The centre of Tromsø is the largest wooden town north of Trondheim, and has a rich neo-classical architectural heritage, interspersed with both beautiful and not so nice buildings from later periods. There are several attractions within easy walking distance of the city centre, while others are only a short bus ride away.
Polaria has an arctic aquarium where the main attractions are the bearded seals. The bearded seal is an arctic species, and they are popular among children, because of their quiet disposition and intelligent nature.
In large fish tanks you can also see the most common species of fish in the Barents Sea and around Svalbard and in a panoramic film you can follow the little auk flying across the Spitsbergen Archipelago.
Watch this video from Tromsø:
The Arctic Cathedral
The Arctic Cathedral was built in 1965, is the city's most recognisable landmark. This distinctive structure was inspired by Northern Norway's landscapes, and features an original glass mosaic. Several concerts take place here in summer, making the most of the church's fantastic acoustics. The popular Midnight Sun Concerts, held in the Arctic Cathedral every year from early June to mid-August, are an excellent way to see the cathedral and a superb prelude to viewing the midnight sun.
Fjellheisen Cable Car
The Cable Car up Storsteinen Mountain, 420 metres above sea level, offers breathtaking panoramic views over the city, the surrounding waterways and mountains. The cable car runs year round (until 01:00 in the summer).
The Botanical Gardens
The world's northernmost botanical gardens contain Arctic and Alpine plants from all corners of the globe, many of them too heat-sensitive to grow in any other botanical garden. Blue poppies from the Himalayas, lewisias from the Rockies, local primroses and a selection of traditional medicinal plants are among the highlights.
The Science Centre of Northern Norway
The Science Centre has themed exhibitions focusing on arctic issues ranging from energy, climate and weather to northern lights, recources and environment. The planetarium theatre has shows and presentations every day, with spectacular films of aurora, technology and biology.
The University Museum of Tromsø shows the depth of North Norwegian nature and culture, focusing on the indigenous Sami culture, as well as archaeology, religious arts, geology and the northern lights, all in a family-friendly manner.
Tromsø's history of daring arctic explorers is told at the Polar Museum, housed in a traditional wharf house from 1830 amid some of Tromsø's oldest buildings.
The Perspektivet Museum offers exhibits on the history of Tromsø, as well as thought-provoking temporary exhibits. The building itself is a beautiful merchant's residence in neo-classical style from 1838.
The Art Museum of Northern Norway features Northern Norwegian art and motives, ranging from the 19th century masters to contemporary art.
Challenging exhibits of Norwegian and international art can also be seen at the Tromsø Gallery of Contemporary Art.
Mack Brewery (pages only in Norwegian), the world's northernmost brewery, welcomes visitors on a guided tour of their production facilities as well as of the atmospheric Beer Hall (Ølhallen) from 1928.
The story of the sinking of the battle ship Tirpitz on 12 November 1944 just outside Tromsø can be seen at the Tromsø Defence Museum (open in summer only).
Attractions out of town
Out of town, numerous small attractions complement the impressive scenery. The Låvhaugen Local Museum on the island of Sommarøy shows a traditional fisherman's home. The Museum of Northern Troms at Svensby displays a Coastal Sami dwelling with an impressive collection of artefacts.
Do not miss the little, wooden Lyngen Church in the scenic village of Lyngseidet.
The Hillesøy Bird and Wildlife Park on Sommarøy is a favourite among animal lovers and families.