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Attractions in Tromsø are ranked amongst the best in the world

Tromsø is rated number one in Europe and one of the top three in the world when it comes to travel destinations. Find our favourite places and recommended activities in Tromsø below.

In 2018 TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, ranked Tromsø as the world’s third-best destination for adventure travel. No city in Europe has achieved a higher rating.

“We are incredibly proud that our great city has been named one of the top three adventure destinations in the world. I think it’s the combination of culture, history and nature that draws people here and makes their visit complete,” says Linn Rafaelsen Alexandersen, Hotel Director at Thon Hotel Polar

The TripAdvisor ranking cites the fjords, reindeer feeding and the Northern Lights as the city’s best experiences. Tromsø was outranked only by La Fortuna in Costa Rica and Kauai in Hawaii. 

There is no doubt that Tromsø is well worth a visit. Here’s our list of favourite places and recommended activities in Tromsø, including dog sledding, chasing the Northern Lights, reindeer feeding, off-piste driving, and a spa boat, as well as tips for restaurants and cafés.

  • Dining

Mathallen (the Food Hall)

At Grønnegata 58/60 you’ll find Mathallen – where Northern Norway’s best chefs prepare meals from scratch using local produce. Mathallen is open for both lunch and dinner. They also organise wine tastings. Read more about the food hall in Tromsø.

Helmersen Delikatesser

Here you can get a little taste of Europe in Tromsø. Enjoy food and cuisine from Italy, France and Spain, combined with high-quality Scandinavian products. Norwegian cheeses have also become a specialty, and you can buy Kraftkar, Munkeby, Rueslåtten and cheeses from Kjerringøy Farm, Stavanger Ysteri, Orkladal, Bo Jensen, Lofoten Gårdsysteri and Grindal Ysteri. Stop by and experience the atmosphere! Read more about Helmersen Delikatesser, a delicatessen and wine bar.

Chef behind a delicatessen counter at Mathallen in Tromsø
Photo: visittromso.no

Hildr Gastrobar

Located at Skippergata 11, Hildr Gastro Bar is famous for its cocktails and creative snacks. This intimate gastropub is located in a timber building with a garden, where in the summer months you can sit outside in fine weather. Read more about Hildr Gastrobar.

Ølhallen (the Beer Hall)

Since 1928, Ølhallen in Storgata 4 has been one of the most distinctive places in the city. Today it is a place where people of all ages meet and get the opportunity to taste a wide variety of beers from both Mack and other Norwegian breweries, with 72 different top-quality beers on tap. Learn more about Ølhallen.

Smak Restaurant

Smak is a small, intimate eatery in Skippergata. There is a nightly set menu based on local produce - and the staff will be happy to help you select a suitable drinks package. The delicious hors d’œuvres are definitely worth a try! Read more about Smak Restaurant.

Casa Inferno

Casa Inferno in Vestregata serves Italian cuisine and specialises in pizzas. Choose between a tomato sauce or crème fraiche base and a wide range of toppings. The restaurant does not take reservations on Fridays and Saturdays (except for groups of more than 15 people). Read more about Casa Inferno.

  • Coffee bars

Kaffebønna

If you want to taste really good coffee, you need to visit Kaffebønna. There are several Kaffebønna cafés in Tromsø. They all sell cakes, panini, buns, pastries and fresh breads from their own traditional bakery. Learn more about Kaffebønna.

Risø Mat og Kaffebar

In Strandgata you’ll find Risø Mat og Kaffebar, a rustic café in Tromsø. They serve a range of excellent lunch dishes. The menu varies from day to day.

Coffee cup with logo
Photo: bryggejentene.no

Bryggejentene

The Bryggejentene interior design store is located in the middle of Ersfjordbotn, on the pier outside Tromsø. It sells everything from creative duvet covers to decorative mobile covers. The ideal place to find something nice for yourself or a gift for a friend. Also renowned for its café, which has a fantastic view of both fjords and mountains. Bryggejentene is also the starting point for some lovely hiking opportunities. As they are not open every day, we recommend that you check the opening hours before you make the trip.

  • Outdoor attractions

Dog sledding at Villmarkssenteret

Bond with nature on a genuine dog sled. As you glide through the magnificent landscape and relax in the sled, keep an eye out for common and Arctic foxes, owls, eagles, reindeer and elk. In the summer you can visit the Husky Café, where 300 huskies are eagerly awaiting your visit – and entrance is free of charge! Check out the dog farm and cuddle with both adult dogs and puppies, all of them extremely friendly and well-accustomed to visits from adults and children. Read more about Villmarkssenter here.

Tromsø has numerous providers who can facilitate these activities.

Mountain peak tour to Lyngen

Tromsø is perfect for mountain lovers. The Lyngen Alps are known as one of Norway’s most popular off-piste destinations and offer spectacular views and beautiful mountains. What’s more, the Korken ski resort is only 20 minutes from the airport, if you want to visit several alpine slopes.

Pust Tromsø

This is brand new attraction opened in 2020 – a floating sauna in the heart of Tromsø. It can accommodate 10 people for a drop-in and 20 people for a private booking. The sauna is located in the middle of Tromsø Harbour and has a fantastic view. There are separate men’s and women’s changing rooms with showers. All bookings can be made at www.pust.io.

Woman bathing at Vulkana

Vulkana

Do you like spas and boating? Vulakana combines both. Vulkana is an old fishing boat converted into a spa with a wood-fired sauna, Zen lounge, restaurant and diving tower. Good food is served on board and you can warm yourself in the hot tub on deck. The vulkana.no website offers various rental packages for groups and individuals. Read more about Vulkana.

Prestvannet

Located in the heart of Tromsøya, this beautiful hiking area is 96 m above sea level and is a beloved, year-round hiking destination. The area is a habitat for a wide range of plants and animals, and because it is of great value to waterfowl and outdoor life, it has been protected since 1995 as a Protected Landscape Area with wildlife conservation. In the water swim three-spined sticklebacks and crucian carps, and large floating islands are clearly visible from the shore. These serve as a breeding ground, refuge, and nutrient source for birds. There are many benches along the shore where you can enjoy the sun, bird life or the Northern Lights.

The trail is an easy, round-trip hike and will take you about 30 minutes. You can take Bus 26 or 40 from the city centre and get off at the stop called Prestvannet. You can also park in Langnesveien near Bymyra Barnehage, or walk from the city centre. Read more about the hike at ut.no.

The Northern Lights in Tromsø

Chasing the Northern Lights

Chasing the Northern Lights is an obvious winter activity in these parts. With a wide choice of Northern Lights excursions in Tromsø, you are sure to find one to suit you. Visit Tromsø offers two options: a Northern Lights Chase or the Northern Lights Experience.

An experienced and knowledgeable guide will take you on a Northern Lights Chase to track down a sighting by car, coach, minibus or boat. The Northern Lights Experience will add scenic thrills to your Arctic visit. Go to visittromso.no for a list of available activities, and use the filter controls to find your ideal experience.

https://www.thonhotels.no/inspirasjon/nordlyset-norge/ View our best destinations for experiencing the magic of the Northern Lights.

The Tromsø Cable Car – delivering breathtaking views since 1961

The Tromsø Cable Car (Fjellheisen) takes you 421 metres above sea level in just four minutes, and definitely offers the city’s best views. In summer, the chances of seeing the midnight sun are excellent, while in winter, this is a great place to chase the Northern Lights. The lights of the city twinkle far below the Tromsø Cable Car’s upper station, Fjellstua, greatly improving your chances of seeing the Northern Lights. The restaurant in Fjellstua offers a dinner menu based on local produce, and you can also choose from a café menu of lighter meals. Here’s a tip from the hotel staff: in the summer months, combine hiking and sightseeing by taking the stairs up and the Tromsø Cable Car back down. Read more about the Tromsø Cable Car.

The Tromsø Cable Car in Tromsø

Hermes II

Come set sail on the beautifully restored wooden boat Hermes II from 1917. Here you can enjoy real coastal experiences with a historical vibe. Travel back in time – and feel a sense of peace wash over you as the stillness of the open water mixes with the rhythmic pulse of the old boat engine. Whether Tromsø’s midnight sun makes it impossible to separate day from night, or the veil of the Northern Lights dances vibrantly across the sky, the experience is always magical – even for a native! Read more about the unique boat trip here.

Reindeer feeding with Tromsø Safari AS

A short drive from Tromsø allows you to feed reindeer and try a ride on a reindeer sleigh. You’ll also be able to try your hand at lassoing, listen to joik singing, and experience Sami culture.

For more tips on family holidays in Northern Norway, visit visittromso.no.

  • Activities and guided tours

Tromsøbadet

Tromsøbadet has something for everyone, and you’re sure to enjoy your visit – whether you’re gazing out at the mountains of Kvaløya from the outdoor pool or soaking in the whirlpool and allowing the waves to wash over you indoors. You can sweat in the steam bath, solve the world’s problems in one of the saunas, or cool off in the cold plunge pool. The 50-metre pool is Norway’s northernmost Olympic size pool, and one of the country’s largest competition pools. Learn more about Tromsøbadet.

The Arctic Cathedral

Tromsdalen Church, also called the Arctic Cathedral, was inaugurated on 19 November 1965. The architect, Jan Inge Hovig, succeeded in creating a masterpiece. The church is a sailing mark that can be seen from Tromsøysundet, from the bridge, and while landing by plane. The 11 aluminium-coated concrete slabs on either side of the roof give the cathedral its shape. Here you can experience the Northern Lights, midnight sun, and New Year’s concerts – and tickets can be purchased at the door or pre-booked on the Visit Tromsø website. Lear more about the Arctic Cathedral.

Magic Ice Bar & Gallery

The entrance to Magic Ice is the gateway to an marvellous escape from everyday life. The entire exhibition is constructed out of crystal-clear ice - even the glasses in the bar. The combination of ice and colourful light installations makes for a truly unique experience. Once inside you receive ponchos and mittens, as well as the chance to enjoy a signature cocktail in the ice bar. Learn more about the Magic Ice concept.

tromso-MatsGangvik-28-48-760x500.jpg
Photo: magicice.no/listings/tromso-norway / Mats Gangvik

Polaria

Polaria is the world’s northernmost aquarium – and a perfect destination for a family outing. The aquarium focuses on animals and fish from arctic regions, and you can watch feeding and training sessions every day of the week. They also arrange various daily “labs” for children. Learn more about Polaria.

The Arctic University Museum of Norway

Northern Norway’s oldest scientific institution has contributed to knowledge and insight about Northern Norwegian natural and cultural history, society and livelihoods since 1872. Through their four exhibition venues you can get to know the nature, culture, history and famous personalities of the north. Here’s some information about two of them:

The Polar Museum

Starting in about 1850, Tromsø established itself as the gateway to the Arctic Ocean and the Arctic. The city quickly became a central base for polar expeditions in the fields of hunting and trapping, science and adventure/tourism. The Polar Museum preserves and conveys stories related to this part of the history of the Capital of the Arctic. The permanent exhibitions of the Polar Museum cover such topics as sealing, overwintering hunting and trapping, the stories of hunters and trappers such as Henry Rudi and Wanny Woldstad, Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen’s expeditions, and Svalbard’s cultural history.

Tromsø Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden

The world’s northernmost botanical garden is home to colourful Arctic species and plants from alpine and cold-weather regions in every corner of the globe. Many of these thrive only in cool climates, which is why the garden boasts species found in few other botanical gardens.

Experience Tromsø

In Tromsø, we have two hotels right in the town centre: Thon Hotel Polar and Thon Hotel Tromsø.