Freezing in Northern Norway: Tromsø

Freezing in Northern Norway: Tromsø
  • There is no real life in Northern Norway nor in Tromsø. How they can work or even exist in this weather? They probably can’t wait for their holiday and go to Spain. Or to move to there.
  • It’s -10 degrees for 10 months probably.
  • At least they have Aurora all day/night long during the winter.

How many times did you find yourself having this kind of thoughts about Northern Norway? Northern Sweden or Finland?

Taking into account I was born in Norway and have one part of a family living there, I do have much knowledge about Norway. However, I still more or less believed in this kind of stereotypes mentioned above.

What I learned from a Tromsø visit is that yes, people do live and exist there! 😀 They exist as all the other people on this planet does…and they don’t necessarily hate their climate. They are used to it, it’s normal for them and they are rather happy about nature around. Speaking about learning part, I also didn’t know that Tromsø had the Northernest Brewery in the world. How cool is that! What is not cool is that now the brewery has been moved to Svalbard therefore, I need to go to Svalbard to find it.

When asking a local in Tromsø how he handles the weather conditions or where they go during the holiday season, they all say they love South. South is much better. It makes sense, right – who doesn’t like South? Greece, Portugal, Spain; sun, the sea…? Well, looks like they don’t. When they say South, they actually mean South of Norway. :/

Interesting, right?

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Again a bit of "the end of the world" pics. I was extremely lucky to see a bit of Northern lights (Aurora Borealis) yesterday…but I couldn't picture it. My photos on Stories of "Aurora" are weird aaand unfortunately it's natural to picture it like this. For the ones who plan to do a trip and find the lights, these are some facts about Aurora you should be aware: 1) Aurora doesn't appear every night. In Tromsø didn't appear for quite some time. It depends on many things and ofc depends mostly on the weather; the sky must be clear. No clouds, no rain. 2) Even when it appears, Aurora is not visible in the city. You must go in the complete dark (on some hill or field outside of the city) and wait for it. There are even organized tours where people pay around 100e to be taken to some field around Tromsø without knowing if they'll see it. 😶 They wait for around 5h. If you are very lucky you'll capture it and once it happens, you must somehow chase it to find a good spot for observing although you usually don't have time for it. Lights disappear very fast. 3) When it appears it's not intense as some people might think. It's blurry, not too clear and it changes its shape and color very fast (milliseconds). It reminds on aliens in the sky. 😀 4) It's visible in person, however on the photo it's not there. I saw it crystally clear yesterday and on my photos is not visible (almost) at all. Photos shared online are from completely dark fields, photoshopped and usually done by a professional camera. Long story short – it's a bit more complicated than it looks like but worth it. I mean, you know, everything in life requires work and pain anyway. 😀😀 #aurora #tromsø #norway #norge #north #northern #northernnorway #dark #theendoftheworld #cold #wintertime🌸 #winter #auroraborealis #weekend #familytime #hill #onthehill #ocean #water #sky #sun #sunset #sunsetinnorway

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Yes, it’s cold, especially for non-Scandinavians. So, why go there?

First things first. When I say cold, I mean – really cold. Tromsø is Northern than Iceland. What does it tell you? 😀 It’s a constant dark during the winter, yes. It’s true that the climate is rough and that not everyone can handle this type of the weather, yes… For example, I experienced quite a lot of headache during my stay there (and I was there for a couple of days only). However, I believe in only one thing in this world and that is…it’s all about the experience.

And Tromsø is definitely an amazing experience.

Friendly people of Tromsø

Wait, what, friendly people? In Norway? Friendly Norwegians…?

There are so many stereotypes about Norwegians. People claim they are cold, not helpful or even weird or rude. I mean, mentalities are different. I am the first one who doesn’t like these generalizations of the whole nation… but it does apply for Norwegians that they are not the friendliest people on the Earth.

Which doesn’t mean they are rude or not helpful. They are just – Norwegians. Just who they are. However, people in Tromsø are much friendlier than people on the South.

Hospitality – number 1 source of money

The city is completely different than some small city in the South. Why? It’s full of people! 😀 Although in early November when I was there were winter and mainly dark season, tourists all over the world were patiently observing the city. This city is a student city as well and there are a significant number of Europeans on the Erasmus program. It gets so busy that many students give up their scholarships because they simply can’t find a place to live for one semester.

All of this is a big thing for a city which counts only around 71 thousand inhabitants. Taking all this into account, it’s natural for locals to live mainly from the hospitality field, isn’t it? Hotels are everywhere, but also restaurants, pubs and daily trips to other places. As you can expect, their prices are quite high, especially the prices in a hotel. Luckily, Airbnb and few hostels are also available there, however, they all get booked quite fast. A meal in the restaurant costs around 25 euros, a coffee is around 4 euros, beer 10 euros etc.

Aurora Borealis

Of course, as written everywhere ever online and offline, Aurora is a number 1 why you should go up on the North and see this city… but I’ll disappoint you. Aurora is not that easily found. You have to be lucky, patient and smart to know where to find it. To be sure what am I talking about, read this article dedicated to Aurora Borealis in Tromsø.

Her majesty – nature

That’s not surprising. Hills, woods, fjords, parks, lakes, the sea…Just, Norway. In the city of Tromsø not many of things are (easily) reachable and some of them require either tour guides or renting a car…In either case, you’ll have to prepare your budget cause it’s going to be painful. There are local tours to husky farm, chasing Aurora Borealis, fjord tours, etc. And all of this tours cost around 150 euros and more.

What you can do in Tromsø city is to at least climb up to the hill Fjellheisen and see this beautiful view:

Modern vs traditional architecture

The architecture is similar in the whole of Norway. Wooden cozy and colorful houses, usually reminding on fairytales or houses of chocolate. The impression of the fairytale is even more powerful once you see how they decorate their houses. You have a feeling all Norwegians are designers of the interior! Nevertheless, in the last years, Norwegians started with modernist architecture as well. Diversities, right?

Nowadays, you can see it all over the country and yes, even in the North! The most famous piece of modernist architecture is Opera House in Oslo, but when it comes to Tromsø, there are several ones worth of mentioning and for the full impression see the picture below. More pictures can be found in my Instagram stories folder called Norway.

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Have you visit this city and do you have any other recommendation on how to save the money there? If so, feel free to write it in comments. If you want to get the email when the articles are published, leave your email below on this page.

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