Fjord Tours Articles / 14 Dec 2021

Things to do in Tromsø in the winter

If you’re looking for a winter destination that offers picturesque landscapes, delectable food, memorable nature experiences, and plenty of winter charm, then the vibrant city of Tromsø is the place for you. Dubbed “the Paris of the north”, this city is one of the best to celebrate Christmas due to the magical feel of the city.

People may think you’re crazy for traveling to this part of northern Norway in the winter, but there are many things you can see and do to make the cold temperatures worth it! Tromsø offers the perfect winter wonderland experience for anyone who is willing to take the trip.

Aurora Safari Minibus 3

Chase the northern lights

Viewing the northern lights has to be the number one thing to see when visiting Tromsø in the winter. This polar city is known as one of the best places in the world to view the northern lights. If you’re lucky enough, you can even see the green hues from the city center. But - to get the best view of the lights, you’ll need to get out of the city center! 

Booking a guided tour is recommended for those chasing the northern lights. An experienced guide who knows the local area well knows just where to go to chase the lights, and may also be able to help you get the best photos of this natural wonder! The tours will take you away from the bright lights of Tromsø city center, giving you a much better chance to get a good view of the fascinating lights.

While the goal is to see the northern lights, an added bonus of these trips is seeing the Norwegian landscape where you will encounter massive glaciers, snowy mountains, and dramatic fjords. There are many different ways you can experience the northern lights, have a look below!

Ways to experience the Northern Lights

Northern Lights Cuisine Cruise

Take in the atmospheric Arctic night onboard a silent electric ship with uninhibited panoramas. Includes a tasty three-course dinner.

Aurora Safari Camp in Tromsø

Join in on an Aurora Safari Camp in Tromsø and experience the magical Northern Lights! Enjoy an evening in a safe and private camp where you get the opportunity to take unique photos of the dancing Northern Lights.

Northern Lights Photo Tour from Reine

Experience the greatest show on earth and join in on a Northern Lights Photo Workshop in Lofoten.

Northern Cuisine and Aurora Chase in Tromsø

The Northern Cuisine and Aurora Chase combine two precious local ingredients: the northern lights and locally sourced and prepared food by a great chef. This is an exclusive small-group tour, all to give you a relaxed and cozy experience while triggering your senses.

Enjoy a whale-watching cruise

Whale watching is a spectacular experience. Take part in a silent whale watching cruise along the stunning Tromsø coastline – you’ll be gliding along the water in an eco-friendly hybrid electric catamaran, giving you the chance to experience the breathtaking view of killer and humpback whales at close proximity, without disturbing these magnificent creatures.

If you are prone to seasickness, you might consider a whale watching tour in Skjervøy. On this experience, you are first transported by bus to Skjervøy, a great area for seeing the mighty whales. The whale watching is of course done at sea, but since the starting point is in Skjervøy, you do not have to cross the open sea with all its heavy waves.

SWW 01

Go dog-sledding

If your time in Tromsø is limited, dog-sledding is an absolute must! You will have the experience and thrill of a lifetime. Go on a sled that is pulled by huskies that are just as excited about the ride as you will be. You have the option of “driving” the sled and directing the huskies or just sitting and enjoying the ride. If you drive, you normally switch with another person halfway in the journey so that you can enjoy both the thrill of riding and driving. Don’t forget to pet the huskies for a job well done! Join one of our husky safaris for a truly special guided experience in the Arctic landscape.

Husky Safari 7

Enjoy a snowmobile safari

The Tromsø area is known for its fantastic snow conditions in winter, and there are few better ways to explore the Arctic landscape than on a snowmobile safari. Join a snowmobile tour of the spectacular Lyngen Alps with an experienced local guide, and enjoy a fun and fast-paced way to experience this winter wonderland. There will be plenty of chances for snapping some great photos, and after the tour, you’ll be treated to a delicious fish soup!

Lyngen Snowmobile 2

Go up Fjellheisen

For the best views of Tromsø, a trip up the Fjellheisen cable car can give you more than you bargained for. The panoramic views of the winter wonderland will cause you to not want to come down. Capture a bird’s eye view of the small islands, vast mountains, and even the northern lights if you are lucky enough. Don’t forget to take a camera to immortalize the beauty! If you’re hungry or cold, you can stop by Fjellstua cafe for some famous gløgg (a popular Norwegian Christmas drink), hot beverages, cold beer or snacks.

Tour Ishavskatedralen (the Arctic Cathedral)

Tromsø’s most famous landmark features a uniquely shaped cathedral whose architecture was mainly inspired by icebergs and traditional Sami dwellings. The name translates to “The Cathedral of the Arctic Sea”, and it looks like a set of triangles stacked like dominoes. You can see the spectacular cathedral from anywhere in the city. The cathedral features mosaic glass which creates a stunning light show when the sunlight hits it and is well worth a visit!

Fjellheisen 4
Photo: Farout

Visit a Sami reindeer farm

The Sami people are the only indigenous group that currently exists in Norway. They are known for living in the harsh Arctic conditions and raising reindeer for a living. In Tromsø, there are plenty of opportunities for reindeer sledding through the snow, and also learning about the culture and history of the Samis. Visiting one of the Sami reindeer farms is a great way to give them your support, and is especially fun for kids!

Tromsø ice domes

If you would like to visit a real igloo complete with an ice bar, ice cinema, ice restaurant, and ice hotel rooms, you should check out the Tromsø ice domes in the winter months. If your budget allows, opt to spend a night in an ice hotel and experience what it is like to sleep in a real-life igloo!

Reindeer In The Sunset LR
Photo: Lyngsfjord Adventure

Go ice fishing

Have you ever watched cartoons where you see people casting a fishing line in a hole in the ice to catch fish? This activity offers exactly that, and it’s quite common in Norway. Experience what it is like to gather food in harsh conditions by going ice fishing or hunting for a few spots on your own.

View the midday sunset

For a fantastic and free activity, take a walk to Tromsø bridge where you’ll see pink and yellow hues being cast over the entire city. The best time to begin walking is when the sky turns a hint of yellow. On the contrary, in the summer months, there is an entire month of the year when there is only sun. For this reason, many people travel from near and far to see the “Tromsø midnight sun”, a phenomenon where the sun is still brightly shining at midnight due to the change in seasons.

Visit Tromsø’s Christmas markets

From mid-November through to December, there are several Christmas markets in Tromsø featuring beautiful Christmas decor and twinkling fairy lights to give that magical feeling that comes with the season. You can buy locally made bags, jewellery, enamel mugs, hand-blown glass items, chocolates and many other gifts to take home with you!

Ice Fishing Bird View 19
Photo: Lyngsfjord Adventure

Check out all our exciting activities in Tromsø

Midnight Sun adventure with RIB-boat in Tromsø

Join in on a RIB-boat trip by night from Tromsø and explore the Midnight Sun and surrounding nature in all it's glory. Icluding a stop at Gåsvær Island.

Aurora Safari Camp in Tromsø

Join in on an Aurora Safari Camp in Tromsø and experience the magical Northern Lights! Enjoy an evening in a safe and private camp where you get the opportunity to take unique photos of the dancing Northern Lights.

Whale Watching in Skjervøy, Tromsø

If you want to go on a whale watching adventure and witness an authentic natural feast with orcas and humpback whales, join this amazing tour from Tromsø to Skjervøy!

Northern Lights Cuisine Cruise

Take in the atmospheric Arctic night onboard a silent electric ship with uninhibited panoramas. Includes a tasty three-course dinner.

Silent Whale Watching Cruise

Join in on a Silent whale watching cruise along Tromsø, and watch the humpback and killer whales as they feed in the herring-rich fjords.

Coastal Scenery Safari with Local Tastings in Tromsø

Join in on a safari to Tromsø’s stunning coastal landscape, full of mountains, fjords, islands, and a fascinating history dating back more than 9,000 years. The safari includes visits to the mountain valley of Kattfjordeidet and the beautiful island of Sommarøy.

Dog sledding husky Safari in Tromsø

Join in on an exciting dog sledding adventure in wild and beautiful surroundings! Just over an hour from Tromsø, you find an amazing kennel, surrounded by mighty mountains and deep valleys. Here you get to experience a husky sledding trip in a real Northern Norwegian Arctic environment!

Snowmobile Safari in Lyngen, Tromsø

Explore the majestic Lyngen Alps with a local guide on this scenic and exciting Snowmobile Safari. Experience winter nature at its very best, as the Lyngen Alps offers some of the most beautiful winter scenery in all of Norway!

Arctic Fjord Cruise in Tromsø

Join a cruise on a hybrid-electric boat and amplify your experience with raw nature and wildlife. From fish below and birds above. Step ashore in a local fishing village and learn about the traditions and lifeline of many Norwegian coastal towns.

Coastal Scenery Safari with Local Lunch in Tromsø

Experience the Northern Norwegian culture by seeing the spectacular landscapes, tasting delicious local food and meeting the friendly locals during the magical polar nights.

Northern Cuisine and Aurora Chase in Tromsø

The Northern Cuisine and Aurora Chase combine two precious local ingredients: the northern lights and locally sourced and prepared food by a great chef. This is an exclusive small-group tour, all to give you a relaxed and cozy experience while triggering your senses.