Top 10 Things to See & Do in Tromso

Top 10 Things to do in Tromso on a Budget

In City Guides, Norway by Sheena4 Comments

What to do in Tromso? View the Northern Lights by night & explore museums & churches by day – find out the top 10 free & affordable things to do in Tromso.

* Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before any trip to Norway. We’ve been using World Nomads for over 10 years – it’s the best-value provider we’ve found but there are important things to consider. Check out our post & find out which of our claims were successful or denied.

Travelers visiting Tromso from Oslo may also be interested in this post…

Top 10 Things to do in Oslo

Oslo is mighty expensive but not when it comes to sightseeing – find out the top 8 affordable attractions in our Oslo Budget Travel Guide

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Top 10 Things to do in Tromso

  • #1. Arctic Cathedral (Ishavskatedralen)

If you’re looking for what to do in Tromso, look no further than the Arctic Cathedral. A landmark of Tromso, 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.

You won’t want to forget your camera!

There’s an entrance fee to enter the cathedral but those visiting Tromso on a budget can admire it & sneak a peak from the outside. Don’t miss the Arctic Cathedral, top on our list of things to do in Tromso!

Check out Lonely Planet for more travel inspiration in Oslo!

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

Opening hours: seasonal, check the website

Things to do in Tromso

Admire the striking Arctic Cathedral

  • #2. Tromso Museum (Universitetsmuseet)

The Tromso 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. These include 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)

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

What to do in Tromso Museum

Learn about the Sami culture at the Troms0 Museum

  • #3. Polar Museum (Polarmuseet)

Tromso 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 if you’re looking for what to do in Tromso.

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.

If you’re in Tromso on a budget, it’s worth visiting the Polar Museum to gain a better understanding of Tromso, 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)

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

Opening hours: seasonal, check the website

Things to do in Tromso Polar Museum

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 were there in the winter but we were able to look through the glass shelter. Just be sure to rug up in a down jacket as it can be pretty chilly outside.

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)

What to do in Tromso MV Polstjernam

What to do 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 so here’s a photo of some shrubs in the Tromso winter!

Entrance fee: free

Opening hours: 24/7

What to do in Tromso in winter

Explore the Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden or the winter landscape

  • #6. Tromso Cathedral (Domkirke) 

The Tromso Cathedral is also known as the Lutheran Cathedral.

It 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

Things to do in Tromso Catheral

What to do in Tromso? Visit the Tromso Lutheran Catheral

  • #7. Northern Norway Art Museum (Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum)

The Northern Norway Art Museum is in located on Tromso’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

Northern Norway Art Museum

Check out the Northern Norway Art Museum

#8. Perspektivet Museum

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

It presents documentary photography exhibits on current social issues.

Entrance fee: free

Opening hours: seasonal, closed on Monday

Things to do in Tromso Perspektivet Museum

What to do in Tromso for free? Check out the Perspektivet Museum

#9. Mack Brewery

Mack Brewery is the world’s northern-most brewery & Tromso’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 if you’re looking for what to do in Tromso or you can just browse in their gift shop, feeling very thirsty, like we did 🙂

Guided Tour: NOK 170 ($20.65)

Time: 3:30 pm, Monday to Friday

Duration: 1 hour

Things to do in Tromso Mack Brewery

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

#10. Tromso Public Library

If you need a free place to relax or recharge, head to the Tromso 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

What to do in Tromso Public Library

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

Tromso Tours

Tromso is the place to experience some amazing adventures of a lifetime. If it’s in your budget, check out these tours:

Did you enjoy reading our list of Things to do in Tromso?!

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Northern lights over mountains

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

What were your favourite attractions in Tromso?


The Shovel System 5 Shovels

Easy DIY travel outside city centres using public transport

Visited in November 2016

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  1. Great list. Tromso can be such an expensive destination so it is good to know that there are budget attractions as well. Will keep these places in mind for when I visit Norway some day.

    1. Author

      Definitely, especially if you’re taking a Northern Lights tour. I found the attractions in Tromso to be pretty good value of money too. Hope you make it over to Norway in the near future 🙂

  2. Photographing the Northern Lights is a bucket list item for me. Pretty close to the top too. This is a great list of things to do by day. I didn’t even consider they would have a Botanical Garden in a cold snowy location. A visit there would definitely be a must. The library tip is a great one too! Thanks for sharing some great things to do!!

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