History & Culture
As a country settled first by the Sami people, then the Norwegians and the Finns, Troms has many stories to tell. Dip into our history and explore our innovative, can-do culture. It will give you many pleasures.
While heritage sites and cultural experiences can be found throughout the county, some places have special significance. There are stories to discover wherever you travel, even in the tiniest towns. Let your curiosity give you the confidence to ask questions about sites, buildings, monuments and statues. For info on museums, monuments, galleries and cultural sites visit: visittroms.no, visittromso.no and visitharstad.no.
Around the edges of the North and South Islands and between them, there are many self-contained worlds of islands for you to discover. Catch a ferry across the water to places where life moves in sync with the tides.
Shrouded in beautiful mountains and speckled with farms and holiday homes, islands have a special charm that kicks in the moment you step ashore. It’s places for hiking, bird watching and star gazing, whilst other islands are devoted to the protection of wildlife.
The many thousands of lakes in Troms can be a destination in themselves or a moment of tranquillity on the way to somewhere else. The biggest of these lakes is Altevann - it’s the size of small country and one of our top trout fishing destinations. Most of the lakes were born from the same kind of glacial action that created the fjords.
The northern lights and midnight sun
The county of Troms is placed between 68 to 71 degrees northern latitude, giving home to the never ending summer days where the sun stays up for more than two months. You can see the midnight sun in Troms between 20 May to 22 July.
At the other end you have the polar nights where the sun does not rise for two months (from 20 November to 21 January). The flickering majestic lights of the northern lights can usually be seen in Troms from September until the beginning of April.
Parks, reserves and gardens
Beautiful parks - both natural and created - are places to walk, practice your photography or doze under a tree in the sunshine. Some are huge - like the Dividalen Nationalpark, close to the Swedish boarder; others are small but beautifully formed, such as Arctic Botanical Garden of Tromsø.
Huge areas is contained within the boundaries of a park or reserve, so you’re never far from some kind of an arctic botanic paradise. Birdvaching on the islands is a popular activity.
If you love wild places, there are 3 national parks to discover - from Reisedalen in the north to Ånderdalen on the island of Senja. Visit dirnat.no to find more inspiration.
The wildlife park of Polar Zoo, the world’s northernmost wildlife park, features the four major arctic predators and other animals from the polar fauna.
Wherever you travel in Troms, there is always an opportunity to put yourself in front of a fabulous view. Fantastic urban panoramas can be found at the top of Mount Fløya in Tromsø, accessible by cable car, and at "Utsikten" in Harstad.
Other vistas around the county can be more difficult to access, but are definitely worth the effort. These include the views from the summits of the Lyngen Alps, the mount Tromsdaltind in Tromsø or the Istindan Mountains in Bardu.
And there are many views that do not require any climbing at all, because the landscape is open, and just strolling around, biking, canoeing or kayaking along the fjords and the lakes will give you plenty of fabulous views.
The National Sceninc Route on the island of Senja. The stretch of road between Botnhamn and Gryllefjord, with detours to Husøy, Mefjordvær and Bøvær, will form part of the national tourist routes and has been named "Crossing the Devil’s Jaw". The nature is dramatic and the vibrant fishing villages provide authenticity.
Målselvfossen Waterfall close to Bardufoss, is Norway's national waterfall and features Europe's longest salmon ladder, dating from around 1900. The glass viewing area, which opens in mid-June, enables visitors to study wild salmon at close range.
Mollisfossen Waterfall in the Reisa National Park with a waterfall of 269 metres is particularly impressive, while the powerful Imofossen Waterfall tumbles down two rivers over vertical granite walls, which meet in a narrow ravine with innumerable potholes.
The cable car in Tromsø brings you to the absolute best spot for having an overview of the city and enjoy mountain walking without having to put too much effort in it.
Sommarøy is a vibrant island close to Tromsø, where fishing and hunting has been the livelihood since time immemorial. You will find rewarding adventures on the outer reaches of this island. The local hotel offers rooms and fishermen’s cabins, conference facilities and tasty meals made from the finest, freshest local ingredients.
Walks and trails
The simple act of putting one foot in front of the other is the best way to appreciate Troms' beatiful outdoor environments. By spending time on tracks and trails, you can use all your senses to absorb the extraordinary beauty of national parks, alpine mountains, coastal zones and forest reserves.
Famous places for hiking are the national parks (Dividalen, Reisadalen and Ånderdalen), but also the Kåfjord Valley and mountains, Tromsø, the Lyngen Alps, Harstad and the area in southern Troms.
Some other important attractions
The Senja Troll, the world's largest troll, with troll shows and tableaux of Senja's legends.
Handelsstedet Havnnes is Norway's northernmost preserved trading post, dating from 1795. A residential site for more than 6,000 years, it is still in operation today.
The Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø, built in 1965, is the city's most recognisable feature. This distinctive structure was inspired by Northern Norwegian faith and nature. One of its features is a flaming and extremely original glass mosaic.
Polaria in Tromsø. The only bearded seals in captivity in the world, fish from the area, a panorama film from Spitsbergen and an arctic walk are found in this Arctic experience centre in central Tromsø.
University Museum of Tromsø. Sami culture in past and present, archaeology of the north, religious art, geology and northern lights are among the themes in the oldest scientific institution in the north.
Trondenes Church in Harstad is one of the world's northernmost stone churches from the late Middle Ages. The church stands in picturesque surroundings by the coast on the Trondenes Peninsula and has a number of art treasures and beautiful furniture and fixtures.
Trondarnes Heritage Centre has exhibitions and multimedia that provide you with insight into Northern Norway's exciting history through unique archaeological objects, music, smells and sounds. You wander through the Northern Norwegian Viking Age and Middle Ages, up to World War II and today's urban community.
Trondenes Fort and the The Adolf Guns are found close to Harstad. The world's largest land-based guns, built by the German military power during World War II. The Adolf Guns stand today as the only completely restored fortifications in the world and thus have great historical value. The bunkers are set up for an historical tour with exhibitions depicting the history and planned use of the gun.