Best things to do in Tromso in winter (Norway)

Ticking off the Winter Bucket List in Tromsø Norway

In Norway, Travel inspiration by JurgaThis post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. More info: Disclosure.

You are going where? People told me I was out of my mind when I said I was going to the Arctic and visiting Tromsø (Norway) in winter. Just a few days and many pictures and stories on social media later, those same people ask me for tips to make a winter trip like this of their own…

Tromsø is a place that captures your heart. It’s a place with many faces and many stories. If you come in summer, you’ll discover that the sun never sets here; and in winter there is a long Polar Night, Northern Lights, and so, so much more…

Recently more and more people discover Tromso in winter and go home with an unforgettable story of their own.

I visited Tromso in cooperation with Visit Tromsø and Innovation Norway. They helped to arrange this amazing winter trip for me so that I could tell my own Tromso story to our readers. It’s a destination I long wanted to visit and I hope this will inspire you to discover it for yourselves too.

One thing I am certain of is that you will have the time of your life in Tromso and no matter how much time you’ll spend there, you’ll want to go back again.

In this post, I want to share the best things to do Tromsø in winter. With so many bucket list activities like dog sledding, aurora hunting, reindeer sledding, and many more, Tromso is one of the most incredible winter destinations I’ve ever visited.

At the same time, I want to show you that there’s more to Tromso than just winter activities. With trendy cafes and world-class restaurants, quirky museums, modern architecture, and a very active nightlife Tromso is bustling with life. It’s a true gem of Northern Norway just waiting to be discovered. Find out!

Bucket list winter activities and the most complete guide to visiting Tromso Norway

These are the best things to do in Tromso in winter:

Dog sledding – a must in Tromso in winter

If you have time for just one winter activity in Tromso, make it dog sledding. You’re in for a thrilling ride and an experience of a lifetime! I can’t imagine a better way to experience the Arctic winter landscapes than this, and I can’t wait to go back and do this again, next time with kids.

From the moment you first meet the huskies, you’ll be amazed at how enthusiastic the dogs are and how much they enjoy running. You can choose to drive the sled or just sit and enjoy the ride. If you drive, it usually means that you switch with another person half-way. So you get to experience both – the thrill of steering the dog-pulled sled, as well as the relaxing ride sitting in the sled and absorbing the scenery.

I highly recommend you go for both – sledding as well as driving. And while I heard some people say that it’s a challenge to drive the sled, I found it extremely easy and enjoyable. The dogs are so well trained that they do the job for you. In my case, the dogs were so happy to run that pretty much the only thing I had to do is push on the break once in a while to stop them from overtaking the others.

Dog sledding in Tromso Norway - our experience and practical tips
Dog sledding is such an incredible experience!

There are several places where you can go dog sledding near Tromso. I went with Tromsø Villmarkssenter and loved every minute of it. The drive from town was so scenic, the guides and the dogs – super friendly, and the location where dog sledding takes place is simply spectacular… Highly recommended!

You can book a self-drive dog sledding tour or one where you just sit in a sled and enjoy the ride. For kids under 16, this is the only option available. For the rest these tours are identical.

TIP: Book a self-drive dog sledding tour – it’s really fun to try it yourself.

For more detailed information, check our post about husky sledding in Tromso via the link below. It should answer all your questions.

LEARN MORE: Dog Sledding in Tromso

Dog sledding with Alaskan huskies is a must do winter activity in Tromso Norway
Don’t miss dog sledding – it’s amazing!

Northern Lights

Most people I met in Tromso told me that the main reason for the trip was seeing the Northern Lights. Good choice! Tromso is without a doubt one of the best places to see the northern lights in the world.

I once visited Iceland in winter and was lucky to have good weather and see the auroras there too. But generally speaking, the weather is much more stable in Tromso and therefore your chances of seeing the auroras are much higher.

As you may already know, you need several factors in order to see the auroras, and dark clear skies are a must. It’s still a gamble, of course, and you need to go looking for them instead of just staying in town hoping for a nice show despite the light pollution in town…

Watching Northern Lights in Tromso Norway
Tromso is one of the best places to see auroras!

I took two different aurora hunting tours in Tromso. One was a small group tour and the other was a big bus tour with Northern Shots. Both very different and both have their advantages and disadvantages.

There are many companies organizing aurora tours in Tromso so the choice is yours to make. Just remember to book in advance as many tours (especially small group tours) sell out very quickly. Here is one of the best-rated small group aurora tours in Tromso. If you want to take this one, you’ll have to be quick – it was fully booked during my entire stay.

LEARN MORE: Practical tips and information for watching the Northern Lights in Tromso

TIP: Aurora tours in Tromso aren’t cheap and it’s never guaranteed that you’ll see them on any specific night. If your primary focus of the trip is to see the Northern Lights, then you may consider buying a 7-day unlimited aurora chase pass with Northern Shots and go every night that you are in town (or at least on every night with no clouds).

The price of such a pass is about the same as two separate tours, so if you go more than twice, it’s really worth it. And if you see the auroras once, you’ll just get addicted and won’t mind chasing them again and again.

Tromso is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in the world
Tromso is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in the world

Tromso’s best view – Fjellheisen cable car

No trip to Tromso would be complete without a ride on the Tromso cable car, Fjellheisen.

Fjellheisen cable car is Tromso’s most popular tourist destination and it’s easy to see why. Panoramic views over the city surrounded by islands, fjords, and mountains are simply phenomenal! In summer it’s an ideal place to see the Midnight Sun, and in winter you may even get lucky and spot the Northern Lights.

TIP: If you have an hour to spare, make sure to go for a short hike in the direction of Steinbohytta. There is another viewpoint, a bit higher, from where you can see even more spectacular views. It’s not an easy walk, however, and especially in winter you need good winter boots (hiking poles and crampons would make it even more enjoyable), but it’s so worth it!

View over Tromso from Fjellheisen cable car
View over Tromso from Fjellheisen cable car

Fjord cruise

One of the most popular day trips in Tromso is a fjord cruise. In season (+- November to February) you can expect to see whales. But even if you come outside the season, a fjord cruise is a really nice day trip from Tromso. The scenery is beautiful, and if you are lucky you can see dolphins, seals, or eagles.

There is also a possibility to fish from the boat. At the end of the trip, they serve a freshly made soup with the catch of the day.

I went on a Polar Fjord Cruise with Polar Adventures on a cold, windy, and snowy winter day. Despite that, it was still a really fun trip. Warmly dressed in a thermal suit provided on the boat, I spent hours on deck enjoying the views, fishing, and trying to spot some wildlife. If this trip was so enjoyable even in such bad weather, it can only be better in other conditions. Recommended.

TIP: Dress warm and in winter use the free overalls provided by the tour company.

Fishing on a polar fjord cruise in Tromso
On a polar fjord cruise

Reindeer sledding

Have you ever decided to take a trip based on pictures? I’ve been following Visit Tromso Instagram account for a while and it was their cute reindeer pictures that convinced me to visit the place. I knew that there’s so much more to Tromso than the reindeer, but I just had to see them! And then there was this little girl’s dream of riding in a reindeer-pulled sled…

If reindeer sledding is on your bucket list too, then you’ll be happy to know that you can do this in Tromso as well. It’s a really family-friendly experience as the sleds don’t go that fast and you can enjoy the scenery, cuddle the animals, and learn a bit about the Sami people and their culture.

I went on an evening reindeer tour and was happy to find that the actual sledding took longer than I expected. It was snowing so there were no Northern Lights that night, but the auroras would have just been the cherry on the cake. What a unique experience – reindeer sledding in a beautiful winter landscape, followed by a warm meal and some Sami stories at the end.

TIP: There are many options when it comes to reindeer sledding in Tromso – during the day, as well as in the evening, as I did. Some rides are longer, some shorter, or you can meet the reindeer without booking the ride… So do your research and find a tour that meets your dream. If I were to go back with the family, I would opt for a daytime reindeer sledding experience. I think the kids would enjoy it more during the day. On the other hand, if you get to see the Northern Lights, it would be magical…

Reindeer sledding with Sami people in Tromso Norway
Reindeer sledding with Sami people

Tromso Ice Domes – The Ice Hotel of Tromsø

If you want to visit an igloo complete with an ice bar, ice cinema, ice restaurant, and an ice hotel, then don’t miss Tromso Ice Domes in winter. The beautiful location in the heart of the Arctic wilderness, as well as some incredible world-class ice art, turns this place into a real winter wonderland.

Tromso Ice Domes were first opened in the winter 2017/2018 and following the big success, the project is now expanded under the new name – The Ice Hotel of Tromso.

If your budget allows it and you want to experience something unique, you can opt to spend a night there. But you can also just visit the Ice Domes on a half-day excursion from Tromso. It’s also possible to visit the Ice Domes and go on a snowmobile ride in the beautiful surroundings.

Via the link below, you can find more information for visiting Tromso Ice Domes. Take a look – it’s a real winter wonderland (lots of pictures and a short video included)!

LEARN MORE: Tromso Ice Domes

TIP: If your budget allows it, opt to spend a night in an ice hotel. It must be an unforgettable experience.

Tromso Ice Domes - Ice Hotel
Tromso Ice Domes

Tromso museums and other attractions

For a rather small town, Tromso has quite a big variety of interesting attractions and museums. From the world’s northernmost University, Brewery, Cathedral or a Glass Blowing Studio to some interesting museums, art galleries, and also an aquarium.

Tromso also has a really nice waterfront area – Tromso Harbor, and if you like shopping don’t miss the main shopping street – Storgata.

Tromso harbour at night
Tromso harbor

As you can probably see from all the activities I described above, my three days in Tromso were packed, so I only had the time to visit just a few places in town.

The first one that my travel guide recommended as must-see in Tromso was the Polar Museum. I see that it’s also been selected as one of Norway’s top-10 museums by Trip Advisor, so if you visit just one museum in Tromso, make it this one.

The Polar Museum has an interesting and a very eye-opening exhibition about the first polar expeditions, as well as hunting and trapping in the Polar regions. It’s difficult to stay indifferent to the stories, especially when you realize what people did to the Arctic wildlife: hunting of whales, seals, hundreds of polar bears… But it’s a big part of the region’s history, a part of our history as a human race too. And so I strongly recommend visiting this museum when in Tromso.

The Polar Museum in Tromso Norway
The Polar Museum

The Arctic experience center Polaria is a nice place to visit if you are in Tromso with the family. The main attraction of Polaria is the bearded seals, so try to be there at the feeding time (12h30 and 15h30 in winter and 12h30 and 15h00 in summer).

There are some smaller aquariums and you can also watch two beautiful movies – one about Svalbard, and one about the Northern Lights. It’s not a very big place and exposition is limited, but if you are visiting Tromso with kids, it might be worth checking out.

Just next to Polaria you can visit MS Polstjerna – a historical Seal hunting vessel. There is also a statue to Helmer Hanssen – Norwegian polar explorer who was one of the first people to reach the South Pole in 1911. And if you like colorful street art, you’ll find it in the same area too.

Helmer Hanssen statue in Tromso
Helmer Hanssen statue next to Polaria

Tromso Arctic Cathedral is one of the most recognizable and iconic buildings in town. Located not too far from the Tromso cable car, it’s a nice stop if you are walking there from the city center. Sometimes they have concerts there, so check it out when in town.

Arctic Cathedral in Tromso
Arctic Cathedral

Tromso Public Library is another sample of modern architecture that you can’t miss in town. It’s worth a short visit and is a nice place to warm up on a cold winter day.

Tromso Public Library
Tromso Public Library

Where to eat in Tromso

If there’s one thing you don’t have to worry about in Tromso, it’s finding a good place to eat. From trendy coffee shops and bistros to cozy little restaurants serving local specialties, to big seafood restaurants and international fast-food chains – Tromso has it all.

Below you can find some restaurant recommendations I received from the locals:

TIP: Try the famous fish gratin at Emma’s and a very Instagrammable coffee at Riso’s.

Latte art - husky - at Riso in Tromso
Husky latte art at Risø

Where to stay

Tromso city center is small, so if you choose one of the most centrally located hotels, you don’t need to rent a car in Tromso at all. You can walk to all of the attractions in town, take a bus to the airport or to the cable car, and all the organized tours and excursions have a pick-up in the old town center.

Here you can find our complete guide for where to stay in Tromso. Alternatively, see some hand-picked suggestions below.

Here are some suggestions of the best-located hotels in Tromso:

Good to know: If you are visiting Tromso in winter, make sure to book your accommodation (and tours) in advance. Especially February and the beginning of March are extremely popular months with lots of visitors.

TIP: Using the map below, you can also compare hotels, apartments, and Airbnb accommodations in Tromso. Simply insert your travel dates and group size, and you’ll see the best deals for your stay. Check it out!

Breakfast at Thon Polar Hotel in Tromso Norway
Breakfast at Thon Polar Hotel

Practical information for visiting Tromso in winter

  • Visit Tromso in September through mid-April for the Northern Lights, November to January for the whales, December – January for the Polar Night, or in February – March for more daylight for your winter activities.
  • Book your trip (hotels, tours) in advance.
  • You can rent a car in Tromso and explore the area individually (keep in mind that the roads are covered in ice), but all tours provide pick-up and drop-off in the city center, so the car is not a must.
  • Dress in layers with lots of wool. Good winter boots are a must. Most outdoor activities (dog sledding, reindeer sledding, polar fjord cruise, small-group aurora tours, etc) provide warm overalls, some companies even provide boots, gloves, etc. So no need to worry about getting cold in Tromso, even if the temperatures are really low in winter. Here you can read more about what to pack for Norway in winter.
  • I spent 3 days/4 nights discovering the best that Tromso has to offer and my days and nights were packed with activities. If you want to see and do the same things that I did, consider spending at least 5-6 days in Tromso. It will be a much more relaxing and enjoyable trip. And – if you have more time in Tromso – your chances of seeing auroras are also bigger because you have more evenings when you can go aurora hunting.

LEARN MORE: Tromso Itinerary in Winter


Tromso in Winter FAQ

Here are some popular questions about visiting Tromso in winter that our readers asked in the past:

What is there to do in Tromso in winter?

The best things to do in Tromso in winter are dog sledding, watching the Northern Lights, reindeer sledding, visiting Tromso Ice Domes, and a polar boat cruise. Also Fjellheisen cable car and museums in the city center are perfect winter activities.

Is it worth visiting Tromso in winter?

Yes, absolutely! Tromso is one of the most magical winter destinations in the world. A winter trip to Tromso is worthy of any bucket-list!

Can you drive in Tromso in winter?

Yes, you can explore Tromso and the area in winter by car. However, most winter activities require an organized tour anyway and so renting a car is not necessary.

When can you see the Northern Lights in Tromso?

You can see the Northern Lights in Tromso between September and March.

Can you see the Northern Lights in Tromso city?

Yes, it’s possible to see the Northern Lights in Tromso city. If the auroras are strong enough, you can see them everywhere. For a better chance, head to the darker areas outside the city center. If you want to maximize your chances, however, it’s better to take an organized Northern Lights tour that looks for the best location on that particular night.

How cold does it get in Tromso in winter?

Average winter temperatures in Tromso are between -1 and -5 °C (22-30°F). That being said, you can also experience much colder temperatures of -10 to -15°C (5-14°F). Some areas outside the city and further from the sea can experience temperatures of -20°C (-4°F) and colder.

Is it always dark in Tromso in winter?

No, it’s not always dark in Tromso in winter. While the days are indeed very short in Tromso in December and January, there are always at least a few hours of some twilight. In February, there are already 5-8 hours of daylight.

More tips for your trip to Tromsø in winter:

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Svalbard in Winter

If you found travel inspiration in this post, don’t forget to bookmark it for future reference and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin these images!

Best things to do in Tromso in winter (Norway)
Best things to do in Tromso in winter - Arctic winter wonderland in Northern Norway
Complete guide for an unforgettable winter trip to Tromso Norway


  1. This is the best guide about visiting Tromso that I found! Thank you so much. Everyone just talks about Northern Lights, husky sledding and fjords. I didn’t realize before reading this that there is that much to see in Tromso even in winter. So thank you again. Now I am really excited about my trip in two weeks and wish I had more time.

    1. Author

      Glad to hear this, An. And yes, there is SO MUCH MORE to see and do in Tromso than that! You’ll love it!
      I’m not sure how much time you have, but I did all this in just three days. If you plan your itinerary well, you can do a lot in a short time. Please also check our Tromso itinerary for 3 days in winter. It will give you a good idea of how you can plan your time.
      Have a great trip!

  2. Your blog is really useful. I am planning a trip to Tromso in the 3rd week of November so I was thinking whether can I go for dog sledding? Also, how many days in Tromso would you recommend to visit? Thanks in advance!

    1. Author

      Hi Zanna, this year, Tromso had lots of snow in November already and it’s normally the case. So yes, in principle, dog sledding should be possible in the second half of November.
      As for how many days, I recommend at least 3 full days (so 4 nights minimum) if you want to do as much as I described in this article. My days were packed from morning to after midnight…
      P.S. I get this question so often that I am now working on an article with a suggested itinerary. If you think of it, check our blog in a week or so, I’ll try to publish it asap. Or you can subscribe to our newsletter – that way you don’t miss it.
      Update: We have now published our winter itinerary for 3 days in Tromso.

  3. Love your article! I’m curious, what type of jacket did you wear in Tromso? I plan on layering some fleece and wool base layers underneath, but I am deciding between a shorter ski-type jacket, or a longer knee length type? Down insulated. Would a longer coat be a pain to move around in? Or is that better for warmth? We will be doing lots of these same activities and I understand that many provide warm-wear as well. (staying in the ice domes overnight, snow-mobiling, reindeer feeding, dog sledding, fjord cruise). Curious what you chose to wear and if you’d recommend. Thank you!
    Also- we will be going in mid January!

    1. Author

      Hi Rach, I wore a short winter jacket, the yellow one that you can see in the pictures. Indeed, most activities provide warm thermal suits, that you can even wear over your jacket if you want to. So a shorter jacket might be easier for that as well.
      For more tips, please check our Norway winter packing list.

  4. Hi , saw on site that november – januar is the best time for spotting whales

    We are going jus before christmas time , but is it not to dark to spot whales or is the light during 4 hours enough light for a clear sight , same question for Orca s and at what time most tours will start for this ?

    1. Author

      Hi Jeroen, the tours make sure to take advantage of the daylight hours, so they always make sure you get the best experience. They won’t take you to see whales in the dark. As for the hours, it will depend a bit on the tour and on the season. You can find some of the best Tromso tour suggestions here and you can see the starting times in the booking page.

  5. Hello,

    just read your blog and i really want to go to tromso. I have winter vacation this december 2019 11-26 December. I really want to see northern lights however we can predict the mother nature.

    my question is how cloudy is December weather in tromso. I’ve been to europe many times during winter too and i cant barely see sunlight or clear blue sky during winter. December 2018 Paris, Amsterdam, FRench Alps and for 15 days and i don’t experience a clear blue sky during my visits that time.

    Please advise.

    Thank you very much

    1. Author

      Hi Michael, as you say yourself, it’s really impossible to predict. One day you can have clouds and the next – clear skies.
      That being said, you definitely won’t see any sunlight. 🙂 Tromso doesn’t get any daylight in December, so at best you’ll have +-3 hours of some twilight.
      As for the Northern Lights, please take a look at my guide to chasing the Northern Lights in Tromso. It has a bit more info. But basically, Tromso is one of the best places to see auroras and local guides told me that they see them almost every night. Companies organizing tours always keep an eye on the radar and take you to places where cloud coverage is minimal for that specific night, so that your chances to see auroras are maximized. That being said, you can always have bad luck and be there for a few cloudy days in a row. But that can happen in any month and December is no exception.
      If you plan your trip in such a way that you have other great activities planned, then seeing the Northern Lights will be a cherry on the cake. But if you focus on seeing them and won’t do anything else, then your trip will not be fun if you fail to see them. This is the case everywhere and no matter in which month you travel. So you have to make sure that you plan an enjoyable itinerary so that you have a great trip either way. For that, this winter guide to Tromso should give you plenty of ideas ;).

  6. Hi Jurga, I’m from south America traveling to Europe in December for the holidays, I was thinking about visiting tromso for New Years but I read is polar nights so there’s no daylight hours. Is it possible to do activities during this hours? Is it really dark? Or I should just go some other time?

    1. Author

      Hi Estefania, yes, there is very little daylight in the Nordics at that time of the year. Probably about 3hrs of nautical twilight, which means that there will be some light, but it’s not really daylight as the sun never rises that time of the year. You can find more info and see the daylight graph here.
      That being said, you can always do some activities and the tours will usually be planned in such a way that you maximize the light hours. And experiencing the Polar night is also something really special…
      To answer your question when you should go, it really depends on what your expectations are and what you want to do. If you want to have more daylight, see some of the scenery, and do several winter activities every day, then it’s indeed probably better to travel in late February or in March, maybe the beginning of April.

  7. Jurga, your article is excellent!!! I am thinking of planning a trip on 6th to 11th November, exactly after my wedding. the hours of daylight then are 5-6 from 8:00 to 14:00. Do you think I should let it go and better plan it on February let’s say? I am worried that we won’t be able to enjoy all of winter activities. For example a cruise for whales lasts much longer than 5 hours right? So are we going to see whales with the darkness? Then you said that most planned expeditions start at 10:00 right? So only 4 hours of daylight. After that it’s only Aurora’s hunting for the rest of the day?

    1. Author

      Hi Alis, yes, I think that if you can postpone your trip, that end of February – beginning of March will be more enjoyable. The weather should generally be better than in November (but that’s always a gamble) and the days are longer.
      I did some activities in the morning (dog sledding, fjord cruise, Ice Domes visit), some others in the afternoon – the cable car in the city, some museums, etc. In the evening, I also visited museums, went reindeer sledding, and also took two Northern Lights trips. So you can do a lot, but you have to plan well and make sure that you do activities that require daylight first thing in the morning.

  8. Hello! Thank you so much for your informative post, Tromsø is definitely on my bucket list now! I would like to visit Tromsø in January to catch the Northern lights but I’ve read that there are only 6h of daylight every day. In your article, you mentioned that your days and nights are packed with activities, could you share some of the activities I can do when the sky is dark?

    1. Author

      Hi Kayla, in January, it’s Polar night in Tromso and – at best – you’ll have 3-4 hrs of a bit of light (see this website for the exact situation for your travel dates). You can visit museums or a brewery when it’s dark, but also husky riding or reindeer sledding is possible in the dark, and of course, chasing of the Northern Lights.

  9. I read all your recommendations, it sounds wonderful. I will be in TROMSO in February 2020. Would you recommend two or three tour companies to handle my activities there.

    Thank you very much.
    Ps. Can you send me two pictures of Northern Ligths. Thank you.

    1. Author

      Hi Antonio, you can find all my recommendations in the article. You don’t really need anyone ‘to handle your activities’ – just book them yourself. So much easier and you know exactly what you’re paying for.
      As for the pictures, I’m sorry, but I cannot provide you any pictures. You can find some copyright-free Northern Lights images on websites like pixabay. Hope this helps.

  10. Thanks Jurga, that was really helpful. Yes I agree it will be tough for her in that kind of cold.

  11. Hi Jurga,

    I just read your blog and really inspiring and intriguing for me to visit Tromso. Just a quick question, I know weather is going to be harsh in winter but to see polar nights and Northern lights that’s the ideal time to go. My question is, do you reckon it’s alright to travel with a young child like 3 years old? I would want her to miss this experience even though she won’t remember much so your feedback will help me plan this. Thanks

    1. Author

      Hi Sam, it’s really a personal choice. Traveling with kids is never easy and no matter what you think, the chances that a 3-year old will remember anything of that trip are pretty slim. (Talking from experience with our kids and trips we did when they were that age). Nevertheless, in general, I’d say just do it – kids don’t remember the days you spent with them in a playground either, but the experiences and memories for you remain.
      However, for winter destinations in the Arctic, I’m really not sure what to say…
      Our kids are 8-10 now and we still didn’t take them on a winter trip like that. One of the reasons is the cold – no way they’ll be able to stand outside for an hour and patiently wait for auroras in the freezing temperatures. Another reason is the dark – depending on when you travel, the days are so short that you inevitably end up at your hotel for hours and hours with not much to do. So if you take your child, make sure you also have plenty of entertainment options to keep her busy. One more reason is the price, which with just one child and only 3 years old might not be too bad, but in our case, with three kids it’s a huge cost because everything from flights, accommodations, and food to tours is really expensive…
      My gut feeling says that if you have a possibility to make this trip without your child, you’ll probably enjoy it much more. Because not having to adjust your plans to a kid will enable you to do some amazing things that might be tricky otherwise. If you can’t leave her with grandparents and it’s a choice of going with her or not going at all, then bundle up and give it a try. But be prepared to adjust your travel plans to your child – that’s the reality of all family travel. Kids always come first.

  12. Hi Jurga,

    Your post is just incredible and really gives the reader a better idea of what the experience in Tromsø might be like. I am planning my trip from the 22nd to the 26th of Feb, I will basically celebrate my birthday there. This time of the year last year I was in Iceland with my hubby and two friends and we fell in love with it. I was really torn between going back to Iceland or exploring a different place and convinced myself that it’s always good to add a different destination to the bucket so Tromsø was definitely the one to choose. We are going to have a rental car and probably stay in a cabin somewhere just outside the city. We are going on a budget so thought that maybe chasing the Northern lights ourselves will save us a bit of money to spend in other tours such as the boat one and dog sledding. How many days were you there for? Do you reckon the length of time we are going for is good enough to explore it all?

    Many thanks!

    1. Author

      Hi Fabio, you’ll love Tromso, great choice!
      I was in the city for 3 full days (4 nights), exactly as you are planning. But my days were really packed as I had at least 2 activities every day and visited museums, went on the mountain by cable car, etc. So if you want to see everything from this list, be prepared for a very intense ‘vacation’. 🙂 If you don’t do all of this, you’ll have a bit more relaxing time. Try to plan one major activity every morning (most tours start around 10am), so that you have a relaxing afternoon. It gets dark early, so afternoons are perfect for sightseeing in town itself. And then try to keep some energy for aurora hunt at night…

      To answer your question about the Northern Lights, yes, you can definitely see them on your own as well. If the weather is nice and the sky is clear, you don’t even have to drive anywhere – just go outside at your accommodation and wait.
      Dog sledding is definitely a must, although indeed very expensive. Still, if you do one thing, make it this one. You can find more info here.

      Enjoy your trip!

  13. Hi Jurga,
    I have been your blogs and they are so well written-offering a great insight to first-time visitors. I would be highly obliged if you could throw some lights as to what medicines one should also take for some general symptoms like cold, fever headache etc.
    Also, do you have any idea that how to go from Tromso to Lofoten? Is there a day trip. What would be your best advice? I am flying to Tromso next week and your guidance will be of utmost help. Thanks 🙂

    1. Author

      Hi Megha, I am not sure where you’re from so it’s really difficult for me to advice in regards to medicine as names and products may differ in different countries. We always take ibuprofen with us – it’s good against the pain or fever. Other people prefer paracetamol or aspirin. But again, you should better just take whatever you use at home or ask at the local pharmacy for advice. Also, there are pharmacies in Tromso, so if you need anything, you should be able to get it there.
      As for visiting Lofoten from Tromso, it’s really too far for a day trip, even in summer, let alone now in December when there is hardly any daylight. There is a coastal ferry Hurtigruten that stops at several places along the coast, but I’m not sure what their winter schedule is and if they stop in Lofoten in winter. I just found this information that will give you better insight into all possible ways to get from Tromso to Lofoten, but once again, it really isn’t feasible to go there just for a day.
      If you have just a few days in Tromso, I’d say concentrate on visiting the city and doing all these amazing winter activities nearby rather than waste several days just trying to get to and back from Lofoten.
      Enjoy your trip!

  14. Hello!

    The article is truly insightful and I am so glad that I saw this post while I was still hesitating whether to visit Tromso or Lapland.

    The only thing I am concerned and would like to seek for further advice – I will be going in the first week of January and I understand this time of the year will be the polar night season. In this case, would I still be able to carry out those activities as you have mentioned above (i.e. huskies/reindeer sledding, Fjord cruise, cable car etc).

    May I also ask what time of the year did you visited Tromso?

    Thanks and I look forward to your feedback! 🙂

    1. Author

      Hi, yes, you can do all these activities in Tromso in January as well. It’s just that you’ll have much less daylight that time of the year. Fjord cruise I’d only do in daylight, for all the rest it doesn’t matter that much. You can enjoy all these activities in the dark just as much.
      And I think that Tromso is a bit better choice over Lapland as it’s in general not as cold and your chances to see the auroras are also higher I think. Although that’s all weather-related so you never know.
      PS I visited in the first week of March.

  15. Thank you for all the information. I am planning to go to Tromso in end October to avoid the very cold weather.. I understand that it will not have enough snow for activities such as dog or reindeer sledding. However I wonder if tours such as reindeer camp, Sami culture/ lunch or husky farm visit will be ran in end of October?

    1. Author

      Hi Lydia, yes, from what I understand you should be able to visit Sami camps, see the reindeer and huskies any time of the year. Also, end of October is supposedly a great time to see orcas and other whales, so make sure to do a fjord cruise. Here you can find some Tromso tour suggestions. Bookmark that page and check maybe a month before your trip – you should be able to see which activities are available at the time of your visit.
      And of course, you should have a pretty good chance to see the Northern Lights in October.
      P.S. I was in Tromso first week of March and it was just under 0°C – not that cold at all. But you never know with the weather…

  16. Wow, great post and advice! Thanks for sharing Jurga! Going in Dec. 🙂

  17. thanks so much
    pray very much to see northen light in tromso
    get ready to leave jan

    1. Author

      Fingers crossed for you! Enjoy the trip!

  18. Hi! Great article and pictures, thank you! It’s a little confusing with all the different travel companies and camps- but I think I’ve narrowed it down to Camp Tamok to sleep and Villassenter for the day dog sledding. I was wondering- you mentioned you went to Camp Tamok for the reindeer and for the ice domes. They were in the same place? It doesn’t show up when I look on their website that it’s the same place. I was trying to figure out how to reach the ice dome w/o paying for a tour but if we’re going to be staying there anyway, we can just pop over. Is this correct? Thank you in advance!

    1. Author

      Hi Ryann, Camp Tamok and Tromso Ice Domes are indeed the same place. You can visit the Domes when you are there, but still have to pay (which is a bit less than if you’d take a bus tour from Tromso) and they usually ask you to join a tour anyway, as that’s when the guide is there to tell you about everything. Just inquire when you’re there. They also have dog sledding at Camp Tamok, I saw people with husky sleds when we visited the Ice Domes. I’m not sure they have reindeer there, however (I didn’t see any). I was on a reindeer sledding tour in Lyngen Alps, not at Camp Tamok. You may have misread something…
      There are quite many tours and companies organizing any of these activities in Tromso, you just have to plan well what you want to do during the daylight hours and what to leave for when it’s dark. Keep in mind that the roads are like a skating rink (or at least they were when we visited), so plan enough time to get somewhere if you’re self-driving.
      Hope this helps.

  19. Jurga, I have a question for you regarding visiting Tromso in January. I am planning to arrive on a Friday and fly back the following Saturday which gives me 7 full days. Initially I was thinking of staying in Alta for 4 nights and then Tromso for 5 but now I am thinking of skipping Alta.
    Should I add those nights to Oslo? So, Friday to Wednesday I will stay in Tromso, check out on Thursday and go to Oslo.
    In Tromso I was thinking of visiting all the sights and then doing the bus and coastal steamer trip one day. Alta was an option because I heard the dogsledding is better there. But then again I can go to Camp tamouk. Thinking how I will survive the food since we are chicken and beef eaters 🙂
    What would you suggest?
    Thank you,

    1. Author

      Hi Shaz, I haven’t been to Alta or Olso, so I can’t comment on that choice, but I think that 4 full days (Friday to Wednesday) will be a good amount of time to explore the best of Tromso in winter and give you enough opportunities to go aurora hunting in Tromso.
      All I can say is that Tromso is a great place to be in winter and dog sledding in Tromso is great. I was at Camp Tamok for reindeer sledding at night and it looked like a beautiful place (although next time I would go for a daytime tour that also includes reindeer feeding), but not sure if dog sledding is any better there than at Tromso Villmarkssenter where we went – the scenery was amazing there and the ride lasted really long.
      As for food, really nothing to worry about. Check some of my recommendations higher in this post. I especially loved Emma’s Kitchen, but there are also places that serve hamburgers and chicken and any imaginable food from all over the world. If you like American type restaurants, you can also try Egon – so much choice there and the prices are very good for Norwegian standards.
      Hope this helps.

      1. Thanks Jurga, this helps a lot 🙂 happy travels, love your blog!!!

  20. That sounds soo amazing. When have you been there? I am looking for the perfect Month to see the Nothern Lights, Whales but also need some sunshine (I think?) to take pictures e.g.from the huskys etc.
    Thanks a lot

    1. Author

      Hi Brini, I was in Tromso in the first week of March. Much too late for the whales; ideal time for that is somewhere around November-January. Northern Lights can be seen the whole winter, starting mid August and till April. Tromso is one of the best places to see auroras in the world, you just have to hope for sunshine during the day and clear skies at night.
      You don’t need sunshine to enjoy most of the winter activities, but of course it’s always nicer if you are lucky with the weather. You just never know in advance… I had some really bad weather (after it had been sunny and dry for almost the whole month just before I arrived), just one day was really nice, but in general it didn’t matter that much. With the right clothing, you can enjoy it either way.

  21. I really found your post helpful. Is December a good time to go to Tromso? We have two boys 11 and 15. Wondering if we should stay in a central location in December and then organize all the activities from there. Any suggestions would be welcome.

    1. Author

      Hello, December is ok for winter activities and if you want to experience the Polar Night. Just beware that you’ll only have 3-4hrs of daylight at best… Not sure if it’s ideal with kids… If you can, I’d try to go in February or March – the days are much longer, so you can do and see more.
      As for staying in one location, Tromso is great for that because there is so much you can do nearby. So no need to pack/unpack your bags or even rent a car (and have to drive on ice).
      Just prepare to spend a lot of money – those tours are not cheap, especially with a family. But if you are looking for an unforgettable winter trip, I don’t think you can go wrong with Tromso.

  22. What a fantastic, well put together informative piece of writing! Thanks Jurga. I think I’ll be booking a reindeer pulling activity & perhaps a fjord cruise, budget permitting.

    1. Author

      Glad you found this useful, Orlagh. Enjoy your winter adventures in Tromso!

  23. Perfect timing! We are in Trømso (Sommarøy, actually) for the weekend. Disappointed because it’s going to be cloudy all weekend so no Northern Lights, but we’re looking forward to reindeer sledding in a couple hours, followed by the science museum in Trømso—always a popular choice with our 2 year old. ?

    1. Author

      Hi Heidi, I was there on a cloudy day too and we still managed to see the Northern Lights even that night. The tour guides look at the weather forecast and if there is any chance for an opening in the clouds, they find such an area. But indeed, sometimes it’s just bad luck. I had the only three cloudy nights out of the whole month when I was there, luckily the fourth night the sky was clear and then we could see truly amazing auroras. But if you’re only there for two nights and it’s bad weather, not much you can do.
      On the other hand, there are so many other great things to do in Tromso in winter, so I’m sure you’ll still have a great weekend there. Reindeer sledding is something any kid would love I think! If the weather is somewhat ok, go to the cable car too – the views are incredible! Enjoy Tromso and make the best of it!

  24. Everything about this trip sounds magical! I absolutely loved the sound of every activity you went on & maybe one day I’ll be able to use your post I have saved for future reference.

    1. Author

      Thanks for following along, Sharee. It was truly an incredible trip with so many things I have long wanted to do. Hoping to make a similar trip with the whole family next winter – the kids are even willing to give up our yearly ski break for this. 🙂

  25. Are the month of September -October or March-April , considering good months and possible to view the Aurora?

    1. Author

      Hi Phei Phei, the best time to experience the Northern Lights in Tromso is from around mid September till early April.

  26. I’m from Canada and I’m not a fan of the cold so going to Norway in the winter time never really appealed to me but this looks like an amazing experience. I’m reconsidering winter travel completely after reading this.

    1. Author

      Haha, good to hear that, Brit! I am not keen on being cold either, but some destinations and some experiences are worth it all, and Tromso is definitely one of them!

  27. Massive bucket list stuff for me. I really want to see the northern lights sooo much.

    1. Author

      Seeing the Northern Lights seems to be the main reason to visit in winter for most people that I met in Tromso. But I think the trip would be just as enjoyable even if you don’t get to see them – there are so many other amazing things to do in and around the city.
      That being said, the Northern Light tour guides told us that they get to see auroras most nights (unless it’s really cloudy in the whole region), so if you want to see them, make sure to join the tour as they go up to 150km in any direction where the chances are highest for that specific night.

  28. Tromso looks incredible!! Great pics – definitely a winter wonderland. I have yet to see the northern lights. It looks like an incredible place to visit. How many hours of daylight does Tromso get in the winter? Thanks.

    1. Author

      It really depends on when in winter you go, April. From the 21st of November till 21st of January they have Polar Night which means that the sun doesn’t come above the horizon, but even then they get 3-4hrs of daylight. When I was there (first week of March) it was light for 10hrs – from 7AM till 5PM, so plenty of time to enjoy the city and the activities.

  29. Oh wow! That looks so similar to the trip I just did in Finnish Lapland. I love the dog sledding pictures you have taken, they are stunning! What was your favourite activity? xx

    1. Author

      Yes, Tromso and Lapland are both amazing winter destinations. Just probably a bit warmer in Tromso 🙂 And you may have guessed it right, Portia, dog sledding was the best! I could ride those husky sleds again and again – so much fun!

  30. I haven’t been to Tromsø, but it’s definitely on the list, also considering I live in Norway! But the thing about Norway – is that for us (Norwegians) is cheaper to go to Southern Europe than to explore our own country ?‍♀️ But I will definitely get there ? It’s a great itinerary you have written and such beautiful photos ?

    1. Author

      You should go, Lena! I know what you mean about the expense of traveling in Norway, but some experiences are priceless, right? 😉

  31. I love Tromsø and this post has made me want to return. Some beautiful images of a beautiful location. I only got a few days in a snow storm up there so really need to return!

    1. Author

      Oh, that’s unlucky indeed. I also had some snow on the first two days, but even then could enjoy all the activities. I was super glad when the weather got better again at the end so that I could see the auroras too.
      They had an amazing weather in Tromso this whole winter, so it felt like I was extremely unlucky with the snow, but it turned out to be just great in the end. So I’d say go for it, maybe plan to stay a few days longer, and make the best of your time there!

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