Northern lights over the waterfront of Tromsø

7 great photo spots in Tromsø

Tromsø, the Arctic Capital of Norway, is incredibly picturesque all year long.

In the summer, the midnight sun bathes everything in a warm glow all night long, as the sun doesn’t set from the end of May to the end of July. In the winter, you can get glimpses of the (usually elusive) northern lights or aurora borealis, without even trying.

But it’s not just the unique light that will inspire your inner photographer in Tromsø. The city itself, with its diverse architecture and unique location between fjords, mountains and idyllic islands, guarantees numerous Instagram moments. Tromsø is also known as the “Paris of the North” after all!

To help point your camera to the right direction, we’ve gathered below 7 great photo spots in Tromsø.

The Arctic Cathedral

The Arctic Cathedral (Ishavskatedralen in Norwegian) has been wowing locals and visitors alike since the mid ‘60s when its construction was finished. Visible even as you land in Tromsø by plane, the Arctic Cathedral comprises 11 aluminium-coated concrete panels that make it look like an iceberg from a distance. On its western side entrance, an impressive glass facade traps the light magically. 

Tip: one of the best viewpoints to capture the glory of the Arctic Cathedral on your lens, is from the Tromsø docks.

The Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø

The main street of Tromsø, Storgata

If cool street photography is your thing, then the main street of Tromsø, Storgata, will not disappoint. A pedestrian street peppered with cafes and restaurants, Storgata is a great example of how different styles of architecture, from art nouveau to contemporary, coexist in Tromsø. 

Tip: When the weather gets colder, it’s possible to see (and photograph) the Northern Lights just by looking up from Storgata!

The main street of Tromsø, Storgata
Photo: Konrad Konieczny |

The mountain ledge (Storsteinen) at the top of Fjellheisen

Would you like to take some panoramic pictures of Tromsø from a bird’s eye view? The Cable Car (Fjellheisen) will take you up to the mountain ledge of Storsteinen in just 4 minutes. There is a viewing platform there, at the upper station, where you can snap Tromsø and its surrounding islands, mountains and fjords to your heart’s desire. 

Tip: Plan to spend some time here. As the sun progresses in a low arc, the colors keep changing in the sky which means you can never take the same image twice.

The summit of Fjellheisen in Tromsø with snow and blue sky

The Sherpa Steps

Would you like to climb up the mountain instead — so that you can stop for photos whenever you feel like it along the way? The Sherpa Steps provide a slower alternative to the Cable Car (plus, they end just below Fjellheisen’s upper station, so you can take the Cable Car on your way down). 1,200 steps etched in stone, named after the indigenous Nepal tribe who specialise in climbing, will take you from 85 m (278 ft) above sea level in Fløyvegen to 421 m (1381 ft) above sea level in Fjellstua. 

Tip: You are discouraged from using the side terrain to prevent erosion, so make sure to take all your photos while actually on the steps.

Sherpa stairs leading up to Fjellheisen in Tromsø
Photo: Tromsø Kommune

The Tromsø waterfront at the docks

Although many of the traditional, colorful wharfs along the waterfront were destroyed due to fires and demolition, there are several still to make for some lovely photos by the docks. 

Tip: Try to find a high-up place, like the terrace of a waterfront hotel, to make sure you capture as much of the Tromsø waterfront as possible.

You can also try to walk out on one of the floating docks to get a perspective from the water. 

harbor of Tromsø with a small sailboat in the marina

Brosmetinden in Kvaløya

The neighbouring island of Kvaløya (Whale Island) is home to some spectacular views of the whole area. Kvaløya is actually Norway’s largest island, so there’s a ton of things to do and explore here. But perhaps one of the best “Instagram moments” awaits you in Brosmetinden, a mountain on the northeastern side of the island, which reaches 525 m (1722 ft) above sea level and offers spectacular views to the fjord. 

Tip: You can get to Brosmetinded from downtown Tromsø in just one hour by car.

Brosmetinden at Kvaløya in Arctic Norway

The views from anywhere in Sommarøy

We may have saved the best for last! The small fishing island west of Tromsø is part of the island of Sommarøya — and a favourite destination for both locals and travellers. The views from anywhere on Sommarøy are Insta-worthy; think white, sandy beaches and crystal clear waters… 

Tip: If you’re lucky enough to visit during the Midnight Sun, point your lens towards the island of Håja from Sommarøy for an endless golden sunset.

Sommarøy beach white sands
Photo: Sommarøy Arctic Hotel