As it never gets dark in Tromsø in the summer, you get twice as much for your money. The Midnight Sun gives you extra energy for exploring the city, enjoying the nightlife, taking boat trips, walking in the mountains, and attending festivals of all kinds. And the best thing of all, Tromsø has vacancies for visitors this summer!
Between 21 May and 21 July, the sun shines day and night over Tromsø; a single day lasting 1,600 hours. OK, a bit of cloud cover and rain aren’t unknown in Tromsø, but uninterrupted daylight we can promise you. Viewing the Midnight Sun from 421 metres above sea level from Tromsø’s Fjellheisen cable car, or gazing out to sea at the dramatic cliff island of Håja are, quite literally, golden moments. When the sun paints golden stripes on the dazzling white walls of Tromsø’s Ishavskatedral (Arctic Cathedral) during a Midnight Sun concert, your thoughts can take flight…
Summer is a lazy time
When the sun peeks through, Tromsø’s main pedestrian street, Storgata, and all the pavement cafés, fill with summer-happy, chatty locals. The beach in Telegrafbukta bay is full of folks sunning themselves for hours on end and taking a 30-second dip in the waves. The people of the north know how to party and frequently end the evening in one of the city’s nightclubs ‒ and the sun’s still shining when they leave at closing time. Tromsø people don’t like wasting a single ray of sun.
Explore the city during the 24 hour sun
Tromsø city centre is an amusing and colourful, if not terribly well planned, mix of old and new, and has a considerable number of historic buildings. The mighty glass mosaics of the Ishavskatedral (Arctic Cathedral) shine with extra intensity in the summer light. The seals at the Polaria Arctic experience and aquarium love visitors when it’s feeding time. In the Arctic Botanical Garden, the Himalayan blue poppies blossom in July. At the University Museum you can get an overview of all the culture and nature of Northern Norway, while the Polar Museum tells the story of the courageous men and women involved in Arctic hunting trips and expeditions.
Be active day and night
You get so energetic by all this light. Go to the Tourist Information and have them suggest a mountain you can hike, they come in all sizes from 2-300 metres altitude to Mount Tromsdalstind 1238 metres up in the air. Another option is to hire a bike and go for a ride, either around town or out to the island of Kvaløya with its quiet country roads. The Tourist Information offers an impressive array of organised tours, including glacier hikes, kayaking, RiB Tours, and fishing trips.
Cultural life moves outside
Although cultural life and festivals go on all year round in Tromsø, in summer everything moves outdoors. Runners in the Midnight Sun Marathon in June cross the finishing line in the midnight sun. The Bukta festival in July brings together all the cool, new bands on the city’s beaches. As the night falls in August, the “Rakettnatt” festival creates a party at the main square for the young-ish.
Festivals take place across the whole region
Some of the most amusing and colourful festivals are held out of town, like the indigenous people’s festival Riddu Riddu in Manndalen, the fishing festival “Sommargøy” on the island of Sommarøy, and the alternative Karlsøyfestival. Experienced festival-goers have their thermal underwear, Selbu sweaters and swimsuits handy, so a little fresh summer rain doesn’t matter.
Facts about Tromsø in summer
Keep in mind that Tromsø is 350 km/200mi north of the Arctic Circle. A spinkle of snow in early June is not unheard of, and fresh snow on the surrounding mountaintops can happen at any time in Summer. However, sometimes we experience the “russeluft” (Russian air), high pressures from the inner parts of the continent. This can drive the temperatures up beyond the +25C mark. Much more frequent are the fresh, northeastern winds. This means varied weather
Summer is not, surprisingly, the main tourist season. More visitors come in the Northern Lights season in winter. This means the city seldom feels crowded, and you’ll hear more Tromsø dialect on the next café table than English and German.
Arrangements like the Midnight Sun Maraton and the Bukta Open Air Festival fill every hotel bed, so early booking is essential. Apart from that, there is plenty of room in both the budget and comfortable categories. This is because business travellers and conference guests stay away from Tromsø in the summer. Make the most of it!
Oh yes! At least for 30 seconds! The sea never gets really warm, but the locals (..most notably the youngest..) do swim. There is no requirement for you to do the same, as the temperature hovers around the 12C mark.
The locals are in shorts and t-shirt whenever the temperature is above +15. Streetsmart in Tromsø means a pair of jeans, low shoes, a shirt or blouse and a wind-proof jacket. For boat trips, be sure to have long johns, mittens and a hat on the ready, as it’s always colder at sea. For hikes, have all this in your backpack. When you sweat going up, you will freeze when sitting down. In short, pack for +5 and for +25!
Sure. Every part of the north is easily combined with Tromsø. Many people go to the North Cape, a milestone in every travellers live, often passing by Alta and Hammerfest. The island of Senja nearby Tromsø is a picturesque, rural area contrasting with Tromsø’s flair. The Lyngen Alps are an impressive mountain range and fjord nearby.
At the beginning and end of the school holidays, around June 20th and August 15th, planes are full of families. More people also fly around week-ends, beginning or ending their holidays. Midweek there is usually more space. For those sought-after discount tickets, make sure to book well ahead.