Tromsø, Nor­way

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - Travel -

Nick­named the Gate­way to the Arc­tic, Tromsø sits over 200 miles north of the Arc­tic Cir­cle and is an in­creas­ingly vis­ited des­ti­na­tion in sum­mer and win­ter. Pop­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude dog sled­ding, snowmobiling in the coun­try­side, tak­ing a coastal voy­age and hunt­ing for the North­ern Lights.

But any visit must in­clude a trip in the ca­ble car, en­joyed by over 120,000 peo­ple an­nu­ally. Trans­ported up Mount Storsteinen,

1,300ft above the city, you reach a moun­tain­top van­tage point from which you can see far be­yond Tromsø to a myr­iad of craggy snow-capped peaks, while to the east the Lyn­gen Alps form the spine of a vastly glaciated penin­sula.

To ap­pre­ci­ate the his­tory of this north­ern out­post, visit the Po­lar Mu­seum. Housed in the 19th-cen­tury for­mer Cus­toms House on the quay­side, its dis­plays con­tain in­trigu­ing ac­counts of coura­geous ex­plor­ers and ex­pe­di­tions.

Many vis­i­tors hope to catch a glimpse of the aurora bo­re­alis, which can dance across the cold night sky any time from Septem­ber to March. Be­ing si­t­u­ated in the mid­dle of the ‘North­ern Lights Oval’ means this area of­fers the high­est prob­a­bil­ity of spot­ting the Lights. Mean­while in sum­mer, the Mid­night Sun shines from 20 May to 20 July.

As it’s sur­rounded by steep moun­tains and beau­ti­ful fjords, you don’t have to travel far to ap­pre­ci­ate the area’s na­ture. Drive less than an hour and you can ad­mire sea ea­gles, seals and even hump­back whales and or­cas.

De­spite its northerly lo­ca­tion, Tromsø en­joys a milder coastal cli­mate than other des­ti­na­tions at the same lat­i­tude due to the Gulf Stream warm-wa­ter cur­rent. Even mid­win­ter is rel­a­tively mild for this lat­i­tude, with tem­per­a­tures av­er­ag­ing

-4°C (so still pack plenty of warm cloth­ing and hats), in­creas­ing to an av­er­age of 15°C in sum­mer.

More in­for­ma­tion

Kirker Hol­i­days (020 7593 2283; kirk­er­hol­i­days. com) of­fers three nights’ b&b, based on two shar­ing, at the wa­ter­front Clar­ion Col­lec­tion Ho­tel, from £598pp. Price in­cludes re­turn flights from Lon­don Heathrow, pri­vate trans­fers and ser­vices of the Kirker concierge.

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