Velkommen til Tromsø! This small city is the largest city in Northern Norway, the third largest inside of the Arctic Circle, known as the “Paris of the North”, and was home to the musical duo known as Röyksopp. Everything else about this place though was going to be a surprise for me and would also stand as my base of operations for my stay inside of the Arctic Circle.
From the airport I made my way outside the terminal to catch the bus which was heading to the centre of the city. I paid for the ticket on board the No. 42 bus, which cost me 100NOK (£10) and then awaited departure for about 25 minutes…..to then find out the journey only took 10 bloody minutes! Never mind, I had arrived safely and was very glad I had come wearing my Timberland boots! as I then made my way up the snow covered and icy pavements to my accommodation at the ‘Smarthotel Tromsø’. The staff here was very friendly, and the hotel was typically Scandinavian, e.g, spotlessly clean and functional.
The streets of Tromsø were extremely pretty with their painted wooden facaded buildings which looked beautiful in contrast to the bright white snow that lay on the pavements. Right in the centre of Tromsø, which lies on the island section of Tromsøya, is the only wooden cathedral in all of Norway, the ‘Tromsø Domkirke’ which was completed in 1861. It looks especially pretty at night!
My favourite part of Tromsø is the harbour area. With all the boats moored, and the view across the bay to the mountains of Tromsdalen, it really is magical with the dark blue sky above. Like a backdrop to a children’s fantasy Christmas tale. Tromsdalen (literally meaning Troms Valley) is easily accessible by walking across the simple and aptly named ‘Tromsø Bridge’. Once at the other side of the bridge you arrive right at the front of the ‘Ishavskatedralen’.
The ‘Ishavskatedralen’ (Arctic Cathedral), was actually completed in 1965 despite its modern appearance. Once again due to its lighting, the Cathedral looks far more beautiful when the sky is dark (although at this time of year, that is almost all day/night). The glass mosaic was placed 1972 and it wasn’t until 2005 when the organ had been delivered to the church. The ‘Arctic Cathedral’ is probably seen as the pin-up for the city of Tromsø.
Another place I recommend a visit to is the Arctic-themed attraction ‘Polaria’, which looks like somebody has knocked the building over by accident, as the architecture is that of fallen dominoes. A lot of the museum material was based on Northern Norway and the islands known as Svalbard and Jan Mayen. But also at this attraction is an aquarium of cold-water fish, and even more entertaining, a group of Bearded and Harbour Seals! Who were very curious and playful, and I could not believe the size of them!
For the adventure experiences I highly recommend using ‘Tromsø Safari’ who are situated inside of the Radisson Blu Hotel. Also below is a list of bar and restaurant recommendations of mine for if you ever visit this lovely city. I really did enjoy my visit to Tromsø, a city that despite being so small, had so much going for it, and was a delightful place to bring the New Year in for 2018! Just remember to bring some warm clothes!
Kaia Bar & Restaurant