Besides the Northern Lights, we also went on a few day trips in Tromsø. Here are our top 3.
(1) Dog Sledding with Arctic Adventure Tours
We booked a morning dog sledding run as we really wanted to meet the Alaskan Huskies and experience this mode of transportation in the arctic region. These dogs have been bred specifically for covering long distances in the harsh winter conditions. Even the order in which they are placed, three pairs per sled, is carefully determined based on each dog’s individual characteristics. After a quick briefing, where we were warned to never let go of the reins, each couple was directed to their dog sled team and off we went! We took turns being the driver and passenger and swapped roles at regular intervals. We could slow the dogs down, lean over to the sides when turning and counter lean on the opposite sides to prevent us from overturning. We also helped the dogs when going uphill by getting off and pushing the sled.
Being with the running huskies and nothing but vast white landscape around us was a very special experience. Well, this was until Mag lost her footing but continued to grip the reins tightly as the dogs dragged her across the snow. When Darren heard her screams for help, his first thought was “I need to video this”! She was literally hanging on for dear life.
(2) Whale Watching Cruise with Arctic Explorer
We arrived towards the very end of the season. The whales had filled themselves up with herring and were migrating elsewhere, but the crew managed to spot some the day before we booked our trip so we decided to give it a go! We were in a large and comfortable vessel but to actually see the whales yourself, you have to leave your warm seat, put on a waterproof suit and stand at the outdoor viewing deck.
Determined to see at least one whale, we stood outside shivering in the cold with the wind and snow hitting our faces, and were finally rewarded with hearing a humpback whale exhaling and seeing its fluke. We both also felt sea sick for the first time. It was weird as we’ve had no problems on much rougher seas in the past.
(3) Fjords Excursion with Chasing Lights
Once again, we went with Chasing Lights. We drove to Kvaløya (Whale Island) and visited Ersfjord, Kaldfjord and Grøtfjord. Along the way, our guide told us about the general life of locals there. We managed to spot some reindeers and eventually stopped for lunch and had some yummy sandwiches and hot drinks around a campfire.
We learned why most houses are red? Red paint was the cheapest to produce and if you had other colours back in the day, it represented your wealth and status. Also there were many houses with beautiful lamps at the windows to decorate and light up during the long polar nights.
Optional: If you have spare time, you can visit the Polaria Museum and walk along the waterfront. We’ve read that the Arctic Cathedral and Library are also worth a visit. There are free concerts at the Arctic Cathedral.
What to Eat
Most of our meals were prepared at our Airbnb apartment, but we did have a few meals in the city center. If you want some coffee, visit Riso Mat & Kaffebar. The baristas are all super hipster. For a yummy lunch, head to Bardus Bistro, we had our first non-instant meal there. On our last night, we were craving for some Asian food so we had sushi at RA Sushi. Yes, whale meat was on the menu and no, we didn’t order any.