Northern lights north of the Polar circle in Norway.
To the far north in the lightly populated and somewhat deserted Troms county, lies one of Norway’s absolute gems – Tromsø. The city is internationally known for being one of the northernmost located cities in the world with more than 50,000 inhabitants in the Arctic area with its own cathedral as well. (In fact, just over 70,000 live here). The city also has plenty to offer: culture, history and unique nature, although the area is probably best known for being one of the best places on the planet to observe the amazing natural phenomenon of Northern Lights (Auora borealis). In other words, Tromsø is something special and worth visiting.
When electric particles dance at night
Although the impressive Northern Lights may seem like a natural phenomenon of another world, the Northern Lights consist of “just” electrically charged particles from the sun, which hit the Earth’s magnetic field and collide with the Earth’s atmosphere. This process releases the energy that forms the colorful light that shoots across the night sky. However, this does not change the fact, that you enter a dreamland when you are at the top of one of the surrounding mountains around Tromsø and are surrounded by the city’s lights below and astronomical green waves of light above.
Tromsø lies within the so-called Nordlys oval, an area where northern lights are observed more and more often.
As Tromsø is one of the only cities of a certain size within the oval, it also means that the city can house, feed and entertain large amounts of tourists during the daytime, when you do not hunt the green rays in the late night hours. In this way, the city itself is a suitable stop on the road to the northern lights.
Since the Northern Lights can be difficult to see from the city due to its light, it is strongly recommended that you look away from streets and alleys when you want to see the northern lights in its best shape. Here it is recommended to climb the nearby mountain, where at the top you find the restaurant Fjellstua. From here you get a fantastic view over the city and over the night sky. The mountain can also be climbed with a cable car from the foot of the mountain, which, however, may cost a little money.
Life in Tromsø
With its approx. 70,000 inhabitants, Tromsø is comparable in size to Danish cities such as Esbjerg and Kolding, (if that helps) and is therefore not a mecca for the tourist seeking a big city break. However, the city is filled with classic Norwegian culture and architecture, and the center is cozy in its own way. From the city, you can chose several guided tours that can be seeing whales, dog sled tours or Northern Lights tours. If you are in Tromsø at the time of the year when the Northern Lights are most active (October – November and February – March), there is probably no need for guided tours, as the Northern Lights can be seen most of the nights of the week as long clear skies.
As the city is a university city, the amount of young people is large, which can be seen in the range of restaurants, nightlife and shopping opportunities. In addition to the city center, the city’s botanical garden close to the university and the city’s Arctic cathedral are also worth a visit. If you are interested in sports then the city also has 2 major football clubs: Tromsø IL, which plays in Norway’s best row, as well as Tromsdalen UIL playing in 1st division.
Nature outside Tromsø
Due to Tromsø’s somewhat remote location and size, you can come on beautiful walks, no matter where you live in the city. If you are not for the very long trip, there are nice walks on the Tromsø island (the island where most of Tromsø lies). Besides that, it can also be strongly recommended to walk into Tromsdalen and climb Tromdalstinden. Tromsdalen itself is an approx. 7 km long trip from the center of Tromsø, and does not require lots of exercise. If, on the other hand, you want to do Tromdalstinden, you should be in relatively good shape before you go take on the challenge. Last but not least, there is also a beautiful hike in waiting at Kjølen on Tromsøya’s neighboring island Kvaløya. Here you can take a bus to the foot of the mountain.
- Norway information about the mountains
- More about Northern lights
- The amazing Atlantic road in west Norway crossing 8 bridges
- Norwegian Airlines