view from the top of the cable car in tromso norway in the winter

10 of the BEST Things to do in Tromso Norway in Winter

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Looking to embrace the magic of winter in Norway? Look no further than Tromso, a picturesque city located in the Arctic Circle.

With its stunning landscapes, vibrant cultural scene (even referred to as The Paris of the North!), and an abundance of thrilling winter activities; Tromso is an ideal destination for those seeking an unforgettable winter adventure.

Whether you’re chasing the Northern Lights, embarking on a dog sledding expedition, or indulging in local cuisine at charming restaurants, this article will guide you through some of the best things to do in Tromso during the winter months.

So bundle up and get ready to experience the wonders that await you in this snowy wonderland! contains affiliate links and is a member of the Amazon LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase using one of these Amazon links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products I believe in. Read my disclaimer for more information.

Planning your trip? Use my favorite resources!

Accommodation – to find the best deals on hotels.
FlightsSkyscanner to look for the best prices and deals on flights.
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Tours/experiences – Viator or Get Your Guide are excellent sources for tours.

girl feeding reindeer in tromso norway in the winter
storefront in tromso norway in the winter with a stuffed polar bear in the window and norwegian flag
photo of the northern lights, one of the best things to do in tromso norway in the winter

Quick Info & Tips on Visiting Tromso in Winter

  • Country: Norway.
  • Currency: Norwegian Kroner.
  • Weather: Winter in Tromso Norway sees high temperatures of around 30-32°F, or 0°C and lows of about 24°F, or -4°C. Be prepared for the cold, and a chance of snow as well.
  • How to get to Tromso: Fly into Tromso’s International Airport. I flew from Newark in the U.S. to Oslo and then onto Tromso.
  • Best way to get around: You don’t need to rent a car in Tromso, since most of the day tour activities conveniently provide roundtrip transportation. Staying in the center of town is the easiest so you can walk everywhere, since Tromso isn’t very big. Taxi service is readily available to get you everywhere else you can’t reach on foot.
  • Where to stay: I stayed at Thon Hotel Tromso and would definitely recommend it. Right in the center of town, it makes walking to day tour pickup spots very convenient so you’re not walking too far in the cold, plus breakfast was included!

10 of the Best Things to do in Tromso Norway in Winter

1. Visit a Reindeer Farm

Okay I’m not ashamed to admit.. Before planning my visit to Tromso I had no ideas reindeer actually existed! Imagine my surprise when I learned you can visit an entire farm, feed them, and even take a sleigh ride with them! Mind. Blown.

This is definitely a top winter activity in Tromso and the best company to book with is Tromso Arctic Reindeer. The family that owns the company has been living with reindeer in Tromso for hundreds of years.

You get to learn about their Sami traditions and culture while having a bucket list experience of feeding reindeer in Norway!

This is a half day activity where you will get picked up in the city center of Tromso, ride about one hour in the bus to the farm, spend a few hours there where lunch and refreshments are provided, and then be driven back to town.

You can book either a day tour that begins at 10AM and lasts 4 hours, or an evening tour that begins at 6PM and lasts 4.5 hours. Book your tour through this link!

In the arctic winter mornings if you’re lucky and have clear skies, you can have a beautiful long lasting sunrise/sunset sky that makes a beautiful backdrop on their reindeer farm. On the evening tour you have the chance to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights!

As with all activities with animals, I am always concerned with ethics. I felt this tour through Tromso Arctic Reindeer was very ethical, the reindeer are well cared for, and the Sami have been herding reindeer for their population health due to climate change negatively affecting how the reindeer find food.

girl with reindeer in winter in tromso norway
reindeer in the winter in tromso norway
reindeer in tromso norway in the winter

Disclosure: I was provided this tour from Tromso Arctic Reindeer in exchange for a collaboration. All thoughts are my own and I would never recommend something if I didn’t believe it. I would have went on this tour even if it wasn’t for the collaboration!

2. Ride the Fjellheisen Cable Car

Touted as the most beautiful view in Tromso, I can’t disagree. Riding the Fjellheisen cable car actually wasn’t at the top of my list when I was making my itinerary for Tromso, despite it being on so many other blogger’s list of the top things to do in winter.

At first glance I thought it was quite expensive, and there was so many other things to do.. would it be worth it? Well luckily my best friend I was traveling with wanted to go up, and it was a highlight of our trip to Tromso!

The view from the top truly can’t be beat and was way more impressive than I thought it would be. 360 mountain views, a full view of the city of Tromso, and the beautiful fjords and surrounding waterways.

We were in Tromso during the Polar Night in mid January when the sun doesn’t fully rise over the horizon. Instead, you get a few hours each day of a never ending golden hour which made for fantastic views and lighting up on Fjellheisen.

Open from 10AM – Midnight daily, 1 round trip ticket for an adult is 415 Kroner, or about $40 USD. If you go at night, you could have the chance to see the Northern Lights!

Spend a few hours up there and warm up in the Fjellstua Cafe. We enjoyed a glass of wine and split a piece of cake while looking out at the beautiful view over the city and mountain tops.

view from the top of the cable car in tromso norway in the winter
girl posing on top of a mountain in winter in tromso norway
photo of sunset golden hour in tromso norway in the winter

Planning a trip to Norway and visiting the Lofoten Islands? Read my post on Where to Stay in Lofoten!

3. Go Dogsledding

Another bucket list moment, going dog sledding while you’re in Tromso in the winter needs to be on your itinerary!

I went through Norwegian Travel with Get Your Guide and would 100% recommend it. I felt the tour was very professional and the safety of you and the dogs was at the upmost top priority.

The tour guide even taught us about the area and the dogs which I really appreciated. The dogs seem to really enjoy sledding. They went absolutely nuts barking and ready to run when we started walking over, it was quite funny actually!

They provide thermal suits, boots, and gloves for your use so you can stay as warm as possible during the sledding.

Be prepared for this winter activity, as some people find dog sledding a bit challenging. The driver in the back is in charge of the sled, keeping the speed and tempo, and ultimately the safety of everyone else involved. I was a bit scared to be the driver at first, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly and had a blast!

The view on the dog sledding tour and the whole experience was absolutely magical so it definitely needs to be on your list to do while in Tromso in the winter!

dogsledding in tromso in winter
dogsledding in tromso in winter
dog sledding near tromso norway in winter

4. Go Northern Lights Hunting

Tromso is one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights since it is above the Arctic Circle. We went on two different tours to catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis and we were lucky enough to see two amazing shows of them!

On our first night, the lights were absolutely magical; glowing green and purple in the sky and dancing right in front of our eyes. It was a pinch me moment, and one of the best experiences I’ve ever had traveling.

Northern Lights hunting all has to do with dark and clear skies, a high KP index, patience, and a little luck. Be prepared to drive long distances sometimes, stand in below freezing temperatures, stare up at the sky and.. just wait.

There are times when you can’t see them with your naked eye but the lights will pick up on a camera. So just go into your Northern Lights tour with low expectations but hope for the best! Because when it’s a good show.. it’s truly mind blowing!

I personally went with both NLT Guide Company and Arctic Breeze AS. Both companies were fantastic and put us in the right places at the right time for the Aurora viewing with beautiful backdrops nonetheless. They both provided free photos, thermal suits to keep you warm, and a hot drink at the end of the night.

photo of two girls with the northern lights in the background in tromso norway in winter
aurora borealis in tromso norway in the winter
northern lights in tromso in winter

5. Head to the Lyngen Alps to go Snowmobiling

Have an absolute thrill by heading out of Tromso to the Lyngen Alps and going on a snowmobiling safari. We did this adventurous day tour by Camp Troll and had such a great time.

A thermal suit, boots, and gloves are provided to keep you warm and they stop during the tour in a cute little hut with hot chocolate. A warm lunch is also provided at the end of the tour before heading back to Tromso.

I specifically picked this tour with Camp Troll because I saw in many reviews of other companies that the actual snowmobiling part of the tour was so small and I wanted to personally get as much time as we could.

With Camp Troll you get about 2 hours on the snowmobiles so it felt like the perfect amount of time! Also the location set in the Lyngen Alps is just stunning and made the experience even better.

To get to Camp Troll you will have to take a bus ride from Tromso, hop on a ferry, and then a small transfer up the road; but the journey is well worth it! We had a huge smile on our faces the whole time.

selfie of two girls snowmobiling in winter in tromso winter
snowmobiling in the lyngen alps in the winter in tromso winter
two girls snowmobiling in the lyngen alps near tromso norway in the winter

6. Go Whale Watching

Get a chance to see Orcas, Sperm, Fin and/or Humpback whales in the fjords of the Norwegian Arctic with Brim Explorer on a full day tour from Tromso.

Visiting in the winter, you’ll have a chance to see Orcas since the peak season is late October through early February.

Brim Explorer offers a Silent Whale Watching Tour with their hybrid-electric ship that minimizes disturbances to whales and other wildlife species in the water. They also have marine biologists as guides onboard.

Set aside a full day for this tour since it departs at 8 in the morning and won’t get back until about 5 in the evening.

a killer whale in the sea

7. Visit the Arctic Cathedral

The Arctic Cathedral is an iconic landmark in Tromso. You’ll be able to see it across the Tromso sound and maybe catch a glimpse even when you’re flying in.

The main, Western entrance features a large cross and the East side of the building has a beautiful stained glass window. You can certainly just admire the view from the outside, or go in for an entrance fee of 80 NOK or about $8 USD.

photo of the arctic cathedral in Tromso in the winter

8. Explore Tromso’s Waterfront and City Center

I recommend saving a day to explore what Tromso has to offer in your itinerary along with all the various adventurous day trips out of the city.

With many museums to choose from, a scenic waterfront, and plenty of dining options, there is plenty of fun things to do to spend a day or two exploring.

Some of the most popular and interesting museums in Tromso include the Polar Museum, the Tromso Museum, the Troll Museum, and the Northern Norway Art Museum.

If you’re looking for something to eat, check out HAV for great sushi and ramen, Full Steam for seafood and traditional Norwegian dishes, Wedeb’s for Ethiopian dishes, and Casa Inferno for the best pizza in town.

Do like the Norwegian locals do and do a traditional Finnish sauna experience while enjoying beautiful views of the Tromso waterfront at Pust. First you’ll warm up in the sauna and then do a cold plunge in the Arctic Ocean afterwards! These sauna experiences have various health benefits, despite it being exhilarating and just a fun experience!

view of the tromso waterfront in the winter

9. Go Cross Country Skiing or Snowshoeing

Another fun winter activity to try while visiting Tromso is cross country skiing. And no, you don’t have to be experienced to try it out!

This Beginner’s Guided Backcountry Cross Country Skiing Tour will take you through the quiet Norwegian countryside with beautiful mountain views while learning how to cross country ski. The tour will stop for a rest to warm up by a fire and enjoy warm drinks before starting the ski trip back. This makes a great half day winter activity in Tromso.

Snowshoeing is another fun winter activity to try while visiting Tromso. This Small Group Snowshoeing Tour is the perfect way to get out into nature for the day. You’ll snowshoe up a mountain and have absolutely beautiful fjord views from atop! The guides also take photos which are included with the tour price, the best souvenir!

a person on skis in the snow

10. Visit the Magic Ice Bar

Ever want to drink a cocktail out of a glass made of ice.. in a bar that’s also made of ice? Well you can at the fun and unique Magic Ice Bar in Tromso!

Yes, it’s cold inside, but they give you gloves and a poncho to wear during your visit. There are loads of ice sculptures in the gallery attached to the bar that make really cool photo ops as well!

You can book a spot through this link and get a 15% discount with your online reservation.

Things to do in Tromso Norway in Winter FAQs

Have some questions about what to do in Tromso in the winter? Let’s try and answer them!

How many days in Tromso is enough?

I think 4-5 full days in Tromso is a great amount of time in the winter. A few factors to take into consideration with booking a trip in the winter compared to the summer is weather and daylight hours. We actually lost half a day on our trip to Tromso due to a terrible blizzard that swept through Oslo delaying our flight by 12 hours!

So things like weather delays and losing days due to bad weather is definitely something you need to keep in mind when it comes to planning your trip to the Arctic Circle of Norway.

Also keep this in mind if you’re coming to Tromso for the sole reason for Northern Lights viewing. One of the main things you need to view the Aurora is a clear sky. But if you only give yourself 1 or 2 nights to spend in Tromso.. you’re risking a lot if by chance those two nights are cloudy or snowing.

The other factor is daylight. When I went in mid January, the sun never rose above the horizon and we had about 4 hours of a ‘Golden Hour’. So really you can only do one activity a day, which is a big change to what you may usually do in a day in other destinations.

So if you’re able to spend at least 4 full days in Tromso, you’ll be able to do a lot on this list and have a bit of breathing room if you encounter bad weather.

However, if you want to do everything above on this list and give yourself the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights, then I’d suggest a full week in Tromso.

Is Tromso Norway worth visiting?

This is a undoubtable YES for me!

First, Tromso, Norway is one of the best places in the entire world to see the Northern Lights since it sits so far North.

Plus, why I liked Tromso even more was that even though you may come for the chance to see the Aurora.. there is SO much more to do and see! Like almost overwhelmingly so.

The day tour activities from the city like feeding reindeer, going snowmobiling, whale watching, dog sledding, skiing, and snowshoeing. Plus the city is so beautiful set on a fjord with mountain views!

What is the best month to see Northern Lights in Tromso?

The best time to see the Northern Lights in Tromso is between mid September and early April. Some argue that the fall and spring equinoxes are the best time to see them, while others disagree.

Truthfully, you need three things to see the Northern Lights: a dark sky, a clear sky, and high KP Aurora activity. The reason Tromso is great is because it is above the Arctic Circle, so in the winter it sees the least sun- which is optimal for Aurora viewing.

So typically a visit between November and February will offer the darkest, longest nights. This way you have the most time at night to chase the lights.

Like mentioned above, give yourself the best chance and stay at least 4 days to allow for optimal conditions if you encounter bad weather or a low KP index.

I also can’t stress going on a guided Northern Lights tour enough. I mentioned two companies in this post above that are reputable, and they are experts on chasing the lights. They will put you in the best spots with the darkest skies and know where to go if the weather isn’t cooperating.

Is Tromso Norway expensive?

Okay yes.. Tromso is quite expensive. Probably the most expensive place I’ve ever visited actually.

Before going on the trip, part of me thought people were blowing things out of proportion and I was sure there would be cheaper options for things when there. But, no.. it’s expensive!

The average price for a hotel in the winter in the city center (since it is their high season) was about $250- $300 a night. You could get cheaper stays outside of the city center, but if you go on tours that start and end in the center.. then you need to pay high taxi fares going in and out. And they can add up. So choose a hotel with this in mind.

Food was also very expensive here. A sit down meal anywhere is going run you at the very least $20 USD a plate for something as simple as a hamburger. To save a bit of money, going to a grocery store and getting grab and go meals and snacks will help. Our hotel also included breakfast which helped to cut out one meal a day that we had to spend out.

Wrap Up: Best Things to do in Tromso Norway in Winter

In conclusion, Tromsø in winter offers a plethora of exciting and unforgettable experiences for visitors.

From witnessing the mesmerizing Northern Lights dance across the sky to embarking on thrilling snow adventures, this Arctic wonderland truly has something for everyone.

Whether it’s exploring the charming city center, discovering the unique Sami culture, or immersing oneself in nature’s wonders, Tromsø promises an unforgettable winter holiday.

So bundle up and prepare to be captivated by the beauty and magic that awaits you in this enchanting Norwegian destination.

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