The Tromso Pass: A Taste of Arctic Norway

NOTE: This article was originally featured on hybridace101's Trips and Tips website.  It has been republished and slightly modified for audiences on this page.


Image Source: Visit Norway
Don't get me wrong, an experience in Norway is not for those with shallow pockets.  In fact, I recently travelled to what is dubbed as the Gateway to the Arctic, Tromsø, and only saw a few spots. For instance, a midnight sun excursion to outlying islands will usually set one back by at least $110 for a 2.5-hour trip.
norway
Arctic Cathedral in the Background
Image by hybridace101
But during summer, you can see quite a bit of Tromsø within 48 hours on a relatively tight budget. First of all, you will need a Tromsø Pass (Tromsøpasset).  It is a fairly new card but what it does is that it grants you unlimited access to the city's public transport and admission to what are the city's most important sites.  It costs 399 kr ($48) for adults for 48 hours.  It can be purchased at the transport office or the Arctic Museum.  Let me briefly describe what some of these sights are:

Arctic Cathedral (Ishavskatedralen) - This is perhaps the city's most iconic landmark.  Whilst it is made of glass, the inside of the Church is pretty simple.  During the late 'night' hours of June, you can pay extra and watch a 30-minute midnight sun concert.  Click here for more information on other events.  From the centre, you can use Bus 20, 24, 26 or 28.


Ishavskatedralen
Arctic Cathedral
Image by hybridace101

Cable Car (Fjellheisen).  Its base is a 15-minute walk from the Arctic Cathedral.  It goes up the mountain and the trip between the base and peak is less than 5 minutes.  By going on the cable car, you will effectively get more than 40% of the cost of the Tromsø Pass back as a ride's normal standalone price is 170 kr (£15.50).  You will get a bird's eye view of the island of Tromsø and will spot the Arctic Cathedral as well.  There is also a restaurant and cafe at the peak, as well as signs to various cities.  During summer, it operates from 10.00am-1:00am and trips (in both directions) happen at the top and bottom of each hour.


Tromsø air tram
View of Tromsø Island from Cable Car (Fjellheisen)
Image by hybridace101

Polaria.  This museum is dedicated to showing you parts of the arctic ecosystem.  You get to encounter wildlife and witness live feeding of bearded seals.  There is also a dedicated spot for one to take a ‘seal-fie’.  Polaria is one of the museums operated by the University of Tromsø.  The museum also has a panoramic film-showing on arctic wildlife and how climate change affects it.  This website has more information.

Polaria
Live seal feeding at Polaria
Image by hybridace101
MJ Polstjerna.  This is an extension of the Polar Museum and one gets to see the actual ship.  It was used for seal-hunting, which was an industry that required specialised resources.  Admission includes an audio guide where accounts about the ship's history, features and its crew are narrated.  A decent visit will take at least an hour and a half.  You will enter selected rooms.  Below the ship is an additional exhibit on other sea vessels used.

MJ Polstjerna
MJ Polstjerna
Image by hybridace101
Polar Museum.  This museum is located in the Tromsø's old customs house.  By visiting this place, one will know the other expeditions involving Tromsø, including Roald Amundsen, a famous explorer whose expeditions took him to the Arctic and Antarctic Zones.

Polar Museum
Polar Museum
Image by hybridace101
Polar Museum
Exhibit in the Polar Museum
Image by hybridace101
Tromsø Museum.  This is actually an interdisciplinary museum consisting of accounts from biology, astronomy, archaeology, religion, culture (especially Sami), and even women's rights.  One needs to use bus 37 to get here from the city centre.

Tromsø Museum
Tromsø Museum
Image by hybridace101
Tromsø Museum
Exhibit from Tromsø Museum
Image by hybridace101
OTHER CITY EXPERIENCES
In addition, one can see the Perspektivet Museum and Art Museum of Northern Norway at no extra cost.  The former also features photography of life in the city.  The Tromsø Cathedral (separate from the Arctic Cathedral) is Norway's only wooden cathedral.  These are all conveniently located in the city centre.

If you are pressed for time and want to get an overview of the city, then I would recommend taking a 'train' tour by City Sightseeing Tromsø.  The tour lasts 30 minutes and costs 150 kr ($18.10) with credit cards accepted.  The tour includes pre-recorded audio commentary in several languages. Assembly is at the souvenir store at Storgata.  It runs several times throughout the day so if you miss one, don't worry, the next one will likely be less than an hour away.

Tromsø has its own railway station even if it is impossible for trains to reach here. Well, it's actually a pub which is themed like a railway station. They serve the usual drinks and you get to watch sport matches inside.

tromso railway station
Tromsø's 'Railway Station'
Image by hybridace101
tromso railway station
Tromsø's 'Railway Station'
Image by hybridace101
Finally, the thing that makes me want to come back to Tromsø is the midnight sun.  I prefer June because the temperature usually is not too bad, and the skies are bright at midnight.  When one wakes up at 2:00 or 2:30 in the morning, it just feels like getting up from an afternoon nap.  And in the middle of June, the city has a midnight sun marathon.  I was there to see its preparations but I did not stick around to see the actual race.

Tromsø Midnight Sun Marathon
Tromsø Midnight Sun Marathon
Image by hybridace101

GETTING THERE

In order to get to Tromsø, one will need to fly via Oslo.  Fortunately for Filipinos, Norwegian Air offers a low-cost flight to Oslo from Bangkok.  But you may need to stay overnight in Bangkok as the Norwegian flight from Bangkok departs at 9:00am.  A return ticket between Bangkok and Tromsø can cost less than $810 if one is willing to settle with hand-luggage only and have a seat automatically assigned.  Alternatively, Emirates and Qatar have flights to Oslo from their hubs in Dubai and Doha respectively where upon arrival, one can transfer to a Norwegian Air or SAS flight to Tromsø. As Norway hotels can be quite expensive and budget accommodation in Tromsø will fill up fast, it's best to plan your travels well in advance.

5 comments:

  1. Nice to offer something not related directly to the Philippines ...
    But at least I´d expect to see something related to aviation.
    I guess nobody saw the necessity to add that Tromso has a stunning aviation museum right next to the airport (civ/mil aviation).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Adventures Abroad section features trips abroad and we tried to add something related to aviation by showing you what carriers you can use to get up there.

      Delete
  2. Hi hybridace 101,

    Came across your interesting post regarding the tromso pass, just to check if the transport office is at the city centre?
    Have been checking online on this pass but not much info was found. :(

    Thanks,
    Priscilla from Singapore (:

    ReplyDelete
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