Most of the people my boyfriend and I saw at the airport at the beginning of January were dressed almost summerly. The were waiting for the plane flying them towards the South and they probably already dreamt of pleasant temperatures and the escape from German winter. We, however, waited for the airplane bringing us to real winter. Via Copenhagen and Oslo, Scandinavian Airlines flew us to Tromsø, where we landed aorund noon. And we were welcomed by two things that would also accompany us for the rest of our trip: cold and darkness.
Welcome to Tromsø
Since we stayed in Tromsø during polar night, which starts in November and ends in late January, we had to get used to noontime being the only time of the day in which we could explore the city in day light. Especially for our bodies this was a big change as the constant darkness increased the production of our sleep hormones. However, we were woken up by the cold, which we got used to faster. The temperature varied from comparatively mild -1°C [30,2°F] to very uncomfortable -20°C [-4°F] but despite of a suitcase packed with thermal clothing, fleece pullovers and woollen socks we couldn’t stand staying outside for more than 2-3 hours.
In our hotel, it was comfortly warm. The Comfort Hotel Xpress Tromsø is one of the cheapest in Tromsø and it’s a very nice place to stay. You’ll easily notice that the hotel is fairly new and that is has specialized in young people. The only disadvantage is the missing breakfast. We were offered ten percent coupons for an adjacent café but we still considered the café too expensive. Though, the hotel offers a snackbar and it’s in close proximity to a couple of supermarkets and restaurants. Thus, the location of the hotel is perfect as the city center is within a 5-minutes walk and the view from our room in the fifth floor was just breathtaking.
The next day, we explored the area admired the landscape od snow and ice. We enjoyed the view of mountains at the harbor and decided to cross Tromsø Bridge, which connects the city center on the island with the mainland. With the icy wind blowing around our heads, we walked onto the bridge and could look at a unique and wonderful scenery.
Our main destination on the mainland was the Arctic Cathedral, which impresses with its extraordinary architecture and is understood as the symbol of the city. Unfortunately, the cathedral was closed to visitors when we arrived but instead we admired the arctic scenery from the cathedral’s observation platform.
On our way back, while we crossed the bridge once more we could witness the beautiful arctic sunset dying the sky in numerous shades of pink and red. The stunning sight made us forget the cold for a second and we suddenly even discovered a pale green gleam in the sky. Our first Northern Light?
But before we went on our Northern Lights chase we strolled around the picturesque streets and lanes of Tromsø and noticed how easy it is too explore the city on foot. All sights and shopping facilities can be reached quickly within a couple of minutes. Thus, even the most hectic shopping trip turns into a romantic experience in the snowy and calm city.
On the coldest day of our stay, we tried to avoid the cold during the day and therefore visited the polar museum, a small and contemplative museum that has a whole lot to offer. Another indoor destination is Polaria, a polar world of experience in which the visitors can enjoy a panoramic movie theater or observe and even touch some arctic sea dwellers in the aquarium.
Northen Lights Magic
Finally, in the evening, we went on the Northern Lights experience we had looked forward to for such a long time. On board of the Arctic Explorer we searched for the green lights and after a short time we were already informed by the crew that our boat was directly under the Northern Lights. We all hurried on deck and were immediately captivated by the dancing green lights in the sky above us. It’s true that the Northern Lights are somehow magical and being able to observe them was something I will never forget. I didn’t even care about the -20°C [-4°F] for a moment. Now I’m happy to tick the box behind this item on my Bucket List and thanks to the friendly crew we could learn a lot about the Northern Lights and their emergence.
Meeting Rudolph and His Friends
Sadly, the Northern Lights are difficult to take photos of so that we only got some blurry pictures. Nevertheless, it was a unique experience and we should get some wonderful photos of a herd of reindeer dring our last arctic adventure. Tromsø Arctic Reindeer brought us to a Sami camp, where we were welcomed in their traditional tent, the lavvu, and introduced to their reindeer. That we could feed these hundred reindeer by ourselves was a great experience and it was incredibly much fun to pet Rudolph and his friends while being surrounded by them in a beautiful mountain backdrop. And during our following reindeer sleddding tour it even started to snow The winter fairy tale was perfect!
Finally, our guide told us about the history and traditions of his people while we enjoyed the warmth of of a bonfire. When it was time to say goodbye to the guides and their reindeer we were brought back to Tromsø.
Tromsø is an extraordinary place and it may be one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to. The city is wonderful and a completely different world. The picturesque position and the calm make it a place where time gets lost and where you can forget everything. Something romantic and exciting is hiding in every corner, which makes the city as unique as it is. Tromsø is a romantic winter fairy tale everyone should have seen in their lives.
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