Tromso is Norway’s gateway to the Arctic and a perfect place to gaze in awe at the Northern Lights (as long as your city-break is deep in winter) or celebrate the never setting sun of the midsummer weeks. Its history began in 1252 when the first church was built, officially putting Tromso on the map, although the Norse had been there already for some 400 years. Located in Troms county on the small island of Tromsøya, the city lies some 350 kilometres inside the Arctic circle. Nevertheless, with the aid of the warming Gulf Stream, the city is inhabited by 63,000 people, making Tromso is the largest city and urban area in North Norway. airBaltic is your airline for cheap tickets for flights to the small but modern Langnes Airport.
The official language of Norway is of course Norwegian, which is what you may expect to hear in Tromsø, as well as pockets (if lucky) of the Sami language, which is somewhat related to Finnish. English is widely understood and spoken, so travel should not pose any language issues on your city-break.
See and Do
Tromso is rightly obsessed with the north as city that lays claim to being on top of the world – according to lines of latitude, that is. Long dark nights of winter are well suited for glimpsing the magic of the Aurora Borealis, otherwise known as the Northern Lights, while summer nights are almost nonexistent, and the city gets its groove under the soft glow of the twilight. The most famous of its sights is the Arctic Cathedral, a magical church that seems carved out of ice, steel and dazzling crystal.
At the city’s Polar Museum alongside the Skansen docks explore alongside the past adventurers into the north with its detailed history of early expeditions. The Tromsø University Museum, located at the south of the island, skilfully combines culture and history in a fascinating overview of the city’s inhabitants and highlights. The Botanisk Hage features an assortment of cold weather species, making visitors feel as if they’ve stepped into an alien world of different life.
Once you have seen the city’s sights, an excellent way to enjoy Tromso is by heading out and taking in the nature around it. There are great options for hiking, skiing and (why not?) dog sledding in the winter. Before your city-break comes to a close and you head off to your airline and home, get into the city’s own Mack Brewery for a tour and a sample from one of their 18 different beers, in a perfect way to lift the spirits in winter or toast the blessing of light in summer.