Visiting Tromso and Malangen – a classic Arctic combo

There’s not much that hasn’t been said about Tromso. Norway’s Arctic capital is the perfect blend of harbourside refinement and Arctic excitement; one moment you could be indulging with superb seafood by the fjord and the next snowmobiling under the Northern Lights. However, as I learnt on my recent trip, it pays to also investigate further, as I headed deeper into Norway’s Arctic fjords with a trip to Malangen Resort.

Tromso and Malangen itinerary

View of Tromso from its cable car
Tromso from its cable car

Of course, with the direct flight from London, it all begins in Tromso, where I kicked things off with a meal to remember at a Best Served favourite – Bardus Bistro. This lively bar and restaurant has a strong emphasis on produce from the immediate region, and I particularly recommend the reindeer steak and local beer.

Then, in terms of accommodation, I’ve seen and stayed in much of Tromso’s properties. Although, there’s the obvious charm of being on the harbour, with both timber-clad and ultra-contemporary offerings, the Thon Hotel Polar, for me, offers unbeatable value. Its rooms are fresh and comfortable, the fantastic breakfast spreads include salmon and fresh fruits, and it’s still just a five minutes’ stroll from the fjord.

Room, Thon Hotel Polar

So, fully rested I was ready for some winter fun, beginning the next day. Yes, dogsledding and snowmobiling rightfully grab the headlines, but I’ve been lucky enough to have tried these before. I wanted something a little different, and it doesn’t get much more different than a visit to the Tromso Ice Domes. Spectacularly carved into sculptures and woodland scenes, a meal at its frozen restaurant or a drink at a bar is an unforgettable experience. I was also treated to a Sami cultural tour, learning about the hardy, semi-nomadic life of these indigenous peoples. The requisite reindeer sled ride was a special highlight.

It was all capped off with an evening at an aurora camp. Heading out of town and away from the light pollution, the conditions were perfect and we were treated to a wonderful display. It was made all the more enjoyable by the accompanying hot drinks and pancakes, cooked on a roaring campfire – delicious!

Carved wall in the Tromso Ice Domes restaurant
Tromso Ice Domes restaurant

The next day, a scenic journey through snow-covered mountains saw me to Malangen Resort, perched on the edge of a pretty fjord and surrounded by yet more dramatic peaks. It’s a truly spectacular setting, taken in from the hotel’s myriad floor-to-ceiling windows. They were a feature of both my room – from where I enjoyed my own private view of the Northern Lights – and the excellent restaurant. Here, daily-changing menus feature locally sourced ingredients such as Arctic char, smoked reindeer and lamb from the surrounding Lyngen Alps. Even the resort’s sauna looks out across the fjord.

The aurora borealis over Malangen Resort
The Northern Lights over Malangen

As you’d expect, with such beauty on the doorstep, I was keen to get out to explore, and the next morning’s husky safari was simply superb. It was amazing to see the connection between the huskies and our guides, and I must say that of all the dog-sledding experiences I’ve had, this was right up there as one of the best. There’s also everything from snowshoeing and cross-country skiing to snowmobiling and fat-bike rental. In all, it’s the perfect blend of exciting activities and fjord-side relaxation – the perfect conclusion to an Arctic adventure.

Tromso and Malangen itinerary

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