Woman walking in front of street art in Tromsø city centre
©Lone Helle

7 things to do in Tromsø on a budget

If you want to do as much as possible on your visit to Tromsø, it can be good to know about the free and low-budget things you can do as well. We've made a list of attractions and activities you can enjoy without spending too much moeny. 

Hiking 

Tromsø is surrounded by beautiful nature and mountains. The closest one, and maybe the most popular, is Storsteinen. You can take the Cable Car or walk the Sherpa stairs up to the mountain. The stairs are free to walk and you will be rewarded with the best views of Tromsø island. The walk is about 30 minutes to 1 hour. When you reach Fjellstua you can walk out on the plateau with views over the city. This is a perfect spot to watch the Midnight sun during summer or the Northern Lights in fall or winter. If you want to walk further you can go to Fløya mountain above Storsteinen.   

Varden lies on Tromsø island above the University Hospital. This is a perfect walk with great views. You can reach Varden from Hamna and Stakkevollan next to «Trykkbassenget». A few meters north of «Trykkbassenget» you follow the path to the right, before you make a left and follow the path along the swamps. On top of Varden you can see the Arctic Cathedral and the Tromsø bridge, as well as Kvaløya and Ringvassøy. 

Museums

Perspektivet Museum is free to visit and is located in a historical building from 1838 in Storgata. You’ll find a varied exhibition with historical and current themes. Seen and learn how Tromsø was in the past and how the people lived their everyday life in the North in the exhibition “Gatelangs”. You can also see Cora Sandels exhibition on her life as a writer and painter in Paris, as well as her childhood in Tromsø. 

Dive into sami culture, the Stone Age, Viking eras, church art, Arctic wildlife and the Northern Lights at Tromsø Museum. Get to know more about the culture and history of Northern Norway, and visit a sami “gamme” / turf hut outside the museum during summer. 
If you wish to visit the Polar Museum, as well as Tromsø Museum, you can buy a combination ticket with cheaper prices of entrance for both museums. Explore the history of winter trapping, seal hunting and polar expeditions – all a part of history that formed Tromsø to the city it is today. 

Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden 

Visit the worlds northernmost Botanical Garden, and one of the worlds 10 most beautiful gardens. You’ll find flowers and plants from the Arctic, Himalaya, southern parts of South-America, as well as plants from Northern Norwegian gardens. The Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden is open year round, 24/7, and is therefore possible to visit whenever you want. Bring friends, your family or take a walk on your own between magical colours (mostly during summer).

Outdoor activities 

The locals in Tromsø love to walk and hang out at Prestvannet. On top of Tromsø island you’ll get away from the city and there are several paths to walk. Feed the ducks and other birds, or bring your lunch to enjoy outside. Because Prestvannet is located away from the city lights it is dark enough during winter to catch an extra good glimpse of the Northern Lights. 
In summer there’s always a lot of people hanging out in Telegrafbukta on the southern side of the island. Here you will find volleyball courts, work-out areas and green fields to relax on. It is nice to walk along the paths in Telegrafbukta during winter as well.  

Attractions

One of the most well-known attractions in Tromsø is the Arctic Cathedral. The architecture and glass mosaic attracts visitors every year. There are many versions of what inspired the artist in the design of the church. If you’re lucky you will be able to see the church lighted in blue during winter. In the week of Arctic Pride you will see the church lighted in the colours of the rainbow. Polaria is another architectural piece, drawn by JAF architects and shaped as ice floes pressed up on land by the rough seas of the Arctic. 

City Life 

Visit the library and grab a coffee while you enjoy the view over the city. With big glass windows, the library is worth a visit both inside and from the outside. The roof is kept from the old Fokus Cinema and was designed by architect Gunnar Bøgeberg Haugen, inspired by the Spanish architect Felix Candels. 

You will find a lot of cozy cafés in Tromsø where you can buy coffee and other products of high quality - Helmersen, Risø and Smørtorget amongst others. Sit down and people-watch or grab a coffee to go and take a walk along the harbour. Here you will see old buildings filled with history, as well as great views over to Tromsdalen and the Arctic Cathedral. 

Street Art Hunting

Tromsø is a colourful city and if you look closely you will see street art throughout the whole city. Bring a friend or go for a walk on your own to explore the city and get to know every street. Start at the harbour next to Polaria where Chris Reddy has decorated an entire harbour building, adding colour to the city. On the corner of Globus café you will find another piece, as well as on the wall opposite of the café where Argus has left his mark. In the alley next to Presis Tapas Wane COD and others have decorated the entire wall. Martin Whatson’s street art is adding life to the parking lot next to Krane Galleri and Risø, and by Glasshytta Blåst you can take a selfie from 69 degrees North. If you walk in the alley behind Mack Brewery you will find street art by @kinekunst. Next to the parking lot behind the Polar Museum you will see a piece by @theshallowtree and @wowtromso has decorated a wall near Skansen with Wanny Woldstad. There are several other pieces around the city, and maybe you will find something we didn’t know existed? Go explore!