Norway can be an expensive holiday destination, and a common misconception is that you HAVE TO spend a lot of money to enjoy your trip. Do you know what? That is completely wrong! We are going to show you a variety of activities you can experience for free (or close to free) in the city of Tromsø – the Paris of the North.
This is a hike starting in Tromsdalen, on the mainland part of Tromsø (a quick 20-minute walk from here at Tromsø Lodge & Camping!). The stairs were fully built by the Sherpa people of Nepal in 2017 and provides an amazing hike up towards Tromsø Cable Car (Fjellheisen) and Fløya. At the beginning of the hike you’re surrounded by birch trees until you reach the tree line. From there and onwards you get a view covering the whole island of Tromsø, and at the top of the mountain you’ll see genuine north-Norwegian nature as far as the eye can reach! Should the Sherpa trip not be enough, there’s possible to walk onwards to the top of the Fløya mountain after you’ve reached Fjellheisen and the nearby café.
There’s also a lot of other free hikes in Tromsø. The Norwegian Trekking Association has markings along most of Tromsø’s hikes, and the easiest paths can be walked without much effort. Rødtind (470 MASL), Brosmetinden (525 MASL) and Nattmålsfjellet (297 MASL) are some of the mountains that have easy-to-follow hikes for everyone.
It is important to remember that the mountains in Tromsø are covered in snow for a long time, and you have to be cautious about avalanches. Check out this link provided by Varsom for a full overview of the safe and unsafe paths along the year: http://www.varsom.no/en/avalanche-bulletins/forecast/Tromsø/
A short walk away from Tromsø city center lies the famous park Telegrafbukta. Here you’ll find beaches, a playground, fire pits and an elongated dock overlooking the ocean. This is the perfect place to enjoy a day outside with friends and family for grilling, swimming or a small picnic. Are you tough enough to swim in the ocean? The dock is perfectly placed if you want to swan dive into the chilly, northern sea water!
The botanical garden
Right next to the university of Tromsø you can find a beautiful garden with arctic plants from all around the world. The flowering season start in the beginning of May and lasts until the snow falls in October. The garden is not fenced in and is free for all visitors 24 hours a day. In the middle of the garden lies a cozy café that sells Norwegian waffles and pies – if you don’t mind spending a little money during your visit.
Museums and galleries
The city center of Tromsø is abound with museums and galleries, and a lot of them are free! Galleri NORD, Galleri Brevik and Krane Galleri are three of the most popular ones and contains exhibitions from a lot of local artists. Perspektivet Museum, where you can learn about the history of Tromsø, is the only museum with a free entry. On the other hand, a combo ticket for both Tromsø Museum and Polarmuseet costs only 80 NOK (roughly 9 dollars or 9 Euros)!
There’s a lot to explore along the streets of Tromsø. The city is full of historical buildings and landmarks. Tromsø Municipality has even made an overview of all the old buildings in the city center (https://www.tromso.kommune.no/tromsoe-bykart-fra-1931.5128709-274454.html)! If architecture is more your forte, there’s a lot of cool buildings to look at, for example Kystens Hus, the library and Polarmuseet. In addition to this, the city has a lot of hidden treasures scattered around. Can you find the 371 kg stone Eidis Hansen carried from the shoreline 200 years ago, allegedly because he was refused to buy booze from one of the local grocers?
The summer isn’t the only time when you can enjoy freebies in Tromsø. Sledding and playing in the snow is fun for kids and adults alike, and the park Charlottenlund at Tromsøya is open and free for all to visit. Here you’ll find long sledding hills, ice skating-rigs and ski runs to enjoy – as long as the weather allows you to. There’s a lot of nice cross-country ski runs to use in the winter, and one of the nicer ones starts right outside of us! Ski- and winter equipment can be rented for free at Turbo in the library building in town, so you have no excuses for not playing in the snow next winter!
Your Tromsø-cation does not have to be expensive. You can have a cozy time under the midnight sun in Telegrafbukta in the summer time, or watch the northern lights after hiking up Fløya via the Sherpa stairs in the winter. And the best part? Both experiences are completely free.