Three days is the perfect amount of time to see the sights of Tromsø, it’s a tiny little city in a Northern Norway and many, like us, head there to get a glimpse of the northern lights.
Arriving into Tromsø Airport at 18:50, we caught the local bus into the city. As we were staying just across from Tromsøya Island on the mainland, we had a 30 minute walk to our Airbnb over the windiest bridge I’ve ever experienced. Honestly, it felt like you couldn’t breathe unless you had something over your face. We reached our idyllic Airbnb in a residential area, made some dinner and relaxed for the evening.
Our Airbnb was just perfect for what we wanted. We had a seamless check in with the key in a lock box, the apartment was very cosy and contained everything you needed. This was one of the cheaper Airbnb’s I came across and I think this is because it’s just outside the city centre and it was a new listing. Located 10 minutes from Fjellheisen and 5 minutes from a local Spar shop, I cannot recommend Sara’s Airbnb enough and would most definitely stay there again.
Tip: You have three ways to get into the city centre from the airport
1. Local bus – buy in advance from the airport shop and a ticket will cost 30 NOK (~£2.75) or on board will cost 50 NOK (~£4.60). Catch either the 40 or 42 bus from outside the terminal.
2. Flybussen (express bus) – costs 72 NOK (~£6.60). A slightly faster journey than the local bus, but both get you from A to B in good comfort and time.
3. Taxi – costs around 200 NOK (~£18.30). Prices during the night and weekends are much more.
When we visited in November, the sunrise was around 8am and set around 2.30pm, so we walked over into the city earlyish to take full advantage of the light, stopping off at the Arctic Cathedral on the way. After wandering around the small centre (it really is very small), we stopped off for some coffee at Kaffebønna AS. Norwegians do coffee really really well.
In the evening, we joined a Northern Shots Tour to witness the Northern Lights. Departing at 6pm, we travelled on a coach for a couple of hours to a remote location. The tour guides were very helpful in that they were showing everyone the settings on their camera to use and provided hot drinks for the bitter temperatures. We stayed at this location for probably three hours before driving us back to Tromsø. Unfortunately we didn’t observe any Aurora Borealis on the tour (or the entirety of the weekend). The tour cost 950 NOK (~£87) per person. I felt slightly conned we didn’t get to see them, but I guess that’s the risk you take with these tours.
Tip: When booking any tours I’d recommend visiting ‘Visit Tromsø’. Whilst they’re not allowed to offer any recommendations, it will ensure the tour you are booked on is legitimate and you are paying the correct price. You can also buy local bus tickets from Visit Tromsø.
This was my favourite day of the trip. The day we climbed Fjellheisen. It took us over two hours and the locals were embarrassingly over taking us – sometimes running in spikes and sometimes with children on their shoulders. The scenery as we climbed was stunning and the further we got, the deeper the snow became. There is a designated path signposted at the start, but when the paths became too thick with snow or icy, locals just winged it in the knee deep snow, and we kind of have no choice but to do the same.
At the top, there’s a restaurant/cafe with the most insane views from the windows. The food here is just as insanely expensive, I’m talking approx. £15 for a jacket potato, but we’d brought snacks so just had a coffee to recharge our batteries. There’s also a viewing platform to overlook the city below, but taking photos in the harsh temperatures was painful. In addition there are many further trails you can walk from this point, if we’d been there for a couple of more days I would have loved to explore them.
Tip: If you want the views without the physical exertion, catch the cable car that departs on the half hour (make sure to time it right unless you want a cold, long wait). It takes 4 minutes for the trip and the return prices are Adults = 190 NOK (~£17.40) and students = 140 NOK (~£12.80) . There are also discounts for children and large groups. If you hike up like us, and get the gondola back down this costs 130 NOK (~£11.90) for adults and students.
After a very lazy morning, we left our Airbnb for the final time at midday and strolled over the bridge into the city. We didn’t have much time to play with before our flight and there was very heavy rain, so we stopped off at Risø Food and Coffee Shop and stayed there for a couple of hours drinking amazing black coffee, before catching our flight back to London.
Tromsø was an amazing place to visit and could have only been better if we’d seen the northern lights.