The city centre of Tromsø contains the highest number of old wooden houses in Northern Norway, with the oldest (known as Skansen) dating from 1789. In 1904 wooden houses were banned from the city centre, as they were in much of Norway, because of the fire risk that they posed. Fortunately though, a large number have been preserved here and a walk along Storgata and the small roads leading off it will present you with lots of photo opportunities if, like me, you are captivated by their charm.
There are also some colourful old wooden warehouses at the northern end of the harbour. One is now home to the Polarmuseet (and a visit there gives you a good opportunity to see inside such a warehouse), while others house offices and a student bar.
Next tip: another museum, the Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum
The Mack Brewery in Tromsø claims to be the northernmost brewery in the world, although in practice it s trumped by another in the same country, a microbrewery in Honningsvåg. Incidentally, Honningsvåg seems to make a habit of trumping other Norwegian towns, as when were there we were told by a local that it has the true claim to the “most northerly town in Norway” tag, rather than nearby Hammerfest that usually lays claim to that.
Anyway, back to the Mack Brewery. It may not truthfully be the northernmost, but it’s pretty far north and it does brew a decent beer, which you will see all over town. There are apparently 18 in the range but we only ever saw a handful, including a ubiquitous Pilsner, a darker ale and a blonde. We mostly drank the Pilsner, but on one occasion I was persuaded by a girl behind the bar to try what she was a local favourite, mixing the dark brew half and half with the Pilsner. I quite enjoyed the drink but after that stuck to the more conventional straight Pilsner, which was refreshing and pretty quaffable. Prices though are scary by UK standards – about £9.00 for half a litre.
The brewery itself is advertised as being open for tours at 12.30 or 13.00 (I have seen both times quoted), although these don’t sound amazing from the reviews I have read. I have also read that the brewery has moved out of town and the tours have stopped – so check before going. We did walk past the brewery on the way to Polaria, which it is near, but didn’t stop to check it out as when you’ve done one brewery tour ...
Next tip: a cosy pub, Rorbua
Every day except Sunday some Fishermen are selling shrimps (some of them also fish) directly from their ships near the marketplace at the kai. I highly recommend that you buy some if you are not totally antifood :)
We usually bought half a kilo in addition to some bread and went to Telegrafbukta (Tromsø's beach) to enjoy them.
Prices are very reasonable, and you wont forget that taste all life long :)
Do it the way locals do. take a midnight-sun stroll. The area where everyone goes is Skansen Brygge - is the lovely preserved traditional old town area by the old harbour. In summer it`s full of people walking about , talking and enjoying the sun. I want to bet that in winter everyone is still out there - enjoying the northern lights
Tromsø is a very cultural city. They have their own regional theatre based there, festivals, concerts, exhibitions. But as I arrived just the day after the major winter festival was over, I didn't expect to find any interesting events this Friday night.
So, to be honest, I was freezing, my camera was out of battery so I couldn't load another film, and I had a long Friday night to spend alone. So when I saw this queue on the pavement outside the cinema I decided to join it, regardless what film it was and regardless the average age of the people standing there.
The waiting hall of the Verdensteatret (The name World Theatre makes me smile) carried me some 25 years back in time. I tried not to notice the fashion clothing and hair styles of the children and tried to live out the adventure and let the old walls tell their story.
The World Theatre turned out to be a small, classical theatre which had seen more glorious days, still the wall paintings charmed me and full-filled my little time-travel.And a couple of times I even was fifteen again during 'The Princess Diaries'
Nothern Norwegians are very different from what one would associate with scandinavian culture. They are more open, more talkative with a distinctive sense of humor (sometimes a bit vulgar-if you can understand their local dialect...).
For the locals, walking up to the top of the mountain is just a matter of every day life, it is a simple jogging day, oh, you can just imagine what strong legs they got ;-)
This modern church in the bottom is called the cathedral of the Arctic. But actually Tromsø's cathedral is on the other side of the fjord. It is an old wooden building worth a visit.