Tromso on a Budget

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  • 21st September 2015
  • One of our guest bloggers here at Nordophile is back. Vanessa Brune made the move from Germany to Tromso in the Arctic of Norway. Whilst running her own site blogging about life in Tromso, Van also knows the true meaning of being a Nordophile and what Nordophiles want to see and do, so she has started guest writing for us with this in mind. Maybe one day you will make the move as well…….



    Tromso on a Budget – 10 Free Things to do on your visit

    Hello fellow Nordophiles! I’m so glad to be back again! In case you missed my last post about Tromso, my name is Vanessa and I’m a German expat living in Tromso in Arctic Norway. I blog about my life and travels in Scandinavia and the Arctic over at Snow in Tromso and am here today to spread a bit of my love for Arctic Norway!

    I’m currently a student and living in Norway isn’t exactly the cheapest thing to do. Neither is visiting so I completely understand your worries that visiting Tromso might be too expensive. Therefore, I’m here today to tell you: it is possible to visit the Arctic on a budget! Aside from looking out for cheap flights and booking a private room instead of a room at a hotel, there are a couple of things you can do and see in Tromso completely for free. Today I’m showing you the 10 best!



    Hunt the Northern Lights

    This is probably the best about Tromso: the Northern Lights. And yes, you can see them for free! Of course, there are Northern Lights tours for tourists which is great when the sky is cloudy and they drive you to less cloudy areas. However if the sky is clear, you’ll most likely see them in the middle of Tromso too! I can see them from my bedroom and I live in the city center! Although, if you want to take really nice pictures of the lights, you’d need to get away from the lights of the city. No problem though as Tromso Island is big and you can get outside of the city within a half hour walk.



    Experience the Midnight Sun

    Interested in more natural phenomena of the Arctic? If you visit Tromso during summertime, you’ll experience the Midnight Sun (aka 24 hours of daylight) included in your stay. It’s so nice to take a walk around the city centre in the middle of the night while it’s still bright outside.




    Go on a Hike

    Speaking of going on a walk, the Arctic nature can best be experienced outside of the city on a hike through the forests or in the mountains. There are so many hiking routes for you to choose from and all of them are clearly marked. My favourites: walking around Lake Prestvannet, hiking from the Northern tip of Tromso Island to the Southern tip or going up Mountain Storstein or Mountain Tromsdalstind on the mainland.


    The Southern Tip of Tromso Island


    Visit Perspektivet

    Tromso also has some culture for you to offer and some of it is even for free. Perspektivet, for example, is a photography museum with changing exhibitions – all of them for free!




    Visit the Northern Norway Art Museum & the Gallery of Contemporary Art

    If you’re interested in art, the Northern Norway Art Museum and the Gallery of Contemporary Art should be on your must-see list of places for your Tromso visit. Both are free of charge and both host wonderful Norwegian art you might not be able to see anywhere else.


    Gallery of Contemporary Art


    Get on board of the Hurtigruten

    Want to see what it’s like to cruise around on Norway’s coastal steamer? The Hurtigruten can be found at Tromso harbour every day from 2.30 to 6.30 pm and can be visited free of charge. You can have a look around the ship, drink coffee in the cafeteria and even use the whirlpool on deck while having a fabulous view on the Arctic Cathedral.




    Have some Beach Time

    Yes, Tromso has a beach and even though it might not be warm enough to go for a swim during your visit, you should definitely head out to Telegrafbukta anyway. It’s such a beautiful place in the South of Tromso Island and the perfect place for an evening walk at the ocean!


    Telegrafbukta - the beach of Tromso


    Visit the Botanic Garden

    The Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden in Tromso is showcasing plants from the world’s Arctic and Alpine regions, like the Himalaya and the Rocky Mountains, and is situated right below the University. To walk through the Gardens is free and should be on your list of things to do if you visit the city between May and October!



    See Reindeers and Polar Bears

    Tromso is in the Arctic so of course you’ll see reindeers and polar bears! Okay, the polar bear might only be a stuffed one at Mack Brewery but you can also see real reindeers near the University (in captivity) and over on Tromso’s neighbouring island Kvaloya (wild), besides seeing them all over the city centre for decorative purposes.




    Take in the view of Tromso from above

    Tromso is such a beautiful place – and even more so if seen from above! The sight of Tromso Island, in the middle of the fjord between the mainland and the island Kvaloya is just so amazing! You can have this view after hiking up Mountain Storstein and as this might be a tough hike not exactly suitable for less well-trained people, you can always go for a much easier hike from the University to the ski jumping tower and look at the mainland and great parts of Tromso from that one. The views will be equally nice, promised!


    Tromso from above


    You see, Tromso might be in the Arctic and one of the most expensive countries of Europe, but it’s definitely possible to visit the city and see a lot while being on a budget!

    If you want to read more about Tromso and my life in Arctic Norway, head on over to Snow in Tromso and leave a comment below telling me what you’d like to do if you’d visit Tromso one day!

    6 thoughts on “Tromso on a Budget

    1. Pingback: Tromso on a Budget
    2. Dear Vanessa, I really enjoyed your blog About Tromsø. We want to go there next februari with oure kids and hope to see the nothern light. Do you know any places to sleep on à budget? (2 adults and 2 children 12 and 10)
      I hope to hear from you. With regards, Oskar

      1. Hey Oskar!

        So sorry for the late reply! As this isn’t my blog, I don’t get notified about new comments immediately 😉

        We have one hostel in Tromso (City Camp) and a cheap hotel named ABC Hotell. Otherwise you might want to check Airbnb or Tromso Bed and Breakfast. The camping site also has cabins though you need a car if you book your stay there as it’s not in the city centre of course 😉

        Hope that helps! If you have more questions, feel free to shoot me an email at!


    3. Great post! :)
      I’m in Ersfjordbotn with three Belgian friends until friday morning. We are hunting Northern lights. We hope we could see some despite of the cloudy weather. We’ll take our plane on saturday morning in Tromso so we’ll have the afternoon and the night to discover the city. It´ll be a pleasure if you could show us the city or have a drink. See you :)

      1. Hey Alexis!

        Yeah the weather is quite cloudy right now but if you haven’t seen the lights yet, you could go on a Northern Lights safari from Tromso. They drive you to the place with the least amount of clouds within a 100 kilometre distance 😉

        And thanks for the offer but unfortunately I work the whole day on Friday and have to get up early on Saturday again so no time to drink 😉 Hope you’ll enjoy your stay anyway and shoot me an email at if I can help you with any restaurant or pub recs!


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