We visited Tromso which is in north Norway, we went in 2016 and 2017. I am going to combine both trips in this post.
I was determined not to give up hope of seeing the northern lights after a disappointing experience in Iceland. So, I set about researching the best place to visit which would give us a higher likelihood of seeing the lights. I decided upon Tromso, now from what I have read, Tromso is located in the Northern Lights Oval which gives a higher probability of seeing them. I wrote a whole post dedicated to the northern lights, please check it out if you’re heading to Norway.
Tromso was harder to book. I couldn’t find a package deal which suited us so I just booked everything myself. We flew from London with a stopover in Oslo before landing in Tromso. We stayed in Clarion Collection Hotel With. I figured Norway would be just as expensive as Iceland so hunted out for a good deal. When staying in the Clarion, you get breakfast, afternoon waffles and an evening meal included. This helped us massively, we often chose to eat out in the evening, or out on our northern lights tour, but the afternoon waffles in particular were a great perk. After a day of exploring, before heading out to chase the lights, a waffle and hot chocolate is just whats needed. I would highly recommended staying here. The location is great and not far from town with shops and restaurants and it sits on the harbour with great views.
We fitted loads activities into our visits including:
Something we were both quite keen to do was husky sledging. I’ve heard good things as well as bad and we just wanted to try it for ourselves so we could come to our own conclusion. We chose to do it in the evening as we had excursions booked for the day.
An evening sledge is a great choice as you may get the chance to see the northern lights, if the sky is clear enough, which we were lucky enough to see. You get the choice to steer or sit and then at the half way point you get to swap. If you go alone you are put in a pair with another traveler or guide so don’t worry. Billy chose to steer first and I sat back and took in the views. At the half way point, we swapped and it was my turn. Oh dear god, it is so hard. I was expecting to jump on, pull the reins and bingo. No. You have to use your body to start, stop and turn. By the end I was knackered, it’s a full body workout!
As you are moving, it was hard to get a good photo but it was a great experience. Taking in the stars and lights is breathtaking.
I was a little worried about how the dogs were treated, yes I am that person. They are working dogs which you have to remember. The dogs ‘on shift’ are tied up outside but they all have their own dog house. The dogs not being used were held in a bigger enclosure. They seemed well groomed and well fed. I have no reason to question their conditions from what I saw.
Snowshoeing was Billy’s idea, I was unsure at first due to my fitness levels being embarrassingly low but fuck it. I’ve never done any winter sports before but the guide gave us a demonstration and off we went. It was hard. I ended up so hot and sweaty, I took off my scarf and undid my coat, even though it was -2! The views at the top made it all worth while, we were given a warm drink (a bit like Ribena) and some cake while we took in the view before we headed back down.
We did this on our first trip to Tromso, it ended up being so good we did it again on our second trip. Snowmobiling gives you a great chance to see the beautiful scenery that Norway has to offer. It depends on how big of a group you go with as to whether you get your own snowmobile or not, the first time we paired up. You get the chance to switch between driving and passenger half way round. On our second trip they offered us a snowmobile each. At the start it can be a bit slow, you have to follow the guide in a line but once you are out in the open, this is where the fun begins. We were taken to a frozen lake and let loose!
When I first booked Tromso, I saw a lot of talk about the cable car (Fjellheisen) which takes you up the ledge of mount Storsteinen. This quickly became on our to do list. However, in 2016 the cable car was closed for renovation. So when we headed back in 2017, we were eager to go. It isn’t far from Tromso city center so we hopped on a bus and made our way there. We bought our tickets and queued up. We got in the cable car with a group of others, the ride up is pretty ordinary. At the top there is a cafe selling over priced coffee. We skipped this and headed out to check out the views. We went in mid February which is peak season so we couldn’t get a photo without someone else’s arm obstructing it. I know, photos aren’t everything, the views were beautiful but hoards of pushing tourists ruined it slightly. I personally feel this experience is over hyped and if you are pushed for time then I wouldn’t bother going out of your way to go there.
Overall, Tromso is beautiful, there is lots to do to keep you busy but also if you just fancy seeing the northern lights and keeping it slow paced during the day then Tromso is also perfect. You have a higher chance of seeing the lights, it is full of beautiful scenery as well as lots of restaurants and shops for you to wonder. Honestly, I couldn’t think of much wrong with Tromso.