Dreaming of a white Christmas? In Tromsø, your chances of experiencing a Winter Wonderland are good if you visit us around Christmas. Combine the Christmas spirit in the city with Northern Lights tours, dog- or reindeer sledding and traditional Christmas food made with fresh local products.
Tromsø - the Christmas town
Tromsø is the perfect place to get that lovely Christmas feeling. Surrounded by snow covered mountains and maybe our green light dancing over your head, you are destined for some Christmas magic. The city centre streets will be filled with beautiful Christmas decorations, and so will the shops and restaurants. The polar nights creates a cozy atmosphere in town, and there will be many things to do during your stay. Make a stop by our Christmas markets or go skating in the city centre ice rink with beautiful views of the Arctic Cathedral and the Cable Car. Warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or our Christmas speciality "gløgg". We believe Tromsø is the definition of Christmas, and we welcome you to experience it too!
Christmas markets and shopping
From mid-November and throughout December, there will be a variety of Christmas markets around the city. Besides all the markets, there are plenty of shops selling unique presents from Northern Norway, all around the city. Buy locally produced jewllery, leatherbags, knit and art in stores like Husfliden, Wabi Sabi or Galleri Nord. In the shopping malls Jekta, Nerstranda and Veita you will find everything you need for Christmas. At Polaria Shop and in the Tourist Information you can buy Christmas gifts like locally produced enamel mugs, jewellery, wool hats, chocolates and spices. If you want to get a Christmas gift you can share with family or friends you can buy gift cards at Visit Tromsø. In the northernmost glassblowing studio, Blåst, they produce handmade glass.
Christmas food and traditions
Christmas is a cherished holiday for many Norwegians, and the food traditions are very important. Several restaurants in Tromsø focus on local ingridients served in season, and Christmas time is no different. Enjoy lutefisk (dried cod treated with lye) and ribbe (pork belly) at Mathallen, delicacies from the sea at Fiskekompaniet or locally brewed beer at Tromsø Mikrobryggeri. If you need a break between shopping Christmas gifts, there are many cozy cafés and restaurants that are more than happy to welcome you in!
In Norway there are some very special traditions in December starting with the 23rd towards New years Eve. December 23rd is the day before Christmas Eve, and many spend this evening with familiy or friends. Christmas in Norway is celebrated on December 24th. Many families go to church services during the day and open their Christmas gifts in the evening. December 25th and 26th are traditionally family days with the majority of shops and restaurants closed. The city springs into life once more on the evening of December 26th, which is the traditional party night in Norway. When New Years Eve arrives, the best spots for seeing the firework in Tromsø is in various places on top of the island like Charlottenlund, Alfheim or Tromsø Maritime skole, from the bridge or on mount Storsteinen by the Cable Car.
See opening hours for restaurants during Christmas and New Years 2022 here.
The Lights of Polar Night
When the sun sets in late November, it won’t rise again until the end of January. Luckily we have the city lights and Christmas decorations lighting up the streets of Tromsø! But what does Polar Night really mean? Well, of course it means that there will be darkness, but we do have shades of lights throughout the mid-day hours. Before sunrise you will experience magical colours of pink, yellow and orange before the special blue light we get as the sun sets. This is of course if the weather is clear! In addition to this the city lights and the snow will light up the almost constant darkness. On the first Sunday of December we will light the big Christmas tree located in the city square Stortorget. We recommend joining in on the crowd, live music and if you are lucky, lady Aurora will dance above you.
In Tromsø you can easily combine Christmas shopping and dining with traditional activities. Bring your family or friends to go reindeersledding in snowcovered landscapes, or combine seeing the Northern Lights with dogsledding. You can also go on guided snowshoeing tours in the mountains around Tromsø. The boats along the harbour are happy to bring you out at sea to experience the blue hour (at sunset) or you can join dinner cruises under the Northern Lights. In the city you can stay warm in the sauna with views over the Arctic Cathedral and the Cable Car, or you can visit our museums and adventure centers to get to know more about our history.
We're excited to see you in Tromsø during Christmas!