While Tromso itself is miniature, it packs in so many highlights among its snowy streets. From the finest patisseries to buzzing bars and pubs, and the best Nordic cuisine you are ever likely to eat, this gateway to the Norwegian Arctic certainly lives up to the hype.
But, there’s far more to Tromso than the delights of its city centre. And, if you’re there to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, or experience the numerous excursions on offer – as I was on my recent trip – there are plenty of thrilling options to help pack out your schedule.
Although Tromso itself is beautiful, with its delightful harbour and mountain setting, the excursions outside of the city will really complete your visit. On my first full day, I was luck enough to go husky sledding – a real trip highlight. Just a 25-minute transfer from our pick-up point at the Radisson Blu Hotel – itself a mere five-minute walk from where I was staying at The Thon – the excursion was so accessible. And, once we arrived at the camp, we were met by 300 huskies, including a number of impossibly cute puppies, all so sociable, and playful. After spending some time with the dogs, our guide Miguel demonstrated how to drive the husky sled. And, as I was travelling solo, I was lucky enough to mush my pack for the duration of the ride, a truly unforgettable experience, which lasted just under an hour and was made all the more memorable by our guides, who were superb throughout.
After the sledding, we warmed up around an open fire in a wilderness hut, where we were treated to a delicious lunch of traditional Sami reindeer stew. There were also hot-drink refills available throughout, which was a blessing on such a cold day!
The weather the next morning was stunningly clear, and the resulting views of Tromso’s snow-laden surrounds were simply magnificent. In fact, it set the perfect scene for my day’s excursion to the fabulous Tromso Ice Domes at Camp Tamok. Departing mid-morning, the hour-and-a-half drive to the camp was sublime and the landscape breathtaking.
Once we were on site, our guide Matthias conducted a tour of the domes, explaining how different artists from all over Europe contributed to their unique design. I was particularly impressed with the bar area where, alongside brightly coloured beverages served in glasses made of ice, intricate sculptures of wolves, lynx and bears looked down from the snowy walls, depicting some of the predatory species found in the Norwegian Arctic. We then moved onto the guest rooms, with the beds sculpted purely from ice.
Among the Ice Domes’ many highlights is the delicious lunch. I particularly enjoyed the selection of Norwegian tapas, which included the likes of sliced reindeer meat and smoked salmon with dill and mustard. You can choose to dine either in the bar area or, if you’re feeling the chill, in a cosy hut around an open fire.
On my final day in Norway, before my evening flight, I had time for one last excursion, this time to experience the traditions of Sami reindeer herding and the culture surrounding the peoples of the Scandinavian Arctic. After feeding the resident reindeer and taking in the spectacular surroundings on a short sled ride, we warmed up in a cosy lavvo (a Sami tent) to listen to stories about the Sami’s unique heritage, their use of reindeer for transport, food and clothing.
This excursion also included lunch, with more of that delicious reindeer stew to enjoy! This particular trip is one I would highly recommend on the day of travel back to the UK, as it includes a perfect blend of activities and is in close proximity to Tromsø itself. The perfect end to a perfect weekend away.