Top

Travel for Bliss

If you´re wandering what to do in Tromso this winter, then this travel guide is for you. We decided that we wanted to try and see the Northern Lights, so I googled “best places” and came up with Tromsø in Norway. Tromsø is known as the home of the Northern Lights and the Paris of the North, which sounded perfect to me. It’s a great base for heaps of arctic activities, and has a thriving food and nightlife scene. Here’s what to do while visiting the north of Europe.

What to do in tromso

Chasing the Northern Lights

Let’s face it, the Northern Lights were the main reason we ventured into Norway. I’ve always dreamed of seeing them, and was so nervous that the weather wouldn’t play nice for us. I cover more about how to photograph them in this travel guide. We had some good weather and then we had some shocking weather. But we did end up seeing the Northern Lights on one of the nights for half an hour.

Here’s some tips that will hopefully make your chances higher for seeing the Aurora Borealis.

  1. It’s hard to see the Northern Lights in Tromsø due to light pollution. So don’t just book a plane flight here and hope for the best. You’ll need a way out of the city whether you hire your own car or book a tour.
  2. I would recommend at least five to seven days in Tromsø. The longer you have the higher your chances. We only had three nights and two of them were so bad that most tours were canceled.
  3. The less moon light the better. If there’s a huge round torch in the sky it will be hard to see the lights. New moon is the best time to go.
  4. The lights happen all year apparently, but in the arctic summer you can have 24hrs of daylight, and you can only see the lights at night. They are seen from August to April, but they say September to March are the best months due to more darkness.
How to see the Northern Lights in Tromso

Feed Reindeer at the Sami Experience

Feeding the reindeer was actually so much fun. You can easily book a tour online or while you’re in Tromsø. It’s called the Sami experience, who are the indigenous inhabitants of Scandinavia. They have been herding Reindeer for thousands of years and live a semi nomadic life following them into the mountains in summer and back to the sea in winter.

The reindeer are well socialised and the herd is large enough to lose yourself in, even when there’s two busloads of tourists. You get given a bucket and then it’s up to you where you go in the field. If you can outlast everyone you end up with most of the herd following you around, which is hilarious. There’s a little hut with a fire where you can warm up when you get cold and endless tea, coffee, and biscuits.

They feed you lunch, which ironically is reindeer stew. The reindeers are life to the Sami, so eating them is part of their culture. They obviously appreciate them, and love the ones they’ve raised from babies, but they’re still a large food source of their culture. They offer vegetarian stew for those who don’t want to feed the reindeer, and then eat them.

Afterwards we listened to a talk on the Sami culture and learnt about their way of life in these modern times. The lady who ran the talk was very passionate about her culture and was eager to share it with us.

Feeding the reindeer at the Sami experience

Dog Sledding

On one of the days we were in Tromsø we did dog sledding. Unfortunately it was on the day with the worst weather, so we have no photos due to the sleet and freezing wind. It was still a fun experience and I do recommend it.

We did a self drive dog sledding experience. I’d only recommend this if you are relatively healthy and not afraid of running up hills in the snow. It’s tough work, and you have to remember how to guide the dogs so they don’t lose interest, and break at the right times so you don’t crash into the person in front. If this sounds like too much work, then you can take the easier option and go on a guided tour.

If you’re worried about animal abuse, the good news is that the dogs seemed to genuinely enjoy the sledding. While they wait to take off they all start howling and barking in excitement, and once you’re off they bound through the snow. One thing to note is they are working dogs, not pampered dogs who live in a house. They live outside, but have little huts they can go into if they get too cold. They were so friendly, and so happy to say hi. There’s nothing to worry about with them, and the only biting they’ll do is nibbling on any buckles on your pants. At the end of our ride I said thanks to our dogs and they were beside themselves with excitement, leaning against my legs, rolling in the snow and lifting their heads for pats.

Arctic Museum

If you have some downtime between Aurora chasing and feeding reindeer then the Arctic Museum in Tronsø is great for a peak into the life of Tromsø and the history of Norway. The exhibits are all in Norwegian, but you get given a guide in your language at the beginning, so you can read what it’s all about. Be warned that a lot of Norway’s arctic history is hunting. There are some confronting photos and exhibits on how they butchered hundreds of creatures. What was really fascinating was the history of their arctic explorations. My favourite one was on the explorer Nansen and his attempt to reach the North Pole. It’s an incredible journey, and I’m amazed that him and his companion survived. I actually want to find a book on it and have an in-depth read.

Tromso in winter

The Tromsø Cable Car and Arctic Cathedral

The Arctic Cathedral and Cable Car are on the opposite side of the water to the city centre. You can catch the number 26 bus there easily from the city centre. Otherwise it’s a really pretty walk across the bridge and only takes about 30 minutes.

If you’re going to do the cable car I’d recommend getting there at 10:00am or earlier. There’s only two cars and they fit twenty-eight people in them. You don’t want to get caught waiting behind a busload of other people. Once you’re up the top the views are amazing.

What to do in Tromso

PIN AND SAVE FOR LATER

What to do in Tromso

PIN AND SAVE FOR LATER

What To Do In Tromsø

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Comments:

  • December 21, 2019

    Wonderful guide! I’m going to Norway at the beginning of March. I hope to make it here! Such beautiful photos and the reindeer are such lovely animals!

    reply...
  • December 21, 2019

    So there’s a lot more to seeing the northern lights than simply going at the right time of year then – syoer useful to know as this is ultimate bucket list goals! It would be so cool to get up and close with those reindeers too. I really can’t wait to go – thank you for sharing!

    Tammy
    http://www.travellingtam.com

    reply...
  • December 21, 2019

    What a fun post on what to do in Tromse in the winter! I would love to feed the reindeer, go dog sledding and take the cable car ! 😁

    reply...
  • December 21, 2019

    Great post, really want to visit Tromso in the winter and you just have me more reason to! Love the sound of the Sami experience and dog sledding!

    reply...
  • Rhonda Albom

    December 21, 2019

    It looks so beautiful. The animals are amazing. I would love to see the northern lights, but I am just not a fan of the cold.

    reply...
  • December 21, 2019

    I would love to go to Tromso. It looks absolutely gorgeous. Your photos were also amazing! 🙂
    Krystianna @ Volumes and Voyages

    reply...
  • December 22, 2019

    Wow! It’s so Wow! Thanks for inspiring us.

    reply...
  • December 22, 2019

    I’ve wanted to visit Norway ever since I was a kid. It was one of the first places I’d vowed to visit, yet I still haven’t been. I really need to get on that, it looks ad amazing as I’ve always thought.

    reply...
  • December 22, 2019

    Tromso looks amazing! Your photos are gorgeous! I’d love to see the Northern Lights one day, and dog sledding is on my bucket list too. Looks like I need to plan a trip to Tromso next winter.

    reply...
  • December 22, 2019

    Reindeer, beautiful white snow, and a sleepy European town for of charm? Tromso is beautiful! This whole itinerary will be put on my bucket list because you have just put Tromso on the map for me. Thanks!

    reply...
  • January 4, 2020

    Though I’ve been to Norway, I didn’t make it as far north as Tromso. Plus, it was summer and, from your photos, it looks like a place that must be visited in winter. Just so stunning. I hope I get there soon!

    reply...
  • January 4, 2020

    Beautiful photos and practical information shared! I hope to do these as per your list one time in my life, be it in Norway or other Nordic countries =D

    reply...
  • January 4, 2020

    Tromso is so high on my bucket list! I’m planning on going there soon and definitely want to use your post as a guide. 🙂

    reply...
  • January 4, 2020

    This looks incredible! I’m putting on my bucket list now!

    reply...
  • January 5, 2020

    I have never heard before about the Arctic cathedral, it looks amazing! I keep seeing northern lights pictures taken in Tromso so I hope to make it one day there to see them. It’s one of the most magical shows ever. Thank you for sharing!

    reply...
  • January 5, 2020

    I’ve been to Norway once, but didn’t get as far north as Tromsø. I would love to visit Norway in the winter to see the Northern lights and do other winter activities. I would definitely want to do the Sami experience too. I’m not a vegetarian and actually ate reindeer the first time I was in Norway, but I might have a hard time eating it right after I feed the reindeer!

    reply...