15 November 2012 by Luke McCormick
Channel Editor Luke McCormick points out the highlights in Tromso, the capital of northern Norway and one of the best places to see the Northern Lights.
Tromso, the ‘Capital of the North', is a lively university town surrounded by mountains, fjords and islands. This extremely likable and walkable city has for many years been the jumping off point for Arctic expeditions and adventures, and continues to be one of the best places on earth to see the Northern Lights.
In summer, travellers can hike in the coastal mountains, kayak inland rivers or among skerries in the Norwegian Sea, and fish for cod, halibut and salmon in those same, chilly Atlantic waters. Playing a round of golf at the world's northernmost 18-hole course under the Midnight Sun is another possibility.
Sami Wilderness Camp
You can't visit Arctic Norway without understanding the Sami way of life. They are, after all, a remarkably hardy people who have lived here in the north as nomadic herders for centuries.
What better way to taste this lifestyle than by driving your own husky team from the colourful streets of Tromsø into the heart of Lyngen, a wild and untamed terrain where the fjords meet the mountains? There, at Camp Tamok, you'll learn of Sami folklore and of reindeer husbandry and spend the night in a traditional lavvu (Sami tent).
Emmas Drømmekjøkken (Emma's Dream Kitchen)
VG newspaper called the restaurant a "work of art" where your gourmet dreams can come true, and rated it six points out of a possible six. The perfect place for that special evening, enjoy exciting à la carte and diverse menus.
Fiskekompaniet (Fish Company)
A seafood restaurant with an eye on the seasons and the fresh ingredients available, serves both contemporary and traditional seafood dishes made from local ingredients.
In the southern part of the city, Ølhallen is the natural starting point, especially because it closes at six pm. This is a good time to continue to Skarven, where locals go to enjoy the Mack brew as soon as there is a glimpse of sun. Continuing south, the daytime café Gründer turns into a bustling place at night.
Located in a former butcher shop, Aunegården has renowned cakes, while De 4 Roser is a European-style café, with good coffee and a nice lunch menu, evening meals and a wide selection of drinks. For the bold, Flyt offers an extreme sports theme with frozen beer glasses and homemade burgers.
It's well worth spending a day or two in Tromso before venturing out into the wilderness. The world's northernmost botanical gardens contain Arctic and alpine plants from around the world and a Polar Museum.
Aurora sightseeing with Guide Gunnar
Guide Gunnar is a real Northern Lights enthusiast. Bring your camera, warm clothes and your passport - this excursion sometimes runs right into Finland to catch the best weather. The tour goes by minibus to look for the best locations to find the Northern Lights.
Sami culture and reindeer sledding
Gain an interesting introduction to the Sami culture with reindeer sledding, the oldest form of transport in the north. Try lasso throwing, visit a lavvu, and learn about Sami culture and history on this daytime excursion that enables you to see some amazing mountains, fjords and valleys.
Around 240 friendly huskies cheer you upon arrival on this husky safari and experienced guides drive you safely through snow-covered landscapes.
A snowmobiling excursion will get you off the beaten track among the remote valleys and mountains that surround Tromso. Some trips include a stop for ice fishing and are also available in the evening.