Tromso is a city in northern Norway, high above the Arctic Circle. I stopped in Tromso for two nights on my way further north to the Lyngen Alps. The first day I was there, I participated in a group tour exploring the fjords and the sea Arctic scenery around Tromso. There were only two more people in the group with me - a Spanish IT student studying in France and another French student. Leaving the Clarion Hotel The Edge where I was staying around 10 a.m., we spent the next 5 hours driving through stunning fjords and sea around Tromso. Here are a few of the places where we stopped during the tour.
1. Tirpitz at Håkøya
Our first stop was the island of Håkøya, located 21 kilometres (13 miles) northwest of Tromso. The German battleship Tirpitz was at Håkøya from 15 October 1944 and was sunk by British bombers the same year on 12 November. A memorial to the ca. 1200 fallen on Tirpitz stands on Håkøya. You can also see remains of the battleship.
2. A reindeer family
Our next stop was a reindeer farm where we met a reindeer family. There are more than 10,000 reindeers in Norway including both domesticated and wild reindeer. They are usually owned by Sami reindeer farmers. It was the first time I had ever seen reindeer in my life and instantly jumped out of the car with my camera to get a picture with them. However, I soon realized that they are very shy animals and as soon as they saw our little group, some of them started to run away, while the others just froze, perhaps wondering what next to do!
3. Viking drawings
While driving back from the reindeer farm, our guide stopped en route to show us some old Viking drawings on the mountains that date back thousands of years. The Vikings ruled Norway for 250 years, and in Fjord Norway one can find many signs of the rich Viking history.
4. Straumshella & Straumsbukta
Our next stop was Straumshella, an island located almost 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of Tromso. It is not only a famous excursion spot for the people of Tromso but also an important tourist attraction.
Next, our guide drove us to the island of Sommarøy, located about 36 kilometers (22 miles) west of the city of Tromsø. It is a popular tourist destination due to its white sand beaches and scenery. I have to mention here that each time we made a stop, our guide would leave the car unlocked with its engines running, even though we would walk far away from it! I soon realized that Norwegians are very honest people and genuinely trust each other.
6. Kattfjord, Kaldfjord & Ersfjord
Before returning to Tromso, we drove through some magnificent fjords with frozen ocean and sea, where we also stopped for a little picnic lunch and to take pictures.
The ocean in the following picture is completely frozen but our guide informed us that it was dangerous to walk over it. However, we did have a chance to stand on the snow covered pier from where we could hear the ice cracking and melting in the ocean, beneath us.