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Getting To Know Tromso – Cruise Port Guide
Situated on the island of Tromsøya at 69ºN, roughly 350km north of the Arctic Circle, Tromsø is the largest urban area in Northern Norway and the cultural hub of the vast, rural north of the country. Welcome to our Tromso cruise port guide. It is a place where you can experience both the Midnight Sun and the Polar Night including the Northern Lights, due to its geographic location. Traditionally an area populated by the Norse and Sámi people dating back almost 10,000 years, Tromsø became an important trading port and market for cod in the late 18th century. It further developed as a centre for Arctic hunting and expeditions, including being a base for expeditions led by Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen among others. Due to its location within the Arctic region, Tromsø is now a centre for Arctic and polar research, being home to the University of Tromsø, an international centre for arctic research, and also the Norwegian Polar Institute.
Port Location and Facilities
Most large cruise ships dock at the Breivika Cruise Port, located to the north of the city centre around 4km away. There are no facilities here as it is primarily a commercial dock. To transport people from the port, the city operates shuttle buses to the centre. Smaller cruise ships may dock at the Prostneset dock where the Hurtigruten terminal is located. This is right in the city centre, and house a terminal with Wi-Fi, rental car companies, shops, restaurants and tourist information.
What not to miss
Tromsø Old City
At the heart of Tromsø you will find the largest concentration of wooden houses north of Trondheim, dating from 1789 to 1904. These include Skansen, the oldest dwelling in the city, built in 1739 but built on an original earthen rampart from the 13th century.
Built in 1861 and capable of seating over 600, this cathedral is the one of the largest wooden churches in Norway and the northernmost protestant cathedral in the world. The first church on this site actually dates to the mid 13th century and the reign of King Haakon IV.
Cathedral of Our Lady
The northernmost Catholic and also Christian cathedral in the world, it was built at the same time as the Tromsø Cathedral in 1861. The cathedral is built of wood and is small in size, being able to accommodate only 150 seated.
Also known as the Tromsdalen Church due to its location over the Tromsø Bridge in Tromsdalen to the east of the city centre, it is in fact not a cathedral but a parish church. It however has striking design which has had many definitions; iceberg, Sámi tent, or even a fish drying rack. It has a glorious glace façade with an inset cross design and a beautiful glass mosaic depicting light emanating from God’s hand through Jesus and a man and woman.
The most northerly aquarium in the world, Polaria has a strong focus on Arctic marine life and particularly the island of Svalbard. The aquarium has various open tanks and an open pool with a family of bearded seals. The building is easy to spot, resembling ice floes that have been washed ashore by the Arctic Sea.
Tromsø University Museum
Home to departments covering natural and cultural sciences, the permanent exhibitions include geological and zoological displays as well as Sámi exhibits. It is also responsible for the Artic-Alpine Botanic Garden, the northernmost botanical garden in the world, displaying arctic and alpine flora from all over the northern hemisphere.
The Northern Norwegian Museum of Art houses a collection from the late 18th century to the present day and has changing thematic exhibitions.
This aerial tramway provides the best views of Tromsø, transporting visitors from Tromsdalen up to the top of Storsteinen at 420m (1,378ft) above sea level. From here you have an open viewing platform to appreciate the surrounding mountains and fjords, can take refreshments at the Fjellstua restaurant, or hike mountain trails including up to the iconic Tromsdalstinden peak at 1,238m high. The tramway gets very popular during the times of the Midnight Sun and the Polar Night for the Northern Lights.
NoFlyCruises recommends https://www.visitTromsø.no the official tourism site of Visit Tromsø-Region.
The currency in Norway is the Norwegian Krone. Norway has a reputation as one of the most expensive countries in Europe and the average price of a standard cup of coffee is around £3/$4. Budget accordingly if you plan to dine out each day, as meals are roughly around 110kr per person (£11/$13 per person).
Tromsø has a subarctic climate where the winters are long and the summers short. However, due to the effects of the Gulf Stream, the temperatures are relatively mild for its location above the Arctic Circle. The average low temperature in winter is similar to the capital Oslo, 10 full degrees to the south, at around -5º Celsius in December and January. Summer months are cool with an average temperature of 12º Celsius in July. The Midnight Sun lasts from the end of May to the end of July, and there is considered no real night from the end of March to mid-September due to its latitude. Polar Night lasts from the end of November to mid-January.
Tromsø is very accessible on foot and has a compact city centre. There is a bus network that serves the city and surrounding areas and for more information on public transport, including prices, routes and schedules check out https://www.tromskortet.no/?lang=en_GB
Safety whilst ashore
Tromsø is a very safe location, although it is known for having a rowdy student population due to the university.
Where to Eat
NoFlyCruises recommends the following eateries:
Ølhallen, Storgata 4, 9008 Tromsø, Norway
Ølhallen is the brewpub of Mack Brewery, the northernmost brewery in the world, founded in 1877 and today serving 72 beers from individual taps. No food on the menu sadly, but you cannot visit Tromsø and not visit the most famous pub in the city.
Key highlights of Tromso
- Tromsø Old City
- Tromsø Cathedral
- Cathedral of Our Lady
- Arctic Cathedral
- Tromsø University Museum
- Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden
- Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum
Regular cruise line visitors
- Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
- P&O Cruises
- SAGA Cruises
- Princess Cruises
- Celebrity Cruises
- Viking Ocean
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