Activities / What to do in Tromsø (snow until May/June)

Most of you are going to Tromsø to see the Northern Lights or experience Arctic. Snow will be here until the May. Not to be disappointed you should now something before:

1) Northern Lights are visible only in a clear weather during the night from OCTOBER to MID APRIL. Therefore you can see NL from Tromsø city (great view from my apartment, all NL  at this blog pics are taken from my living room). It is no need to take very expensive and Northern Light tours. I suggest to go on a dog sledging, Sami or reindeer experience, round trip with coastal steamer (Hurtigruten), skiing, walk with snow shoes  etc. for the same price you will get amazing adventure and possibility to see Northern Lights in addition (evening tours).

2) You are going to place high above the arctic circle. To enjoy the Tromso you must wear appropriate clothing and boots ( e.g. hat, gloves, scarf, winter jacket, waterproof & warm boots; see my my blog post about clothing). If you are going to dog sledding all clothing including boots are provided by tour organizers.

Dog sledding (taken by us, Baiba&Matt):

 

Round trip Tromsø – Skjervøy:

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Northern Lights & Tours & Photos:

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How to see Northern Lights? (do not miss it because of lack of knowledge):

Northern Lights are visible only in a clear weather during the dark period of day. Usually it is starting from late evening till the morning. Lights are changing all the time and may disappear in 15 min and then come again after a while. Therefore you should turn off all lights in apartment and take a look once in a while. My apartment is perfect for that, you do not need to freeze outside waiting for Aurora.

Remember that I’m giving these tips for free. NL tour will cost a fortune but they use the same strategy as me. Only difference is in a car – bringing you around Tromso when you can see the same thing from my apartment to give you feeling that you are really chasing something.

  1. Check the forecast once an every hour at http://www.aurora-service.eu/aurora-forecast/ . If the index is more than 1.67 NL will be visible. If higher than 3, you will see NL even trough the clouds.
  2. If the index is high enough turn off all lights in apartment including your laptop and wait (!). My apartment is on excellent location, city lights do not distract the view. Northern lights are natural phenomena therefore its not static, lights may dissapear after 15 min and then show up again later.
  3. If the skies are clear enough (some clouds do not count) and index is high enough, but you do not see anything from living room then walk out of apartment up wooden stairs and look there. This location is dark enough. It is no need to go further from this place.
  4. It is easy to miss Northern lights: 1) if you do not turn off completely all lights in apartment. 2) Are not patient and go away/ go to bed too early/ turn lights on. 3) Do not check the forecast once an hour and do not go to look at the other side of house in case of high NL activity (higher than 3-4)

I have faced many cases when I come home and show guests Northern lights they would be missed because of lights on (despite all my tips and guidance before). Also many people miss NL because they are in a bed already. As well they are out in a city but forget to have a look up to skies when coming home.

You can take beautiful photos of Northern Lights even with phone. Colors will be much brighter in phone. I use my Nokia Lumia, I have seen wonderful photos from my guests IPhones. However tripod is mandatory, when shooting with camera.

Here you can see Northern Lights in a video from my guests: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMFzZ3vc9P8

Northern Lights from my living room shoot by Nokia Lumia 925:

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Activities in Troms:

  • Dog sledding (if you don ‘t afraid to lead you own crew). Have tried, highly recommend: http://www.activetromso.no/dog-sledding
  • Round trip Tromsø – Skjervøy. Only weekdays (Mon-Fri), departure from Tromso at 14:00. Price in link below not actual (will cost more than in link).

Tickets&info (please ask more info&prices at ticket office):

Troms fylkestrafikk Tromsø: Open: Monday 0 Friday:  08:00 – 17:00
Roald Amundsens Plass 1b, 9008 Tromsø

Click to access Tromso_Round_Trip.pdf

  • Northern Lights overnight experience:

http://www.guide-gunnar.no/?a_id=5294&ac_parent=1

  • Dog, Reindeer sledging: 

http://villmarkssenter.no/vinterprogram/hundekj%C3%B8ring/

  • Tromso  Mack beer museum: 

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g190475-d319308-Reviews-Mack_s_Brewery_Macks_Olbryggeri-Tromso_Troms_Northern_Norway.html

  • Arctic Cathedral:

http://www.ishavskatedralen.no/en/the-arctic-cathedral/

  • Verdensteatret, oldest cinema in Northern Europe, beautifully renovated with nice cafe

http://www.verdensteatret.no/om-verdensteatret

Verdensteatret

  • All Tromsø museums

Especially University museums, they provide good price for combo ticket

 

Enjoy  your stay here in Tromso and do not hesitate to add your experience!

What to wear / How to prepare to Troms, Norway

Take into account that you are going to place high above the arctic circle. To enjoy the Tromso you must wear appropriate clothing and boots.

To enjoy activities instead of staying in a warm room during your trip you should prepare warm clothes and some useful tips in your head. It is important to check weather forecast before to prepare yourself.

Nr. 1 will be – Use special grips to walk on slippery road. I have bought some extra grips for my guests so no worry about that. Nr. 2 Wear thermal underwear – it is not expensive piece of clothing but very useful. Nr. 3 Move and you will feel warm, instead of freezing and standing still. 4. Also good boots is a must to feel OK here. Fancy looking boots do not mean to be suitable for winter / wet weather.

Despite the high latitude in  Tromsø island the climate is quite “mild” with moderate temperatures both in winter and summer. The temperature is usually around -3˚C to +3˚C in winter (until the May). Which means that wet and cold weather, slippery roads and freezing rain / wet snow is possible.

You should bring along: good  winter jacket, woolen sweater, scarf, gloves, hat, warm long thermal underwear, warm thermal socks and good boots. Check the weather forecast to see if you need waterproof clothing.

Weather forecast you can find here:

http://www.yr.no/sted/Norge/Troms/Troms%C3%B8/Troms%C3%B8/

 

 

Eating in Tromsø

If you are a fish and sea food lover you are in a right place.

Probably you have heard that if you go to supermarket and look for your favorite products price may be several times higher then you are used to see in other European countries and prices in restaurants might be shocking. Despite this fact you can manage to find affordable products and meals here.

Best choice in restaurants is order a fish soup or go to sushi place, because fish here in Tromsø are super fresh and more accessible than meat or vegetables. Despite high prices food in cafes and restaurants might not be in top quality and worth that price. Cheapest choice will be which fish soup even in expensive places will cost ~150 NOK (15 EUR) which is very good price in Tromsø. As well as sushi will cost ~220-300 NOK (22-30 EUR) for top quality meal made of super fresh fish (recommend Ra sushi restaurant). Along fish soup and sushi I recommend to taste reindeer soup if you find any. Cheapest option to eat outside home is Burger King Konge deals (King deals) which are incredibly cheap for Norway (Burger for ~20-50 NOK/ 2-5 EUR). Regular meal in fast food restaurant will be in the same price range as in cafe/restaurant.

If you decide to cook at home good choice in Tromsø will be to oven bake salmon/cod fillet with vegetables. Best choice is to buy ready to cook salmon/other fish fillet and/or ready to oven cook vegetables. In Rema 1000 shops you will find ready to cook meals for good price. Salmon fillet (500g) for ~3 meals cost ~65 NOK (7 EUR) and vegetables for oven bake 34 NOK (3.4 EUR). As well as pasta with tuna will be good choice. Worst option is to buy frozen vegetables and fry them. It will taste terrible and won’t be so cheap in the end.

Best shops for buying food are Rema 1000 and Coop. Although in super expensive Spar on Fridays you might find good deals for shrimps. Rema 1000 is the cheapest grocery store in Tromsø. There you will find canned tuna chunks for 5 NOK (0.5 EUR)!!!, canned tomatoes for 3 NOK, 500g of salmon fillet for 56 NOK, 500g of ready to cook in oven vegetables for 34 NOK and many more. Although choice of food will be much wider in Coop store.

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Grocery stores/supermarkets work from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays only some very small shops are opened.

Cheapest grocery stores:

  • Rema 1000 (Salmon fillet, vegetables to oven bake, canned tuna, canned tomatoes)
  • COOP

Best deals in grocery stores: 

  • Rema 1000  http://issuu.com/rema1000/docs/dm_uke_51-52_n?e=9514228/31953753
  • Coop http://kundeavis.coop.no/aviser/extra/nord/?id=1953
  • Spar https://spar.no/

Deals in recommended dinner place: 

  • Ra sushi:  Hot (fried) sushi are my favorite ones  http://www.raasushi.no/tromso

 

Please add your favorite deals & places!

Alcohol / tobacco in Tromsø, Norway

Probably you have heard about alcohol and tobacco selling restrictions and high prices in Norway.

Therefore if you are a beer, wine lover or smoker, i suggest to bring some in your checked luggage or bought in special tax free bag in your home airport (you need to take out your luggage and go again trough customs in Oslo airport). Prices of alcohol and tobacco are extremely high if compare to most of European countries. In Oslo airport tax free zone beer is not cheaper than in supermarkets. Although you can find good deals for wine or cider etc.

  • For limited alcohol and tobacco amounts what you can bring in Norway, official Norwegian custom info graphics: http://www.toll.no/en/international/english/shopping-abroad/alcohol-and-tobacco-quotas/

Beer not stronger than 4.7′ (light beer) you will find in every supermarket. From Monday to Saturday (8-18; S.8-15). Price range are about 25 NOK to 59 NOK for 0.3 to 0.5 beer. Although for me as a craft beer beer lover choice is poor.

Alcohol stronger that 4.7′ you can buy only in state shop Vinmonopolet, which have short working hours (we have one in city center and in biggest shopping mall Jekta). Wine, spirits etc. you can buy in state alcohol shops in Tromsø (working days 8-18; Saturdays 8- 15). Bottle of wine costs starting from 150 NOK ( 15 EUR). Spirits may cost ~500 NOK (50 EUR).

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Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro) cost ~115 NOK (12 EUR). Tobacco products are hidden away in shops and customers must specifically ask for them. You can bring 200 cigarettes (one block) from abroad.
Alcohol in pubs&restaurants. If you are planning to go out at evening take 1000 NOK/ 100 EUR for 2 persons with you. Beer in Pubs costs ~80 NOK for 0.4 (8 EUR). The cheapest drought or domestic beer not always is good choice.

Recommended beer places:

  •  Huken Pub  •  Bars • 22 Strandgata, Tromsø, Troms, 9008
    Nice and cozy beer place
  •  Sivertsens Kafe  •  Bars • 48 Vestregata, Tromsø, Troms, 9008
    Nice and cozy beer place with friendly bartender

Enjoy your stay in Tromsø! Don’t hesitate to add your experience with drinks in Tromso and favorite places.