Tromso, Norway - The Northern Lights

 

Contributor  : Keith
Nationality   : United States of America
Social Links  : Instagram - @khtravelblog @keithrhollis
Age Group    : 19-30 years
Gender          : Male
Travel Style   
Destination   : Tromso, Norway. March 2017 for the Northern Lights

Inspiration:

I was traveling in Europe already and had an extra week to kill.  I orginally wanted to hike but at that time most all trails in central Europe are closed or too dangerous.  I tried to think of something unique and that I could do that time of year and came across Norway.  I heard about it by researching Northern Lights destinations and this seemed to be the best for all sorts of activities.  I was primarily just going for the Northern Lights, but found a lot of great things to do.

Getting There: 

I had a long flight path: Venice->Munich->Oslo->Tromso.  I believe there are direct flights to Tromso from Frankfurt, London, and Oslo.  Either way, it's a pretty long hall.

Local Knowledge:

Tromso used to be called the Paris of the North, and has pretty much the most northern everything in the world (most northern university, most northern brewery, etc).  It is the 3rd most populous city north of the Arctic Circle and actually isn't that cold!  The ocean currents keep it fairly warm...

Where To Stay:

I stayed at the Radisson Blu which was awesome for a few reasons:  most tours meet there making it super convenient, everything is walkable from it, great (and FREE) buffett breakfast, and an awesome gym/sauna overlooking the bay.  I would highly reccomend it.

What To Do:

The obvious answer is going on Northern Lights chases.  That's Tromso's claim to fame however there are a lot of things to do!  I went on chases 4 nights but during the day did a fjord tour and a snowshoe hike in Kvayola, a nearby island.  People also come to dogsled, ski, and go see reindeer however I explored the city a bit.  Check out Mack brewery and the Polaria museum, an Arctic wildlife museum in the city. Also, the Fjellheisen is a cable car to the top of a mountain overlooking the city.

 Morning tea stop

 

Eating:

I ate at a few places that I would reccomend:

Emmas Dreamkitchen is the most famous one.  Delicious.
Riso is a small cafe with a great Nordic vibe.
Huken Burger had delicious burgers.
Arctandria where I had whale and reindeer meat.  Norway is one of only 3 countries in the world where you can legally eat whale meat.  

All of these places were fantastic.  Note: Norway is expensive!!!

Must Do:

Go on at least one Northern Lights chase.  They don't really come to you, you have to find them.

 You need to go chasing the Northern Lights

You need to go chasing the Northern Lights

Must See:

Obvious answer is again, the Northern Lights.  However, I would say you need to get outside and take the Fjellheisen to see Tromso light up at night!

5 Word Travel:

Tromso - A beautiful Arctic paradise

TravelTip:

My advice would be to be friendly and chatty with the locals!  They are all very welcoming and speak perfect English.  Don't be shy and afraid to chat them up a bit.

Excess Baggage:

Note about the aurora:  You may not see the lights by simply going to Tromso.  It is often cloudy there and in order to see the lights you need luck, solar activity, and clear skies.  Chases will take you out to clear skies and different locations to find them.  If that is your goal going there, go on a chase every night and make sure you have a camera that can get to ISO 1000+, F2.8, and 4-10 second shutter speeds.  Most of all, don't give up!