Norway is a fascinating country. Before researching our visit, I assumed we could road trip the entire country in 7 days like we did in Ireland. However, that’s far from practical or reality. In fact, to get from the southernmost part to the northernmost section, it takes about 29 hours (2300 km) by car. That’s a long time especially when compared to other European countries. Because of this, travel to Tromsø can be a bit of a challenge so I’d recommend taking a short flight from Oslo to Tromsø. The views out the plane are totally worth it, I promise. Tromsø Norway is in northern Norway, about 9 hours from the northernmost point. Because of this, Tromsø tends to experience ideal skiing and dog sledding weather conditions (though locals do say that the weather is still mild compared to other cities). Either way, it does get cold and when it snows, it SNOWS. There are quite a few things to do in the area and depending on when you’re visiting Tromsø, you’ll have an entirely different selection of outdoor activities to choose from.
THINGS TO DO IN TROMSO
WALK THE PIER
Winter in Tromso is so charming. The whole town gets covered in a thick layer of fluffy snow and it becomes a true winter wonderland. Walking the pier is an absolute must (even when it’s not snowing) as it makes for a very photogenic background. With seagulls flying around, snowcapped mountains in the distance and bright colored boats and buildings all around, this is a part of Tromsø you won’t want to miss.
VISIT THE ARCTIC CATHEDRAL
More than likely you’ll be staying on the university side of Tromsø, in Tromsø city. This is basically the non-residential side and it’s filled with little shops, hotels and restaurants (definitely the area to stay in). If you aren’t afraid of a short walk, head towards the bridge and cross over to the other side. You won’t want to miss the modern cathedral that is the icon of this small city. Entrance costs a few dollars but if you’re not keen on touring the inside, you can grab a few shots of the outside. It’s super dramatic and a fun subject to shoot. You may be wondering why I don’t have any photos of the cathedral up close. I’ll blame it on distractions. We were trying to multitask and alternate between videography and photography and completely forgot to get some stills of it. I did, however, capture it in my Tromsø video!
STOP AT RISO FOR A LATTE
The food scene in Norway completely surprised me; there are plenty of places to eat in Tromso even though it’s such a small town. I enjoyed every single meal I had and even though prices are fairly high, every one was completely worth it. Riso is a great place to visit for light and healthy meals. Be sure to try the mushroom soup and coffees. I was impressed with the lattes especially (unlike some lattes these did not taste bitter or burned) and combined with the atmosphere and awesome service, Riso deserves a visit for lunch or an early dinner.
GO [WINDOW] SHOPPING IN TOWN
Strolling through town is a must. There are so many colorful buildings scattered around and even better, lots of clothing shops and boutiques. The shops offer a warm reprieve from the chilly weather while the architecture and color are prime photo ops for any photographer.
VISIT ART CAFE FOR SOUP AND CHOCOLATE CAKE
Art Cafe is a cozy coffee and light bites shop in Tromsø town center. The outside is very unassuming and easy to miss. But once inside, you’ll quickly discover the charm. This shop is tiny and very eclectic but the coffee is great and the food even better. The tomato soup was delicious and the chocolate cake was 100% worth every calorie. The little teapot type thing in the bottom left photo is Vietnamese coffee.
BOOK A NORTHERN LIGHTS TOUR
If you’re visiting during winter, you have to add the Northern Lights in Tromso to your bucket list . While you can’t see the famed lights from town (unless the conditions are perfect), an hour or so drive into countryside will have you staring in awe at a colorful sky. There are several tour companies that offer tours so be sure to do your research and book the best one!
HANG OUT HUKEN PUB …AND SHARE A BAKED POTATO
I usually don’t recommend pubs because the food and atmosphere aren’t exactly my cup of tea but Huken is super cool and not to be missed. The interior vibes are fun and laid-back. Do yourself a favor and order one of their baked potatoes – you won’t regret it.
GO DOG OR REINDEER SLEDDING
While we didn’t have the time to go on a sledding tour, I did feel the need to include it on my list of what to do in Tromsø. This area offers both dog and reindeer sledding tours. I’m hoping to do one or the other sometime next year and am sad to have missed it this trip. However, I did research on both because I wasn’t sure if the dogs were well cared for. After looking at a few companies, it seems like they are treated well and the dogs are totally excited to take off on their run. They do rest them in between runs but if you’re still concerned, you can read reviews and make your decision from there.