There are so many amazing places where you can go in search of the Northern lights. Tromso in Norway, is no exception.
A city surrounded by fjords offering stunning views there really is no reason why you shouldn’t choose Tromso for this once in a lifetime experience.
Tromso is located 400km above the arctic circle in northern Norway, meaning there is a very high chance of seeing the stunning Aurora Borealis.
It is also home to the world’s Northernmost University, outdoor swimming pool and ski resort, amongst other things.
The best time to visit is between September and March. Northern Norway doesn’t get much daylight hours throughout the day. So thanks to its dark skies, the Northern Lights regularly appear dancing up in the sky.
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During any trip to see the Northern Lights, you will also need to book activities to keep you occupied during the day.
Due to Tromso being a small town and covered in snow during the winter months there isn’t much to do during the day. (also temperatures can reach -30 degrees).
In this itinerary I have included fun activities you will not want to miss out. This will insure you are kept busy and make the most of your trip to Norway.
You can also book activities while you are out there. Just visit the tourist office located in the town centre.
Most flights will stopover at Oslo airport depending where you are flying from. You can check here for affordable flights.
Where To Stay
I recommend staying as close to the town centre as possible. Most activities will depart from near the harbour so you will want to be able to get there easily. Check here for accommodation.
Day One – Arriving into Tromso
On arrival at Tromso airport either get a taxi just outside the airport or get the airport bus that takes you into the city centre.
The bus runs on set times so make sure to check the timetable on the airports website. The journey takes 10-15 minutes.
Tip: Do not pre-book transfers to and from the airport as they are ridiculously expensive.
Once you have checked into your hotel take a walk down to the harbour to watch the sunset over the fjords. The views are beautiful and worth going out in the cold for.
After dinner, take bus number 26 from the city centre and go check out the cable cars. You might get a chance to see the Northern Lights, I did!
The cable cars depart every half hour and will take you high up to the mountain ledge Storsteinen to see panoramic views of Tromso and the surrounding islands. At the top there is also a restaurant and café.
My best viewing of the Northern Lights was from here. The lights were green, blue, yellow, pink and purple. They were dancing in the sky for hours.
In the morning go on a Fjord and Wildlife RIB Tour. You will get to see the true beauty of Tromso and its surrounding islands.
This tour starts at 9am and lasts for 3 hours. You will be provided with a flotation suit, gloves and boots. Your only worry will be making sure you have your own warm clothing underneath.
You will see the most stunning scenery as you go past the fjords and mountains while the tour guide tells you a bit about the history of Tromso. Although it can never be guaranteed, you may also see amazing wildlife along the way. This can include, whales, dolphins, seals and different types of birds.
In the afternoon you will have some free time. This will give you a chance to see what else Tromso has to offer. You can visit a couple of museums. There are some interesting ones.
My favourite was the Polar museum located right in the city centre. You will learn about the history of Tromso and also the lifestyle of the Sami people.
Another museum that is worth a visit is the Tromso museum. This one is located a bit further away from the centre (10 minute bus ride or 30 minute walk). If you are interested in learning more about the Northern Lights then this museum is for you.
In the evening go on a Northern Lights dog sled tour.
OK, so I did this activity during the day and it was awesome but I always regret not doing it in the evening. Imagine dog sledding while seeing the Northern Lights, amazing right?
On this tour you will be transferred from Tromso to the island of Kvaløya. This starts at 5pm and takes half an hour to arrive.
Once you arrive you will be given a thermal suit, mittens and boots. You will then be taken outside to the kennel where you will get to meet the beautiful huskies and also learn how to drive your own sled.
It is then time to go off with your own team of dogs and enjoy the silence of nature while waiting for the Northern Lights to appear. The destination depends on where the tour guide believes you will have a high chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
As today is the last day you will want to make the most of it. Start the morning with a snowmobiling tour followed by a visit to the Ice Domes.
This is an 8 hour activity including a 90 minute transfer each way to and from Tromso city centre. Once you arrive you will be given your outerwear to keep you warm. The guide will then give a demonstration on how to drive the snowmobile. You do not need previous experience.
Once you are all set you will follow the guide on a 2 hour drive across the snowy forest and through the mountains.
I had so much fun on the snowmobile. Believe me, you will not want to leave Norway without giving it a try.
Once snowmobiling is over you get a light lunch included. This is usually a reindeer stew (which was delicious btw)! You do not get to choose your meal so make sure to let them know in advance if you have any special dietary requirements.
After lunch a guide will take you to the Ice domes. The Ice Domes was first built in 2017. Every year it gets rebuilt with different decor made of ice and stays open from December till March. It started off with only one ice room where a maximum of two people could spend the night, but it has been so successful that they have expanded and built seven rooms.
When you enter the Ice Domes the first thing you see is the ice cinema. Here you will watch a short video showing how the Ice Domes are built and how everything started. The guide will then take you on a tour to see all the sculptures, rooms and ice bar. At the end you will be transferred back to Tromso.
This evening, go on a Northern Lights dinner cruise tour. This tour only takes up to 12 people so there is a more personal and cosy atmosphere.
The Catamaran MB Havcruise will depart from Tromso harbour at 20:30. It then goes on a 3 hour journey away from the artificial light, giving you a better chance of seeing the Northern Lights more clearly. As long as the sky is clear of course!
The owner of the boat will join you and tell stories while also answering any questions or curiosities you may have about the Aurora Borealis and Tromso. A delicious traditional homemade meal is also included.
On arrival back at Tromso harbour, why not make one last stop at Ølhallen, the oldest pub in Arctic Norway with 72 beers on tap? It is your last night after all 🙂
If you have time to spare before your flight you can still make the most of your day. Visit one of the museums you didn’t get the chance to see. Or take a walk across the Tromso bridge and go visit the Arctic Cathedral.
I am sure you will notice this beautiful triangle shaped building at some point throughout your time in Tromso thanks to its unique architecture and bright lights on the outside.
You can go inside to see the organ and the glass mosaic window. Or you can appreciate this beauty from the outside. Either way, I would definitely recommend a visit.