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Tromso on a Shoestring
Norway is known for being one of the most expensive countries in the world, but there are many options available for budget travellers.
An unforgettable holiday to Tromso need not be financially impossible, just follow a few simple tips.
Here’s our guide to Tromso on the cheap.
1) Look for budget flights and be flexible with dates
Make sure you do your homework when it comes to looking around for flights and options, and adding up all the costs.
Many people think you have to fly via Oslo to get to Tromso, and unfortunately after the Norwegian flight from Gatwick to Tromso was closed down, you will have to make a stop somewhere.
But remember to check flights via other destinations such as Bergen and Trondheim too, and not only Oslo.
Also don´t write off the option of a package holidays. These can actually often end up being quite good bargains, when you add up the costs of meals, activities, accommodation and transfers.Read more about northern lights holidays to Tromso
The best advice is to look into both options. Think about how flexible you are on dates, and consider extra costs involved, such as airport transfers, food, luggage, or the dangers of airport shopping temptations.
You can compare flights in the box below.
2) Opt for budget accommodation
Hotels are often the largest part of any holiday budget, but there are loads to save if you plan ahead.
If your budget is really tight, you can try out so called “couchsurfing”, meaning that you stay in someone’s spare bedroom during your stay. This is also a good way to meet locals, but might not suit everyone. Check out your options at: www.couchsurfing.org
Tromso also has a hostel within walking distance of the town centre (albeit uphill!) and a campsite a short bus ride away. In Norway it is also free to camp in the wilderness, which can be a great option for many in the summer months. Read more about camping rules in Norway.
If you’re travelling in a group, fishermen’s huts or cottages can be a cheap and different way of holidaying. Most huts will offer self-catering accommodation for 4-6 people sharing.
Hotels, however, remain the favourite option for most. In Tromso there are hotels suiting every budget, from self-catering apartments to luxury suites.
You can compare available hotels and flight+hotel deals in the search box on the left.
3) Food and drink
The price of eating and drinking in Norway is normally the thing which sends most foreign visitor’s jaws drop.
But as in most places around the world there are good budget options available to those who are willing to look further than the tourist guide recommendations.
Having self-catering accommodation is a good start, as you don’t have to eat every meal out. Rema 1000, Prix and Rimi are good supermarkets.
Fruit and veg are extortionate even in the supermarkets, but it’s definitely cheaper than eating out. Buying fishcakes from the local monger is a great budget lunch.
Norwegians don’t really have much of a tradition for going out regularly to restaurants, which means the budget restaurant options are few and far between.
Here are a few tips for where to eat on a budget in Tromso (prices subject to change):
Blå Rock – legendary rock bar – Great burgers for just over 100NOK
Lotus – Asian restaurant on the pier – Special lunch deal on Sushi for 149NOK
Flyt – perfect for after ski – Also great burgers for around 120NOK
Circa and Precis – bar/cafe downstairs, tapas upstairs – great Nordic-themed tapas and salads
Drink the Tap Water:
The tap water in Tromso is one of the cleanest and tastiest in the world (at least according to the locals).
Don’t waste money on bottled water (at around £2.5 a bottle), what comes out of the tap is icy cold and top quality.
Do you Duty in the Duty Free:
In Norway, the Duty Free is holy, and nobody will come back from holiday without “filling up their quota”.
With a pint costing as much as £8 in a bar, even the Norwegians themselves try to avoid ‘leaving the card behind the bar’.
If you like a glass of wine or a G&T on holiday, make sure to buy your quota at the Duty Free. See here for duty regulations.
As Norway is not a part of the EU, you can buy the ‘outside EU’ labelled goods, which is even cheaper. Often, the selection and prices are better in Norway (believe it or not!), so it can be a good idea to buy when you arrive in Norway.
Most Norwegians will start an evening out by drinking a little before heading out, resulting in bars and clubs not really getting going until after midnight.
Another tip is to look for the “cheap beer nights” which there are plenty of in Tromso. Where to go and when.
Beer up to 4.7% can be bought in supermarkets in Tromso until 6 o’clock, to get wine and spirits you have to go to the special Wine Monopoly.
4) Budget Activities
Many of the activities on offer in Tromso and around can be quite expensive.
But there are cheaper options which can be just as fun.
Skiing and Sledging:
For example, hiring some cross country skis needn’t cost the world, and you can head for the lit paths on the island for free skiing 24-hrs a day.
Even cheaper it is to just bring a plastic bag and have a go at sliding down the hills.
In the summer you can save money by walking up to the cable car.
There is a small path running on the side of the mountain all the way up, and it takes less than an hour if you’re reasonably fit. Take care, as some of the areas are quite steep and there’s no signposting.
You can always take the cable car down again.
Hiking is always free, and as mountains and nature is in no short supply there are plenty of options available for all levels.
Contact the tourist office for maps and advice. Be aware that hiking in Tromso is nothing like in England. There are few other people, and little signposting, so take care.
Fishing needn’t be expensive, and can even save on the food budget.
Many hotels offer cheap hire of rods and hooks if you want to have a go.
There’s no need for a boat, head to a bridge or throw from land at popular fishing place Hella, about 30mins drive from Tromso.
Luckily, the biggest tourist attraction in Tromso is completely free.
You can watch the northern lights wherever you are, but they are better if you get out of town where there's less light pollution.
5) Hire a car
Public transport and taxis are, as everything, else quite expensive in Tromso.
Hiring a car may seem like a costly thing to do, but may save you plenty over the course of your holiday.
Having your own car will also give you the freedom to explore the area on your own and gives you more flexibility.
You can compare prices and book car rental in Tromso in the box below.
Tromso does not have a train line (yet!) which means trains aren’t really an option for travelling around Northern-Norway.
But, it is nonetheless worth noting that the tickets on trains are fairly cheap.
The 9 hour journey from Trondheim to Bodo (about 8hr by bus south from Tromso) can cost you as little as 199NOK one way if you book in advance.
7) Free wireless
There’s no need to pay for internet access when in Tromso.
Many cafes offer free wireless, and many hotels too.
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