The Arctic capital of Norway, Tromso is a city that feels like a dream. Colourful cabins, stunning snowy landscapes and a glorious city views all make this city charming and welcoming for any traveller. Moreover, it is a great location to target for Aurora hunting and other Arctic adventures like whale watching, dog sledding and many more. Just google Tromso and look at the first set of images you see and I bet you would instantly wanna be there. I have spent 3 days in Tromso in winter trying to cross many arctic bucket list items and here is a list of top things to do in Tromso in winter.
Being an ultimate Norway stalker and fan, Tromso was my obvious city of choice to chase Auroras and I spent 3 days in Tromso in winter in January. At the same time, I also wanted to explore the picturesque villages and fjords outside the city, as well as experience some of the arctic adventures during my visit. Keeping all this in mind, I planned a one week road trip for my Arctic expedition with 3 days in Tromso. While venturing out on multiple Northern Lights chases in around Tromso, we experienced the nothing short of epic Norwegian landscape on the neighboring islands and fjords. In this blog I cover the major Tromso locations that can be covered in three days leaving the arctic adventures in neighbouring areas to be covered in following blogs.
If watching Northern Lights is big on your travel bucket list, DONT MISS the Exclusive Aurora Hunting Tips Blog sharing tips including locations, smart phone applications in the Arctic including Tromso. Unfortunately, while we were not lucky enough to see the Auroras in Tromso we did see them in Abisko, Sweden later on in the trip.
Words cannot describe the excitement I felt, but pictures in the moment can. Marc and I flew via Norwegian Air to Tromso from Gatwick airport, London and our other friends Mathews, Raunak and Kishore flew in from Holland and Austin.
Arrival in Tromso was a magical experience as we landed while it was snowing heavily and our first moments there were already so fascinating and much of a contrast to what we’d left behind.
As we arrived rather late at night, we all met at the airport, picked up our rental car and headed to our accommodation to crash. Waking up to Tromso was like waking up in a dream, the Airbnb where we stayed was just behind a lake with a great view. I really love the houses painted in teal, green, grey etc.
We all went to the lake nearby and had some photo shoots. Taking in the view really demanded a lot of time. I fondly recall how everyone walked in different directions to explore this calm and silent world as opposed to my usual city trips where we are all constantly chatting along with the usual hustle and bustle.
We soon found ourselves on the road headed towards the Arctic Sweden, Abisko and Kiruna
We spent 3 days road tripping to Sweden, Finland and Lyngen before we returned back to Tromso to complete our journey. The route we took can been seen on the link below and will be covered in my future blogs.
We arrived back in Tromso on the fifth day and had decided to use our three remaining days to visit some of the top landmarks and nearby villages on our list, and spurred on by our past Aurora experience, to spend our nights hunting for a longer Aurora experience.
The Airbnb we stayed at offered a stunning view of the city and sea and if the skies were clear, would have been a great location to see the Northen lights from but we weren’t so lucky.
By now we’d decided to embrace our inner Norwegian and had gotten ourselves some Norway scarfs to proudly roam around living out our Norwegian dream. Here is a shot of fully Arctic equipped Marc who was our main photographer during the trip. Hands up if you love Norway, we will be best friends! All of us are mad about Norway!
We first headed to the famous Arctic Cathedral (Tromsdalen Church) in Tromso which has a unique triangle shape with colorful stained glass windows.
While the exterior is super pretty (checkout Google for some stunning aerial shots.) the interior leaves something to be desired and I would not recommend it unless you love to visit churches or want to support the locals by paying for the entry fee.
If you go up the funicular you land on the snowy mountain to get one of the best views of this city, which easily ranks as my most favorite city view so far. There is a glorious shape to the city from the top, showcasing the islands, bridges and mountains. It was a lot to digest how pretty a city and parts of planet can be sometimes. We did not manage to capture stunning shots really as it was always a battle between getting the light settings just right and still being able to feel your fingers, but trust me this was breath taking. Note that this is a prime location to see the Auroras on a clear sky day. As you can see there were clouds for us and although we waited as long as we could, we did not see the lights here. either (:bad luck:)
The sky did get slightly clearer at some point so that we could see this oval shape of light surrounding the moon. This is a very common view in the Arctic sky and is a treat to the eyes, while we pondered about the magnificent universe and galaxy we are revolving in for every moment we spend on the planet.
The snow mountain camp we were taken to was amazing with little huts organized to welcome the guests. You get all essential gear here including ski jackets, tripods etc. We were also served some delicious Norwegian cheese dessert and tea as we sat waiting for the sky to get clearer. The fire place really added extra warmth to this whole experience.
While we waited for the Auroras, we had some fun here playing with some photography tricks. I tried to showcase my hand writing skills with the torch on my phone while the fellow photographers clicked. I am super jealous of these folks now as I don’t have this Norway printed picture. Gotta do this againnnnnn.
After being unsuccessful with the expert trip, we continued our own chase in the island of Tromso which is a very famous place to see the lights. We roamed around Kvaloya, but were not lucky yet again. Here are some shots of a clearer sky. Check Kvaloya on google, you will see stunning Aurora pictures in similar locations. Just to stress this, folks read my blog on the chase tip as it is purely due to weather we didn’t see them while we were there. Having favorable weather is such an important factor to seeing Auroras.
This is a glimpse of the Tromso landmarks and the beginning of our trip. I will cover other locations of the road trip, other arctic adventures and an island called Sommaroy near Tromso in the upcoming blogs. Stay in Touch!