Paris of the North, Gateway to the Arctic Sea, Northern Lights Captial City. There are probably some more descriptions about Tromsø, but anyway.
What matters is, it’s a beautiful city with high quality of life and we’d love to live here if there weren’t just these sunless months. This just goes too far for us and our Scandinavia love is not that huge. Daylight beats polar night.
Tromsø offers anything your Norway loving heart desires. Northern Lights, polar nights and midnight suns. Furthermore, you can put ‚northernmost‘ anywhere and the shoe probably fits Tromsø: the northernmost University, the northernmost brewery, the northernmost cathedral etc.
First: How to get to the city centre from the airport? We usually take a rental car. But as our journey on this trip led us to Senja later, we rented a camper which we could name our home two days later. So this time, no rental car.
The easiest way to reach the city centre is by bus: Tickets in pre-sale (available at kiosks or vending machines at bus stations) cost 3€. The Express Bus costs 10€ and is only a few minutes faster. So it’s not worth it.
With a hotel in the inner city, everything worth seeing is in walking distance. You can even reach the cable car hands down crossing the bridge to Tromsdalen, which takes about 20 minutes. If you don’t want this: the bus costs between 3-5€.
Hotels in Tromsø
We had two hotels during our stay in Tromsø. We spent the first two nights of our trip in the Enter City Hotel. Small, clean rooms with a small kitchen and own bathroom – and affordable. The location was perfect. Total recommendation for this hotel!
The Enter Backpack Hotel was the place we spent the last night of our trip, this time with a shared bathroom and no kitchen. Everything was clean and calm. Location was good as well.
Where to eat in Tromsø
Most countries north of Germany are a little bit expensive for the average people. I was mentioning this before in our Copenhagen posts. Nevertheless, Germans travel to the North in high numbers each year. It seems people feel like their money is well invested.
If you don’t want to go bust and starve, we recommend you to self-supply. Rema 100 is basically everywhere and relatively affordable to buy food and drinks.
If you feel like eating out and don’t have a problem with rich food:
Burgr is the kind of burger place which makes you happy with burgers at affordable prices (at least for Norway). Despite that, this place is a Nintendo 64 heaven including a panel Asians couldn’t leave five minutes out of their hands even during eating. It’s a visually, topically and culinary success of a burger shop.
Raketa Pølser calls themselves ‘The tiniest bar in the world‘ and gives you all the valuable nutrients delicious hot dogs are known for. Especially the reindeer sausage was really delicious. And it’s quite cheap. Maybe not the healthiest way to eat out, but definitely good and affordable.
What to see in Tromsø
Actually, this small city offers quite a few places really worth a visit. A day with good weather should be enough to see everything. With a hike, save two days.
Arctic Cathedral/ Ishavskatedralen
Tromsø’s landmark was finished in 1965 and it’s definitely an architectural success. It’s the northernmost Protestant cathedral in the world and definitely worth a visit. The entry fee was 5€. We could get a glimpse from the entrance to the inside and we thought it looks quite random. The weather was good and so on. We preferred walking to Storsteinen.
The cable car ‚Fjellheisen‘ departs in Tromsdalen district and transports all the nice people of the world to the 418m high Storsteinen mountain.
The view from the top over city, skerries, fjords and high mountains is as excellent as it can be. During the summer months, it’s a great place to see the Midnight sun. During winter, the Northern Lights.
If you have the time and the will, you can also hike up Storsteinen. We took the Cable Car (16€ per person one way, return: 23€) and walked back along the Sherpa Stairs. ‚Walking‘ down was already so exhausting, we could only guess the pain of those who hiked up there. It’s worth walking down, as you can always enjoy the view. Personally, I would have been too exhausted to enjoy the view between the hike and see it as some kind of punishment for the burgers, we’d eaten before.
There’s not much to say about the harbour area than being really nice. It’s a mix of Norwegian cliché boat harbour combined with modern Scandinavian design. And a lot of expensive restaurants, of course. In any case, it looks great.
Next, to the Polar Museum, you’ll find the Roald Amundsen bust. This dear fella started his expeditions to the North Pole from the city of Tromsø and was one of the first people to explore the Arctic and Antarctica.
The Old Town
The Old Town isn’t really huge, but cute and quiet with its long pedestrian zone. You’ll find everything important you need, but not more than that. Thanks to the many cruise tourists, there are a little more tourist shops than necessary. But it’s ok, as we witnessed, some people are really buying all this stuff.
Worth mentioning regarding the Old Town are the Tromsø Cathedral and the Tromsø Library. The latter optically reminds of an iceberg.
Furthermore, there’s the Ølhallen. It’s the oldest pub in town and was opened in 1929.
Prices are, as always, juicy. If you like the smell of beer in the air, this place will make you happy. The rest can continue breathing outside.
But come along anyway to see the huge polar bear inside. We liked him.
Tromsø’s weekend heaven: Sommarøy
Unfortunately, the weather was pure shite on our last day. We actually wanted to spend a nice day in Sommarøy, known as the weekend getaway for Tromsø’s locals.
While the evening before looked quite promising with the craziest sunset ever, the next morning was a disaster.
But google it. Look at the nice weather pics and dare to tell us, it’s not a picture perfect place!
Fun Fact: The sharp mountain seen in the picture was the inspiration for Tromsø’s Arctic Cathedral. When you know more, you know more.
We will surely come back on another trip and try it again!
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