The Arctic Circle is the largest virgin area on the planet. A perpetual winter wonderland that despite enduring extreme weather and months of darkness, the Arctic has a great life. Some of the harshest creatures have made this place their home,
It is a large ocean surrounded by land masses and opened by small straits that connect it with the Pacific and the Atlantic. In these waters several nations such as Russia, Canada, the United States, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Norway or Finland look at each other and are separated by a mass of ice that floats on the water.
If you are not afraid of the cold and the Arctic Circle is one of those places that you have yet to see as an experienced traveler, then you should go to Tromso, the largest city in the polar circle that is located in Norway. The Northern Lights are simply magical!
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Hunting for the Northern Lights
If you are a lover of ecotourism, probably the main reason you visit Tromso is to see the famous Northern Lights.
Located almost 70 ° north between fjords, islands and mountain peaks, it is the most important city in the north of the country and the second most populated north of the Arctic Circle after Murmansk in Russia.
Given its excellent location, in the middle of the Northern Lights Oval, it is the perfect place to start your adventure through the Arctic Circle, since in Tromso there are greater possibilities of seeing the Northern Lights, regardless of the cycles of the sun.
Normally to see the northern lights of the Arctic Circle, it is best to take a route to the outskirts but if the sky is clear, it is possible to see the northern lights just above the city itself. Depending on weather conditions and solar activity, this atmospheric phenomenon can be seen from the end of August to April.
Also, due to the gulf current, Tromso has a milder climate than other destinations at the same latitude. Its average temperature is about -4ºC in winter but if your objective is to see the Northern Lights remember that temperatures can range between 5ºC and -25ºC so it is advisable to bundle up appropriately.
If you do not want to do this activity on your own, another highly recommended alternative to try to contemplate this atmospheric phenomenon during your stay in Tromso is to go on a Northern Lights safari with a guide. There are many companies that will take you to the best sighting areas since before leaving they check the weather forecast and use that precise information to decide where to go.
It is a most complete and entertaining experience since during the bus trip, the guides tell some myths about the northern lights as well as the scientific explanation. In addition, once in the sighting area, they help travelers to configure the camera to obtain the best photos and give certain instructions on how to photograph them to achieve the most impressive result. Also, when the excursion ends, they offer the hikers a hot chocolate and cookies, which help to warm up the body.
Tromso is nature in its purest form
Tromso is located in the heart of arctic nature surrounded by mountains and fjords. In fact, they are so close to the city center that they can even be seen from the main street.
A good way to get to know the landscape that surrounds this city is to combine the experience of seeing the Northern Lights with those of spotting sea eagles and seals just 30 to 45 minutes by car from the center. You can also choose to go for a sleigh ride pulled by huskies. In the past it was a very common means of transport because huskies are very strong animals capable of pulling sleds at high speed through ice and snow.
It is a highly recommended excursion to do in this part of the Arctic Circle because you will be able to feel the bond between man and dog in an environment as difficult as this one. Many local companies offer this excursion according to the needs of the travelers and the experience they want to live. Sledding and caring for huskies personally is an unforgettable experience.
Soak up its rich culture
When you finish exploring the nature of this part of the Arctic Circle, the next thing is to soak up the culture of this city.
On the one hand you can know the different churches of Tromso. The most photographed is the church of Tromsdalen for its peculiar architecture. It is known as the Cathedral of Tromso but the truth is that it is only a parish that was built by the architect Jan Inge Hovig. Its iconic pyramidal shape is unmistakable and many theories circulate about its meaning. Some say it looks like an iceberg and others like the island of Haja.
Although it is known as the cathedral, there are actually two different cathedrals in Tromso: the Protestant (neo-Gothic style dating from the XNUMXth century) and the Catholic (the northernmost in the world), both made of wood.
On the other hand, on a visit to the Polar Museum you can learn more about the history of Arctic explorations. It dates from 1830 and inside there are sections dedicated to seal hunting, the life of trappers in the north of the country, the explorer Amundsen, etc.
Another of the most interesting places in Tromso near the Polar Museum to get an idea of what life was like here in the past is Skansen, the oldest house in the city. It was built as a customs station in 1789 and is surrounded by small old houses built in the XNUMXth century and a beautiful garden.
Despite the cold, this city has a rich cultural life and many notable events such as the Sami Week, the Polar Night Half Marathon, the Tromso International Film Festival or the Aurora Borealis Festival take place during winter. Other popular events with visitors include the New Year's Eve concert and the Northern Lights concerts at the Arctic Cathedral. Do not miss them!