For those of us fortunate enough to call the Arctic Capital home, there is no better place to live. With the pure arctic air filling our lungs every day, we thrive where most people might think it near impossible to exist – nearly 70 degrees north, in Northern Norway’s largest city. Tromsø is lucky enough to enjoy not one, but two natural phenomena every year – the Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun; two wonders of nature which light up our lives, with a backdrop of the amazing arctic nature, literally on our doorstep. Tromsø really is a year-round destination.
From September to April, the Northern Lights dominate the sky in Tromsø. Although you can sometimes see the aurora right in the city centre, it is often best to take a Northern Lights hunt, chasing «the tricky lady» across the skies, or take a polar-night dog sled under the sweeping aurora. For those searching for the explorer within, a snowmobile tour over the mountains, or a five-day trek with the Sami herding the reindeer, will enliven your adventurous side. In our wide selection of Northern Lights activities there is something for everyone.
During the Polar Night season, our city cafes and bars are packed with locals, warming themselves with a freshly brewed coffee, or taking in a locally brewed beer; often planning their next ski trip or “hyttetur” (trip to the cabin). Internationally recognized restaurants serve up cuisine with produce sourced from local farms and fisheries, with a range of arctic dishes hard to find anywhere else.
Unique cultural events, such as Tromsø International Film Festival and the Northern Lights festival take place, filling the city with people from all over the world. The nightlife is filled with the excited chatter of people re-living their latest experience – although you really need to try it firsthand to truly understand.
As spring arrives, the snow stays long in the mountains, and people head up to cabins, or to ski. Off-piste skiing in the glorious mountains is what some of the locals wait all season for, and when you have tried it, you can see why. Eclipsing the French Alps – those with serious ambitions head to the Lyngen Alps. Amazing runs with the Arctic Ocean opening up in front of you… it is simply phenomenal.
As the snow melts and summer arrives, many head into the fjords, fishing for their dinner. You can do the same, take in an fjord excursion, catch your own cod, and then cook it for dinner. Hiking is also extremely popular, and you can experience some of the 600 accessible mountain tops in the Troms region. The most accessible from the city centre is Fjellheisen. You can take the cable car up or hike the Sherpa staircase. Both locals and visitors look forward to the Midnight Sun marathon in June, where you may well choose to finish your run in one of the many city restaurants or bars, with a cold, locally brewed beer.
The city has a rich cultural tradition and is home to people with many backgrounds. Amongst those are the Sami, the indigenous people of northern parts of Norway, Finland, Sweden and Russia. With fishing and reindeer husbandry at the centre of Sami culture, visitors to our city can experience first-hand how the Sami continue to thrive in the north by accessing the rich natural resources in the region.
Arctic exploration is something intrinsically linked to Tromsø. It is from here that Roald Amundsen took his last, fateful flight towards Svalbard in June 1928, to rescue his friend and fellow explorer, Umberto Nobile. Tromsø was also the launch-pad for explorers braving the unknown, heading to Svalbard and the North Pole. The city still has the air of those explorers’ excitement around the nooks and crannies of the Old Town, Skansen, where you can discover the Polar Museum and learn more of Tromsø´s explorer past.
Nature, culture, city-life, local food and drink; we really do have it all in the Arctic Capital.
Welcome to Tromsø – now release the explorer within you!
Chris Hudson, CEO Visit Tromsø-Region