Tromsø is the largest city in the north above the Arctic Circle and one of the best places to start your Arctic adventure. It is one of my favourite cities and if I have to visit only one city in Norway, Tromsø will be my first pick every time. There are a number of reasons why you should visit Tromsø and some of those I will explain in this blog. I visited Tromsø at the end of February when there were some hours of light during the day and it is an ideal time to chase the Northern Lights (Arora Borealis) during the night.
Tromsø is an ideal place to see the Northern Lights due to its prime location and stable weather especially during the months of February and March. There are a number of perfect spots in the city with no artificial light which is one of the reasons I would prefer to visit Tromsø for Northern Lights. Usually, in other places, you might have to rent a car and drive around to find a good location with no artificial light. You can either explore on your own or take one of many Northern Lights tours available in the city. One of the popular Northern lights tours is to go to Tromso cable car station which is indeed a great location. We took a Northern Lights tour with Guide Gunnar, it was snowing in Tromsø but he drove almost two hours towards the Finnish border, where weather was a bit better and we did see a very faint display of Northern Lights. These tours are very expensive and won't increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights if the activity is low or weather is bad.
During the day, we explored the city and found a few spots where we decided to come later during the night to see the Northern Lights and we were rewarded with a magnificent display of Aurora Borealis. One of my favourite place in Tromsø is actually in the city centre looking towards the Bridge.
Tromsø is called Paris of the North due to its wild Arctic scenery and the bustling urban life. One of the most iconic building is the stunning Arctic Cathedral built by an architect named Jan Inge Hovig in 1965. Near to the Cathedral is the station of the cable car which will take you the top of the mountain for perfect panoramic views of the city. The city centre is small and along the harbour, you will find some beautiful houses in typical Norwegian red and yellow colour.
The Lyngen Alps range is in the east of the city of Tromsø and very popular for winter sports. We hired Snowshoes in the city centre from a sports shop and went there for a hike. It is a perfect day trip from Tromso. There are also Snowshoeing tours but we found them very expensive.
One of the best thing about Tromsø is you will have plenty of accommodation options to choose from. You can either rent a beautiful cosy cabin with perfect views and far away from the city lights or stay in the city centre. Renting a cabin is probably the best option for those who are coming to visit Tromso to see the Northern Lights. Usually, these cabins are away from the city lights and you can watch the Northern Lights from just outside of the cabin.
Tromsø is an expensive city but there are also some options for budget travellers.
Tromsø is very close to the Finnish border and only a couple of hours of drive from the city. The landscape in Lapland is very different to Norway and there are also a number of different activities like Dog sledging, Snowmobile etc. These activities are less expensive than in Norway.