Home And Away Guide: Tromso Norway

Tromsø is a very popular destination for those looking to enjoy the Northern Lights and Midnight sun all natural phenomenon resulting from the high latitudes of Scandinavian destinations. Tromsø in fact is in the centre of the northern lights zone and considered as one of the best places to view the phenomenon. The displays are caused by solar winds - streams of particles charged by the sun - hitting the earth's atmosphere. Pulled in all directions by the earth's magnetic field, they stream and billow, arc and flicker like a magical curtain waving through the air. Displays vary in their intensity from a greenish glow to a multi-coloured arc of dancing lights sweeping across the night sky.

The midnight sun occurs during the summer months from mid-May to late July when the sun remains above the horizon and is visible throughout the night, or all 24 hours of the day. Firstly, don't worry about the weather. Tromsø may be in the northern Norway, but thanks to the Gulf Stream, the climate is moderate. This allows the local residents to do what they enjoy most: getting out and about. To get a feel of this, walk down Storgata, Tromsø's main street. Here you'll be among throngs of people shopping, listening to the buskers, or taking part in the latest festival. You're also sure to notice the many pubs along your route. Tromsø has more pubs per capita than anywhere else in Norway. You'll never be short of friendly company if you fancy a drink and a meal. Visit Tromsø during the two months of the midnight sun and the party atmosphere intensifies even further. In fact, you'll begin to wonder if anyone ever goes to bed. Tromsø offers plenty of outdoor activities. Some of these you may be familiar with such as golf, hiking, cycling and canoeing. Others are more adventurous and include glacier walking, sledging with dogs, reindeer sleigh rides, ice fishing and driving a snow scooter.

Back on land, you can take the cable car 420 metres up Storsteinen. The view over Tromsø is breathtaking. If you love mountains and fjords, the nearby Lyngen Alps are the place for you. The Radisson Blu Hotel is right next to the Hurtigruten Quay and very close to the main high street and city centre. The hotel is modern looking suitable for business or leisure visitors with all the usual facilities you would expect from a Radisson without being too ostentatious! The hotel also offers optional excursions including; Alpine skiing, Cross-country skiing, Dog sledding, Golf, Hiking tours, Ice fishing, Ice skating, Sea rafting, Snowmobiling and Whale watching to name but a few.

For best rates, visit Radisson Blu Dan Steinbakk, the owner of touring company Arctic Experience, runs tours from Tromsø from September to April. He prides himself on offering personalised tours for groups of up to eight people. The knowledgeable guide, who grew up under the northern lights, guarantees the comfort of each guest by providing appropriate clothing and the enjoyment of the lights around a bonfire. www.arcticx.no   

Norweigen Airlines and SAS operate a number of flights to Tromso via Oslo or Stockholm ex Dublin. For best fares visit www.flysas.com or www.norwegian.com

Robert Walshe is a travel broadcaster with Q Radio in Northern Ireland and Travel Editor for River Media newspaper titles across the island of Ireland. 

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