Since moving to Tromsø I’ve gotten a lot of questions from people planning their trips here. And while I’ve covered my top recommendations for things to do in Tromsø and seeing the northern lights in Tromsø, I haven’t written much about where to stay in Tromsø. I mean, it’s hard to tell you the best hotels in Tromsø when I’ve only stayed at a couple myself, because now I live here.
But over the years I’ve had a lot of friends visit who opted to stay in hotels instead of on an air mattress in my tiny office, so I now actually have a really good overview of the best Tromsø hotels and accommodation. I also live downtown so most of the hotels on this list are about a four minute walk from my apartment. And this list does not include every hotel in Tromsø – only my top picks.
Where to stay in Tromsø
First off, when picking your Tromsø accommodation you’ll need to narrow down the area where you want to stay. Luckily for you this is super easy, because you definitely want to stay right in the city center, and the city center is very small and easily walkable. A hotel on the main shopping street Storgata will only be about a five minute walk from a hotel on the harbor.
Another nice thing about Tromsø is that the city center is just a ten to fifteen minute drive from the airport. So you can easily get a bus or taxi from the airport to your accommodation. If you want to take the bus the cheapest option is the Tromsø city bus, which costs 45 NOK. You can take bus 40, 42, or 24 to the center. To get to the city bus stop, turn left when you exit the airport and walk a few steps and you’ll see a staircase with a sign for parking. Walk down the stairs and then walk straight across the parking lot and you’ll find the bus stops – you’ll want to take the bus from the stop across the street.
If you have a lot of luggage it might be easier to take the Tromsø Airport Express Bus, which costs 110 NOK for adults, or 180 NOK return.
And if you want a taxi, there’s a taxi stand right outside arrivals, so you simply get in line and wait for your taxi to arrive. A taxi from Tromsø Airport to the city center will cost about 200 NOK, so if you’re more than one person it might make more sense just to take a taxi instead of the bus.
When to book your Tromsø hotel
A weird thing I’ve noticed about Tromsø hotels is that the rates can be all over the place, depending on when you book. While Tromsø does have a lot of hotels, during the high season the entire downtown can be fully booked. And when this gets close to happening the hotel prices tend to skyrocket. So I cannot stress this enough: book your hotels as early as possible. I mean now!
Best luxury hotels in Tromsø
Clarion Hotel The Edge
I think all locals here would agree that The Edge is Tromsø’s nicest hotel. My parents stayed here the last time they were in town and were very impressed. The hotel is right on the water with a really interesting design. This would definitely be my top choice from Tromsø’s luxury hotels.
The Edge is also home to Tromsø’s only sky bar, which is popular amongst locals. The views here are incredible and the drinks menu is quite creative – it’s definitely worth stopping by here even if you aren’t staying at the hotel.
While The Edge is the new favorite in Tromsø, the Scandic Ishavshotel is a Tromsø institution (while The Edge is still really new). The Scandic Ishavshotel is also right on the water and looks like a giant ship perched right at the end of the quay, which also means that every room as an incredible view. The breakfast here has also been voted the best hotel breakfast in Norway for several years!
Clarion Collection Hotel Aurora
The Clarion Collection Hotel Aurora is also down by the harbor. The main draw here is that there’s an outdoor jacuzzi on the roof! My friend recently stayed here and confirmed that the jacuzzi is absolutely worth it. Another nice thing about this hotel is that rooms include breakfast and a light evening meal, which makes staying here quite a good deal, as food in Tromsø is expensive.
Radisson Blu Hotel Tromsø
I’m including the Radisson Blu Hotel Tromsø here because it’s definitely considered one of Tromsø’s best luxury hotels, however to be perfectly honest this wouldn’t be my top choice. It’s a really nice hotel, but it’s kind of the same as all Radisson Blu hotels everywhere, and I feel that the other luxury Tromsø hotels on this list are more special. But if they’re all booked, the Radisson is still an excellent hotel!
Best mid-range hotels in Tromsø
Thon Hotel Tromsø & Polar
I love staying at Thon hotels because they have the absolute best breakfasts (and are pet friendly!). My parents even said that the breakfast here was better than the breakfast at The Edge.
I’m writing about the Thon Hotel Tromsø and Thon Hotel Polar together because they’re across the street from each other and pretty much exactly the same. I’ve stayed at the Thon Hotel Polar and my parents have stayed at the Thon Hotel Tromsø twice. They’re right downtown by the main shopping area, and did I mention how fantastic the breakfast here is?
Clarion Hotel With
The Clarion Hotel With is right on the water and rooms here include both breakfast and dinner, which makes staying here quite a good deal. The rooms are a bit dated, but in a charming way. The interior definitely feels more cosy than Tromsø’s super modern hotels.
Best budget hotels in Tromsø
I’ve had a couple of friends stay at the Smarthotel Tromsø and both said they were surprised by how nice it was. The rooms are small and basic, but super clean and comfortable. They also offer an optional breakfast for an added fee, but if your budget is tight you can skip it and pick up something cheaper at the supermarket down the street instead. The hotel is right downtown near the main shopping area. However this is one hotel that you really need to book early for the best price – I’ve seen it listed for week of bookings for the same price as Tromsø’s fanciest hotels.
Comfort Hotel Xpress Tromsø
My friend Cat lives on Svalbard and always stays at the Comfort Hotel Xpress Tromsø, and since she’s here fairly often I think that’s a glowing recommendation. It’s right downtown in the shopping area and basic but clean and comfortable.
Alfie and I walk by the Ami Hotel every morning, and whenever I see guests there they look happy! The location is really nice – right downtown but on the top of a hillside with pretty views. This would also be a good place to stay in the winter because it’s right above a park that is dark enough for some excellent northern lights viewing.
If you’re on a really tight budget, Tromsø CoCo has super affordable bunks in mixed dormitories. There’s a cozy common room here as well, making it a good place to meet other travelers. This hostel is right next to the Smarthotel in the city center.
Aurora Friends is the cheapest place to stay in Tromsø – but still has superb reviews! This cozy hostel offers bunks in mixed dormitories right on the edge of downtown Tromsø. Personally I would opt for Tromsø CoCo as it’s a bit more central and almost the same price, but Aurora Friends would be a great second option.
I would strongly discourage you from booking an Airbnb in Tromsø. There’s a housing shortage in Tromsø and Airbnb has become a huge problem for locals, especially students who can’t find apartments to rent. Airbnbs are also registered differently than hotels here and not as strictly regulated. So you’re much better off booking a self-catering hotel room, or at least an apartment through a hotel site like booking.com.
The Enter Hotels in Tromsø are my favorite self-catering option in Tromsø. There are a bunch of them around the city, but the best location is the Enter City Tromsø. My friend Jessica stayed here in August and here room was small but had everything she needed, including a little kitchen.
Arctic Homes Town Square
If you want a full apartment, this one bedroom apartment is right in the city center and looks so pretty.