How to Spend the Perfect 48 Hours in Tromsø in 2024

Welcome to Tromsø, a city of Arctic wonders and cultural delights, nestled amidst Norway's breathtaking landscapes. Whether you're drawn to the thrill of chasing the Northern Lights or the allure of exploring historic landmarks, Tromsø offers something for every traveler. It's also a great base to explore Norway's beautiful fjords, go whale watching, and participate in winter activities like dog sledding.

If you only have a short time in Tromsø, here's a great 2-day itinerary to make the most of your visit.

Day 1

Morning (Estimated Duration: 3-4 hours):

As the sun peeks over Tromsø's snow-covered peaks, kickstart your day with a hearty breakfast at Risø, a charming café known for its freshly baked bread and delectable pastries. Sip on a steaming cup of coffee as you fuel up for the adventures ahead.

After breakfast, take a leisurely stroll along the harbor, soaking in panoramic views of the Arctic Cathedral. Pause to admire the cathedral's striking modernist design, its angular lines contrasting against the soft hues of the morning sky.

Next, delve into the wonders of the Arctic at Polaria, an innovative aquarium and museum dedicated to the region's unique ecosystem. Marvel at playful seals, graceful penguins, and other fascinating marine life as you gain insight into the delicate balance of Arctic ecosystems. Listen closely as the gentle hum of underwater currents mingles with the excited chatter of visitors, creating a symphony of sound that mirrors the rhythms of the sea.

For a bird's-eye view of Tromsø and its surrounding splendor, hop aboard the Fjellheisen cable car and ascend to the summit of Mt. Storsteinen. Feel the thrill of anticipation as the cable car ascends higher and higher, offering sweeping vistas of Tromsø's rugged coastline and distant mountains. From this lofty vantage point, you'll be treated to breathtaking panoramic vistas of Tromsø, its surrounding islands, and the majestic Lyngen Alps in the distance.

Afternoon (Estimated Duration: 3-4 hours):

As hunger strikes, indulge in the flavors of traditional Norwegian cuisine at Fjellstua, where the aroma of hearty reindeer stew wafts through the air, complemented by the cheerful chatter of fellow diners enjoying their meals amidst cozy wooden interiors.

After lunch, delve deeper into Tromsø's storied past at the Polar Museum, where the scent of ancient timbers and preserved artifacts evoke the spirit of Arctic exploration.

Next head to the Galleri Nord, where artistic expression flourishes amidst Tromsø's cultural landscape. This vibrant gallery showcases a diverse collection of artworks, ranging from captivating paintings to intricate sculptures, all crafted by both local talents and international artists.

Alternatively, embark on a guided tour of the historic Mack Brewery, where the heady aroma of hops and barley fills the air, mingling with the sounds of clinking glasses and hearty laughter as visitors sample locally brewed beers and soak in the brewery's rich history.

Evening (Estimated Duration: 4-6 hours):

As night falls, treat your taste buds to a culinary feast at Bardus Bistro, where the essence of local flavors and culinary craftsmanship shine. Delight in the harmony of Nordic-inspired dishes crafted from the freshest seafood and locally sourced ingredients, all presented with finesse and flair.

After dinner, embark on an exhilarating Northern Lights tour led by knowledgeable local guides. Bundle up against the crisp night air as you venture into the wilderness in search of nature's most spectacular light show. With a bit of luck and clear skies, you may witness the ethereal dance of the Aurora Borealis, its shimmering hues casting an enchanting glow across the Arctic landscape.

Day 2

Morning (Estimated Duration: 4-5 hours):

Wake up to another day of adventure in Tromsø, starting with a scenic fjord cruise departing from one of Tromsø harbors. Drift past picturesque fishing villages, rugged coastlines, and snow-capped peaks as you immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Norway's fjords.

Next, pay a visit to the Tromsø Arctic Cathedral, an architectural masterpiece renowned for its striking design and breathtaking interior. Join a guided tour to learn about the cathedral's history and significance, or attend a concert to experience its acoustics firsthand.

Round out your morning with a visit to The Arctic University Museum, where engaging exhibits shed light on the history, culture, and scientific exploration of the Arctic region. Explore interactive exhibits that shed light on the history, culture, and scientific exploration of the Arctic region, gaining insight into the unique challenges and triumphs of those who braved the icy depths of the North.

Afternoon (Estimated Duration: 3-4 hours):

After a morning of exploration, satisfy your hunger with a leisurely lunch at Koseverden & Koselig Cafe, a charming café that offers a variety of hearty sandwiches, homemade soups, and flavorful salads, all made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Afterward, embark on a shopping excursion along Storgata, Tromsø's bustling main street. Browse a diverse array of shops and boutiques, from trendy fashion outlets to artisanal craft stores. Don't forget to hold onto your receipts to claim your VAT refund before departing the country as a tourist. Unsure whether you can shop tax free in Norway? Check our "Tax Free in Norway: The Complete Guide" here.

For the ultimate relaxation experience, head to the Vulkana Arctic Spa. This unique spa offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Immerse yourself in the soothing warmth of a wood-fired sauna, or indulge in a rejuvenating dip in the heated outdoor hot tub, all while surrounded by stunning panoramic views of snow-capped mountains and glistening fjords.

If you're seeking a different kind of adventure, consider embarking on a thrilling whale watching excursion. Departing from Tromsø harbors, guided tours take you into the heart of the Arctic waters, where you can witness the awe-inspiring sight of humpback whales, orcas, and even the elusive sperm whales in their natural habitat. With the backdrop of mountains and glistening fjords, you'll have the opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures breaching and feeding, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Evening (Estimated Duration: 4-6 hours):

Finish your day with a delightful culinary experience at Mathallen Tromsø, where you can savor a diverse array of locally sourced delicacies and international flavors. Enjoy your culinary journey with the best of Norwegian cuisine, where each dish tells a story of the region's rich culinary heritage amidst the lively ambiance of Mathallen Tromsø.

If the forecast promises another display of the Northern Lights, seize the opportunity for one last aurora chase, venturing into the Arctic wilderness in search of nature's most spectacular light show.


With its captivating scenery, rich cultural heritage, and abundance of unforgettable experiences, Tromsø promises an Arctic adventure like no other. Whether you're marveling at the Northern Lights, exploring historic landmarks, or indulging in local cuisine, this 48-hour itinerary offers a taste of the best that Tromsø has to offer. Don't miss your chance to embark on a journey through this Arctic jewel and create memories that will last a lifetime.

For travelers planning to indulge in some retail therapy during their time in Tromsø, we highly suggest downloading the Pie VAT app. (Scroll down to find App Store and Google Play links). It will allow you to explore a curated selection of our partner stores in advance and plan your shopping itinerary with ease.

Whether you're in search of unique Nordic designs or high-quality outdoor gear, our app puts the best of Tromsø's shopping scene at your fingertips.

Get the Pie VAT App Today!

Ready to take control of your tax free shopping? Download the Pie VAT app and sign up in seconds to access rapid refunds, discounts, exclusive offers, and a smoother experience abroad.