaux. By the end of the 19th century, Tromsø had become a major Arctic trade center 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 crew in the city. The Northern lights observatory was founded in 1927.

During World War II, 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 North 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 Battle of Narvik was the first major allied victory on land in the Second World War.

Tromsø served briefly as the seat of Norwegian government. However, the city escaped the war without any damage, although the German battleship Tirpitz was sunk off the Tromsøy island on 12 November 1944, when close to 1,000 German soldiers died.[11][12] At the end of the war, the city received thousands of refugees from the Finnmark province, which was evacuated and devastated by German forces at the time in expectation of the Red Army offensive.[citation needed]

Expansion after World War II has been rapid. The population growth has been strong, some years more than 1,000 people. The present municipal borders were created through the merger of Tromsø, Hillesøy, Tromsøysund and most of Ullsfjord in 1964, almost tripling the population from 12,430 to 32,664.[13] Tromsø Airport opened in 1964, the University of Tromsø in 1972 and the Norwegian Polar Institute was relocated to Tromsø from Oslo in 1998.

The German battleship Tirpitz, which was sunk off Tromsøy island in 1944.


Tromsø has been named after the island of Tromsøya, which it is situated on. While the last element of the city's name comes from Danish ø which means "island" (Norwegian: øy), the etymology of the first element is uncertain. Several theories exist. One theory holds "Troms-" to derive from the old (uncompounded) name of the island (Old Norse: Trums). Several islands and rivers in Norway have the name Tromsa, and the names of these are probably derived from the word straumr which means "(strong) stream". (The original form must then have been Strums, for the missing s see Indo-European s-mobile.) Another theory holds that Tromsøya was originally called Lille Tromsøya (Little Tromsøya), because of its proximity to the much bigger island today called Kvaløya, that according to this theory was earlier called "Store Tromsøya" due to a characteristic mountain known as Tromma (the Drum). The mountain's name in Sámi, Rumbbučohkka, is identical in meaning, and it is said to have been a sacred mountain for the Sámi in pre-Christian times.

The Sámi name of the island, Romsa, is assumed to be a loan from Norse - but according to the phonetical rules of the Sami language the frontal t has disappeared from the name.[citation needed] However, an alternative form - Tromsa - is in informal use. There is a theory that holds the Norwegian name of Tromsø derives from the Sámi name, though this theory lacks an explanation for the meaning of Romsa. A common misunderstanding is that Tromsø's Sámi name is Romssa with a double "s". This, however, is the accusative and genitive form of the noun used when, for example, writing "Tromsø Municipality" (Romssa Suohkan).


The original reindeer coat-of-arms design is from 1870. The current version was created by Hallvard Trætteberg (1898–1987) and was adopted in 1941.[14] Tromsø's coat-of-arms is one of six Norwegian coats-of-arms showing reindeer or their antlers. The other five are those of Eidfjord, Porsanger, Rendalen, Vadsø, and Vågå.


Tromsø is the eighth-largest municipality in Norway with a population 63,596, and the centre of the ninth-largest urban area, with a population of 53,622.[5] The city is home to the world's northernmost university (the University of Tromsø), brewery, botanical garden[15] and planetarium.[16]

The city center is located on the east side of the Tromsøya — over 300 km inside the Arctic Circle at 69°40′33″N 18°55′10″E / 69.67583°N 18.91944°E / 69.67583; 18.91944. Suburban areas include Kroken, Tromsdalen (on the mainland, east of the Tromsøya island), the rest of the Tromsøya island, and the eastern part of the large Kvaløya, west of the Tromsøya Island. Tromsø Bridge and a four laned road tunnel connects the mainland with Tromsøya by road, and, on the western side of the city, Sandnessund Bridge connects Tromsøya island with Kvaløya island.

Panoramic view of Tromsø from Fløya. The Tromsø Bridge and the Arctic Cathedral can be seen in the lower-right corner.

A railway connection to Narvik has been proposed.


Tromsø experiences a continental subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification Dfc) because winter temperatures are just cold enough to qualify and the summer season is short. However, the weather and precipitation amount and pattern, with maximum precipitation in autumn and early winter, as well as lack of permafrost, are atypical for subarctic areas, so this climate is sometimes called maritime subarctic or oceanic boreal. Tromsø has a reputation in Norway for getting a lot of snow in the winter, although this varies a lot from one year to the next. The all-time record was set 29 April 1997, when the meteorological station on top of Tromsøya recorded 240 centimetres (94.5 in) of snow. The lowest temperature ever recorded is −20.1 °C (−4 °F), on 16 February 1985.[17] However, the January average daily maximum is −2 °C (28.4 °F). This is due to the warming effects of the North Atlantic Current, an extension of the Gulf Stream. The proximity to the sea moderates temperatures; Sommarøy, on the west coast of Kvaløya, has January 24-hr average of −1.9 °C (29 °F). Summer is rather cool, with a July 24-hour average of 12 °C (53.6 °F); daytime temperatures are usually slightly warmer, but vary from 9 °C (48.2 °F) to 25 °C (77.0 °F). The summer of 1972, which is the warmest in the record, had a mean temperature of 12.9 °C (55.2 °F) and the highest temperature reached was 30 °C (86.0 °F) ([1]). The warmest year on record is 2005, with a mean temperature of 4.38 °C (39.88 °F), compared to the current annual average of about 3 °C (37.4 °F).[18] Large areas in the municipality are above the treeline and have an alpine tundra climate.

Climate data for Tromsø (1961-90)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) -2.2
Average low °C (°F) -6.5
Precipitation mm (inches) 95
Source: [19] 2009-12-06

Light and darkness

The Northern Lights in Tromsø
The Northern Lights near Tromsø.

The Midnight Sun occurs from about 18 May to 26 July, although the mountains in the north block the view of the midnight sun for a few days, meaning that one can see the sun from about 21 May to 21 July. Owing to Tromsø's high latitude, twilight is long, meaning there is no real darkness between late April and mid-August.

The sun remains below the horizon during the Polar Night from about 26 November to 15 January, but owing to the mountains the sun is not visible from 21 November to 21 January. The return of the sun is an occasion for celebration. However, because of the twilight, there is some daylight for a couple of hours even around midwinter, often with beautiful bluish light. The nights shorten quickly, and by 21 February the sun is above the horizon from 7:45 am to 4:10 pm, and 1 April from 5:50 am to 7:50 pm (daylight saving time).

The combination of snow cover and sunshine often creates intense light conditions from late February until the snow melts in the lowland (usually late April), and sunglasses are essential when skiing. Because of these diametrically different light conditions in winter, Norwegians often divide it into two seasons: Mørketid (Polar Night) and Seinvinter (late winter).

Tromsø is in the middle of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) zone, and is in fact one of the best places in the world to observe this phenomenon. Because of the planet's rotation, Tromsø moves into the aurora zone around 6 pm, and moves out again around midnight. As it is light round the clock in the summer, no aurora is visible between late April and mid-August.


Tromsø includes these villages:


The compact city center is the biggest concentration of historic wooden houses north of Trondheim, that co-exist with modern architecture. The houses date from 1789 to 1904, when building wooden houses was banned in the city centre, like in several other Norwegian cities. The oldest house in Tromsø is Skansen, built in 1789 on the remains of a 13th century turf rampart.

In the middle of Tromsø's main street.

The Polar Museum, situated in a wharf house from 1837, presents Tromsø's past as a center for Arctic hunting and starting point for Arctic expeditions. The Tromsø Cathedral, Norway's only wooden cathedral, built in 1861, is located in the middle of the city, and so is the small Catholic church Vår Frue. Norway's oldest cinema is still in use, Verdensteatret, was built in 1915-16. The cinema has large wall paintings, made by the local artist Sverre Mack in 1921, that picture scenes from Norwegian folk lore and fairy tales.[citation needed]

The Arctic Cathedral, a modern church from 1965,[citation needed] is situated on the mainland, facing the sound and city centre. The church, in reality a parish church and not a cathedral, was drawn by Jan Inge Hovig and is probably the most famous landmark in Tromsø. The aquarium and experience center Polaria from 1998 is a short walk south from the city center. The Tromsø Museum is a university museum, presenting culture and nature of North Norway. The museum also displays the Arctic-alpine botanic garden, the world's northernmost botanical garden. A cable car goes up to mount Storsteinen, 421 metres above sea level, with a panoramic view over Tromsø. The mountain Tromsdalstinden, 1,238 metres (4,062 ft), on the mainland, which is easily spotted from the city center, is also a major landmark. On top of Tromsøya is lake Prestvannet.


The highest political body is the City Council (Bystyret), which elects a governing body, the Formannskap and five political committees. There is a discussion of whether to introduce city parliamentarism, as practiced in Oslo and Bergen. The Labour Party (AP), the Liberal Party (V), the Conservative Party (H) and the Progress Party (FrP) are advocating this political system, while the Socialist Left Party (SV) is opposing it.

The largest political party is the Labour Party. Although the Labour Party is led by Roger Ingebrigtsen, Labour's Arild Hausberg is mayor. The vice-mayor is Gunhild Johansen, from the Socialist Left Party.


Historical populations
Year Pop.  %±
1951 10,940
1960 12,283 12.3%
1970 38,094 210.1%
1980 45,833 20.3%
1990 50,548 10.3%
2000 59,145 17.0%
2007 64,492 9.0%
Source: Statistics Norway
The municipalities of Hillesøy, Tromsøysund and most of
Ullsfjord were merged with Tromsø 1 January 1964.
Interior from one of the city's shopping centres

More than 100 nationalities are represented in the population, among the more prominent minorities are the Sami, Russians, and Finns, both the local Kvens and immigrants from Finland proper.[20] The world's northernmost mosque is to be found in Tromsø. The Our Lady Catholic church is the seat of the world's northernmost Catholic Bishop, although the Catholic population is only 350 heads strong — it is in this context interesting to note that Pope John Paul II visited this small church and stayed as a guest of the bishop in 1989.[21]

Sami population

The Sami minority is making itself felt, and there is a Sami kindergarten and Sami language classes in school. Sami was once spoken in communities throughout Tromsø, but use of the language declined during the 1900s' "Norwegianization" campaign. There are attempts to counter this trend, for example through the establishment of a Sami language center in Ullsfjord. Most Sami speakers in Tromsø migrated there from other Sami-speaking areas of the North.


Being the largest city in North Norway, Tromsø is a cultural centre for its region. It gained some international attention when it on 11 June 2005 hosted one of six 46664 concerts, designed to put work concerning HIV/AIDS on the international agenda. The concert was promoted by Nelson Mandela, whose prison number provided the arrangement's name, and featured international and local artists.

Ølhallen, one of the many clubs, pubs and bars in Tromsø.

Many cultural activities take place in Kulturhuset (English: lit. the culture house), including concerts by Tromsø Symphony Orchestra and plays by Tromsø's professional theater troupe, Hålogaland Teater. The new theater building was opened in November 2005. The city contains several museums. The largest are the Northern Norwegian Art Gallery (Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum) and the Tromsø Gallery of Contemporary Art (Tromsø Kunstforening).

The Tromsø techno scene is the origin of many of Norway's most important artists in electronic music, and Tromsø was a leading city at the early stages of the house and techno scene in Norway from the last part of the 1980s[22]. The internationally best-known names are Röyksopp, Biosphere and Bel Canto.

The record label Beatservice Records and the Insomnia Festival makes Tromsø still leading in the country as of the development and promotion of the genre.

The local newspapers are Bladet Tromsø and Nordlys.

Nelson Mandela at 46664 Arctic

Festivals and celebrations

Both the Tromsø International Film Festival and Nordlysfestivalen (lit. the Aurora Festival), a classical music festival, are arranged in January. The end of that month is marked by the Day of the Sun (Soldagen), when the sun finally appearing above the horizon after the Polar Night is celebrated, mainly by children. The International Day of the Sami People is celebrated at the University of Tromsø and the city hall on 6 February every year. Tromsø's Latin American Festival, No Siesta Fiesta, is held at the end of February. It started in 2007 and showcases the best of "Latin America" in Northern Norway with film, dance, music, art, seminars, debates, markets, and a street Samba parade. Every autumn the Insomnia Festival for electronic music is hosted. It is one of the largest and most important festivals for electronic music and techno culture in Norway.

The Bukta Tromsø Open Air Festival, held in June and July, is a popular music festival. The Bukta festival is mainly a rock festival, but also features other kinds of modern music. The festival takes place in Telegrafbukta, a park on the south-western part of the Tromsøya island. Other popular cultural summer events among the population of Tromsø is the Karlsøy festival and the Riddu Riddu festival, both held in the region surrounding the city.


Ski jump in Tromsø

Tromsø is the home of many football (soccer) clubs, of which the three most prominent are Tromsø IL, which plays in the Norwegian Premier League and is the world's northermost Premier League football team, I.F. Fløya in the Norwegian Premier League for women, and Tromsdalen U.I.L., playing in the Adeccoliga. Tromsø Midnight Sun Marathon is arranged every year in June and recently also a Polar Night Half marathon in January. The city is home to many clubs in the top division in various sports. Most notably basketball-outfit Tromsø Storm in the BLNO, BK Tromsø in the top volleyball league for men, and Tromsø Volley in the top volleyball league for women.[citation needed]

Tromsø was selected by the Norwegian National Olympic Committee as Norway's candidate for the 2018 Winter Olympics. This would have made Tromsø the first city north of the Arctic Circle to host the games. There were plans to use ships as the media village. In October 2008 the NOC suspended Tromso's bid, citing excessive costs.[23] From the southern to the northern tip of the island Tromsøya, there is a floodlit cross country ski track. A ski jump is also situated on the island, close to the university.

Famous residents

In popular culture

In the vampire thriller 30 Days of Night: Rumors of the Undead by Steve Niles and Jeff Mariotte (Pocket Books 2006), an FBI agent learns that Tromsø was depopulated in the winter of 1842, perhaps due to a mass vampire attack.

Norwegian director Erik Skjoldbjærgs debut movie Insomnia takes place in Tromsø.

The town of Trollesund, found in northern Norroway in the His Dark Materials series of books by Philip Pullman is supposedly based on the city of Tromsø.

The Nobel Prize winning author Knut Hamsun (1859–1952) published his first novel in a small bookshop in Tromsø in 1877.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Tromsø has eleven twin towns:[24]

Sister City Since Country
Kemi 1940 Finland Finland
Luleå 1950 Sweden Sweden
Ringkøbing 1950 Denmark Denmark
Grimsby 1961 United Kingdom UK
Pune 1966 India India
Anchorage 1969 United States United States
Zagreb[25] 1971 Croatia Croatia
Murmansk 1972 Russia Russia
Quetzaltenango 1999 Guatemala Guatemala
Gaza 2001 Palestinian National Authority Palestinian Authority
Nadym 2008 Russia Russia


  1. ^ "Personnemningar til stadnamn i Noreg" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. 
  2. ^ Erroneously, the Sámi name is often believed to be "Romssa". This is because "Tromsø Municipality" is "Romssa Suohkan". Romssa, however is the genitive case, so that "Romssa Suohkan" translates to "the Municipality of Romsa".
  3. ^ Norwegian Wikipedia, (Norwegian)
  4. ^ Norwegian Wikipedia, (Norwegian)
  5. ^ a b Statistics Norway (1 January 2007). Urban settlements. Population and area, by municipality.. 
  6. ^ Diplomatarium Norvegicum b.1 nr.112, the Papal letter (in Latin) first referring to Troms
  7. ^ "Biskoper i Hålogaland bispedømme 1804-1952". Den Norske Kirke. Retrieved 2007-11-03. 
  8. ^ "Om museet" (in Norwegian). Universitet i Tromsø. Retrieved 2007-11-03. 
  9. ^ "Fra ølvogn til mikrobryggeri". Macks Ølbryggeri AS. Retrieved 2007-11-03. 
  10. ^ Destinasjon Tromsø - Facts about Tromsø
  11. ^ "Bomber Command: Tirpitz 12 November 1944". RAF History Bomber Command 60th Anniversery. Retrieved Accessed on April 27, 2008. 
  12. ^ 617 Squadron - The Operational Record Book 1943 - 1945 with additional information by Tobin Jones; Binx Publishing, Pevensey House, Sheep Street, Bicester. OX26 6JF. Acknowledgement is given to HMSO as holders of the copyright on the Operational Record Book
  13. ^ "1902 Tromsø. Population 1 January and population changes during the year. 1951-". Statistics Norway. 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-03. 
  14. ^ Coats-of-arms - National Archival services of Norway
  15. ^ (Norwegian)
  16. ^ (Norwegian)
  17. ^ Yr record cold in February
  18. ^ Average monthly climate data 1920 - 2008, GISS monthly climate records, Goddard Institute of Space Studies
  19. ^ "Tromsø historic weather averages". World Weather Information Service. Retrieved 6 December 2009. 
  20. ^ Population in Tromsø by citizenship From Tromsø Municipality(Norwegian)
  21. ^ Broen katolsk kirkeblad nr. 3 2004 A Norwegian church news magazine
  22. ^ (Norwegian), 20 år med techno
  23. ^ Tromso's Application Withdrawn -
  24. ^ List of twin towns from Tromsø municipality (Norwegian)
  25. ^ "Intercity and International Cooperation of the City of Zagreb". © 2006-2009 City of Zagreb. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Tromsø's mainland side seen from the city centre
Tromsø's mainland side seen from the city centre

Tromsø (Romsa in Northern Sámi and Tromssa in Kvensk; [1]) 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.

Midday light in the dark period
Midday light in the dark period


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 humour that the North is known for.

Midnight Sun inside the Arctic Cathedral
Midnight Sun inside the Arctic Cathedral


Man reached the Tromsø area 11.000 years ago. We hear about Tromsø for the first time in 1252, when the first church was built here. The next 550 years, Tromsø was a minor religious centre, as people in a vast area regularly congregated in Tromsø to go to the only church in the area. Trade and industry, however, suffered under the domination of Bergen and Trondheim to the south.

To promote trade in Northern Norway, the 80 heads' strong settlement was issued its city charter in 1794. Initially hindered by the Napoleonic wars, the city soon developed into a small trade centre with connections from Arkhangelsk to Central Europe, and from 1820 onwards, arctic trapping was a major industry. Early visitors, who probably didn't expect people in Tromsø to eat with a knife and fork, dubbed the city the "Paris of the North" in complete surprise that French was spoken, fashions were more or less up to date and people knew what was happening down below the Arctic Circle.


A number of expeditions made Tromsø their starting point in the first decades of the 20th c. Explorers like Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen frequently recruited sailors in Tromsø. However, the biggest drama took place in 1928, when the airship Italia crashed in the ice near the North Pole, and rescue expeditions were sent out of Tromsø.

WWII and development

For a few weeks in the 1940 campaign, Tromsø was Free Norway's capital. However, the city totally avoided war damage, although the German battleship of the Tirpitz was sunk near Tromsø in November 1944. Since the 1960's, the city has doubled its number of inhabitants, and in 1972 the university started up.


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 350km.

Most of Tromsø is situated on the small island of Tromsøya, in English often adapted to "Tromsø Island". This low island is 10km 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 1km 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 3km long Tromsø Sound Tunnel and the 1016 metres long Tromsø Bridge.


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.

Midnight Sun in Tromsø on June 5
Midnight Sun in Tromsø on June 5

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.

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.

Mountains of Kvaløya Island seen from the airport
Mountains of Kvaløya Island seen from the airport

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 [2] and the low cost Norwegian. There are flights to Svalbard (Spitsbergen), and the city also has connections to Murmansk and Arkhangelsk (Arkhangelsk Airlines) 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/Stansted (Gatwick from 28.03.2009) [3], going through London may be the cheapest option for getting to Tromsø. From April 2009 AirBaltic [4] has a direct route from Tromsø to Riga. SAS commuter airline Widerøe [5] has routes to several other North-Norwegian airports, mainly STOLports. Widerøe also offer a direct route from Tromsø to Bergen and a summer route to Sandefjord. Both SAS and Norwegian have a route, via Bodø, to Trondheim. Check the Avinor webpages [6] 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 and Greece.

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 approximately NOK 26.
  • 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 (about 50 NOK).
  • Taxis are also available, for about 120 NOK.
Train? This is the best Tromsø can do
Train? This is the best Tromsø can do
There is no train all the way to Tromsø. Take a bus from the railheads in Fauske, Narvik and Rovaniemi.
  • The Swedish railway network has a branch line to Narvik, some 4 hours by bus south of Tromsø. [7]. There are 2-4 buses a day to Narvik, depending on the day of the week. The train from Stocholm to Narvik may be both good and cheap, while the bus from Narvik to Tromsø may be rather expensive.
  • 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. [8]

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.


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 Tromsø Bridge takes you to Tromsø
The Tromsø Bridge takes you to Tromsø
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

The E10 from Luleå and Kiruna in Sweden crosses the border to Norway near Narvik, from where there is a 4 hour's drive to Tromsø.

The E8 from Helsinki through Tornio and Karesuvanto crosses the Norwegian border at Kilpisjärvi, a 160km/3hours drive from Tromsø.

When coming from southern Finland, one should also consider the car train option (see next section).

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 [9] - 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 [10].

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. For ferry schedules [11]. 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. I Finland the same road changes name to 971, follow it until you reach E75 at Kaamanen. From Kaamanen you can drive to Karikasniemi 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 50km 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.

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. However, the rest of the year, there is no public transport across the border with Finland.

By boat

The legendary Hurtigruten (Coastal Express) ships stop in Tromsø. The northbound ships arrive daily at 14:30 and continues at 18:30 to Skjervøy. The southbound ships arrive at 23:45, and depart at 01:30 in the night, to Finnsnes —all year round.

These ships depart from the Hurtigrute-terminal (Samuel Arnesens gate 4-5, 9008 Tromsø), less than 290 m (310 yds) 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 [12].

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 [13].

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

For  Hurtigbåter services, see below: Get in – By boat

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.

By bus

Buses are plentiful and very reliable. You currently pay NOK 26 for a one hour ticket.

Note that many routes has the city centre in the middle of their route, therefore it is essential to catch a route in the right direction. 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.
From the top of the cable-car
From the top of the cable-car
  • 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 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 26 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

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.

Tromsø has no train, but there is a railway station
Tromsø has no train, but there is a railway station
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.
  • 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 [14]. The Hurtigbåter depart from the pier facing Kaigata, by the Hurtigruten terminal
  • Fergene (ferries) ride four to six times a day from Bellvika (also called Belvik, 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 (1 inhabitant) and Mjølvika (Sandøya). Expect no on-board service, “just” a lovely ride between the islands and the occational possibility to buy coffee. The ferries are operated by Torghatten Nord [15].

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, Risøya may 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.

For  Hurtigruten services, see over: Get around – By ferry

Early 19th. c. doorway in Tormsø's city centre
Early 19th. c. doorway in Tormsø's city centre
Tromsø's most visited attractions include Polaria, The Arctic Cathedral, The Cable Car, The Tromsø Museum, the Polar Museum and the Botanic Garden.


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.

  • Tromsø is within the aurora belt mostly between 6pm and midnight, occasionally between 4pm and 2am.
  • It has to be dark for you to see it. Between early October and mid 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.
  • 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.


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.

Arctic Cathedral
Arctic Cathedral
  • Ishavskatedralen (Arctic cathedral), Hans Nilsens vei 41, +47 47 68 06 68, [16]. s 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  edit

Other churches in town of note include:

  • The Lutheran Catheral (Tromsø Domkirka), Storgata 25, +47 77 66 25 80. is the world's northernmost protestant Cathedral from 1861. With 800 seats, it's one of Norway's major wooden churches.  edit
  • 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.  edit
  • 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 is  edit
  • The Carmel Monastery (Totus Tuus), Holtveien 38, +47 77 69 10 80, [17]. is the world's northernmost Carmelite Nunnery. The nuns have recorded several CDs, and any mass in their chapel is a musical experience.  edit

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 [18], with prayer rooms for both men and women.

  • Tromsø Museum (University Museum), Lars Thørings veg 10 (Take bus 37 from Fredrik Langes gate), +47 77 64 50 00, [19]. is a rather large museum with a number of different exhibits on the North. Look out for their Sami exhibits, the Archaelogical 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  edit
The Polar Museum is housed in a warehouse from 1830
The Polar Museum is housed in a warehouse from 1830
  • Polar Museum, Søndre Tollbodgaten 11, +47 77 60 66 30, [20]. displays the Arctic Hunting that took place from Tromsø, as well as the expeditions to the Arctic. The museum is houses in an old warehouse from 1830.  edit
  • Perspektivet Museum, Storgata 95, +47 77 60 19 10, [21]. has temporary exhibits on the north. Their location in an 1838 building in the main street is superb, and there is free admission.  edit
  • The Northern Norwegian Art Museum (Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum), Sjøgata 1, +47 77 64 70 20, [22]. has art from Northern Norway from 1800 onwards, as well as Norwegian art in general. Look out for their temporary exhibits.  edit
  • The Tromsø Gallery of Contemporary Art (Tromsø Kunstforening), Muségata 2, +47 77 65 58 27, [23]. has temporary exhibits on contemporary art  edit
  • Tromsø War Museum (Tromsø Forsvarsmuseum), Solstrandveien (Bus 28 from the main square), +47 77 65 54 40, [24]. 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  edit
  • 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 since 1877, 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 the town  edit
Midnight Sun seen from the top of the Cable Car
Midnight Sun seen from the top of the Cable Car
  • The Arctic Alpine Botanic Garden (Arktisk-alpin botanisk hage), (By the university), +47 77 64 57 17, [25]. is the world's northernmost botanic garden, Although not a particularly big garden, it has some interesting features:  edit
    • 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.
  • The Cable Car (Fjellheisen), Sollivegen 12, +47 77 63 87 37, [26]. On Mount Storsteinen offers a fantastic view from 421metres/1382feet above sea level. In summer, make sure you go up there at Midnight. 99 kr.  edit


The extent and quality of parks in Tromsø is no reason to come to Tromsø. 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 the Domkirken. 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.


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), Muskoxen and the worlds largest mammals - the whales. For whale watching in Tromsø - Whale watching in Norway [27]


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.

Workers' houses in the street of Vestregata
Workers' houses in the street of Vestregata
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 Cruises offers rides from town to the Lyngen Alps in March/April, or you can stay in the Lyngen Area in huts.

  • Sportshuset, Storgata 87, +47 77 66 11 00, [28]. 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. [29]  edit
  • Tromsø Alpinsenter, Jadevegen, +47 77 60 66 80‎. is the city's ski station. It's not the best ski station in the world, but is more than steep enough for most people.  edit
  • Dog-sledding at the Tromsø Villmarkssenter, Arctic Adventures or Lyngen Outdoor Adventure
  • Snowmobiles are not allowed in the borough of Tromsø, but in neighbouring [Lyngen], you can speed up assisted by Natur i nord
  • Reindeer sledding at Tromsø Friluftssenter or with Lyngsfjord Adventure in neighbouring Tamokdalen


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 [30]) 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). [31]
  • Go fishing! You can try from the shore or even better from a boat. Fewer species are fished than in Souther 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 are offered by both Tromsø Villmarkssenter and Arctic Adventure
  • 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. Troms Turlag [32] 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!
  • Lyngen Outdoor Adventure, Gamle Helsehus, Oteren, +47 77 71 55 88 (), [34]. Whole day dog-sledding in the Lyngen Alps is a good option for the adventurous. Reindeer sledding, snowmobile safari and other winter activities are also available.  edit
  • Natur i Nord, Nansenvegen 34, +47 77 66 73 66 (), [35]. Fishing, Hiking, cross-country skiing courses and snowshoeing  edit


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 [38] 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.


The University of Tromsø (UiT) [39] and the nearby University Hospital of Tromsø (UNN) [40] are situated at the northern end of the Tromsø island, and are the two largest workplaces in Tromsø. The Norwegian Telemedicine Centre [41] at UNN is a WHO [42] collaborating center. The Norwegian Polar Institute [43] 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.

A fleamarket, organised on regular intervals to promote recycling
A fleamarket, organised on regular intervals to promote recycling
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, [44]. in the city centre allows shopping until 8 at night.  edit
  • Jekta, Heiloveien 19, [45]. near the airport, is the biggest shopping mall in Northern Norway.  edit
  • Pyramiden (Amfi), Solstrandveien 47, [46]. on the mainland side is also a sizable center.  edit
Fishing boat in port
Fishing boat in port


Original buys include:

  • Blåst, Peder Hansensgate 4, +47 77 68 34 60, [47]. the world's northernmost glass factory makes original glass objects. They also ship.  edit
  • Kranes Kunstgalleri og rammeverksted, Strandgata 30, +47, [48]. is the place to look for paintings and scultures from Northern Norway.  edit
  • Tromsø Gift and Souvenir Shop, Strandgaten 36, +47 77 67 34 13, [49]. is the ultimate souvenir shop in town, and offers glitzy kitsch with a wink. Great fun, and the place to look for a gift to the person that looks after your cat.  edit
  • Snarby Strikkestudio, Fredrik Langes Gate 18, +47 77 64 13 20, [50]. has knitwear from Norway, as well as a vast array of souvenirs. Look for seal skin slippers.  edit
  • Husfliden, Sjøgata 4, +47 77 75 88 60, [51]. is part of a national chain of craft shops. The quality is high, and so are the prices.  edit


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

  • Bokhuset, Storgata 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.  edit
  • 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.
The Main Square in early September
The Main Square in early September

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.
Little turnips, sold in August/September on the main square. Crunchy and tasty, eaten raw
Little turnips, sold in August/September on the main square. Crunchy and tasty, eaten raw
  • 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.
  • 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.


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. 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-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 cheaper 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 and Peppes 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.

  • Allegro, Turistvegen 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  edit
  • Blå Rock, Strandgata 14-16, +47 77 61 00 20, [52]. 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  edit
  • Dolly Dimple's, Heiloveien 4, [53]. M-F 10-20,Sa 10-18. The "Pizzabuffet" (All you can eat - pizza buffet) is ok and cheap  edit
  • Driv, Søndre Tollbodgate 3, +47 77 60 07 76, [54]. M-Th 14-1.30,F-Sa 12-3. Offers great food at a reasonable price in a nice atmosphere, and have discounts for students.  edit
  • Gründer, Storgata 44, +47 77 75 37 67, [55]. M-Th 11-2,F-Sa 11-3.30. The international menu is tasty and good value, and the service is humourously informal.  edit
  • Peppes Pizza, Stortorget 2, +47 22 22 55 55. daily 11-23.30. Part of an international chain, but the lunch specials are cheap.  edit
  • Skarven, Strandtorget 1, +47 77 60 07 20, [56]. Daily from 11. has fish caseroles and other local specialities at good prices  edit
  • Yonas, Sjøgata 7, +47 77 66 66 66, [57]. 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.  edit


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.

  • Arctandria, Strandtorget 1, +47 77 60 07 28‎, [58]. 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.  edit
  • Store Norske Fiskekompani, Sjøgata 17B, +47 77 68 76 00, [59]. 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.  edit
  • Sjøgata 12, Sjøgata 12, +47 77 67 11 00, [60]. M-F 15-23,Sa 13-23. makes use of one of Norway's most prominent export articles, the bacalhau or klippfisk (dried and salted cod). The chefs are from Spain and Portugal, and the cuisine is mediterranean.  edit
  • Skarvens Biffhus, Strandtorget 1, +47 77 60 07 20, [61]. 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.  edit
  • Steakers, Fredrik Langesgate 13, +47 77 61 33 30, [62]. 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.  edit


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

  • Compagniet, Sjøgata 12, +47 77 66 42 22, [63]. M-Sa 17-23. is situated in a merchant's home from the 1830's. Doubles at a nightclub in the weekends after 22.  edit
  • Emmas Drømmekjøkken, Kirkegaten 8, +47 77 63 77 30, [64]. M-Sa from 18. is 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!  edit


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.

To look out for

Mack is the local pride
Mack is the local pride
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!

Who goes where

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 ultimate Tromsø recommendation

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 5pm, and that's the way it is. Promise not to ask for Chardonnay...

Interior of the new "Fire roser" café
Interior of the new "Fire roser" café
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.
  • Artur, Storgata 57, +47 77 64 79 85. M-Th 15-1,F-Sa 13-2. is a coffee bar during the day, and a crowded bar at night.  edit
  • Blå Rock, Strandgata 14, +47 77 61 00 20, [65]. 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.  edit
  • Circa, Storgata 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.  edit
  • Driv, Søndre Tollbodgate 3, +47 77 60 07 76, [66]. 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. Look out for their "Fucking North Pole Festival" in April (if you curse in a foreign language, it doesn't count).  edit
  • Flyt, Sjøgata 25, +47 77 69 68 00, [67]. 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.  edit
  • Meieriet, Grønnegata 37, +47 77 61 36 39, [68]. 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.  edit
  • Paletten, Storgata 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  edit
  • Kaffebønna, Strandtorget 1 & Stortorget 3, +47 77 63 94 00, [69]. 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).  edit
  • Perez, Skippergata 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!  edit
  • Skansen Kafé, Tollbodgate 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.  edit
  • Skarven, Strandtorget 1, +47 77 60 07 20, [70]. 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 1920's margarine factory. The crowd is grown-up and well-heeled, but just as loud as the rest.  edit
  • Sånn, Erling 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.  edit
  • På Byen, Strandgata 24, +47 77 65 85 20, [71]. 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.  edit
  • Kafé Verdensteatret, Storgata 93b, +47 77 75 30 90, [72]. 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. Friday and Saturday night, the place turns into a cool, crowded hangout. Mixed crowd, mixed ages.  edit
  • Åpenbar, Grønnegata 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  edit
Tromsøites populating outdoor cafés
Tromsøites populating outdoor cafés
  • Victoria Fun Pub, Grønnegata 81, +47 77 68 49 06. M-Th 15-2,F 15-3.30,Sa 14-3.30, 19-2. is a football place, and can be a fun pub for the not overdressed during week-ends, has a billiards table  edit
  • Grand Baren, Storgata 44, +47 77 75 37 64, [73]. M-Th 18-2,F-Sa 18-3.30. 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.  edit
  • Skibsbroen, Fredrik Langesgate 2, +47 77 66 64 00. 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.  edit
  • Ølhallen (The Beer Hall), Storgata 4, +47 77 62 45 80, [74]. M-F 9-18,Sa 9-15. both well-known and much cherished by the population, undoubtedly linked to the Mack beer.  edit


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

  • Strut, Grønnegata 81, +47 77 68 49 06, [75]. W 22-01.30, F-Sa 22-3. caters for the 20-somethings, with a retro theme. Make sure you wear cool clothes.  edit
  • Compagniet, Sjøgata 12, +47 77 66 42 22, [76]. F-Sa 22-3.30. is 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.  edit
  • Level44, Storgaten 44, +47 77 75 37 77, [77]. W-Th 22-2,F-Sa 22-3.30. is 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.  edit
  • 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: [78]. The first gay festival, Homsø, took place in October 2007.


Tromsø's main bulk of hotel rooms are in the upper mid range, since they mainly cater for business people. There are no five-star luxury hotels, no old-world hotels, no spa hotels and no boutique hotels, and there is one whole swimming pool. Expect multi-lingual, friendly and professional, if overworked, staff, and breakfast is usually very good. Rooms and baths are often renovated.

Tromsø is a popular place to stay, and consequently it can sometimes be hard to find a place to stay. In June, it's full all the time, and the Midnight Sun Marathon week-end [79] people practically sleep in hotel elevators. July is a lot easier, August even more so, and you can benefit from lower summer rates. September, October and November are usually rather full, as are March/April. December, January and February (except the January Film Festival) are less full, with possibilities for a bargain. Also the Easter week (between Palm Sunday and Easter Monday), the Ascension long week-end (Thursday to Monday) and occasionally the Whitsun week-end are less busy. Timing your visit to low season will save you some kroner, and many of the low seasons are good times to visit (Easter, Whitsun, August etc.).

Rock bottom

The ultra-tough back-packer has a hard time in Tromsø, since there are few of the really cheap dorm-style places, but the Right to access means you can camp mostly anywhere (outside the city centre) for free! (nearest spot 10min walk uphill from the centre), otherwise try these:

  • Tromsø Vandrerhjem (The Youth Hostel), Åsgårdveien 9, +47 77 65 76 28 (), [80]. is only open from mid June to mid August. Since they are housed in a student's dorm, their standard is rather good. Slightly inconvenient location some 30 minutes from the city centre on foot, but rather frequent buses (bus 26 stops right out front). No internet. 225-700 Kr.  edit
  • Fjellheim Sommerhotell, Mellomveien 96, +47 77 75 55 60 (), [81]. is a bible school in winter, and a good alternative in summer, near the city centre. Good-size bedrooms, shared facilities. 200-1400 Kr.  edit
  • Anemone Bed and Breakfast, Hochlinvegen 21, +47 77 68 65 15 (only between 15-16) (), [82]. is located near Prestvannet, half an hour away from downtown, with frequent buses. Simple standard, low fares. 250-540 Kr.  edit
  • Tromsdalen Camping, 9020 Tromsdalen, +47 77 63 80 37 (), [83]. has cabins from simple shacks to two-bedroom bungalows. Cabins:465-1025 Kr,Tents:125-220 Kr.  edit


Make sure to contact some of these places as early as possible, since they fill up early. These places more or less have the same rates mid-week and week-end, and do not give particular summer discounts. Private accommodation can be a good alternative. Check out the home page of the tourist board. Most places, though, are rented to students in the school year, and only available in the summer months. [84]

  • AMI Hotel, Skolegata 24, +47 77 62 10 00 (), [85]. a few minute's walk up the hill from the main street offers tidy, spotless rooms with private or shared facilities. The east-facing rooms have a fantastic view. 540-1090 Kr, discounts for students and longer stays.  edit
  • ABC Hotel Nord, Parkgata 4, +47 77 66 83 00 (), [86]. is similar, and slightly closer. 550-1050 Kr.  edit
  • Thon Polar Hotel, Grønnegata 45, +47 77 75 17 00 (), [87]. is a substantial step up, with rooms on the small side, but always private facilites. Excellent, central location. Fixed low prices; 695 Kr single room, 895 Kr double room..  edit
  • Home Sleep, Nansenvegen 32, +47 97 07 79 42 (), [88]. run by the friendly Dane Kirstine, has spotless, excellently furbished rooms in a residential area near the city centre. Two doubles and two singles share a fantastic bathroom and an even better kitchen. 450-695 Kr, complete apartment 1995 Kr.  edit
  • Sydspissen, Strandvegen 166, 47 77 66 14 10 (), [89]. with a slightly inconvenient location 30 minutes' walk south of the city centre, has fairly well-apointed rooms. A bargain mid-week, and recommended if you drive a car. Closed in July. Singles from 645 Kr.  edit


Although Norway has no star-rating system, the hotels in this category could be called three star. Expect well-furnished rooms with tiled bathrooms and a good buffet-style breakfast. Double room rates hover around NOK 1200 mid-week, but expect substantial discounts in week-ends, especially in winter, and during the July/early August holiday period, when business people stay away. The price difference between budget and mid range might be narrowed by major discounts in the mid-range places in July/August and during week-ends the rest of the year.

  • Amalie Hotel, Sjøgata 5B, +47 77 66 48 00 (), [90]. doesn't look much from the outside, but has good-size well-equipped rooms. 795-1395 Kr.  edit
  • Clarion Collection With (pronounced Vitt), Sjøgata 35-37, +47 77 66 42 00 (), [91]. small, friendly and smart, and a favourite for many business people. 1120-2415 Kr.  edit
  • Quality Hotel Saga, Richard Withs Plass 2, +47 77 60 70 00 (), [92]. is spotlessly refurbished, and has a friendly ambience. 995-1475 Kr.  edit
  • The Grand Nordic, Storgata 44, +47 77 75 37 77 (), [93]. is the oldest in town, but has recently been completely renovated. Some of the rooms are huge. 790-1340 Kr.  edit
  • Viking Hotel, Grønnegata 18-20, +47 77 64 77 30 (), [94]. has the ambience of a small, continental city hotel, and is recently renovated with lovely rooms. The breakfast room and the reception look more like a guest house, and the exterior is modest. 650-980 Kr.  edit


The top-end hotels are but a small step up from the mid range in price and quality. No hotel in Tromsø is in the absolute top division in the world. Week-end discounts and favourable summer rates can make these hotels an affordable alternative.

  • Clarion Hotel Bryggen, Sjøgata 19-21, +47 77 78 11 00 (), [95]. is decidedly smaller, with modern, stylish rooms, a restaurant, a lobby bar and an outdoor hot tub to kill for 945-2095 Kr.  edit
  • Radisson SAS Hotel, Sjøgata 7, +47 77 60 00 00 (), [96]. has just reopened after a major spruce-up and enlargement, and it is stylish and modern with a restaurant, a popular pizzeria and a bar. 1295-2500 Kr.  edit
  • Rica Ishavshotel, Fredrik Langesgate 2, +47 77 66 64 00 (), [97]. is another full service hotel (bar, restaurant) with a lovely view from the rooms. They are recently renovated. Their "Skipsbroen bar" is a good place to wait for the Midnight Sun or the odd glimpse of the Northern Lights (the more you drink, the better the chances). 1595-1845 Kr.  edit
  • Scandic Hotel, Heiloveien 23, Håpet, +47 77 75 50 00 (), [98]. 4km out of the city centre, near the airport and the biggest shopping centre in town, has good-size rooms with a fantastic view, as well as a restaurant. If you drive your own car (free parking!), frequent week-end and summer offers can be a (relative) bargain 790-1080 Kr.  edit


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) also has terminals, 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.

  • 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).
  • If Tromsø isn't far enough north for you, it's only a short flight up to Longyearbyen on Svalbard. This should be planned ahead, though, as flights vary incredibly in price. [99]. On short notice, your best bet is a flight-hotel package delivered from one of the tour operators up there.
  • Sommarøy is a fishing village south-west of Tromsø, with lovely, south-sea beaches and a fantastic view towards the island of Senja as well as the numerous islands belonging to the borough of Tromsø. No bus connection for day trips, except in summer.
  • Island Hopping in the north western archipelago goes with a local ferry from Belvik, a 50 minutes' from Tromsø. Islands visited are Vengsøy (100 inhabitants), Musvær (5 inhabitants), Risøy (only inhabited in summer) and Sandøy (3 inhabitants). Bring your own food, and lots of clothes. Sadly, there is no bus to the ferry (or if there is, no bus going back...), so you need your own transport, which might be a rental car or a bike.
  • Lyngen [100] a peninsula 2 hour's drive east of Tromsø. The mountains rise 1800 metres dramatically from the sea. Plan well ahead, as there are few buses. Excellent destination with a rental car, though. Steindalsbreen is the most easily accessible glacier in the Lyngen Alps, found a few hours' walking distance from the road. It's a recommended sight, but hurry up - the glacier is disappearing rapidly! The walk up to the glacier is safe, but do not walk ON the glacier without a guide.
  • Senja is a bigger island just south of Tromsø. The area of interest is the outer side of the island, with a dramatic, rocky coastline dropping straight into the ocean. The fishing villages, notably Husøy, Mefjordvær, Bøvær, Torsken and Gryllefjord all enjoy fantastic locations. In summer, there is a ferry from Brensholmen near Tromsø to Botnhamn on Senja [101]. The rest of the year, you drive inland through Nordkjosbotn and Finnsnes to reach the island. If by public transportation, plan well ahead.

There are very few buses into the immediate surroundings of Tromsø. It is difficult to find a bus that goes out of town in the morning, and back again in the afternoon.

Routes through Tromsø
END  W noframe E  SkibotnTornio
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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Proper noun




  1. A municipality in Troms, Norway. The eighth-largest city in Norway.




Proper noun


  1. Tromsø


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