There are two different set of options of things to do in Tromsø, depending of the period of the year. Tromsø is 300 km (about 200 miles) above the Arctic Circle. This means that, if you go there in summer, there will be light 24h a day. The opposite situation in winter time, where the city is surrounded all time by darkness.
The average temperatures are – to give an idea – about -3 °C ( 27 °F) in January, and about 12 °C ( 54 °F) in July.
The city center of Tromsø is located on the island of Tromsoya, and it is the location of the most northern university and botanic garden in the world. This gives an example the vibrant culture that animates the city.
I will list some of the activities in the area: for what I said before, some are available only during the dark months, and vice versa. One recommendation very important: most of the activities can be fully booked. Better to be proactive and book in advance!
There are many buildings in the city that you will be happy to visit: the public library, the botanic garden for example. But notable is the the Arctic Cathedral. Built in 1965 and inspired by Arctic nature, it is place for concert and other events.
The Polar Museum preserves and conveys stories related to the history of Tromsø and the Arctic. The Polar Museum’s permanent exhibitions deal with sealing, overwintering trapping, the stories of famous trappers such as Henry Rudi and Wanny Wolstad, the expeditions of Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen.
I want to mention the statue “the runners”. This was donated to an italian entrepreneur who ran the Tromsø Midnight Sun Marathon and was deeply inspired from it. It is also in the finisher medal in many editions.
You can admire Tromsø from above, taking a ride on the cable car to Mount Storsteinen. But if you are not afraid of having tired legs, you can get there by climbing the 1200 stone steps up the Sherpa staircase! The view is amazing.
It is also breath taking to admire the fjords nearby. You can do this in different ways: arctic safari, where you will explore the area on board of catamarans. Or, similarly, on fishing boats. The plus here is that you will be able to eat a freshly cooked soup with the catch of the day! There is also a ferry service that goes from Tromsø to Lysnes. back and forth it takes about 2 hours, and it is a lower budget option to see the coast.
I was there for summer, but I must mention one of the greatest attractions in the area: the northern lights. There are high chances to spot an aurora borealis in winter time. If you want to combine a trip with a running adventure and see the northern lights, don’t worry! Tromsø organizes also a multiple distance Polar Night event!
Restaurants and accomodation
There is a wide choice of hotels, restaurants and pubs in town. I recommend early booking to find options that fit most of budgets.