Coming from the North Island of New Zealand, the idea of paying for a fjords tour with frozen lakes, snow-covered beaches and temperatures dropping well into the negatives felt very counter-intuitive. But wow, what a surprise we were in for when we joined Chasing Lights for a Tromso road trip – a small adventure-rich city in the north of Norway. Here’s the lowdown on our Arctic Fjords Road Trip in Tromso with the legends at Chasing Lights.
Tromso is surrounded by mountains, harbours and fjords which makes it a popular destination year-round, but winter was a surprisingly amazing time to explore the seaside destination, despite the worry of losing our fingers and toes.
We looked into hiring a car as a way to see the area outside the city, but given that temperatures were forecast to reach as cold as -25°C we didn’t feel fully confident to drive on roads we didn’t know, on the wrong (right) side of the road, in weather we weren’t used to. The Arctic Fjords road trip took all the stress out of the trip for us and took us straight to all the best views and photo spots in the region.
Here’s what we got up to on our Arctic Fjords Tromso road trip…
We set off from Tromso city centre at 9am and headed straight over to the neighbouring island of Kvaloya (Whale Island). We were lucky enough to catch an amazingly orange sunrise just after 10am from our spot on the beach, standing in soft fluffy snow up to our knees, and we were wrapped up in a toasty full-body snowsuit provided by Chasing Lights.
Turning away from the sunrise, we were treated to this pinky purple glow on the snowy mountains behind us which had to be one of the most stunning views of the day, and we’d only just started. Bay-hopping our way around the island, we spent about 20-30 minutes at each spot, which was more than enough time to have a good look around, grab some photos and video, have some professional photos taken by the tour guide, and soak up the views.
We walked over a frozen lake, stood at the top of ridges to see the view down through multiple valleys, and walked over snow-covered beaches right to the seaside. Lunch was a local speciality, fish soup, which made me nervous to think about but actually tasted like a creamy seafood chowder and was very enjoyable – even as not a major seafood eater.
The day wrapped up around 3pm, by which time the sun has set in winter and you’re ready to be back in the warmth, or in enough time to grab some dinner before a Northern Lights tour.
How much did the tour cost?
For adults (13+) the day was 1300 NOK (about £115) per person. When we compared it to the price for car hire, insurance, plus the extra stress and preparation car hire would have required if we did our own Tromso road trip, we think it was absolutely worth it.
We also met some great people in our group, enjoyed a local speciality for lunch, and got taken to all the best spots without having to worry about weather, maps or paying for gas.
What’s the weather like in Tromso?
You’re nearly as far north as it gets, so it is coooold. We visited Tromso at the end of January so temperatures ranged between -5 and -25°C.
Chasing Lights provided us with insulated and waterproof jumpsuits and boots, which allowed us to walk amongst the snow and ice with no troubles.
Top tip: before you go into very cold temperatures, avoid using any product on your skin that is water based as this can freeze on your face and leave you with a nasty ice burn. Oil-based products are okay, but we opted to not use anything on our skin, just to be safe.
Due to the cold weather, camera batteries also drain considerably faster than usual. If you can, it pays to take multiple batteries with you , or a decent portable battery pack, and keep your gear as close to your body as possible when you’re not using it. A major bonus of going with Chasing Lights is the package of photos they take during the day and then provide to you afterwards within hours of your tour, which means you can just enjoy yourself through the day and you still have great memories to keep afterwards.
The final verdict
The Chasing Lights Arctic Fjords Road Trip was the perfect way to discover the lakes, fjords, mountains and views of Tromso and beyond, and we got to see places we would never have seen if we’d just rented a car ourselves. I’m all for exploring yourself when it’s an option, but the weather, the daylight hours and the cost would have made that super tricky in Tromso. I’d definitely suggest this trip for anyone wanting to get out of the city and explore the insane landscapes all around northern Norway.
Have you been to Tromso, or anywhere else in the Arctic Circle? I’d love to hear about your trip in the comments below!
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Huge thanks to Chasing Lights for hosting us for the Arctic Fjords Road Trip. As always, all opinions are my own and are based on my personal experience.