Wow – one year since the first lockdown already! Who would have thought we would still be where we are now? One year since lockdown means it has already been more than a year since I went to Tromso in Norway – sorry it has taken me so long to write this post…
Tromso is a destination I had not heard much about until working with Off the Map Travel – it is now one of my favourites!
Tromso is the perfect destination for those who are after an Arctic adventure but also crave a sense of familiarity, as you can base yourselves in the city and enjoy some creature comforts after a day of adventuring in the Arctic Circle. I find it amazing that this is one of the furthest places you can visit before reaching the North Pole, yet you can still enjoy first class dining experiences and luxury accommodation. The world is a wonderful place! Being one of the few Arctic destinations with direct flights from the UK is also a great selling point.
James and I visited back in March 2020 – which seems like a lifetime ago now – and we were fortunate to make it home to the UK just a few days before the the first National lockdown. Norway were closing their borders the day of our flight home, and nearly all of the flights either side of ours had been cancelled, so we were lucky to make it back!
We split our time between some city sight-seeing and venturing further away from the city to experience Arctic activities such as dog sledding, meeting reindeer and snowshoeing. We even spent one night of our trip out in the wilderness with no heating or running water – we slept in a cosy little log cabin and hoped that we would see the northern lights. We were unlucky on this occasion but loved the experience all the same.
Keeping warm and dressing appropriately is essential for these kinds of trips – most of your activities will provide you with thermal outwear to wear over your clothes, but it is important to be well prepared for the cold weather before you arrive. You don’t always need to spend a lot on the most high-end options if you are just going for a short trip – I usually wear snow boots like these, ski trousers like these, and a thermal coat like this. Layers are important too, I usually wear this type of base layer under another jumper before my waterproof coat. And don’t forget a warm hat and gloves – mitten style are best.
During our trip we also enjoyed our first experiences in a Tesla, which was pretty cool! One of these was on our day hiking through the mountains, and the other on a northern lights chase, where again, unfortunately we didn’t get to witness mother nature’s light show!
The Arctic city boasts one of the world’s most Northerly breweries, a beautiful Arctic Cathedral, a cable car experience offering spectacular views, an aquarium, and plenty of museums. Situated on the coast of the Norwegian fjords, there are also plenty of sailing opportunities too where you can experience whale watching, wildlife safaris and fishing experiences. I’m usually ok on the water but I actually felt incredibly ill when we went on a northern lights dinner cruise – the food looked amazing but I could not eat anything! James of course ate all of mine too haha. The saving grace was that we saw some great aurora which made the sickness worth it!
Being so far above the Arctic Circle, Tromso is one of the destinations that experiences the ‘Polar Night’ whereby the sun does not rise above the horizon at all for a couple months. This is a really interesting time to experience, and certainly takes your body clock a little time to adjust to, but its uniqueness makes it very exciting. The polar night therefore of course offers long, dark, nights which increases your chances of seeing the elusive aurora.
As we visited in March it meant that we had some daylight hours, and I’d recommend this time of year if you are really into your photography for example, so that you get the opportunity to get some lovely landscape and wildlife shots.
On the other end of the scale, Tromso experiences the ‘Midnight Sun’ in the summer, where the sun never sets! There are plenty of summer activities in Tromso too, from beautiful hikes, kayaking, glacier hiking, Arctic beaches, sailing and witnessing the Midnight Sun (if you’re there from the end of May to the end of July).
If Tromso sounds like a destination you’d love to visit, get in touch with me at Off the Map Travel and I would be happy to plan an itinerary for you!
Thanks for reading 🙂
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