1. Chase the Northern Lights
Even in today’s scientific world we remain under the spell of the Northern Lights, nature’s magnificent diaphanous display that turns the crisp Arctic night into a dancing display of disco beams. With Tromsø just a few hours’ flight from Britain, these celestial charms have never been easier to find.
2. Drive a snowmobile past the Lyngen Alps
To the east of the city lie the Lyngen Alps, a range of sharp snow-capped peaks that extend northwards towards the Norwegian Sea, dropping dramatically to Lyngenfjord on the far side. Riding a snowmobile is the best way to view this imposing landscape, giving you the agility and power to carve your way up steep ascents and meander through thick forests.
Want to enjoy the view without the effort of ski walking? Hop on a snowmobile instead!
3. Take a husky safari through the Arctic wilderness
The peoples of the Arctic haven’t lost the need for a well-trained pack of huskies. A mode of transport that has changed little in a thousand years, dogsledding remains the most reliable way of getting around, and, as you glide over the ice with the hazy wintry light filtering through the trees and glittering off the ground, you’ll appreciate it’s the most beautiful mode of travel too.
4. Take a Northern Lights dinner cruise through Tromso harbour
Chasing the aurora with a trip into a wilderness with zero light pollution may well be the best way to guarantee a front row seat at the polar show, but a dinner cruise is the equivalent of getting a box, adding an atmosphere of pure refinement. Dining on delicacies, sipping fine wine, accompanied by the moody lighting of the Tromsø quayside is possibly the best way to view the Northern Lights in style.
5. Indulge in the five-course tasting menu at Emma's Drømmekjøkken
Say ‘drømmekjøkken’ enough times and you might be able to work out the English translation. No? ‘Dream kitchen’. The menu here lives up to its name, offering treats such as carpaccio of whale, roasted roe deer and a klippfisk soup, a local delicacy of dried, salted cod, all served alongside the catch of the day and a smorgasbord of fresh local produce, providing an unforgettable introduction to Arctic haute cuisine.
6. Head for a traditional Tromso night out
Start your night at the Ølhallen, whose status as the oldest tavern in town is confirmed by its rather unimaginative name, which translates to ‘ale hall’. This atmospheric venue dates back to the 1920s, and serves sixteen varieties of locally-brewed Mack beer, from the world’s northernmost brewery. Afterwards, weave your way to the Tromsdalen Kirke, affectionately known as the Arctic Cathedral, a distinctive local landmark that hosts midnight concerts of folk songs and hymns.
A, how could we put it, 'friendly' welcome awaits as you enter Ølhallen!
7. Spend the night in a fjord-side fisherman's cabin at Malangen Resort
The painted wooden cabins of this scenic resort that fringe the shore of Malangen fjord mimic the traditional fishing huts that you’ll spot all over Norway’s Arctic fjordlands: small, simple boxes raised on stilts, coloured in vermillion to make a chocolate-box image when combined with the idyllic mountain backdrop and the gently lapping sea.
8. Gaze over Lyngenfjord as you soak in a hot tub
One of the most glorious lodge locations in Norway, Lyngen Lodge blends beautifully with the environment thanks to the use of traditional materials in its construction: pine timber and an insulating turf roof. By day, gaze across the narrow fjord at an endless vista of icy mountains, and at night watch the Northern Lights play over the peaks.
While at Lyngen Lodge, why not try your hand at authentic ice fishing?
9. Search for humpback and killer whales in the Tromso fjords
Venture out to view two of the world’s most intelligent creatures in action. The orcas of the Arctic have devised a clever hunting technique, herding shoals of herring close to the surface before slapping down their tailfins, creating shockwaves that stun the fish. Hungry humpbacks join in the feeding frenzy, creating a spectacular sight if you’re lucky enough to witness it.
10. Feed reindeer & learn about Sami culture
More closely related to the Arctic peoples of Siberia than to the Vikings, these semi-nomadic pastoralists have inhabited Norway’s northern regions for millennia. Masters of trapping, fishing and reindeer herding, the Sami showcase an ancient and sustainable way to live off the land, and studying their culture offers a fascinating insight into man’s ability to adapt to almost any environment.