Photo: Farout
Fjord Tours Articles / 13 Jan 2020

Polar night season in Tromsø

If you’re wondering when to plan your visit to Tromsø, often referred to as the Paris of the North, you might be curious about Polar Night Season. From when it is, to what to expect and things you should pack, this post will cover everything you need to know about Norway’s incredibly magical Polar Night season.

What Is It and When Is It?

Polar Night Season happens every year in Tromsø. It begins on November 27th and lasts until January 15th. However, due to the high mountain ranges around the city, it actually gets dark beginning November 21st until about January 21st. During this time, the sun does not rise at all. There is a subtle twilight light from about 9 AM to 2 PM, but otherwise, the city is dark. While this may sound a bit dreary, Tromsø locals actually report lower levels of wintertime depression than expected which may be related to a more positive wintertime mindset.

T Dennys Hess 1102499 Unsplash
Photo: Dennis Hess/

Polar Night Weather

Typically, the first snowfall of the season happens in September or October, however, in recent years, this has been delayed. It’s good to keep this in mind if you are booking activities that require snow. Dogsledding and skiing are both popular activities in Tromsø, but if they are booked too early in the season, there might not be enough snow and you risk having your reservation canceled.

Hundekjøring Tarjei Skare (2)
Photo: Tarjei Skare

It doesn’t get as cold in Norway’s Arctic as it does in neighboring Finland. This is due to the warmer breeze coming off of the Atlantic. However, you’ll still want to come prepared with plenty of warm layers if you’re visiting Tromsø in the winter. Tourists should bring a thermal base layer, a comfortable mid-layer and a warm, water-resistant shell. You’ll also want to have a number of cold-weather accessories to choose from including a hat, mittens, a scarf, and warm, waterproof footwear, and socks.

(C) Brim Explorer Northern Lights On Deck
Photo: Brim Explorer

Polar Night Activities

There will be no shortage of activities available to visitors of Tromsø during the Polar Night Season. Of course, many people travel to Tromsø during the Polar Night Season in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis. For your best shot, consider booking a tour guide to help you locate these stunning lights for a once in a lifetime experience.

Perhaps you are looking to get out on the water during your time in Tromsø. If so, you’ll be able to choose from a wide variety of activities including tours of the fjords as well as whale watching. Both orcas and humpback whales can be spotted off the shores of Tromsø from October to January before they head south for the winter.

005940 Marten Bril Www.Visitvesteralen.Com
Photo: Marten Bril / Www.Visitvesteralen.Com

If you prefer to stay dry on the mainland, there’s plenty to do there as well. From dogsledding to hiking to ski touring you’ll be able to find an adventure that suits you. If you’re looking for something more low-key, consider taking a walk around the city to visit the shops and cafes. Or, book some time in at a local spa to escape the cold.

000870 Bj Rn Klauer Www.Nordnorge.Com
Photo: Bjørn Klauer/

There is no question that visiting Tromsø during the Polar Night Season is a magical and unique experience. In no time, you’ll see why Tromsø is so often called the Paris of the North.

Inspired to visit Norway in winter season? Check our winter tours in Norway HERE