4 days in Tromso Itinerary: Winter Travel Guide

4 days in Tromso Itinerary: Winter Travel Guide

Situated in the Artic Circle in Norway, Tromso is a darling city surrounded by natural beauty. From imposing snow-capped mountains to magnificent fjords, it’s a magical place.

After spending time exploring Northern Norway, I put together this 4 days in Tromso Itinerary: Winter Travel Guide. I feel this gives you enough time to enjoy all the unique experiences available.TromsoWinter is the peak time to chase northern lights, enjoy snow sports and go whale watching as they migrate to the fjords to feed. It makes the perfect long weekend break!

Day 1 – Snowmobiling in Nature

We started our trip by heading out of the city to Snowmobile through the mountains. After a 90 minute bus ride, we arrived in a scenic valley – the landscape was a true winter wonderland.4 days in tromso itinerary: winterWe were provided with thermal outerwear and safety gear needed for the snowmobiling. There is a safety demonstration before you’re able to get out and ride through the snowy wilderness.

Then we headed out in a group, it’s so much fun to drive through the trails and take in the incredible landscape. Although you’re not allowed to go at top speeds it is an adrenaline rush and such an exciting experience. We stopped for a while to take in the awe-inspiring views and riders could switch places if you wanted to.4 days in tromso itinerary winter After snowmobiling we headed into a traditional Northern Norwegian hut, to warm up around the roaring fire. We were served a classic hot berry drink, alongside a delicious stew for lunch. Then we had some time to relax before heading back into the city. We sat by the fire and enjoyed watching the huskies play outside through an icicle lined window.4 days in tromso itinerary winter

Day 2 – Wild Whale Watching

During the winter months, from around November until the end of January, Orcas and Humpback whales migrate to the fjords in Northern Norway to feed on herring. This makes it the perfect time to go whale watching.whale watching tromsoCurrently, the whales can be found feeding around the island of Skjervoy, which is a few hours north of Tromso. They appear to be migrating further north each year following the herring – but as of now, it’s still possible to do a day tour to whale watch.

I did not do a tour from Tromso, we took the ferry north and spent three days on Skjervoy to whale watch. We were even able to swim near wild orcas with a tour led by marine biologists. It was a phenomenal experience – truly once in a lifetime!4 days in tromso itinerary: winterHowever, for this 4 days in Tromso itinerary: Winter Travel Guide, I would recommend using only one day to whale watch. Although, whales are wild animals and you can never be ‘guaranteed’ to spot them, they are numerous in the fjords and it is highly likely that you will have a sighting during your trip.

The boats all keep a respectable distance from the whales, but you will find that they can be very curious creatures and will come right by the boat to see what’s going on.

It’s honestly breath-taking to view these enormous animals in their wild habitat. A memory I will treasure forever, and I would highly recommend making time for this activity.

This tour from Tromsø appears to have great reviews.

Day 3 Spa Day in Tromso and Chasing Northern Lights

If you’re visiting Tromso during winter, no doubt you are hoping to catch a view of the illusive Northern Lights.It is possible to get lucky and see the Northern Lights from the city itself, but with light pollution it’s certainly not the optimal viewing conditions. I’d recommend booking a Northern Lights tour, which is exactly what we did. Most tours set off in the evening around 7pm, which gives you the day to explore the city.

After a couple of active days, if you’re looking for something peaceful and relaxing during your trip – I’ve found the ultimate spa experience.Vulkana Spa is situated in the harbour in the heart of Tromso. From outside you would have no idea that this boat had been transformed to provide an authentic Scandinavian spa experience.

Once you step on board, you’ll realise what a unique and relaxing space this is. From enjoying the spectacular views of the frosty harbour in the Finnish sauna, to getting steamy in the Turkish Hamman – you’ll certainly feel rejuvenated.4 days in tromso itinerary: winterOn the top deck of the ship there is a traditional wood fired hot tub, I’m sure people thought we were crazy out in the freezing weather, but it was worth it. You can even take an ice plunge from the side of the boat if you’re daring enough!4 days in tromso itinerary: winter

Once evening hit, it was time to join our Northern Lights tour. You could go drive and chase the lights yourself, but I do think a tour is the best option for several reasons.

  • Safety; depending on the conditions, it can be quite treacherous driving around Tromso in the dark with frozen roads. The guides have ample experience and proper equipment. They will also carry additional thermal layers, which is a bonus if you start to feel cold – as it’s likely you’ll be outdoors for hours.
  • Knowledge; the guides know how to read the Aurora forecasts and anticipate the best locations for optimal viewing conditions. They also communicate with each other throughout the evening to share where there is strong Northern Lights activity. For example, the evening we went out, my app said there was a low chance of viewing the Northern Lights and we had a phenomenal display. The Aurora was strong, dancing and even pink!
  • Photography; our tour included professional photography. This is a great perk, as it is incredibly difficult to photograph the Northern Lights if you don’t have the correct camera set up etc. They will ensure you have snap shots of this incredible experience and you can enjoy the view. Our guide was also helping with photography tips for people who did bring their own camera.

4 days in tromso itinerary: winter

Day 4 – Reindeer and Sami Culture Experience

How can you visit the Arctic without learning about the traditional culture? Especially when that involves meeting a bunch of cute reindeer! For your final day, head out on a Reindeer sledding, feeding and Sami culture adventure. On this tour, you’re whisked just outside of the city to a stunning frozen landscape.

You’ll have the opportunity to feed the herd of reindeer, as they roam free in the pasture. You are given a bucket of their food and they all come to you, they are friendly but can get a little rowdy. I had one try to jump on me haha I totally freaked out, but they won’t hurt you.ReindeerThen we went on a 25-minute sledding ride around the valley and alongside the fjords. The views are incredible, with it being Polar nights, the sun begins to set during the day creating a stunning backdrop to this experience.4 days in tromso itinerary: winterYou can then spend more time around the reindeer or head inside to warm up with a hot drink by the fire. Lunch is served in the Lavvu and it is a traditional Sami meal, spoiler alert it’s reindeer – they use every part of the animal, it’s very sustainable.4 days in tromso itinerary: winter We then gathered around the fire to learn about Sami culture, their way of life and joiking (traditional Sami songs). I already know quite a lot about ethnic groups in the Arctic from my visit to Siberia, but it was fascinating to learn about Sami way of life in Norway. We even gave joiking a go which was a lot of fun.

This is an absolute must do in Tromsø!

Where to stay?

We checked into the Moxy Tromso for our time in the city. The hotel is a curated blend of modern style, luxury touches and affordability.Moxy Tromso4 days in tromso itinerary: winterThe rooms provide all the home comforts you’d expect of the Moxy brand, including sumptuous beds, modern style and motion activated LED lights. We were lucky to look out over the fjords- what a view to wake up to!Moxy TromsoThe Sky Bar at Moxy Tromso steals the show. The space has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the fjords and mountains beyond. The quirky design features create a fun, social space and reflect the distinctive character of the city.4 days in tromso itinerary: winterThe use of colour was inspired by traditional Norwegian folk dress, incorporating vibrant colours and murals adds a touch of playfulness to the sleek modern style of the building. You’ll receive a welcome cocktail when checking at the cool bar space – there are even board games and a foosball table.Moxy Tromso4 days in tromso itinerary: winterThere is an outdoor terrace, which is not somewhere to spend a great deal of time during Polar nights, but it does offer spectacular panoramic views of the untamed wilderness of Northern Norway.

The Moxy Tromso is the perfect base for an Arctic adventure without skimping on comfort. The only slight downside is the location, it is outside of the city centre, closer to the airport. However, there is public transport nearby and taxis are readily available.I hope you’ve found this 4 days in Tromso itinerary: Winter Travel Guide useful. As you can tell, we were able to experience a lot of what the Arctic has to offer in a short period of time. You could adapt to your preferences and add more, or take it easy.

I’d highly recommend visiting this Northern Norwegian gem – you’re certain to have once in a lifetime experiences.

We stayed as guests of the Moxy Tromso. However, as always, all photography and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. 

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10 Comments

  1. February 10, 2024 / 1:24 pm

    Your Northern Lights photo is amazing!!! And it’s my dream to see orcas in the wild. I really need to go to Tromso!

    • February 11, 2024 / 9:30 am

      Thank you! Yes, it’s really the perfect place to whale watch in the fjords.

  2. February 10, 2024 / 1:43 pm

    I would not have thought about whale watching in winter. That and the reindeer experience make this itinerary truly unique.

    • February 11, 2024 / 9:30 am

      It’s the best time of year in Tromsø, as they all feed in the fjords. Almost guaranteed a sighting!

  3. Terri
    February 10, 2024 / 9:36 pm

    I love the photos of the reindeer. They are adorable. You are so lucky.

  4. February 11, 2024 / 12:24 am

    Having grown up at the beach I don’t enjoy the cold – but I do enjoy apres ski! But I think I’d make an exception here as it looks like a lot of fun – I’d love to see the reindeers.

    • February 11, 2024 / 9:31 am

      Yeah, it’s pretty cold haha but good for these types of activities.

  5. February 11, 2024 / 1:24 am

    We did not make it as far north as Tromso when we were in Norway. But I can see it is a magical place that we need to add to our travel plans. And so lovely to see in the winter. Chasing the Northern Lights would definitely be the highlight of our visit.

    • February 11, 2024 / 1:11 pm

      Omg, it’s such a great city to explore from! This year is supposed to be the best to see the northern lights so, I say do it haha.

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