8 fun boat tours and cruises from Tromsø

High up in the Arctic Circle, surrounded by fjords and islands, Tromsø is a top destination for boat trips and tours.

Tromso is a great place to take a boat trip round the fjords

And if you like the idea of exploring the stunning sea coast, sailing along fjords edged by steep snow-clad mountains and visiting tiny uninhabited islands fringed with white sand, Tromsø makes a great base.

You can go on a wildlife cruise, a kayak trip, search for the northern lights or enjoy a seafood feast on the deck of a luxury yacht. In this guide, we’ll round up our favourite boat trips and tours from Tromsø.

Quick take: our 3 favourite tours

Our absolute favourite tour has got to be this evening yacht trip where you can look out for the northern lights from the comfort of a hot tub on deck. How awesome is that?

We also really like this whale-watching tour, where you’ve got a good chance of seeing humpback whales and orcas as they come in to feed in the herring-rich waters round Tromsø and Skjervøy.

And we also love this kayak tour, because it has minimal environmental impact and is a great way of getting really close to the wildlife such as seals and otters.

The types of tours you can take 

Tromsø’s coastline is so beautiful and varied that at any time of the year, there are islands and fjords to explore by boat. 

And there’s a wealth of wildlife to look out for, from sea eagles to seals and otters to whales.

Winter is peak whale season, with orcas, humpbacks and sometimes fin whales spotted in the waters around the city. 

Spot sea eagles on a boat trip from Tromso.

For more on seeing these magnificent creatures, read our guide to whale-watching in Tromsø.

Tromsø is a great place to see the northern lights, even when solar activity is low, and once you’re out on the water, there’s no light pollution to spoil the view. 

So you can go searching for the northern lights in winter and the midnight sun in summer, all from the comfort of a luxury yacht, a speedy RIB or a silent electric catamaran.

There are also fishing trips that take you out in search of the cod, haddock, mackerel, pollack and halibut that frequent the waters round Tromsø.

When do the tours run?

The waters around Tromsø are warmed by the Gulf Stream, so they don’t freeze and boats can go out all-year-round. But the tours that are available, of course, vary depending on the time of year.

Kayaking, for example, can be done in winter as well as summer, but is weather dependent at any time of year. So, here’s a guide to which are the best months to go on which tours.

Type of tourBest months to go
Whale-watchingNovember to February
Northern lightsOctober to early April
Midnight sun20th May to 22nd July
Kayak toursYear-round, weather permitting!
Fishing tripsYear-round

How long are the tours?

Tours vary in length from a short three-hour trip round the waters and islands near Tromsø to a three-day yacht cruise around the polar fjords.

And prices range from about 950 NOK (US$90) for a short trip up to 30,000 NOK (US$2850) for an all-inclusive two-night cruise round the fjords on a luxury yacht.

Choosing a sustainable tour

The sheer natural beauty of Tromsø and its surrounding waters and wildlife is the main draw, so clearly opting for a tour with minimal environmental impact is a good idea.

Honestly, taking a trip by kayak or sailing boat is the best way to reduce any disturbance to the local wildlife and environment. But those won’t let you cover as much ground, or take to the water if the weather isn’t great.

However, you can also opt for a tour on an electric catamaran that produces no marine pollution and is silent, limiting disturbance to wildlife.

Most guides are very clued up on environmental considerations, so check with the company first and read our guide for more on how to pick an ethical whale-watching cruise in Norway.

8 of the best tours

Here are eight really cool boat tours that you can do from Tromsø – some more expensive than others! We’ve provided links that let you go ahead and book online, but if you have specific questions it’s always worth speaking with the boat companies directly.

Go on a wildlife safari by boat 

Go on a wildlife on a boat tour from Tromoso

We love this classic tour aboard the Polar Adventure boat around the fjords and islands of the Arctic Sea. 

On this five-hour trip you’ll look out for sea eagles, guillemots and eider ducks and, if you’re lucky, you may even see seals, puffins and otters too.

The trip includes lunch and insulated bodysuits, so you can stay on deck to admire the views without getting cold. 

See the northern lights from the sea 

See the northern lights on a boat trip from Tromso

There’s no better place to see the northern lights than from the sea, where you’re far away from any light pollution and can look up at the wide skies all around. 

Head off on search of the lights on board this vintage vessel, MS Strønstad which will take you on a four-hour cruise to see the amazing aurora borealis, plus some stunning scenery on the way!

Explore the fjords on an eco-boat trip

An electric cataraman is a greener way to take a boat trip from Tromso

This hybrid-electric catamaran takes you to explore the bays and fjords around Tromsø and stops at the pretty villages and fishing communities on the island of Kvaløya.

The crew also has an underwater drone, so you can see what’s going on beneath the sea as well as above it.

What we really like about this boat trip is that it’s very quiet when running on electric, so you really get to appreciate the natural surroundings. 

Go whale-watching by boat

Go whale-watching on a boat trip from Tromso

Head out in search of orcas and humpback whales on this cruise along the coast of Tromsø and Skjervøy. 

These waters are considered some of the best in the region for whale-watching as the whales come in to feed on huge shoals of herring.

We also like that you’ll probably get to see a whole host of birdlife too, including sea eagles if you’re lucky. 

Go fishing in the fjords

Go fishing on a boat trip from Tromso

Known for the abundance and quality of the fish and seafood, the waters around Tromsø are a great place to take a fishing trip.

We love this beautiful renovated wooden sailing boat that’s more than a hundred years old and glides quietly through the fish-rich waters.

Rods are supplied, or you can bring your own – and if you get lucky, you can cook and eat your catch on board. 

But even if you don’t catch anything you’ll get a tasty warm fishcake for lunch made by a local fishmonger. 

See the northern lights from a hot tub

See the northern lights in a hot tub on a. boat trip from Tromso

For the ultimate in bucket-list experiences, we love this dinner, hot tub and northern lights cruise

Who wouldn’t want to sit back in a warm bath on board a luxury yacht and watch the northern lights in the sky above? We certainly would!

And you also get dinner included – a warm bowl of reindeer soup.

Explore the fjords by kayak

Go on a kayak trip in the waters round Tromso

If you’re looking for the greenest way to explore the waters round Tromsø, we recommend this kayak trip

You’ll paddle silently through the crystal-clear waters of the Eidkjosen or Sommarøy, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and look out for wildlife.

An experienced guide will help you spot seals, otters and sea eagles before paddling to a white sand beach for a hot drink and snack.

Stay overnight on a luxury yacht

Stay overnight on a luxury yacht from Tromso

For the ultimate boat trip from Tromsø, we think you can’t beat this two-night stay on a luxury yacht. You’ll go whale-watching, look out for the northern lights and have a ride on a sled pulled by huskies.

All meals and drinks are included on the comfortable 100-foot sailing yacht – and there’s even a hot tub on deck so you can stay warm while enjoying the views.

See also:
What to see, do and eat in Tromsø
10 of the best dog sledding tours in Tromsø
7 of the best snowmobile tours in Tromsø, Norway

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