WALKING STORIES - bringing walkers together, worldwide
North America
South America
Become a Member
Every Picture Tells a Story
City Walks and One Step Beyond
Maps and Guides
Holidays and Travel
Working with Charities


Tromsø introduction and walks summary

This section includes three easy walks in and around the city of Tromsø, one of them a hike to a hilltop overlooking Tromsø and its island. The other two routes are shorter walks around the city and parts of the island.  The routes take in the main museums and the attractive streets with old wooden houses, as well as an easy walk around a picturesque lake near the centre of Tromsø.  There are lots of photos as well, illustrating the Arctic scenery and the Midnight Sunshine.  Some are taken from an Arctic cruise ship

Tromsø is an amazingly lively and cosmopolitan city away in the far north of Europe, beyond the Arctic Circle, where you would scarcely expect to find even a busy village. It's all made possible by the mild North Atlantic Drift, and the determination of Norwegians over the centuries to make a living even in such a remote location. When you are in Tromso, it doesn't feel so remote, with its range of shops and bars, a university, and many other facilities.

There's more background on the city in this article written after a visit in June 2004 to compete in the Midnight Sun Marathon - a terrific experience for any marathon runners looking for somewhere different for their next race. In my case, it could well be my last marathon, so I had decided on a special location to run it.

Whilst preparing for the race I enjoyed some easy walking, on the hill overlooking the city, and around Tromsø island. There are three stories of these half-day walks, illustrating the opportunities for hiking in the locality if you are visiting Tromsø.

Tromsdalen, Arctic Cathedral and Storsteinen (421m)

You can take the short steep climb of the hill, or take the cablecar from Tromsdalen, for some spectacular views of the city, the island and the mountains.  Depending on the weather, you may continue the walk to higher points on the ridge.

Polaria and Tromsø Museum

This walk goes from the centre of town, out to the southern end, and back over the island.  It describes the Polar Museum, a more up-to-date version at Polaria, and

Tromsø Museum.  The Mack Brewery is also on the route.

Prestvanet and the city streets

Only half an hour's walk from the city centre, Prestvanet is a wide lake fringed by trees with a pleasant path encircling it.  There are splendid views of the mountains in the distance, and you can admire some of the colourful wooden houses on the way back.  These provided one of the most memorable impressions from the visit to Tromsø.

There's also a short description and striking photos from an Arctic Cruise between Skjervøy and Tromsø.

Contributor: Andrew Llanwarne


View of the Polar Cathedral across the sound from Tromso at Midnight on the night of the race

View of the Arctic Cathedral across the sound from Tromsø at midnight on the night of the race - one of my favourite pictures

Key Facts

Location Tromsø, nearly 70 degrees north, 400km beyond the Arctic Circle
When it was visited Midsummer 2004
Walk type Easy town and countryside walks, plus a steeper hill climb
Difficulty Mostly suitable for anyone who enjoys an easy walk - can be varied according to fitness
Distance approx Around 5 km (3 miles) for the two walks on the island.  About 10 km (6 miles) for the hill climb.
Height climbed approx Storsteinen 421m, the higher peak, Fløya is 671m  
Time taken approx About 2 hours for the walks on the island - with more to visit the museums.  About 4 hours for the hill climb.
Map used if any Free tourist map from hotel or information centre, showing streets in the city and Tromsdalen.  !:50,000 Statens Kartverk map of Tromsø (sheet no 1534 III).  You can buy a set of these maps covering the surrounding area, if exploring further.
Source of info on walk These two maps and Lonely Planet Norway Guide
Getting there By air from Aberdeen via Stavanger and Oslo
Places to stay Plenty of hotels, guest houses and self-catering - details from tourist organisation.
Places to eat/ buy food In Tromso, Spar shop in Tromsdalen, cable car station on Storsteinen
Any other local attractions or facilities Museums, Mack Brewery, timber houses, market in the square, etc