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“Great, but you must take the cable car” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Tromso

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Stavanger, Norway
Level Contributor
58 reviews
72 helpful votes
“Great, but you must take the cable car”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 November 2010

I flew to Tromso in search of the lights and found a lovely town.
The first impression was it was a small place until I walked over the bridge to the Artic Church and after another 10min walk I arrived at the Cable car ride, 4 mins later, I was over 400 mtrs above Tromso with the best views. (100Nok... about £11)
For beer lovers, you will find "Mack" beer and before 3 you can have a tour, its a cracking beer, I have lived in Norway four years and it is the best!
Remember, things are expensive in this country but if you go for a burger king/ mcdonalds you are going to Hell (a place near Trondheim!) If you want a fantastic warm, fresh sandwich then there is a bakery in front of the old church in the center of town. for 100Nok you get a great sarnie and hot chocky (closes at 6)
I then took a few beers in town before taking the best boat trip in the world (Hurtigruten) going south to Trondheim through the Lofoten Islands...Wow.
Great Point.... Cable car
Bad Point... Railway (Jernaberten) Bar

12 Thank EnglishRichInNorway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
141 reviews
114 helpful votes
“Good place for stop”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 July 2010

One of the biggest Norway cities. Worth staying a nght during your trip over Norway. Good Arctic centre, impressive cathedral and pubs living all night or rather all day as you have midnight sun in tromso during sumer months. If you can't afford full hurtigruten trip it is the best place to start a short tour. Very often you can find good offers for routes tromso-north cape- tromso.

1 Thank aaroundtheworld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
24 reviews
33 helpful votes
“Tromso In search of the Northern lights March 2010”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 March 2010

Tromso is indeed a magical place with lovely people and beautiful scenery. We were there for 4 nights and were lucky enough to see the lights every night. We chose to travel when there was a new moon in March -16 -20th and looking for warmer sunny days and clear nights which we were lucky enough to get both. Hopefully this will help encourage other travellers to go to this wonderful place in search of the northern lights in Tromso 2011. At the time of this trip 100 NDK = £8.
We travelled by Norwegian airlines direct form Gatwick to Tromso http://www.norwegian.com/en/ At both airports use the self service check in and then bag drop in .By booking 5 -6 months in advance you get the cheapest tickets we paid £170 return inclusive of all charges . Arrival at Tromso airport (http://www.avinor.no/en/avinor) in the snow at 00.40 we waited 5 mins for the taxi at the rank outside and it cost 150 NDK to our hotel a journey of 10 mins.
We stayed at AMI Hotel (a small b & b) 5 mins walk into the centre on a hill with wonderful views. We were charged 711 NDK for a double on suite. We got a reduction for booking on line and 4 nights .( http://amihotel.no/ami/english/index.html) We had room 31 fantastic view but very small, however spotlessly clean. Room 32 was bigger and would be better choice .However both rooms have flat screen TV, Phone and fridge. This hotel is small cosy and I liked it .It had a small guest kitchen with free hot drinks all day and ideal for making up flasks and even cooking a meal if you are on a budget . The breakfast is DIY as much as you can eat. Also free internet and phone in the lounge breakfast room. To see the northern lights without going on a trip walk 5 mins behind the hotel to a cemetery ( very safe ) or another 5 mins to a frozen lake . On return to the airport we booked a taxi from the free phone in reception which picked us up at 5.15 am (on time) at a cost of 200 NDK.
Eating out is very expensive – Pizza, salad and 2 pints – 350 KDK. A pint 120 NDK.
The tourist office in the centre is a good place but we waited and one hour and I could have easy booked the trips on line .There was not much I could seen that was not available on line before.
To maximise our chance of seeing the Northern lights we went for the following
Bus / Cruise ship trip of 8 hours – absolute bargain at 550 NDK. Book at the office next to the tourist info the Cominor (Bus) ticket office, don’t wait in the tourist office queue as they can’t book it. .(Important This trip is not available Fri /SAT /SUN).We caught the number 100 bus to Alto from the station next to the tourist office our journey was to Skjervoy right up in the north . The bus goes on 2 ferries( drives on you don’t have to get off) ( first 20 mins with a café , 2nd 40 mins with no café so take a flask )This is a great chance to see the Fjords and little villages . The driver tells you what is happening in English. Then another hour and you swop buses ( the other bus is waiting for you next to it ) to take you up to Skjervoy and drops you 50 meters from the front of the cruise ship . You get straight on the ship and it sets sail for the 4 hour journey to Tromso http://www.hurtigruten.co.uk/Northern-Lights/ . We went into the dark observation lounge and found our base ( we had a flask and a hip flask ) and when we saw the lights we out to the back of the ship . It was fantastic ( very posh boat !) .
The following day we went to Mack’s brewery and the Ohallen pub for a drink, you can also go up the cable car for good views over the city. Tip when you get on the buses (you pay the driver get a 24 hour ticket (24 NDK) otherwise the trip to the cable car is 32 NDK both ways!)
The second night I had pre booked Ivan at Natur I nord http://www.naturinord.no/pages/view/27597 Pay on the night 650 NDK ( much better prices than the others I found) .This included 4 .5 hour trip with survival suites if you needed them and coffee and cake .Ivan picked us up from the hotel (and he rang us to confirm that afternoon) .He was a lovely guy , great sense of humour and very honest . He had a new bus and you could get on and off when you wanted to so no need to freeze .We had a fantastic view up the Lyrgen mountains and got to see a great show ( 3- 4 on the activity scale) .
The 3rd night we booked Tromso wilderness centre http://www.villmarkssenter.no/ and a dog sledding trip with Dinner .I would book on line first – pick up is a the Radisson hotel in the centre ) The place was great 280 huskies dogs all seemed very happy and well looked after . The sledge trip was very sedate to ones I’ve done before (and had great views across Tromso) so don’t worry if you think it may be a big rough – I think any age could do it. My only criticism was the food ( as a veggie mine was rice and cold ( not sure ) curry I think ) , my husband said his reindeer stew reminded him of the army . We paid 1350 NDK but you could have just don’t the sledding for 1000 NDK and just have a drink in the Sami tent. However the people were lovely and a definite must do visit. Survival suites we given out and boots. Again great show of the northern lights form this place .How lucky we were.
If you have any questions I can help with let me know but go… it’s a place you will never regret spending each and every kroner!

13 Thank ginasafari
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
11 helpful votes
“Northern Lights in Tromso”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 April 2009

This is just a note about the Northern Lights in Tromso.

Tromso likes to push itself as being in the prime spot on the globe for viewing the Northern Lights.

This may well be so on a purely geographical basis. What they fail to mention is that the light pollution there is unbelievable. Unsurprisingly for a town which lives in total darkness for several months of the year and which is serviced by cheap hydroelectric power, everyone has about 3 floodlights right outside their house.

This is how they live, they don't notice it. You can barely see there is a sky at all, let alone see the pale green flickering of the Lights. They could so easily create a 'dark spot' in the town but I guess it just doesn't occur to them.

To see the lights in Tromso you have to take a really expensive trip outside. The nature of the lights is that they are unpredictable, therefore you are taking a big chance that that particular night you head off into the freezing wilderness and pay £100 for the privelege, you may not see them.

Natural as it is for Norweigens to simply take the lights for granted, the Tromso tourist board is cynical and misleading to advertise Tromso as the place to see the lights. It ain't so.

Go somewhere else to see the Northern lights

11 Thank jogapyear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kendal, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
51 helpful votes
“In search of the northern lights....”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 April 2009

The aim was to seek out the northern lights (NL), having seen the BBC documentary of Joanna Lumley’s successful NL expedition to Tromso. We flew with Norwegian Air, from Stanstead to Oslo and then on to Tromso. The flights were great and the 5 hr waits at Oslo not too bad – the airport’s beautiful and comfortable – putting LHR to shame yet again! One tip though... if you’re going to eat anything at Oslo airport, pack sandwiches - the cost of some pizza, salad and coke is £33 per person from Pizza Hut!

In Tromso we stayed at the perfectly situated City Living apartments from 19th to 26th March. They’re clean, well equipped, warm, comfortable, etc. – we had room 507 with a kitchen and dining table. As we were staying 7 nights, they reduced the rate for us (without our asking) by well over £100, which paid for the secure underground parking (arranged by City Living) that we needed (all street parking in Tromso is permit / metered) for the hire car. The room was superb, although there’s a bit of building work going on out back which starts at 7am, and woke us up daily... however, that can happen anywhere! As we were self catering we saved a fortune on restaurants, which are ludicrously expensive – we had a ‘burger and ½ of larger’ at cafe fly, which cost £20 for 2, for something not much better than McDonalds – with main courses around the £30 mark even in the most basic of places. Supermarkets are around 10% dearer than the UK – beware, booze is only sold before 4pm (the local beer’s cheap and good). The food quality is very high indeed and we ate really well every day and easily found interesting local foods to make lunches with.

The hire car was booked through Lastminute.com and supplied locally by EuropCar near the airport. We got upgraded to one with aircon and heated seats (essential in hindsight for those long waits for the NL!). The guy in the office didn’t try to push insurance upgrades, etc which is always a good sign and we felt under no pressure to buy more from them. One thing worth checking is that there’s a tow rope in the boot – we came off the road (due to the ice / snow) and had to rely on somebody else having the equipment to tow us back on. Six days car hire was £325.

I’d tried to book the same guide that the BBC used to find the NL, but he was busy. Initially I was worried that we’d stand less chance of seeing the lights without him, but it’s actually very simple: Head west to the islands of Kvaloya, Lenvik, etc, then head to their west coasts, find a bay (or fjord) pointing north that has no street lighting on the road, no village throwing off tons of light, wrap up warm, open your flask, pray the clouds disappear and wait till around 9pm. Then get out of the car, point your head upwards and go “wow”. We saw them three nights out of the five that we went looking – every night that there wasn’t cloud. OK... there’s a bit more to it than that... visit the ‘NL predictor website’ (although every day I checked seems to be above ‘1’ in Tromso, so in theory there’s activity there all the time over the winter season), but perhaps even more important is to go when there’s no moon – again there’s websites where you can check moon phases. So, you don’t need a guide costing £100 per person, you can hire a car for almost a week for a little more, do your own thing during the day and still get to sit and watch the spectacular NL (cloud permitting) at night! Take a tripod for your camera, and do 30 sec exposure at your widest aperture for great digital results – batteries wear down fast in the cold, so carry a spare in your pocket. Oh, and -6 degrees is really far colder than you can imagine, so extra socks, thermals, thick hat, gloves and all your winter clothes on together is about the bare minimum you’ll need to avoid losing a limb or two to frostbite!

Daytimes we tripped around the islands and found the ones to the west of Tromso the most beautiful, and the villages and areas around Skogsfjord, Kvaloyvagen, Grotfjord, Ersfjordbotn and Husoy well worth a drive towards. We were there when there was c3ft of snow everywhere and the roads covered in ice, but equipped with studded tyres and some courage still managed to drive c1,500km in the week.

An amazing trip with flights, accommodation, car hire & parking all in for around £1,500 for 7 nights. Oh, I forgot to mention... all the Norwegians we met were extremely charming, helpful and kind – especially in the tourist information offices, who didn’t push us to spend money with them.

36 Thank suffolkdreamer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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