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In search of the Northern Lights – Tromsø
26th March 2017

Day two of my FLY AWAY TRAVEL trip to Norway.


During the 19th century, Tromsø became known as the “Paris of the North”. How this nickname came into being is uncertain, but the reason is generally assumed to be that people in Tromsø appeared far more sophisticated than visitors from the south typically expected.
Sitting 400km north of the Arctic Circle at 69˚N, the small town of Tromsø bills itself as Norway’s gateway to the Arctic, and there’s definitely more than a hint of polar atmosphere around town. Surrounded by chilly fjords and craggy peaks that remain snow-capped for much of the year, Tromsø sits on the eastern edge of Tromsøya, and is linked to the mainland by a gracefully arched bridge.


In previous centuries, the town was a centre for seal hunting, trapping and fishing, and was later a launchpad for several important Arctic expeditions, including some led by Roald Amundsen. Hurtigruten are currently building a new cruise ship named after him and the MS Roald Amundsen is due to set sail in 2018. These days Tromsø is best-known as one of the best places in northern Norway to spot the northern lights.


There are lots of things to see and do in Tromsø but as we were waiting for Pamela’s bags to arrive from the Airport, it was very difficult for us to make plans. We were hoping the bags would arrive before check out time so that Pamela could change and be a bit more comfortable before we boarded the ship later that evening.

Checkout time was midday and the bags arrived bang on midday. As the Amalie Hotel appears to be a very busy hotel, they really needed to be strict with the checkout time, but the kind staff accommodated Pamela with a late checkout. Whilst I was sitting in reception I counted upwards of 15 people from Asia and America looking to check in, so they really needed the rooms vacated on time. Thankfully they understood Pamela’s situation and were very accommodating. They don’t have that certificate of excellence on Trip Advisor for no reason I guess.


It was 1pm, we were boarding the ship in 4 hours.

It didn’t give us a lot of time to plan an excursion so we took a little wander around the streets of Tromsø to see what it had to offer. People from over 120 countries live in Tromsø, and the food reflects this. You find restaurants offering food from all over the world, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, and Mexican to name a few. There are also plenty of amazing fish and seafood restaurants to be had so Tromsø really is a food lovers paradise.


A question I get asked a lot is “Is the food expensive?”. Well the answer to that is YES, the food is expensive, but then again the food in your average restaurant in Ireland is expensive too. If your eating out you can pay up to €20.00 for a gourmet burger, chips and coke. The alcohol seems to be exceptionally expensive with prices more than double the price of drinks in Ireland. Certainly not a place to plan a hen or stag night unless you have plenty of dosh.

Tomorrow our real adventure begins as we hope to visit a place in the far north, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Arctic Ocean and their frigid waters mix.THE NORTH CAPE


There are a host of excursions available to you from Tromsø such as Husky Sledding, Reindeer Sledding and a Sami Culture tour to name just a few.

Here are some places of interest if you happen to get more time in Tromsø than we did.

Tromsø Cathedral . The church is built in Gothic Revival style, with the church tower and main entrance on the west front. It is probably the northernmost Protestant cathedral in the world. With over 600 seats, it is one of Norway’s biggest wooden churches. It originally held about 984 seats, but many benches and seats have been removed over the years to make room for tables in the back of the church.

Polaria is the world’s most northerly aquarium. It is located in Tromsø, in northern Norway. Rather than a mainly scientific aquarium such as the one in Bergen in the Norwegian midlands, Polaria, which opened in May 1998, is designed to be an educational experience, with particular emphasis on displays for children.


The Arctic Cathedral is a church in the city of Tromsø in Troms county, Norway. The church is commonly nicknamed the Ishavskatedralen, literally “The Cathedral of the Arctic Sea” or “Arctic Cathedral”.


Tromsø University Museum is the oldest scientific institution in North-Norway. It was established in 1872 and incorporated in the University of Tromsø in 1976. The museum has 80,000-90,000 visitors annually.

The museum has six departments,
1 Geology
2 Botany
3 Zoology
4 Archaeology
5 Cultural History
6 Sámi Ethnography
7 See also
8 External links


Book your trip to Tromsø today with Fly Away Travel by calling 003539677771 or email info@flyawaytravel.ie


About author

Alan Clarke

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