A trip to Tromso is, in itself, a memorable experience. The town is lively, packed full of pubs, restaurants, galleries and museums. It makes for a superb city break at any time of the year. But, in winter, Norway’s Arctic capital really comes into its own. And, while our basic Northern Lights break affords all you need in terms of flights, transfers and accommodation, it’s the excursions that really make a stay here special. Our premium break includes two of our favourites – an aurora hunt and a husky safari – but there’s much else besides, from a visit to the city’s new Ice Domes to a tour and tasting at the world’s northernmost distillery. Call our specialists for the latest prices.
1: Chase the Northern Lights
Even in today’s scientific world we remain under the spell of the Northern Lights, which turn the crisp Arctic night into a dancing display of disco beams. With Tromso just a few hours’ flight from Britain, and a collection of well-placed basecamps on its snowy outskirts, 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. 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.
3: Join a husky safari through 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
Chasing the Northern Lights 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 perhaps even more special. Tucking into delicious and hearty home-cooked food, and included hot drinks, it’s all accompanied by the moody lighting of the Tromso quayside, making this tour among the best ways to view the aurora.
5: Visit the Ice Domes and tuck into Arctic Tapas
A recent addition to the city’s winter scene, the Tromso Ice Domes are carved anew each year by expert artists, their shimmering sculptures and friezes lit by ethereal glows and themed on everything from the Northern Lights to the local region’s Samí culture. On this tour, you’ll enjoy a drink at the ice bar, explore the domes themselves in the company of a guide, and then settle down to an included lunch of delicious Arctic tapas.
6: Head for a tasting at the world’s northernmost distillery
In the freezing arctic, there’s much to be said for a warming glass of the local tipple. In this case, at the world’s northernmost distillery in the shadow of the Lyngen Alps, it’s vodka, aquavit, gin and whisky – all made from local herbs and berries – that form the day’s tasting centrepiece. Spend a memorable few hours sampling the produce in the company of experts, and learning about the Norse mythology surrounding the making of alcohol under the Northern Lights.
7: Combine dog sledding with a stay at an aurora camp
There can be few better experiences than staying right out in the wilderness to watch the Northern Lights swirl in inky black skies, before curling up in a snug sleeping bag on a bed of reindeer skins in a traditional Samí tent. But that’s exactly what lies in store on this overnight adventure, which also includes a tasty bacalao supper followed by coffee and cake for desert. A morning of action-packed husky sledding only adds to the fun.
8: Explore Tromso’s seas on a RIB boat tour
The coastline around Tromso is truly spectacular, its snow-dusted fjords and soaring cliffs home to all manner of seabirds, from puffins and guillemots to little auks and the delightfully named yellow-billed loon. From time to time, seals can be seen lazing on the rocks and, while most whales tend to depart before the onset of winter, there are still the odd pod or two that hang around well into January.
9: Head out into the wilds on a guided snowshoe tour
They’ve been the preferred choice of footwear among Arctic explorers for centuries. Now, you can follow in the steps of Amundsen and the rest by strapping on your very own pair of snowshoes and heading off into Tromso’s wintry surrounds. It’s a trip made all the more memorable by sweeping views across Balsfjord and the chance to warm up afterwards with hot drinks by a roaring fire.
10: Learn about Sami Culture and take a reindeer sled ride
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. On this half-day tour, you’ll gain an insight into their unique culture, and take a spin on their go-to form of transport – the trusty reindeer sled.