View the Northern Lights in Tromsø by night & explore its museums & churches by day – find out the top 10 free & affordable things to see & do in the “Gateway to the Arctic!”

#1. Arctic Cathedral (Ishavskatedralen)

The Arctic Cathedral is a landmark of Tromsø. It was built in 1965, mainly from concrete.

The striking structure features 11 arching triangles & some of the largest stained-glass windows in Europe. Up here in the Arctic Circle, it can be seen to symbolize a glacier & the northern lights.

There’s an impressive, modern organ inside with 2940 pipes.

The Arctic Cathedral is located across the bridge from Tromsø city center. The opening hours are seasonal, check online before visiting. We didn’t follow our own advice & it was closed when we visited – it was still worth the trip for views of the architecture & we saw a bit of the inside through the windows.

There’s an entrance fee to enter the cathedral but budget travellers can admire it & sneak a peak from the outside.

Entrance fee: NOK 40 ($5.00), organ concert NOK 70 ($8.50)

Opening hours: seasonal, check the website

Website: Arctic Cathedral

Arctic Cathedral in Tromso

Admire the striking Arctic Cathedral

#2. Tromsø Museum (Universitetsmuseet)

The Tromsø Museum is part of the Arctic University of Norway, located near the southern tip of the city center.

There are many exhibits on Northern Norway & the Arctic regions, including stories of survival, Sami culture & the Northern Lights. Other major themes are archaeology, wildlife, global warming & science.

Entrance fee: adults NOK 60 ($7.00), students NOK 30 ($3.50)

Tromsø Museum / Polar Museum / MS Polstjerna combination ticket: adults NOK 80 ($10.00), students NOK 40 ($5.00)

Website: Tromsø Museum

Tromsø Museum

Learn about the Sami culture at the Tromsø Museum

#3. Polar Museum (Polarmuseet)

Tromsø has been an important base for seal-hunting & polar expeditions, until very recently – the last seal-hunting vessel was docked in 2015.

The Polar Museum chronicles the history of this local seafaring tradition, with exhibitions on expeditions, trappers & more. It’s a smaller, older museum but it crams in a lot of information & artifacts.

Unfortunately all the information is in Norwegian. But you’re given a pamphlet in English at the ticket counter that you can read through as you make your way around.

It’s worth visiting the Polar Museum to gain a better understanding of Tromsø, as winter trapping & expeditions played such huge part in the city’s identity.

Entrance fee: adults NOK 60 ($7.00), students NOK 30 ($3.50)

Tromsø Museum / Polar Museum / MS Polstjerna combination ticket: adults NOK 80 ($10.00), students NOK 40 ($5.00)

Opening hours: seasonal, check the website

Website: Polar Museum

Polar Museum in Tromso

Learn about Tromso’s seal-hunting history at the Polar Museum

#4. MV Polstjerna

MV Polstjerna is a historic seal-hunting ship on display near Polaria. 100,000 seals were killed on its voyages between 1949 to 1981.

It was closed when we visited in winter but you are able to look through the glass shelter.

Entrance fee: adults NOK 40 ($5.00), students NOK 20 ($2.50)

Tromsø Museum / Polar Museum / MS Polstjerna combination ticket: adults NOK 80 ($10.00), students NOK 40 ($5.00)

Website: MV Polstjerna

MV Polstjernam in Tromso

Check out MV Polstjernam, a historic seal-hunting ship

#5. Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden

Surprise, surprise – the Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden is the world’s most northernmost! There are many different species of flora on display, particularly from the alpine & colder regions of the world.

We didn’t have time to visit but here’s a photo of some shrubs in the Tromsø winter!

Entrance fee: free

Opening hours: 24/7

Website: Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden

Tromso landscape in winter

We didn’t visit the Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden but here’s a shot of the Tromso winter landscape

#6. Tromsø Catheral (Domkirke)

The Lutheran Cathedral was established in 1861 & it’s the world’s northernmost Protestant cathedral.

With over 600 seats, it’s also one of Norway’s largest wooden churches.

Entrance: free

Tromsø Lutheran Catheral

Tromsø Lutheran Catheral

#7. Northern Norway Art Museum (Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum)

The Northern Norway Art Museum is in located on Tromsø’s oldest street, in its old telegraph post office building from 1917.

The main collection presents art about & from Northern Norway from the 19th century to the present day – it’s free to enter. There are entrance fees to the temporary exhibitions.

Entrance fee: free

Opening hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday to Friday, 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm Saturday & Sunday

Website: Northern Norway Art Museum

Northern Norway Art Museum

Northern Norway Art Museum

#8. Perspektivet Museum

The Perspektivet Museum is in a beautiful, 1838 building on the main street in Tromsø – best of all, it’s free.

It presents documentary photography exhibits on current social issues.

Entrance fee: free

Opening hours: seasonal, closed on Monday

Website: Perspektivet Museum

Perspektivet Museum

The Perspektivet Museum is free in downtown Tromso

#9. Mack Brewery

Mack Brewery is the world’s northern-most brewery & Tromsø’s oldest pub. Founded in 1877, it produces 18 kinds of beers.

It has plans to set up a new factory outside the city, but the town council is trying to keep it in Tromsø – visit while you still can.

There are daily tours, or you can just browse in their gift shop, feeling very thirsty, like we did 🙂

Guided Tour: NOK 170

Time: 3:30 pm, Monday to Friday

Duration: 1 hour

Website: Olhallen

Mack Brewery gift shop

The Mack Brewery tour didn’t fit our budget but the gift shop was cool!

#10. Tromsø Public Library

If you need a free place to relax or recharge, head to the Tromsø Public Library. It was very handy place for us to keep warm when we visited in the winter. There are toilets, free wifi & free hot water – have a drink or snack at the tables, reading the English newspapers.

You need a membership card to swipe in to enter but this shouldn’t be a probably during most of the day as many people come & go.

Entrance fee: free

Opening hours: seasonal, various but open daily – check Google

Tromsø Public Library

Visit the Tromsø Public Library if you need to take a break or use the free wifi

*** The Final Word – The museums & churches in Tromsø are interesting & affordable to visit! ***

What was your favourite attraction in Tromsø?

The Shovel System 5 Shovels

Easy DIY travel outside city centres using public transport

Visited in November 2016