Discover the wonders of Tromsø, Norway with In2Events Project Manager, Hollie Foster.
Destination: Tromsø, Norway
Airports: London Gatwick to Tromsø
Flight Duration: 3 hours and 30 minutes
Currency: Norwegian Krone (NOK)
Climate: Norway’s atmospheric climate is cold year-round, with lots of rain and snow. Winter (Dec–Mar) is extremely cold.
Tromsø in Norway is a truly unique MICE destination – there is always something to see and do, whatever the time of year. The main attractions are, of course, the prospect of witnessing the colours of the Northern Lights dancing above you, between the months of September and April, and the opportunity of experiencing the natural phenomenon of the ‘Midnight Sun’, which lights up the sky 24/7 from May to July.
Along with the Northern Lights experience, MICE activities in this stunning and enchanting part of the world include husky dog sledding, a traditional Sami reindeer camp dinner, an Arctic Drive snow buggy adventure and a silent dinner cruise on the Brim Explorer.
If you’re looking for the perfect combination of natural wonders and city life, Tromsø is the place to go.
Upon arriving into Tromsø, we were transferred to our new home for the next few days, the Scandic Ishavhotel. Located right on the quayside in Tromsø, the hotel’s contemporary, yet cosy rooms offer spectacular views onto a beautifully diverse landscape, that’s just waiting to be explored.
That evening, we enjoyed a delicious welcome dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, Roast. We were served a selection of fresh seafood and local meat, which was the perfect way to sample authentic Norwegian cuisine. Roast prepares and cooks all of their á la carte dishes in an open kitchen, which adds to the already cool and chic vibe of the restaurant.
After discovering first-hand why Scandic Ishavshotel has been awarded the ‘best hotel breakfast in the county’ for seven years running, we set off early and headed to Sommarøy Island.
Sommarøy Island is a definite must-visit when in Tromsø; a small, but busy fishing village with a population of just 321, it is an Arctic paradise with its shell strewn white sand beaches and breath-taking rugged scenery.
Taking to the icy waters, we took a boat tour around the Island; this was a great way to capture the amazing sights of the snow-capped mountains, that pepper this picturesque coastline, and to observe the grand land and sea scenes that stretched out before us. Our trip also took us to Hekkingen Fyr, the oldest lighthouse in Northern Norway – viewing the isolated structures, perched on the hillside, provided us with a fascinating glimpse into the seafaring history that’s synonymous with the area.
That afternoon we visited Tromsø Villmarkssenter, Europe’s leading dog sledding company, who cater for a wide range of seasonal activities throughout the year. Only 25 minutes from Tromsø, when you arrive at the Wilderness Centre, you feel completely removed from the hustle and bustle of city life and ready to connect with the nature that populates Kvaløya-Island.
Wrapped up in fetching thermal coats and boots, we got to venture out onto the snow and experience the excitement of a sled ride. With experienced mushers at the helm, this is an activity that offers groups a uniquely exciting outdoor adventure, in surroundings that are simply beautiful.
After our sledding, we not only got to meet some of the centre’s 300 Alaskan huskies and their adorable puppies, but we also had the chance to learn all about the husky breed, the heritage of dog sled racing and how the animals are looked after. From start to finish the visit to Tromsø Villmarkssenter was truly unforgettable.
SAMI REINDEER CAMP DINNER
As darkness fell, it was time for dinner under the stars at the Sami Reindeer Camp. A short drive out of Tromsø, the camp has a herd of around 200 reindeer, which visitors can meet and feed. Having the opportunity to get up close to and interact with such magnificent animals in their natural habitat was really special. Escaping the cold, we were invited inside a gamme-hut, where we enjoyed warm drinks and a traditionally prepared Sami meal, which was cooked over the open fire. As we ate and drank, we listened to stories about Sami culture, life as a reindeer herder and even had the pleasure of being sung a joik – a traditional Sami song.
THE ARCTIC DRIVE
On Sunday, we had an action-packed day being hosted by The Arctic Drive. Ramping the trip up a gear, it was exhilarating to get behind the wheel of one of their Arctic UTV Buggies and navigate around a slippery skid course. This was so much fun and definitely a great team building activity to add to a programme for thrill-seeking corporate groups.
Being a city bordered by water, it was only a matter of time before we were back on board a boat. This time we set sail for a dinner cruise on the hybrid-electric powered ship the Brim Explorer.
The private upstairs dining space gave us access right out onto the deck, and with no noise from a reverberating engine, it was the perfect platform to witness the famous, sometimes elusive, Northern Lights. Watching the lights flicker across the black canvass of the sky from such a still, quiet and remote vantage-point was surreal and exceptional; they’re a mesmerising natural wonder that remind you how truly remarkable our planet is.
Back on dry land, the next day, we had site inspections at Scandic Ishavshotel and Radisson Blu: these are two of the best MICE hotels in Tromsø, with great meeting facilities and dining options. For larger conference space, Radisson Blu is a good option to consider; they can accommodate up to 650 in theatre style in their largest room ‘Tromsø Hall’. Both of these properties would also be ideal for small incentive groups looking for a charismatic central base.
Venturing into the centre of Tromsø, we ate lunch at Emma’s, which sits across from Tromsø Cathedral. The restaurant serves tasty North Norwegian food and is a homely and relaxing place to stop for a bite to eat due to its intimate setting.
What better way to familiarise yourself with a city than with a scavenger hunt? Hosted by Moment Norway, this was a fantastic chance to get better acquainted with the city by foot. Highlights included visiting the oldest pub in Tromsø, Ølhallen and Storgata Camping – Norway’s largest 18-hole indoor mini golf course – a really quirky spot.
All to quickly the farewell dinner arrived. To mark the end of the trip we were invited to dine at Full Steam on the Bangsund Pier. Established in 1902 and originally a fishery/factory, there are nods to the property’s nautical past throughout the restaurant. Before eating we had a tour of the building, where they guided us through the important story of Skreifisket (cod fishing), from boat to export; the history of the dry fish and the important role of cod liver oil as a supplement to a healthy lifestyle. And, while the cod liver oil is not the tastiest of things, the food at Full Steam is incredible.
Visiting Tromsø was a trip of a lifetime, it exceeded all my expectations and takes rank as one of my new favourite places. It’s such a distinctive place and has so much to offer with a climate and natural environment that really stands out against any other European destination. Not only did I get to experience this gorgeous country, but I got to tick off witnessing the Northern Lights from my bucket list. It’s a city that is certainly a strong contender for events and incentives that require a standout host location.