LivingTravelWhat to do and see in Tromsø, Norway

What to do and see in Tromsø, Norway

Description of Tromsø

Tromsø (also spelled Tromso in English) is the third largest city in the world north of the Arctic Circle. The city is spread over two islands and extends over the mainland of Norway. The city is also home to the Ølhallen pub, which has 67 different types of Norwegian craft beers on tap. (There are no 99 bottles of beer on the wall, but close enough!) Tromsø is also one of the best places to see the Northern Lights (also called the Aurora Borealis) in the winter.

There is a lot to do outdoors so be sure to dress appropriately for the weather. Tromsø is surrounded by mountains and fjords, and visitors can find many things to do and see throughout the year in the city and nearby areas. Many cruises in northern Europe or in the Norwegian fjords on the summer stopover during the day in Tromsø and the Hurtigruten Group ships visit the city on coastal routes both north and south throughout the year, as the Gulfstream prevents the sea from freezing.

Passengers on Hurtigruten ships heading north have a full afternoon in Tromsø, but those on the route south are only in town for less than two hours at night, long enough to go to the midnight concert. at the famous Arctic Cathedral.

Cruise travelers visiting Tromsø with Hurtigruten in the winter on the northbound route can enjoy active half-day winter adventures like dog sledding or snowmobiling.

Guests embarking or disembarking in Tromsø can extend their cruise vacation by spending a night in a Sami camp. While there, they can hop on a reindeer sleigh (just like Santa), enjoy a hot Sami meal, and watch the Northern Lights. Accommodations are in a traditional Sami tent, covered with reindeer skins and winter insulated sleeping bags. Sounds warm and welcoming, doesn’t it?

Let’s take a look at some of the things to see in Tromsø.

Arctic cathedral

Built in 1965, the Tromsdalen Church is generally called the Arctic Cathedral (Ishavskatedralen in Norwegian). After its construction, the church quickly became an iconic structure in northern Norway. Technically it is not a cathedral, but the nickname has stuck.

The church sits at one end of the Tromsø Bridge over Tromsø Sound and is visible from the center, where the photo above was taken. The mountain behind the church is the 4,062-foot Mount Tromsdalstind.

Those who spend the night in Tromsø or make it to the southbound Hurtigruten ship ride should definitely visit the Arctic Cathedral for a midnight concert. Under the midnight summer sun, the church is bathed in daylight, and the rest of the year the Arctic Cathedral is illuminated with lights.

The church is simple and severe in its design, which seems appropriate for a Nordic church. The eastern wall behind the altar has one of the largest glass mosaics in Europe and was designed by artist Victor Sparre. On the benches are Czech crystal chandeliers that look like icicles.

After a busy day, this excellent midnight concert at the Arctic Cathedral is the perfect end to the day.

Cathedral of Tromso

Tromsø Cathedral is located in the city center, a short walk from the cruise terminal. It’s on the opposite side of the Tromsø Bridge from the Arctic Cathedral discussed on the previous page.

This wooden cathedral is the seat of the Diocese of Nord-Hålogaland in the Lutheran Church of Norway. The cathedral, which was completed in 1861, is important because it is the only wooden cathedral in Norway.

The 600-seat church is in the Neo-Gothic style and is probably the northernmost Protestant cathedral in the world.

Tromsø harbor and mountains

Tromsø is surrounded by mountains, many of which are covered in snow throughout the year. This photo was taken in early July.

Mack Brewery

Beer is one of the best alcoholic beverages to drink in Norway. Mack’s Brewery is located in the center of Tromsø, a short distance from Tromsø Cathedral. It was founded in 1877, but the royal brewery moved out of Tromsø in 2012.

The old building still has a tour that includes a movie on how beer is made and a look at the microbrewery that makes the beers named after famous rock musicians, some of whom are known by names like Ringo, Elvis, Iggy and Patti Mack’s owners claim that rock music is the fifth ingredient in their beer.

The real treat at Mack’s is the Ølhallen connection, which is Tromsø’s oldest pub and opened in 1928. It was originally for men only and didn’t even have a separate women’s bathroom until 1973. Today, it welcomes tourists from all over the world. world, many of whom come to sample 67 Norwegian craft beers on tap.

Ølhallen Beer Hall

Many Americans remember the old drinking song, “99 Beer Bottles on the Wall.” Ølhallen’s doesn’t have 99 different beers on the wall, but it does have an impressive 67 Norwegian craft beers on tap.

They have more craft beers on tap than any other pub / brewery in Europe. It’s fun to get a sample, but it’s hard to choose which ones to try. Tell your server what type of beer you like and they will suggest some that match your palate.

Kayaking in a nearby Norwegian fjord

Depending on the weather in Norway, passengers on Hurtigruten’s northbound coastal trips and other cruises have an optional afternoon kayaking adventure from Tromsø. Participants travel in a van for about 10 minutes to a beautiful fjord near Håkøya.

This area is popular for kayaking because the waters are often calm, there is not much current, and it is the site of the sinking of the German battleship Tirpitz by British bombers in World War II. More than 1,000 German sailors died when the ship sank just 11 minutes after it was bombed.

Much of the battleship’s wreckage was removed after the war, but some of the hulls remain, as does the platform built to dispose of the Tirpitz. The weather did not allow us to get close to the site, but we could see the shadow of the platform in the water.

After the Germans invaded Norway in 1940, they finally had control over the entire country. Unlike cities near Russia like Kirkenes, Tromsø escaped the war unscathed. Those fascinated by WWII can visit the Tromsø War Museum, which has a permanent exhibition on Tirpitz.

The tour company provided the two-person kayaks used on the shore excursion. These kayaks had a rudder that was easily controlled with pedals by the kayaker in the back seat. Having this rudder helps beginners a lot, as going straight is one of the biggest challenges for tandem kayaks.

The company also provided pants, a jacket, boots, and a kayak “skirt” to keep the water out. The kayaks had a dry compartment to put our cameras in and keep them dry. Although it rained, it was not miserable as the wind was not blowing.

After our kayaking adventure, we all enjoyed hot coffee, tea, and a slice of homemade chocolate cake. Decadent foods always taste better when you feel like you’ve burned the calories ahead of time.

This kayak trip hugged the shoreline, and we went out and back the same way. The only difficult part was navigating some bridge stilts as we paddled under the road.

It’s a great tour for beginners or experienced kayakers as those who paddled faster only had more time to eat cake. As we paddled, our guides told us the story of the battleship Tirpitz and pointed out some starfish in the clear water. It was a fun time in Tromsø.

Where to dine

Tromsø is right on the water, so it is not surprising that many restaurants have excellent fish dishes. However, the city is one of the largest in northern Norway, a university town and a major tourism hub, so it is not surprising that visitors and locals can find a variety of cuisines and prices in Tromsø.

While we were in Tromsø for 36 hours before boarding the Hurtigruten ms Richard With a coastal cruise, we had two excellent fish dinners and a memorable reindeer burger for lunch.

The reindeer burger pictured above was from the Skirri restaurant, which is located on the boardwalk, not far from the Radisson Blue Hotel where we were staying.

Dine at the Aurora restaurant at the Radisson Blu Hotel and try the mixed green salad topped with smoked salmon; cod (dried cod) that has been reconstituted, topped with bacon and onion, and baked; and a fruit salad. Cod is delicious and isn’t everything better with bacon?

Another must-see is Fiskekompaniet, one of the best seafood and seafood restaurants in Tromsø. Get the set plate dinner starting with a nice green salad with smoked salmon; The main dish of red fish baked in a crab and lobster vinaigrette, accompanied by boiled potatoes and carrots. The dessert is a very rich and tasty little chocolate thing.

These three restaurants are a good option, but the city is full of many good places to dine.

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