With a population of some 76,000, the city of Tromsø is Europe's main cultural centre above the Arctic Circle, with a mix not just of interesting museums, architecture, surrounding natural beauty and adventure options, and other attractions, but with the added allure, from September through March, of a front-row seat to one of Nature's most astonishing shows, the aurora borealis aka northern lights.
If you are an adventure lover then this city makes an excellent base for kayaking, fishing, hiking, whale watching, and dog sledding. And a rental car is a great way to get around and take advantage of all of it.
Some key highlights:
- Tromsø Arctic - Alpine Botanic Garden - Flowering season starts in early May, and you can see beautiful purple saxifrage and yellow cushion plants, pasqueflower and number of varieties of flowering bulbs.
- Tromsø University Museum – Focusing on geology, botany, zoology, archaeology, and cultural history especially of the Sami people (Lapps), it also offers wonderful exhibits on the northern lights.
- Arctic Cathedral - A stunning bit of modern architecture that made in 1965 by Jan Inge Hovig, with highlights including soaring stained-glass windows depicting the return of Christ.
- Tromsø Cathedral - This beautiful wooden church is a masterpiece, also featuring amazing stained-glass windows. Built in 1861, its located in southwest of the main quay in the city centre.
- Mount Floya - Norway's highest peak can be reached via cable car, and naturally offers incredible views out across the city and surrounding scenery.
- Northern Lights Festival - Founded in 1988, held in January through early February, it features orchestral music synchronized to the hypnotic natural light shows in the nighttime skies, as well as a series of related cultural events.
You can book your car ahead of time on CarAndGo.com, but you can also easily find car rental at Tromsø airport in all budget ranges, allowing you the full freedom to explore this singular city and its stunning surroundings.