The island city of Tromsø is one of northern Norway’s true delights. Rich with neo-classical architecture, the city known as the ‘Gateway to the Arctic’, contains the largest number of wooden houses in Northern Norway, and its old world charm makes it a real joy to explore.
A major cultural hub above the Arctic Circle, Tromsø is famed as a viewing point for the colourful Northern Lights that often light up the night sky. The city’s most recognisable landmark is the must-visit Arctic Cathedral. Built in 1965, the cathedral’s distinctive iceberg-shaped design was inspired by the landscapes of Northern Norway and features a beautiful glass mosaic.
The many museums and galleries in the city include the Perspektivet Museum – set in a neo-classical building built in 1838 that has exhibits from Tromsø’s past, plus the Art Museum of Northern Norway and the Mack Brewery. Tromsø is also home to Polaria, an Arctic aquarium that is popular with locals and tourists alike. The aquarium’s tanks are full of Arctic fish species, and the friendly bearded seals always delight the visiting crowds.
Tromsø, and the stunning landscapes that surround it, are best viewed from the top of the Storsteinen Mountain, which stands 420 metres above sea level. Accessible via cable car, the peak is easy to reach and one of the most popular spots on the edge of the city.
Tromsø was the centre of seal hunting in north Norway, and was established as the ‘Gateway to the Arctic Circle’ in the late 1800s. It has long been an important base for many polar expeditions, and the Polar Museum exhibits and presents this polar seafaring traditions. The Arctic Cathedral stands proud at the end of Tromsø Bridge. It is actually called ‘Tromsdalen Church’, and serves as the parish church for mainland Tromsø. However, because of its striking shape and daring architecture, the church became known as Ishavskatedralen (The Arctic Cathedral).
Enjoy the snowy Norwegian scenery on a dog sledding adventure, as you act as musher on a sled pulled by adorable Alaskan huskies. You will feel the strength of your team, as you ride past frozen lakes, forests and majestic mountains; look out for foxes, owls, snow grouse, eagles, reindeer and moose.
Like a prolonged sunset and sunrise all at once, the midnight sun colours heaven and earth in a reddish yellow light. The Fjellheisen Cable Car is open past midnight in the summer, with the sun hovering above the peaks at Ringvassøya Island.
Fjellheisen Cable Car
The cable car runs from Solliveien in Tromsdalen up to the mountain ledge Storsteinen (421 m above sea level) in just four minutes. The two gondolas, known as Seal and Polar bear, each have a capacity of 28 passengers. From the viewing platform at the upper station, you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Tromsø and the surrounding islands, mountains and fjords. At the fully licensed Fjellstua restaurant, you can enjoy a delicious dinner based on local produce.