Christmas in Tromsø is a magical time. The long polar night is often illuminated by the breathtaking dances of the Northern Lights, and villages and towns are imbued with a warm Christmas atmosphere, festive decorations, and a lively Christmas spirit that beautifully contrasts with the snowy landscape, all bathed in countless shades of pink, orange, and blue.
Nestled in the heart of the Arctic, Tromsø undoubtedly ranks among the most captivating and engaging Christmas destinations for your winter holidays. This polar city offers a unique blend of captivating events and natural wonders that create an unforgettable Christmas season. Christmas in Tromsø differs significantly from what you might encounter elsewhere, such as Central Europe. For instance, Tromsø’s Christmas Markets, while more modest in scale, possess a distinct charm compared to the grand and picturesque ones you might find in Germany.
Yet, it is precisely in its simplicity and modesty, characteristic of the Far North of Norway, as well as the compactness of Tromsø’s city center, that its uniqueness truly shines. The atmosphere is warm and lively, less touristy and refined. You will encounter many locals on the streets and in the shops, as the community cherishes Christmas, allowing you to immerse yourself in the authentic Christmas ambiance of Lapland.
Nonetheless, there are numerous attractions to explore during Christmas in Tromsø; the Northern Lights are just one of the winter spectacles this city has to offer. This time of year is also ideal for whale watching, as majestic sea creatures migrate to the nearby waters. A whale-watching excursion promises an exhilarating way to spend your Christmas in Tromsø, watching these magnificent beings emerge from the frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean.
The polar night is another exceptional feature of this season. With the sun not rising above the horizon for days, Tromsø remains cloaked in a perpetual twilight, creating a surreal and mesmerizing ambiance. This provides the perfect opportunity to explore the city and its surroundings, immersing yourself in this distinct Nordic light.
But what would Christmas be without festive traditions? Tromsø is brimming with festive activities. You can witness reindeer in all their glory on a local farm and even embark on dog sledding adventures through breathtaking snowy landscapes. In the squares of the city center, you’ll discover charming Christmas markets, all waiting to be explored with a cup of gløgg in hand, the warm mulled wine infused with spices and red wine.
Tromsø’s Christmas Markets are genuine treasures, offering handcrafted delicacies and unique gifts. So, don’t be deterred by the polar night and the chill of December; you’ll discover that winter in Tromsø is the liveliest season, with the city offering an endless array of things to do and see!
What you will find in this guide to Christmas in Tromsø:
Tromsø Christmas Markets
The Tromsø Christmas Markets offer an enchanting and festive atmosphere that begins in mid-November and continues throughout December. If you’re planning your winter adventure in Northern Norway, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in its magical Christmas atmosphere. The event features celebrations beloved by locals and charming Christmas markets offering local crafts and produce, as well as hot drinks perfect for a warming break from exploring this lively and captivating city.
The most famous and captivating market is held in the city’s main square, known as Stortorget. Every year, at the start of December, this square transforms into an enchanted world when the Christmas tree lights are illuminated. This event is accompanied by a wide range of celebrations, from Christmas music to showcasing local culinary art. You can’t miss the Fangstmonument, the “Arctic Hunter” statue, paying homage to the brave whalers and fishermen who lost their lives at sea.
If you have a fondness for Ferris wheels and breathtaking views, direct your attention to the terminal area of the Prostneset port. Here, during the Christmas season and alongside the markets, you can also enjoy a Ferris wheel that provides stunning views of the city and the surrounding sea.
Christmas markets are the ideal places to discover special gifts for your loved ones. Here, you can immerse yourself in Norwegian tradition and purchase high-quality handcrafted products. Among the stalls, you’ll discover handmade reindeer skin bags, handcrafted glassware, and warm knits perfect for the cold weather. As you explore the stalls, be sure to pause for a hot chocolate or traditional gløgg, the Norwegian mulled wine savored during the Christmas period.
In addition to the markets, Tromsø offers a variety of shops where you can find unique gifts from Northern Norway. From jewelry to leather bags, knitwear to local artwork, stores like Husfliden, Wabi Sabi and Galleri NORD are excellent and sophisticated places for Christmas shopping. Shopping centers such as Jekta, Nerstranda and Veita also provide a vast selection of gifts to meet every need.
Christmas in Tromsø: Things to Do & Places to Visit
Tromsø is a compact city, easily navigated on foot within a short span. It comes as no surprise that its Christmas markets and celebrations sprawl across several adjoining streets and squares. These festivities differ significantly from the grand, traditional Christmas markets found in Central Europe, such as those in Germany. Instead, they exude a distinct Nordic character: scattered stalls, tasteful decorations and festively adorned shops that showcase the finest in local produce, delectable cuisine, beverages, and warm clothing, all befitting a remote Arctic locale.
Continue your exploration along Storgata, the primary pedestrian avenue of Tromsø. Don’t miss visiting the Tromsø Cathedral (Tromsø Domkirke) and the myriad of nearby alleys, concealing dozens of charming cafes and restaurants. Storgata street is a true treasure nestled in Tromsø’s heart and a favored rendezvous for avid shoppers. It boasts an array of shops offering an eclectic mix of merchandise, ranging from clothing to local culinary delights, crafts to art, and spanning traditional Norwegian souvenirs to designer fashion.
Heading south towards the Polaria Aquarium, the winter attire and souvenir shops gradually yield to trendy restaurants, cozy cafes, and pubs. You’ll also encounter supermarkets and offices, culminating in Ølhallen, the renowned and oldest brewery in Tromsø. Housed in the historic Ludwig Mack Brygghus factory, this brewery has been one of the world’s northernmost for over a century.
Despite its relatively modest size, a brisk stroll down Storgata will take just 10 minutes. However, we wholeheartedly recommend savoring this experience at a leisurely pace. Pause to admire the local architecture, a tapestry of bygone eras and a unique culture. The picturesque house facades and architectural nuances will enrapture you, evoking a journey back in time.
When it’s time to rest from your shopping endeavors, the abundance of bars and restaurants lining the street will gladly welcome you. Seize this opportunity to relish traditional Norwegian fare, featuring fresh fish delicacies and local specialties. It’s a delightful means to further immerse yourself in Tromsø’s enchanting ambiance.
Read More: Check out our ultimate guide to the best THINGS TO DO IN TROMSØ
Christmas Concerts at the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø
Among the most captivating highlights of the Christmas season, concerts take center stage. Music takes on a deeply emotive quality during this time, and it becomes even more enchanting when performed within the magnificent Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø. Annually, the cathedral hosts a series of concerts and choral performances that commence in early December and extend through the end of the month.
The Christmas Concerts at the Arctic Cathedral are eagerly awaited events. Typically, the Christmas concert program kicks off around November 24th and concludes a few days before Christmas, usually around December 22nd. These concerts feature performances by some of the finest local and international musicians, singers, woodwind and brass orchestras, pianists, and choirs.
A beloved tradition known as the “Christmas Peace in Tromsø” concert takes place during Christmas Eve week, often referred to as The North Norwegian Christmas Concert, a cherished tradition in Northern Norway. For over 20 years, this concert has showcased the music and songs of local artist Jardar Johansen, featuring beloved carols, traditional and contemporary songs in a show suitable for all ages.
Ticket prices typically range above 550 NOK for the most renowned concerts and around 100-200 NOK for those featuring local choirs. You can stay updated on the Arctic Cathedral Christmas Concerts in Tromsø by checking the calendar here, which also provides information on showtimes and ticket prices.
See the Northern Lights
Seeing the Northern Lights is one of the most awe-inspiring experiences you can have in Tromsø. This captivating city, located above the Arctic Circle, is among the premier destinations in Norway to witness this enchanting phenomenon. The Northern Lights season in Tromsø spans from September to April, during which the nights lengthen, and conditions become optimal for viewing this natural wonder. The prime viewing hours typically fall between 9 pm and 2 am when the sky is at its darkest, and the Northern Lights are most active.
Nevertheless, for an optimal experience, it is recommended to distance yourself from the urban lights of Tromsø. While the city does offer observation opportunities, it can be hindered by streetlights and the proximity of the ocean, which often leads to cloudy skies. To enhance your chances of witnessing the Northern Lights in all their glory, consider venturing into the remote areas surrounding Tromsø. Coastal regions tend to experience more frequent cloud cover, so opt for inland adventures, along fjords, within forests, or atop remote mountains to ensure clear skies. These locations provide a magical ambiance and the best vantage points for capturing the Northern Lights with your camera.
If you prefer to plan your Northern Lights excursion independently, start by checking the aurora forecast online (there are also dedicated apps available). The Northern Lights are not always visible, so it’s crucial to identify areas with clearer skies and favorable weather conditions. Additionally, monitor solar activity to determine when and where the chances of witnessing the aurora borealis are highest. However, if you seek a guided and stress-free experience, consider embarking on a Northern Lights Tour. Numerous specialized local operators offer guided excursions led by expert guides with extensive knowledge of the region and local culture.
These tours often feature guides who are also skilled photographers, ensuring you can capture unforgettable moments of the Northern Lights. These guides maintain communication with observers and meteorologists to provide up-to-date information and position themselves in areas with the most favorable conditions. In some instances, these tours may even venture across the border into Finland to maximize your chances of witnessing this unparalleled natural spectacle.
Christmas Dinner in Tromsø
Christmas dinner in Tromsø is an extraordinary experience that combines the magic of the holidays with a rich Norwegian culinary tradition. This northern Norwegian city is renowned for its Christmas cuisine and offers a wide range of traditional dishes that reflect the Norwegian people’s love for seasonal food and traditional preparations.
For many Norwegians, Christmas is the most important holiday of the year, and culinary traditions play a vital role in celebrating this special occasion. Typical dishes such as “ribbe” (pork belly) and “lutefisk” (dried cod) are true delights that embody the taste and tradition of Norwegian Christmas. The ribbe with its crispy skin, and the lutefisk with its unique preparation, provide a one-of-a-kind culinary experience. The Norwegian Christmas dessert “Riskrem”, a rice pudding served with red sauce, is a delight for the palate and a perfect way to end a Christmas meal. Other dishes such as “Pinnekjøtt” (salted mutton chops) and “Smalahove” (boiled sheep’s head) add a touch of adventure for more daring palates.
Let’s not forget accompaniments such as “Aquavit”, a potato-based liqueur, “Gløgg”, a fragrant mulled wine, and Norwegian hot chocolate. All of these beverages contribute to the welcoming and festive atmosphere. Besides the food, the atmosphere of Tromsø’s cafes and restaurants is an experience in itself. Cozy places with soft lighting and the holiday spirit make these venues true havens from the winter cold.
However, it’s important to note that many restaurants may close briefly during the Christmas period. Hotel restaurants are usually open on holidays and offer excellent festive menus. Some good options that are generally open for traditional Christmas Dinner in Tromsø include Charley’s at Radisson Blu, Grand Restaurant, Nyt Tromsø, and Roast Restaurant at Scandic Ishavshotel. Finally, if you’re looking for a truly special Christmas dining experience, Kitchen and Table at Hotel Clarion The Edge offers an exceptionally grand experience. It’s open to non-guests on the 24th and 25th of December, providing a unique opportunity to fully immerse yourself in Norwegian culinary tradition during Christmas in Tromsø.
Dog Sledding or Reindeer Sled Tour
Exploring Tromsø and its picturesque surrounding areas can be an unforgettable experience. One of the most fascinating options for doing so is taking either a husky dog sledding or reindeer sleigh tour. The reindeer-focused tour offers an extraordinary opportunity to immerse yourself in the local Sami culture and the pristine beauty of the surroundings. The day begins with an exciting journey on a sleigh pulled by reindeer, led by an expert guide who will share his knowledge of the area and its thousand-year-old traditions with you.
After the exhilarating ride, you’ll head to an authentic Sami camp, where you can feed and interact with adorable reindeer. Inside a typical Sami tent, a delicious hot meal awaits you, allowing you to savor local flavors in an authentic and welcoming atmosphere. This experience is truly one of a kind and will leave you with lasting memories of your visit to Tromsø.
If, on the other hand, you prefer the energy of huskies, the dog sledding tour is the ideal choice for you. You’ll have the opportunity to lead your own team of huskies through the wonders of the Arctic. Along the way, you’ll learn the secrets and tricks used by trainers to handle these affectionate sled dogs. It’s a thrilling and immersive experience that will make you feel like a real musher.
But the day isn’t over yet! You’ll also have the opportunity to play and interact with loving huskies, making your day even more memorable. At the end of both adventures, you can enjoy a well-deserved moment of relaxation with a delicious chocolate cake and a hot drink next to a cozy fireplace.
Cruise the Beautiful Fjords around Tromsø
Tromsø serves as the gateway to the wonders of the Norwegian Arctic, and among the plethora of captivating activities this enchanting destination offers, one of the most unforgettable experiences is embarking on a captivating cruise amidst the surrounding fjords and islands.
Your adventure commences as you set sail upon the breathtaking waters of the Arctic Ocean, surrounded by pristine landscapes adorned with snow and ice. It’s a journey through Tromsø’s incredible beauty, characterized by a succession of fjords, straits, and islets, all home to picturesque fishing villages. The hybrid-electric catamaran allows you to switch to a silent engine when approaching whales and other animals, ensuring their tranquility remains undisturbed.
For the complete experience, opt for a cruise that includes lunch and drinks. This 5-hour tour will take you through the most spectacular fjords around Tromsø, passing charming fishing villages and even a Cold War underwater bunker. Suitable for the whole family, expert local guides will share the wonders of Norwegian Arctic geography and regale you with stories of its wildlife and culture.
You can even try your hand at fishing, with complimentary tackle provided, and have the chance to spot sea eagles and other fascinating seabirds, along with spectacular killer whales, beluga whales, porpoises, and seals. Your trip will be accompanied by a delicious lunch featuring local fish, satisfying your palate as you admire the surrounding landscape.
Whale Watching in Tromsø
The whales that inhabit the waters around Tromsø are truly fascinating creatures, drawn to the most remote fjords in pursuit of herring and plankton. These magnificent cetaceans grace us with their presence from early November to the beginning of February, offering an extraordinary spectacle for nature enthusiasts. In the past, whales were so abundant in the vicinity of Tromsø that the largest island was aptly named Kvaløya, which translates to “Whale Island”.
However, due to the impacts of climate change and increased shipping traffic, these majestic creatures have migrated to more secluded areas, such as the waters around the village of Skjervøy, situated approximately 200 kilometers northeast of Tromsø.
Fortunately, the fervor for whale watching remains undiminished, and you can partake in thrilling whale watching tours aboard specially designed hybrid-electric catamarans. These tours, lasting approximately 8-9 hours, provide an exceptional opportunity to get up close to whales in an ethical and sustainable manner. The experienced captains of these vessels switch to super-quiet electric motors when approaching the whales, ensuring minimal disturbance to these magnificent animals.
This affords you the privilege of observing whales in their natural habitat, as they swim and feed without apprehension. The crews are extensively trained and utilize specialized equipment to locate whales and lead you to the prime viewing spots. On a whale watching tour, your prospects of witnessing these creatures up close are exceedingly high. Be sure to have a camera with you to capture these unforgettable moments. The exhilaration of seeing these majestic beings in action amidst the frigid Norwegian waters is an experience that will be etched in your memory forever.
Read More: Check out our ultimate guide to WHALE WATCHING IN TROMSØ
Stay in the Iconic Ice Domes
The Tromsø Ice Domes represent one of the hidden gems in the region around Tromsø. What could be better than staying right here to immerse yourself fully in this exceptional adventure? Nestled in the picturesque Tamok Valley, the Ice Domes are a transient marvel, reborn annually to coincide with the arrival of the polar night. Don’t be misled by the name, for this place is far more than a mere ice structure. In reality, it’s the closest you can come to encountering an authentic ice village in the real world.
One of the primary draws of this extraordinary destination is the Ice Bar, where you can relish drinks served in ice glasses, crafting an utterly unique experience. The ice restaurant offers an unforgettable dining experience, surrounded by meticulously sculpted ice walls. Besides an ice cinema where you can enjoy screenings beneath the Arctic stars, you can even slumber in an ice hotel crafted entirely from this astonishing material. However, do bear in mind that it’s open for only a brief period, from late December to late March, due to weather conditions.
If you seek a genuinely exceptional and unforgettable overnight adventure, we highly recommend considering to stay at least one night here. The rooms are a true spectacle, each with its own distinctive theme. You’ll sleep cozily within expedition sleeping bags on mattresses adorned with reindeer skins, providing an authentic and memorable experience, So, if you’re planning a winter trip to Tromsø and aspire to partake in an extraordinary adventure, you should unquestionably contemplate spending a night at the Ice Domes. It will be an experience indelibly etched in your memory for a lifetime.
Snowmobile Safari in the Lyngen Alps
One of the must-have experiences in Tromsø is undoubtedly an exhilarating snowmobile safari. This activity allows you to fully immerse yourself in the splendor of Northern Norway’s snowy landscapes, following the footsteps of locals who have cherished this thrilling winter sport for generations. Th enchanting landscape of the Lyngen Alps stand out as an ideal destination for a snowmobile safari.
This mountainous region boasts picturesque valleys, rugged peaks, and awe-inspiring fjord vistas. It’s an absolute haven for winter adventure enthusiasts, with extensive trails traversing snow-covered forests, captivating valleys, and meandering alongside fjords and rivers.
The snowmobile safari typically lasts around 2 hours and makes for a perfect shared experience for couples, as each snowmobile accommodates two people: a driver and a passenger. If you’re a novice, there’s no need to fret because licensed experts will be your guides throughout the journey. All essential equipment, including warm clothing and boots, will be provided to ensure maximum comfort during the adventure. Upon concluding the safari, you’ll reach a camp where you can relish a delectable lunch or dinner, depending on the timing you select for your excursion.
When it comes to choosing between a morning or evening snowmobile safari, both options promise incredible experiences. Nevertheless, if you wish to bask in the magnificence of the Lyngen Alps at its finest, we recommend the morning safari when the daylight accentuates the beauty of the surrounding landscapes. It’s a unique chance to connect with nature and create indelible memories amidst the awe-inspiring winter scenery of Northern Norway.
Skating on Lake Prestvannet
Ice skating ranks among the most cherished winter activities for both residents and visitors and it is undoubtedly one of the most popular things to do at Christmas in Tromsø. One of the most iconic destinations to indulge in this pastime is the picturesque Prestvannet Lake. Nestled just 2 kilometers from Tromsø’s city center, this enchanting lake is a hidden gem for skating enthusiasts.
Nestled within a charming park and surrounded by a nature reserve, Prestvannet offers a unique ambiance for skaters. The tranquil surroundings of nature and the crisp air elevate the skating experience to a truly unforgettable level. Local residents often frequent the lake for exercise or simply to unwind and enjoy a winter stroll. However, the real spectacle unfolds when the lake freezes completely. During the winter months, Lake Prestvannet metamorphoses into a natural ice rink.
Visitors can either bring their own skates or rent them from nearby facilities, allowing them to glide gracefully across the ice while surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Furthermore, the lake’s distance from the city center and its natural surroundings make it an ideal spot for spotting the Northern Lights. The absence of light pollution ensures exceptional visibility of the night sky, offering a chance to witness one of nature’s most captivating displays.
Reaching Prestvannet is easy: if you prefer a leisurely stroll, you can walk from the city center and reach the lake in approximately half an hour. Alternatively, you can opt for bus no. 40, which drops you off roughly 500 meters from the lake. So, pack your skates, bundle up warmly, and set off for Lake Prestvannet to savor an unforgettable ice skating experience in one of Tromsø’s most scenic locations.
Other Ice Rinks in Tromsø
During the Christmas season in Tromsø, two other immensely popular ice skating rinks beckon locals and visitors alike: one nestled near the harbor and the other in Tromsdalen, just beyond the city limits. The first can be found at the base of the Ferris wheel, which graces the Christmas village a mere stone’s throw from the bustling port and the city’s main square. Open from late November until January, it stands as a cornerstone attraction during the festive period in Tromsø and eagerly anticipated by locals.
This expansive ice rink resides at the heart of the yuletide and New Year’s Eve revelry, offering panoramic vistas of the harbor and the fjord beyond. On a clear day, you can even catch glimpses of the Arctic Cathedral across the water and the cable car gondola ascending the mountainside.
The second gem is the Tromsdalen ice skating rink, located just 4 km from the city center, providing an exceptional opportunity to partake in outdoor ice skating amidst a picturesque backdrop. Unlike the traditional Christmas ice rink, this one is a professional establishment: the Tromsdalen Kunstisbane is an Olympic-approved speed skating track, marking the northernmost outdoor speed skating track in the world. Nevertheless, you need not be an Olympic champion to revel in a few hours of skating here, as it welcomes individuals of all ages and skill levels.
It’s an ideal destination for families, friends, and solo skating enthusiasts alike. For those without their own equipment, skates, helmets, and supports for young children can be rented at the bar run by the local skating club. The speed skating rink operates during the following hours: Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:15 pm to 8:45 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm. The track is open from the beginning of November until the end of February. To reach the Tromsdalen ice rink, simply take bus no. 20 and disembark at the Båthavna stop. From there, a short 1 km stroll will lead you to the rink.
see the City Lights During the Polar Night
As November draws to a close and the sun disappears from sight, Tromsø falls under a shroud of profound darkness, with daylight not making its return until late January. Yet, instead of succumbing to the absence of sunlight, this city takes on a different kind of radiance. Its city lights and glistening Christmas decorations sparkle like shooting stars, casting a luminous spell upon the streets and weaving a magical tapestry of atmosphere.
On the first Sunday of December, a special event unfolds in Stortorget, the town square, as the grand Christmas tree is illuminated. This marks the official commencement of the holiday season and infuses the Polar Night with a radiant sense of joy.
But what does it truly mean to experience the Polar Night? It signifies immersing oneself in a realm of profound darkness, where the sun remains below the horizon for weeks on end. However, even within this darkness, a unique beauty emerges. During the midday hours, when the sun merely grazes the horizon, the sky takes on surreal hues of pink, yellow, and orange. It’s a magical moment when the world seems suspended between day and night.
Before daybreak, we are treated to these wondrous displays of color, but it is during sunset that Tromsø unveils its most enchanting allure. As the sun slips beneath the horizon, it bathes the sky in a special shade of blue light, transforming the landscape into an enchanted masterpiece. This spectacle, of course, is contingent on clear weather and cloudless skies.
Yet even when clouds loom overhead, Tromsø refuses to be swallowed by total darkness. The city’s lights, along with the pristine white snow blanketing everything, cast a welcoming glow that permeates the perpetual night, creating an unique and inviting atmosphere. The streets come alive with the warmth emanating from homes, shops, and restaurants, generating an aura of comfort and community.
Visit the Polar Museum
The Tromsø Polar Museum is a must-visit for anyone fascinated by the city’s history and the lives of the local communities that have inhabited this remote Arctic region. Located within a charming former warehouse dating back to 1837, this museum offers an extraordinary educational experience through a series of captivating permanent exhibitions, providing a comprehensive overview of the challenges and adventures faced by Arctic explorers, marine mammal hunters, and the local people during the 1900s.
The museum provides an authentic perspective on the daily lives of those who inhabited these hostile and unforgiving lands, underscoring the vital role of hunting in their existence. On the ground floor, visitors can explore approximately ten different rooms, each featuring life-size dioramas depicting the lives of locals engaged in hunting, trapping, and living in simple cabins. These immersive exhibits offer a unique opportunity to delve into the culture and history of the region. For those seeking a deeper understanding of polar expeditions, simply ascend the stairs.
This section is dedicated to the epic adventures of Arctic explorers and showcases replicas of the planes used in exploring the North Pole, as well as the famous ship Fram, renowned for its role in Roald Amundsen‘s historic voyage to the South Pole. Despite its compact size, the Polar Museum will delight history enthusiasts and anyone interested in the unique experiences of living in the Arctic. The Polar Museum welcomes visitors every day from 11:00 to 17:00, with admission priced at NOK 100 for adults; entry is free for children and students.
Relax in Tromsø’s Diverse Spa Scene
Tromsø beckons with a plethora of exceptional experiences for those in search of relaxation and pleasure in saunas and swimming pools. Tromsø’s saunas are a true delight, offering a diverse range of options, from the traditional saunas you may have already experienced to unique and one-of-a-kind offerings. Among these, the Pust Sauna truly stands out, perched on the city’s waterfront. This floating gem provides breathtaking views of the Arctic Cathedral and the Arctic Bridge. It serves as the ideal setting to bask in the sauna’s heat and then rejuvenate with a revitalizing dip in the harbor.
Moving on to the pools, Tromsø Badet is an excellent choice. Situated atop Tromsøya Island, this facility boasts a variety of indoor pools and an outdoor pool. However, the surprises do not end there. Inside, you’ll discover a comprehensive wellness area featuring a Finnish sauna, steam baths, water slides, and a fantastic swimming pool. This venue is also ideal for families traveling with children, as it offers a wide array of activities suitable for all ages.
Climb Fjellheisen for a spectacular view of Tromsø
The Fjellheisen, also known as the Tromsø Cable Car, is an absolute must-do for visitors to Tromsø. Situated in the mainland part of the city, this funicular ride presents the perfect opportunity to soak in the city’s most breathtaking vistas. Your journey kicks off in the charming Tromsdalen neighborhood and, in just four short minutes, whisks you to the summit of the majestic Storsteinen mountain.
Upon reaching the summit, you’ll discover that the panoramic view of Tromsø is truly magnificent. The mountain station, aptly named Fjellstua, provides an idyllic spot for admiring the beauty of the surroundings. A brief stroll will lead you to the Tromsø Viewpoint. From here, you can take in the entire cityscape. Marvel at the complete expanse of Tromsøya Island, including its iconic bridge connecting the mainland to the city center.
You’ll also catch glimpses of the bustling port, the city’s vibrant core, and the picturesque Prestvannet lake tucked behind the city center. Yet, the view extends even further, encompassing the vast Kvaløya Island in the distance. This island, one of Norway’s largest, boasts rugged, snow-capped peaks and serves as a natural spectacle of rare beauty. Tickets for a round trip start at NOK 320 for adults (approximately €32), while one-way fares are available for NOK 210 for adults (approximately €21).
Indulge in Reindeer Meat Delicacies
When visiting Tromsø, one of the quintessential culinary experiences is savoring the exquisite reindeer meat, provided, of course, that you are inclined to enjoy meat. For centuries, reindeer have been herded by locals, especially nomadic Sami herders, as a vital source of sustenance. In fact, they are among the few native animals in these cold and harsh lands where importing meat from animals raised in milder regions remains less sustainable even today.
This traditional protein is widely cherished throughout the city and can be found on nearly every local restaurant menu. Despite its resemblance to beef, reindeer meat is notably leaner, imparting a delicate flavor and a light texture that sets it apart. Reindeer meat is often likened to venison due to its similarities but stands out because of its incredible tenderness. To enhance its subtle flavors, it is frequently served with a delectable sauce, often crafted from cream or red wine, resulting in an exceptional fusion of tastes.
For an unparalleled reindeer meat dining experience, Mathallen is an absolute must-visit. This restaurant is overseen by an award-winning chef, and the presentation of the dishes is truly spectacular. Here, you can relish reindeer meat prepared like a succulent steak, accompanied by fresh, locally sourced vegetables—a touch of Arctic authenticity that imparts a distinctive element to the dish. All of this is beautifully complemented by a rich and creamy sauce that further elevates the meat’s flavor.
Experience the Magic of New Year’s Eve in Tromsø
If you’re planning your Christmas trip to Tromsø, consider extending your stay until early January to fully enjoy the multitude of activities and sights this charming city has to offer. Embrace the vibrant spirit of New Year’s Eve in Tromsø, where you’ll discover a unique atmosphere that sets the perfect tone for welcoming the new year. Like many cities worldwide, Tromsø treats its residents and visitors to a mesmerizing fireworks display the moment the clock strikes midnight.
What truly distinguishes New Year’s Eve in Tromsø, however, is the enchanting tradition of illuminating figures from the old year with flaming torches on the mountainside. These fiery figures infuse the air with a magical ambiance and a sense of eager anticipation as the final countdown draws near. The fiery torches begin their graceful dance on the mountains just before midnight, culminating in a spectacular transformation that symbolizes the transition from the departing year to the one about to commence. As the seconds tick away, the old year’s numerals gradually morph into the digits of the new year, carrying with them hope and excitement for the future.
This dazzling spectacle can be enjoyed from various locations across the island. Charlottenlund Park offers a serene and picturesque setting for observing the fireworks and torchlight displays. Another favored viewing spot is Alfheim Stadium, where you can join the local residents in joyful celebration as they welcome the new year. For a truly panoramic view of the city and the New Year’s Eve extravaganza, another great spot is near the Tromsø Maritime Skole.
For an even more expansive vista, a visit to the Tromsø Bridge and Storsteinen Mountain is a must. Storsteinen Mountain can be conveniently reached via the Fjellheisen cable car, which provides a spectacular journey to the summit and offers breathtaking views of the city and the New Year’s Eve festivities from a lofty vantage point.
What is the weather like in Tromsø at Christmas?
Tromsø boasts a unique and captivating climate. Summer brings an abundance of daylight, with the sun never setting, making it the perfect season for hiking, leisurely nature walks, fjord cruises, and a plethora of outdoor activities amidst the awe-inspiring Norwegian landscapes. But surprisingly, it’s the winter season that truly shines as the liveliest time of year. Despite the extended polar night, local life is punctuated by events and ceremonies, while the surroundings take on an especially evocative and truly memorable character.
This enchanting Norwegian city enjoys a predominantly subarctic climate, but its exceptional geographical location lends it distinctive traits. Nestled on an island amidst a strait and encircled by fjords, embraced by majestic surrounding mountains, Tromsø undergoes a captivating transformation into a winter wonderland during the colder months. The city typically wears a thick blanket of snow, casting a magical and fairy-tale ambiance.
During winter, temperatures generally hover a few degrees below freezing, which might sound chilly, but, thanks to the tempering influence of the sea and its coastal position, Tromsø experiences milder conditions compared to the Norwegian hinterland, where temperatures can often plummet below -20°C. Commencing on November 27, the city enters the polar night season, which extends until January 15. Throughout these weeks, the sun remains below the horizon, enveloping the city in constant darkness. This phenomenon offers a unique opportunity to witness the Northern Lights, frequently gracing the night skies with their enchanting and enigmatic hues.
Winter in Tromsø beckons lovers of cold-weather activities, including skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and thrilling safaris for Northern Lights spotting. The city also exudes a welcoming and authentic atmosphere, featuring cozy cafes, restaurants serving local delicacies, and a diverse array of cultural events and festivals that infuse vitality into city life. Ultimately, winter in Tromsø offers an unforgettable experience, where nature, culture, and the allure of the north converge to create an unparalleled atmosphere.