After seeing some beautiful photos of the area around Tromso (Norway) in winter time, we just had to go there. Popular islands around Tromso are the Lofoten, Senja, Lyngen Alps, Kvaloya, and Troms mainland.
Tromso (Tromsø) is a city in northern Norway and has a population of about 70,000 and about 10,000 students of the university and is located about 350 kilometres (217 miles) north of the Arctic Circle. It’s a very modern city and is nicknamed Paris of the north. The city center has many wooden houses that look fantastic and provide a very authentic scenery.
During the winter time from end of November until half January the sun doesn’t appear above the horizon, giving the area a very special feeling and atmosphere. At the other hand, during summer time from mid May until end of July the sun will not go down during the night…
Tromso is very popular for viewing of the Northern Light (Aurora Borealis) but that’s only possible from September until early April. The strength and visibility of the Northern Light depends a lot of the magnetic activity and whether the sky is clear of clouds. Check the Aurora forecast and more on the Aurora Service websites.
There are several museums in Tromso that provide lot of information on the live in northern Norway. Interesting museums are the Tromso Museum, Polar Museum and for culture lovers the Northern Norwegian Art Gallery and the Tromso Gallery of Contemporary Art.
Since there is so much snow falling in northern Norway, the major streets and main shopping street (pedestrians only) have warmed side paths. This is such a great invention and makes walking on snow- and ice-free streets very pleasant.
Of course Norway is the land where you should try to eat a lot of local Norwegian food. Fresh salmon, cod and other fish variaties from the sea on your plate at dinner time. You can also try Reindeer meet which has a very interesting taste.
Winter activities you can consider are guided snowshoe hiking, whale watching, Aurora watching, dog sledding, skiing and ski touring.
During our few days in Tromso, we went on a dog sledding day trip with Active Tromso. This is not a lazy tourist trip and only for the more active persons. They have the best husky dogs (the main guide even competes in the Alaskan husky race Iditarod and the Finmark race) and together with your partner you’ll get a sledge and six huskies. One person sits in the sledge and the other stands on the back of the sledge to direct, steer, brake and actively help the huskies by pushing the sledge up the hills. It’s quite a lot of work and therefore you can switch with your partner as much as you want (need). If you want an easy sledge trip, you should book at another dog sledding company!
Next to the viewing of the great center of Tromso city, you can walk over the long bridge and take the gondola up the mountain. On the top there is a restaurant where you can have good food and a drink while waiting for the Aurora to appear. It must be fantastic if you are able to see the Aurora from this restaurant. When you can’t see the Aurora, you probably still can see the great city at night with all it’s lights and movements.
Our highlight of our trip to northern Norway was for sure the week of ski touring. We stayed in a campervan (also called motorhome or RV) but if you want some more comfort you could opt for B&Bs, hotels or AirBnB. With a campervan you’re very flexible and that’s great for ski touring. Normally we went ski touring from early morning and came back halfway the afternoon. After changing and refreshing, we drove the the next spot where we had dinner and great views of the sunset. During a few nights we managed to see the Aurora as well which was just magnificent. Such an amazing movements and viewing of the northern light!
The ski touring in the Lyngen Alps, Kvaloya and Tromso mainland was also fantastic. The terrain wasn’t the steepest (due to the weather conditions and high avalanche level) but the touring was great. The nature, the going up through the forests and ending up on the top of the mountains with viewings of the surrounding area that is not describable. Never seen something so beautiful as in northern Norway. The mountains covered by so much snow and straight into the fjords around the Lyngen Alps and Kvaloya islands. We’ve been so lucky to have snow during a couple of nights and blue bird skies during the days. You can’t ask for anything better when ski touring in the Lyngen Alps.
After our last ski tour of this trip, we came back in Tromso for the night. Had a great dinner in a great fish restaurant with some good wines and other drinks… That’s also something you won’t forget… The alcohol prices in Norway… That’s probably the reason that the bar tender gives you directly the credit card machine instead of letting you pay with cash… Nevertheless, the whole trip has been a success and won’t the last time in Norway!
Enjoy the photos!