Top 10 Things to Do and See in Tromsø (Itinerary Map)

What to Do and See in Tromsø, the Arctic Capital

If you want to find out what to do and see in Tromsø, you need to know that not only the location, but also the conformation make it a truly unique city.

Its historic center is spread over an island, Tromsøya which literally means “Island of Tromsø”.

However, this did not stop the expansion of the inhabited center which also extended onto the mainland, respectively to the east and west of the island.

Tromsø is connected to the mainland by two bridges and an underwater tunnel. But that’s not all: this town is also considered the gateway to the North Pole because numerous Arctic expeditions have departed from here.

In the list of things to see in Tromsø that you will soon read, you will be able not only to admire its streets and wooden houses, but also to discover the culture of the Sami people and learn more about the past of the inhabitants of this land.

What to do and see in Tromso

Here is a walking itinerary to discover the things to see in Tromsø.

Remember: read the article to the end to save the map link to open in Google Maps and edit it to your liking.

1: The Old Town (on the island of Tromsøya)

The most fascinating thing about Tromsø is that this is indeed a city where more than 70,000 people live, but the atmosphere you breathe and the wooden houses that make it up, do not at all give the impression that this is a chaotic city (and indeed it is not), even if it is full of life and activity.

To immerse yourself in all of this, I suggest you start your visit by simply walking in the historic center: take via Storgata, the main street of Tromsø and lose yourself admiring houses, shops and rhythms.

Tromso old town - things to do Tromsø

2: Tromsø Cathedral

Not to be confused with the Arctic Cathedral, which is located on the mainland.

Tromsø Cathedral is the northernmost Lutheran church in the world and is the only cathedral to have been built entirely of wood in all of Norway.

It is located exactly in the city center and can be visited inside.

Tromso-cathedral - things to do in Tromsø

3: Polaria

Polaria is the northernmost aquarium in the world. You’ll notice it from the outside as the structure, especially when viewed towards the water, appears to represent ice floes that have broken away from the Arctic.

The opening of Polaria has a purely scientific purpose, and inside it, in addition to classic aquariums, there are exhibitions dedicated to Svalbard and bearded seals.


4: Magic Ice Bar: a must see in Tromsø

For a truly chilling experience all year round, stop by the Magic Ice Bar in Tromsø.

As you may have guessed from the name, you won’t be able to consider this the right place to have a drink and warm up a bit: the internal structure is completely made up of ice and “glacial” statues.

Furthermore, if you wish, you can also sip a cocktail in a glass of ice! You will be provided with a poncho and gloves upon entry.

Magic-ice - what to do in Tromsø

5: The Port

Then continue your visit to Tromsø by returning towards the center, but this time from the street that runs along the water: this street will take you to admire the city’s port, characterized by large colored wooden buildings and magnificent views of the bridge and the Arctic Cathedral on the opposite bank.

things to do in Tromsø itinerary

Have you already chosen where to stay? If not, this guide dedicated to where to stay in Tromsø will be useful .

6: Polarmuseet: one thing to see in Tromsø

A short walk from the port is one of the most representative museums of the city and the history of Norwegian exploration.

Inside the Polarmuseet you will find interesting information and representations about polar expeditions, arctic science and Norwegian hunting practiced by explorers to survive during arctic expeditions (especially in Svalbard).

The entrance ticket costs 100 NOK (about €10) and can be purchased at the ticket office at the entrance where you will also be provided with a paper guide.

Discover the always updated opening hours on the official website.

Museum - things to see Tromsø

7: Viewpoint Tromsø

Before ending your visit to the island of Tromsø to move on to the opposite shore, don’t forget to abandon the itineraries and follow the streets of the town that most fascinate you: by taking the uphill crossroads, you can not only warm up during your winter walks, but also enjoy beautiful views of the Old Town and the Arctic Cathedral in the distance.

Utsiktspunkt - things to do and see in Tromsø

8: The Cathedral of the Arctic

You won’t be able to miss it while looking at the panorama from the city center, because it stands out from the houses all around and is well lit.

Although it looks like a fairly modern structure, you should know that its construction dates back more than 50 years. To reach it from the center of Tromsø, just cross the bridge (even on foot).

Pay attention: on the back wall there are also stained glass windows that give it that hint of color in contrast with the white exteriors.

The Cathedral of the Arctic

9: Fjellheisen: a must see in Tromsø in every season

This cable car will take you up the Storsteinen mountain in just a few minutes (costing NOK 345, about €34) and giving you the best view of the city.

My advice is to take the necessary time to admire the city which changes its appearance throughout the day. And if you’re really patient, you can stay here late into the evening for a chance to watch the Northern Lights dance over the city (in winter) or the midnight sun (in summer).

Remember that the aurora is an unpredictable natural phenomenon and that you will need a clear sky and a bit of luck to see it.

If you’re visiting Tromsø in the summer, be aware that you can avoid boarding the cable car by climbing the 1,200 stone steps. The last descent of the cable car is at 10pm in winter and 1am in summer.

There is also a bar and restaurant on the top.

You can buy tickets online to avoid queues during high season.

Fjellheisen - things to do in Tromsø

If your trip will take place during the months of October to March, make sure you join the best Northern Lights excursions in Tromsø to maximize your chances of seeing them.

10: Tromsø Ice Domes

Have you ever tried to cross the entrance doors of a structure made entirely of ice and snow?

Well, then while you’re in Tromsø it’s an experience you’ll need to consider planning (even though the Ice Domes are 95km away from the city).

Remember though, the opening is from December to March. Connect to the official website to check this year’s opening date.

Tromsø Ice Domes
Source: Tromsø Ice Domes

If you are looking for a year-round ice hotel, you should check out the Ice Hotel in Sweden (Kiruna) instead .

FAQ: Questions with answers

1: When is the best time to go to Tromsø?

You choose the best time for a trip to the Arctic capital: evaluate which activities you want to try and plan accordingly.

Want to hop aboard a husky sled and go aurora hunting? Then choose winter.

Do you prefer to dedicate yourself to trekking and outdoor activities? Then choose summer: in this way you can also experience the phenomenon of the midnight sun.

2: How many days to stay in the city?

My advice is to stay in Tromsø for a minimum of 3 days: in this way you will be able to dedicate the first day to discovering the city and visiting the attractions that interest you most, and the remaining two to enjoy some of the most beautiful and exciting experiences few other places like this you will experience.

3: Where to eat in Tromsø?

Tromsø is full of interesting places to eat, but it’s also true that you’ll have to dig your wallet Try Bardus Bistro if you want to experience the high quality that is served on its tables and taste the stockfish or reindeer meat.

4: Where to stay in Tromsø?

If you have the car with you, I suggest you choose accommodation outside the historic centre.

I had a great time at Tromsø Lodge & Camping, with free parking included.

If, on the other hand, you don’t have a car, the best solution is to book an apartment near the center, such as the BraMy Apartments.

I hope this article has concretely helped you plan things to see in Tromsø. As promised, here is the itinerary to open easily on Google Maps that you can customize to your liking.

If you have any doubts or questions, leave a comment at the end of the article and I will be happy to help you. 

Are you going to Norway? Read also:

Camille L.

Passionate about foreign languages, cooking and writing. I wish to share with you the places, the meetings and the gastronomic discoveries which gave relief to my travels.

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