In the last days of October, I finally took my first trip outside of Olso during my semester abroad. My boyfriend was visiting and, as a gift to one another, we decided to take a short break in Tromsø.
Living in the south of Norway, the initial interest in travelling above the Article Circle is, of course, experiencing the aurora borealis. Given that our trip was short, we took a chance and sadly, we only witnessed the lights on the plane journey due to heavy snow clouds. This is why I decided to write up some of the many things to experience in a single day in Tromsø other than the Northern Lights.
TROMSDALEN KIRKE: THE ARCTIC CATHEDRAL
A landmark of Tromsø, Jan Inge Hovig created the Arctic Catherdal in 1965. Its unique design is accompanied by a religious mosaic curated by Victor Sparre and an organ that houses 2940 pipes. Initial entrance costs 50 NOK and they hold Northern Light Concerts.
The impressive Tromsø Bridge spans across the fjord and leads directly to the cathedral, taking approximately twenty to forty minutes walking from the centre.
The architecture continues to be stunning and in the city centre lies another cathedral that can be visited and marvelled. Tromsø Cathedral was constructed in 1861 and is known as Norway’s only Protestant, Lutheran cathedral.
Tromsø Cathedral sits right in the middle of the city so it is easily accessible. It is also surrounded by a quaint park so when you are tired from shopping, it serves as the perfect pit stop.
ØLHALLEN: THE OLDEST PUB IN TROMSØ
‘The Hall’, otherwise known as Ølhallen, is the oldest pub in Tromsø. A true rustic feel and an attention to Norwegian history for decor, Ølhallen is the pub that accommodates the young and the old. And if you love beer, then this is the place for you, with seventy-two taps of beers brewed by Mack.
Ølhallen is a few minutes walk from the centre and would be a complete hidden gem if it were not for its retro sign hanging.
FJELLHEISEN CABLE CAR
Whilst myself and my boyfriend chose not to, there is a cable car that can take you to the mountain ledge of Storsteinen in just a few minutes for 199.50 NOK for students and 218.50 NOK for adults. We experienced the splendour of the nature from ground level and it was wondrous so we can only imagine that same experience 421m above sea level would offer the ultimate view of Tromsø and the islands, mountains and fjords that surround it.
TELEGRAFBUKTA: THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
On a clear night, Telegrafbukta beach is a fantastic viewpoint for the Northern Lights as well as the surrounding mountains. It is paramount to go to the beach on a clear night if you want to experience the lights without travelling too far.
Telegrafbukta is approximately thirty minutes walking distance from the city centre. Since the winter weather has firmly set in, make sure wear thermals and pack everything to keep you warm on this beach that is currently hidden beneath a fair few inches of snow.
Tromsø, as we experienced it in snowy wonder, is a beautiful city with a lot of experiences on offer other than the Northern Lights. It is, however, very much a tourist destination with Norway tourist shops overwhelming the local Scandinavian trade but it did not falter our experience.
Something I really have come to understand from living in Norway is that; tourists can be surrounding you but as you experience these things that Scandinavia has to offer, its beauty can isolate you from the surrounding people into this state of constant awe.