Tromso’s Top 5 Attractions

The trouble with the Northern Lights is that you have to wait around all day for it to get dark enough to see them. In some locations promoted as Northern Lights holidays there’s very little infrastructure so it can be quite a challenge to fill the daylight hours.

Here in Project Travel we want you to have a good trip and bring home some great memories whether or not you are lucky enough to see the Aurora. That’s why we specialise in Northern Lights tours in Tromso and other parts of Northern Norway. There are plenty of tours and things to do such as dog sledding, ice fishing and snowmobiling, but what if you don’t want to do these types of adrenalin-inducing activities?

Fear not, Tromso is the place to be! Known as the ‘Capital of the Arctic’ and the ‘Paris of the North’, there are plenty of attractions to visit in the city that will keep you more than busy during the days. Here are some of our favourite.

  1. Tromso University Museum

Tromsø University Museum is North Norway’s oldest research institution. It has two research sections: Natural Sciences and Cultural Sciences. Each section has large collections documenting more than a century of research in the north. It’s aim is that visitors, especially those of the younger generation, will go home better informed about the nature and culture of the north. One of the most popular exhibits is ” Discover the Aurora”. Not only is the physics of the phenomenon explained, but there is also a Northern Lights plasma chamber so you are guaranteed to see an Aurora, whatever the time of year! There’s also a fascinating exhibit on the indigenous Sami people of Lapland that’s well worth a look.

  1. The Polar Museum

Part of the Tromso Museum, the Polar Museum exhibits and presents Tromso’s polar seafaring tradition. At the museum you will meet men, women, ships and equipment that were essential for life on the sea and in the Arctic.

There are exhibitions about overwintering in the Arctic, polar bear trappers & seal hunters, whaling and perhaps most fascinating, the lives and expeditions of Polar explorers such as Fridtjof Nansen and Rald Amundsen. While many of the exhibits are only captioned in Norwegian, you can still appreciate and understand the exhibits.

  1. Polaria – An Arctic Experience

Polaria, just five minutes walk from the centre of Tromsø, is housed in a very distinctive building that represents ice floes that have been pressed up on land by the rough seas of the Arctic. Polaria has an Arctic aquarium, interesting knowledge-based exhibits, a panoramic cinema, and a gift and souvenir shop. In the cinema, you can look forward to the Ivo Caprino film “Svalbard – Arctic Wilderness”and the Ole C. Salomonsen production “Northern Lights in Arctic Norway”. After the film visitors are taken along the “Arctic Walkway” where you through films and installations can see and learn how the ice is melting in the Arctic, how it affects the nature and the animals living there, and how researchers work in these areas. In the aquarium the main attraction are the bearded seals and it is well worth timing your visit with a training session at 12.30 and 15.00 hrs.

  1. The Arctic Cathedral

Tromsdalen Church, also known The Arctic Cathedral , designed by Architect Jan Inge Hovig, was dedicated in November 1965. It is a landmark visible from the Tromsø Sound, the Tromsø Bridge and when landing in Tromsø by aircraft. The 11 aluminium-coated concrete panels on each side of the roof provide the cathedral’s form. The fantastic glass mosaic on the eastern side by artist Victor Sparre was added in 1972. The Cathedral is famous for its 30-minute Midnight Concerts, Winter and Summer, when the church is filled with the sounds of the most beautiful Norwegian folk songs, as some wonderfully powerful classical and sacred selections – all enhances by the Cathedral’s fantastic acoustics.

  1. The Science Centre of Northern Norway & Planetarium

Located on campus at the Arctic University of Norway, the “Vitensenteret” (Science Centre) is a 40 minute walk from the city centre in Tromsø but there are good bus connections and parking facilities in the area. Ideal for children and adults, everyone can have hands-on fun with popular science; explore both regional phenomena and universal questions through almost 100 interactive exhibits. In the Planetarium, spectacular all-dome movies are shown every day, including a Northern Lights show giving a vivid, celstial view and a solid understanding of this scientific phenomenon with breathtaking footage from the Tromso region.


To find out more about things to do in Tromso and the surrounding region, have a look on Also check out some of Project Travel’s suggested Northern Lights holidays itineraries. We are happy to adapt any of them to best suit your interests. Then give us a call on 01 – 210 8391 to book.

Image credit: Markus Hirth, Hurtigruten

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