The Norwegian county of Troms boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. It is a picture perfect example of Arctic beauty, complete with fjord landscapes and ice-capped mountains. The entire region is located north of the Arctic Circle and is stunning all year round, in the midnight sun or during the long polar nights.
There is always a lot to do in Troms, in both summer and winter. The landscape lends itself in winter to the joys of dog sledding or in the summer, exploring by kayak. The capital of the county, Tromsø, is known as the ‘Capital of the North’. It is a lively and picturesque city that has a fascinating history stretching back to the Middle Ages. If it is the magic of the Aurora Borealis you are after, it has been said that the northern lights play in the skies over Tromsø more than any other city in Norway.
Many cruise lines that explore the Arctic or Norway include Troms as a port of call. It is also a popular departure point from which to venture deeper into the Arctic.
The main port for the region of Troms is its capital, Tromsø. The busy seaport is located latitude 69°N and is one of the largest cruise ports in Norway. There are two key docks for Tromsø; Prostneset, which is mostly utilised by ferries and cruise vessels, and Breivika, which is generally used by industrial and fishing vessels. The Prostneset dock is located right in the centre of the city, while the Breivika dock is about 4 kilometres north of the centre.
Work is under way to develop the Grøtsund Offshore Base and passenger terminal, which will offer canteen and accommodation facilities.
Otherwise, the city of Tromsø has excellent infrastructure, making it easy to navigate and find necessary facilities. As it is a university town, it is home to a pulsing nightlife with plenty of eateries and pubs for visitors to enjoy. There is a Tourist Office where visitors can orientate themselves and gain information about the area, as well as a post office and library that has internet access. There are also plenty of hotels in the city.
How to Get Around
Tromsø is an easy city to navigate. It has its own airport, which is useful for those beginning cruise itineraries here. For those arriving at the Breivika dock, there is a shuttle that takes visitors to the city centre. Transport options abound once in the city, with buses, taxies and car hire all available. Buses are perhaps the easiest and cheapest way to navigate, with routes connecting tourists to attractions such as the Arctic Cathedral and Cable Car Station. Other routes take tourists beyond the city and further into the region of Troms.
- Currency – The region of Troms utilises the Norwegian Krone (NOK). There are banks and ATMs in Tromsø that will allow you to change money; however, most stores in the city accept major international credit cards. The Tourist Information Office and major attractions may accept payment in Euros.
- Time Zone – Troms is part of the Central European Time zone (CET), which is 1 hour ahead of Universal Standard Time. Daylight Saving begins in March, when the clocks are set forward 1 hour. Daylight Savings ends in October.
- Weather – Troms has a generally cold climate, with temperatures typically between -7 and 15 degrees Celsius. The warmer months of June to September have an average daily high above 12 degrees Celsius. The colder months between November and March don’t tend to reach temperatures above -1 degree Celsius.
- Arctic Cathedral – The Arctic Cathedral is notable for its unique architecture. The 1965 building has a striking triangular shape, reflecting the striking mountainous backdrop of Tromsø. Midnight concerts are often held at the cathedral. These are especially magical when the city experiences ‘midnight sun’ in the summer. Entry costs 40NOK each for adults, but is free for children under 12.
- Cable Car – Take a cable car up Mount Storsteinen and marvel at the panoramic views over Tromsø. When the Midnight Sun period occurs, the cable cars operate past midnight, offering a once in a lifetime Arctic experience, as you admire fjords and mountains on a sunlit evening. The views are equally beautiful on a long polar night, as the city lights glisten against a snowy landscape. A return journey on the cable car costs 150NOK for adults and 60NOK for children 3 – 15 years old.
- Arctic-Alpine Botanical Gardens – In Tromsø, near the Breivika docks, lie the world’s northernmost botanic gardens. Open from late May to early November, the colourful gardens showcase Arctic and alpine plants for visitors to admire.