Visit Tromsø set out a welcoming message to some visitors, as the city and surrounding areas look to start welcoming those who want to experience the delights of Tromsø. They are trying to allow visitors to have a glimpse of normality following COVID-19 lock-downs.

Tromsø trying to encourage sensible travel

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is introducing new exceptions to the Travel advice, incorporating a list of countries, including the UK, Netherlands and Spain, whereby visitors from these areas do not need to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in Tromsø. Those not willing to take the travel plunge yet will do well to bear Tromsø in mind for the future - a lot of the experiences and sights listed below can be enjoyed whilst complying with social distancing advice and guidance.

Tromsø will lure you in

The Norwegian Sea cuts through the city of Tromsø separating the Polar Museum and the architecturally captivating Arctic Cathedral.

There is a calmly captivating allure to the friendly and scenic city that is the ninth-largest in Norway. Allpopulations.com cites the figure of 59,590 people as the 2019-2020 population of Tromsø. A portion of Norway’s 80,000-ish Sami population thrives in Tromsø. These are descendants of an aboriginal, nomadic population; the Sami of today blend in almost indistinguishably with Norwegian residents.

The satisfying foods of Tromsø

Locals are full of handy hints regarding getting the most out of your visit. This includes gastronomic advice, such as cod being the best seafood to enjoy due to salmon mainly being sourced from farms.

Likewise, reindeer meat is the preferred option to beef or pork, down to the abundance of the creature and its free-range nature. Oh, and of course, brown cheese is the preferred form of that particular dairy product.

This picturesque city often caked in snow, makes the Arctic Circle welcoming. Aurora Borealis junkies, whale spotters, hardy hikers and sea eagle spotters alike all flock to Tromsø.

Alongside visitors who just want something more intimate and calming than a capital city offers.

Cosy pubs and intriguing eateries

From harbour views to rustic internal scenery, Tromsø offers hospitality to warm you from the arctic air. Huken pub on Strandgata in the city centre is cosy and quaint. Whilst reservations are accepted, this cordial pub and eatery still tries, despite its size limitations, to be welcoming for all.

Burgers and pancakes are the staples on offer here. A well-stocked alcoholic range including Mack beer makes this place a popular go-to for visitors and locals alike.

Norwegian pizza chain Pepe’s Pizza is popular in the city. It’s expensive (circa £23 for a medium pizza) compared to its counterparts in most of Europe, but for the area, it represents a tasty option. Casa Inferno offers a wood-fired, upper-end alternative if a warming dough-based meal is your preference. The tasty goat cheese cheesecake at Hildr Gastro Bar is well known in the city. It is often the recommendation of locals for visitors wanting a true taste of Tromsø dining.

Tromsø Bridge splits up the city and the rotund Storsteinen peak

A well-trodden stroll from the cosy city over the 1,036-metre bridge that contains 58 spans, takes you to the Arctic Cathedral (Ishavskatedralen). 11 striking aluminium-coated concrete panels promote its rugged appeal. A swift breeze often greets you as you lumber over the windswept bridge. It has been known to see winds of circa 140 kilometres per hour. Visitors make a bee-line for the 23:00 Northern Lights Concert that occurs each evening in the acoustic enhancing cathedral.

On the same side of the river as the cathedral, rests the proud peak of the Storsteinen accessible by a breath-taking cable car ride. You need bravery to step outside of the warming indoor viewing deck.

Those who do, are greeted with awe-inspiring views of the city and may well be greeted by the often brisk snowdrifts.

Husky and/or reindeer sledging is a must

The Tromsø Villmarkssenter (Wilderness Centre) and Arctic Adventure Center are two reputable husky ride operators in the vicinity of Tromsø. Alaskan huskies know the area well, it’s as though it’s in their blood. Self-drive or musher controlled, it’s the best way to embrace the Arctic air that hugs you, as you slide across the snow. It is comforting to see how well the dogs are cared for in the area, also.

Aurora finding dream

Trips or car hire for a Northern Lights chase taking in activity spots such as Ersfjordbotn, Kattfjorden and Skibotn, gives good chances of witnessing the Aurora Borealis.

However, even though low clouds often descend over Mount Storsteinen (421 meters above sea level) sightings are not unknown in the centre of Tromsø. Generally, it is more rewarding to get away from the light pollution of the city and from the water.

Venture to Svalbard – Arctic Fox territory

The only true way to navigate the 929 kilometres from Tromsø to the archipelago of Svalbard is by plane. SAS and Norwegian Airlines service Longyearbyen. Svalbard was first spotted by Dutchman Willem Barentsz, first sighting the area in 1596. It has been a well-sustained piece of the world ever since.

The months of May through to September is thought to be the best time to go if you are a polar bear/whale spotter.

However, other wildlife such as the arctic fox can be seen from mid-February to the beginning of September. Reindeers who can reach speeds of up to 80 kilometres per hour can be sighted more often. They have no natural predators in Svalbard. Since 2006, there have been reports of growing numbers of Walruses in Svalbard. It’s good to learn of this increase, in an age whereby a number of species of animals are on the endangered list. The Spitsbergen area is the place to head to if walrus spotting is your thing.

There's a calming tranquillity to Svalbard, making it worth the trouble of getting there. Reindeer fillet is often found on the menu of eateries in the area.

The Lyngen Alps provides winter sports delight and inspiring scenery

Sprouting out of northeastern Troms og Finnmark to the east of Tromsø is the Lyngen Alps. This is a 90 kilometres long mountain range spanning the municipalities of Lyngen, Tromsø, Storfjord and Balsfjord. Moose can be found around this terrain. Off-piste skiing is commonplace, giving the rare opportunity of partaking in this alpine pursuit from peak to the brink of the sea.

Whilst in the area, there is the surprising opportunity to visit the Lyngen Distillery and compare Norwegian whiskey to Scottish malts. Also, gin is distilled there. Video tours are available for those who have to see it before they believe it.

There is pretty much something for everyone around this haven in the Arctic Circle.

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