As you arrive in Tromso, ‘the arctic capital’, you experience a sudden rush of excitement: you’re at the last outpost of civilisation before the wild icy sweeps of the Arctic Ocean. But while the streets and harbor may reflect a past of polar adventure, Tromsø is more than just a dropping off point for Arctic expeditions – it’s a vibrant cultural centre for a region of small fishing villages.

Located on an island connected by bridges to the mainland, the center is famous for its charming, old wooden houses, cathedral and century-old cinema. The atmosphere is as lively as you’d expect of a bustling port town, which is also the site of the most northerly university on the planet, and you’ll find many fine restaurants, cafes and bars here. One of the most important observatories in the whole of the Arctic is in Tromsø, specializing in studies of cosmic radiation, meteorology, Northern Lights and the earth’s magnetic field.

Green and lit by the midnight sun in the summer, covered in snow and illuminated by the Northern Lights in winter, Tromso offers an excellent base from which to launch your own polar expedition further north.

When to go

In winter, Tromsø is one of the best places to see the Norther Lights. Summer and winter offer different activities.


What to do

  • Visit the Polar Museum
  • Sailing trips
  • Shopping
  • Polaria experience center
  • Botanical garden visit
  • The Northern Lights excursions in winter
  • Kayaking is popular in the summer