Why autumn is the unsung hero of Northern Norway

Living in Northern Norway is often defined by what the sky is doing – are we counting down the darkest days of polar night or grabbing our sunglasses for a hike in the midnight sun. But between all the light and dark there is a short (sometimes too short) shoulder season here in Tromsø that is perhaps the most beautiful and colorful time of the year. Glorious golden sunsets and mountain foliage stained in amber and yellow make this time of year a picture-perfect paradise. And best of all, after the sun hits the water in the fjord, we are often greeted with spectacular night skies dancing with northern lights! 

If you are looking for a unique and adventurous long weekend getaway this fall, or “høst” in Norwegian, then Tromsø and its surrounding area may be just the place for you. 

Discovering the Capital of Northern Norway

The capital of Arctic Norway, Tromsø is a modern cosmopolitan city boasting a vibrant mix of culture, business and academia. Its nestled between the mountains of the mainland to the east and Norway’s fifth largest island of Kvaløya to the west. For being at 69 degrees North, Tromsø feels less like a forlorn Arctic outpost and more like a chillier version of a thriving city with countless options for accommodation and dining. Restauranteurs like to showcase local foods, so it is a perfect opportunity to try out reindeer, cod, whale and a variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables. Early fall is the perfect time to come to Tromsø as it is cloudberry and blueberry season! One of the best ways to get acquainted with Tromsø city is to book a local guide for a walk around town. Northern Norway Travel offers tailor made tours to ensure that guests get the most out of the time they have in the city. Small group tours are also available and showcase the historic wooden buildings of Tromsø along with some fun stories about some past residents.  

Get outside and play

What makes Tromsø truly special is the fact that big nature is right outside your door.  The options for exploring are endless and the only challenge you might have is deciding exactly how you want to spend your days. Regardless, make sure you have your camera ready because the views are breathtaking. 

Hiking is an extremely popular activity around Tromsø, and with so many tops to choose from you can pick your trip based on your specific level of experience.  Beginners might like to take a walk up the Sherpa Steps to the top of Fjellheisen which offers a panoramic view of Tromsø island. More experienced hikers could head over to Kvaløya to discover tops like Skamtinden or Storstolpan, both of which are just under 1000 meters above sea level.  On a perfect fall day, the iconic Tromsdalstinden – which overlooks all of Tromsø – is magnificent. Hiking tours range anywhere from one to eight hours and good hiking shoes are a must. Give us a call and we would be happy to arrange a car and a guide to take you to the mountain of your choice!

Believe it or not, kayaking is a very popular sport up here above the Arctic circle!  Avid kayakers in Tromsø can be seen around the island most months of the year and claim that it is the very best way to take in the beauty of northern Norway.  There is nothing like an aurora borealis show while sitting silently in your kayak in one of our local fjords! Being on the water also provides a unique perspective of the autumn colors that cover the mountains between late August and October. Our guides will make sure you are safe and warm in your kayak with dry suits and survival gear, and will warm you up afterwards with a fire and hot drinks on the beach. 

No trip to Tromsø between September and April would be complete without a northern lights chase.  The auroras here are simply incredible and even the locals stop and look hopefully up at the skies to see an evening show!  Northern lights chases are popular in Tromsø and Northern Norway Travel specializes in making your trip as cozy and personalized as possible. We can offer VIP tours for individuals, couples and small groups. Our most popular northern light tour is in our 15 passenger mini-bus which means that we can take you to places that other larger buses cannot. We can’t guarantee that Mother Nature will provide us with auroras, but we can guarantee you a fun and informative evening you won’t forget for years to come!

What to bring with you

Fall comes early to Northern Norway. We are reaching for wool and insulated hoodies by early September. When packing your bag be sure to include lots of layers starting with good quality merino wool, then adding a cozy mid-layer and finally a water and wind proof shell.  Head gear and good mittens or gloves are also essential to ensure that you can prolong your time outside, especially if you are planning a guided tour to one of our mountains or an evening chasing northern lights. Some warm and study trail shoes or hiking boots should also make it into your suitcase since the temperatures will likely be between two to ten degrees Celsius. 

And if you are really lucky, after you have spent a couple of days absorbing the best of Tromsø in autumnal yellows and oranges, you might just catch the first snow fall of the season.  And believe me, there is nothing more magical than Tromsø dressed in white. That is when the fun really begins!