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    Car hire in Tromso - Visit the Land of the Midnight Sun

    Stretching majestically along the east coast of Tromsoya island at Norway’s northern tip, Tromso is a city of immense natural beauty in one of the most evocative parts of Scandinavia. A lively, picturesque city full of arctic history, culture and (more recently) cuisine, it is a popular gateway for the growing number of people looking to feast their eyes on the Northern Lights and Norway's golden Midnight Sun. Surrounded by mountains, fjords and a broad scattering of islands, the city’s extraordinary location 217 miles north of the Arctic Circle has attracted intrepid travellers for centuries, most notably Roald Amundsen who was the first man to reach the South Pole and to successfully lead the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage by sea.

    Tromso is a very pleasant surprise for first-time visitors who are often astonished to find such a sophisticated place with its pulsating art and night-life set so spectacularly against a backdrop of breathtakingly beautiful mountain vistas visible from every part of town. They’re also amazed by the plethora of top-notch attractions awaiting them, enhanced by a well-structured tourist infrastructure designed to keep things moving even in the most extreme winter temperatures.

    The quality and variety of the Tromso’s sights and experiences is impressive, from the mighty glass mosaics of the Arctic Cathedral to the playful seals at the Polaria Aquarium, not forgetting the rare Himalayan blue poppies at the Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden. The centre of town is a startling mix of the old and the new with a considerable number of historic edifices, including many converted old wharf buildings lining the city's vibrant waterfront area, which is bustling with tourists and locals alike during the warm summer months.

    Not far from the city, and easily accessible with a car hire in Tromso, you have the pick of the far north's ski resorts in the vicinity of the pretty mountain resort of Malselv where you can also go salmon fishing and swim leisurely in an indoor water park. You’ll also want to visit the lovely island paradises of Sommaroy, Kvaloya and Senja with their fine sandy beaches and typical Arctic fishing communities, while in Bardu you’ll be able to see and photograph wolf packs, bears (sometimes with their cubs), moose, lynx and various other Arctic species at Polar Park, the world’s northernmost animal attraction.

    Established over 65 years ago, Auto Europe offers the cheapest car hire deals in Tromso and elsewhere in Norway with over 24,000 pick-up and drop-off points available in more than 180 destinations worldwide. A strong leader in the international car rental industry, we have established the best possible working relationships with all the top car hire suppliers. Give our rental specialists a call on +44 123 3225 114 any day of the week and they will be more than happy to help you select the right car and plan your trip to the far north of Europe at the cheapest prices in the market. For general advice on getting around Tromso and the rest of Norway by car, please consult our Norway driving guide for information on road rules, speed limits, etc.

    How's the traffic in Tromso?

    Tromso is a small, compact city with a population of just 70,000 people, so you shouldn’t find the streets too congested outside the morning and evening rush-hours. The roads in and around Tromso are a bit different to the rest of Norway due to the area’s extreme northern location some 200 miles inside the Arctic Circle. When you leave the city you’ll find there are quite long distances between the neighbouring towns and cities with many of the minor roads built along the sides of fjords, particularly in the coastal areas. During summer there can be a good deal of tourist traffic with many campervans and caravans visiting the area. Be careful driving into tunnels on hot days because reindeer often go into the tunnel entrances to find a cool spot to relax. Something else to keep in mind in summer is the fact that each day between late May and late July has twenty-four hours of daylight, meaning that people tend to drive more hours than normal, so make sure you rest enough, take breaks and stop for a nap if you’re feeling tired. The roads in the north tend to be quite narrow so be prepared to share them with hikers, cyclists and the odd animal such as sheep and reindeer. Many visitors rent a car in Tromso to go in search of the Northern Lights during winter, in which case it's important to be aware that all cars driving in the area between 15 October and 1 May are legally obliged to have winter tyres fitted. Always drive in accordance with the weather and note that road conditions can change very quickly in this part of the world. Winter drivers are urged to keep their distance between vehicles when visibility is more limited and drive a little slower than on clear roads. It’s a good idea to take corners more slowly and brake earlier and a bit more softly. When driving off the main roads, drive carefully as after the spring melt there may be some road surface damage that can cause problems for your car. The list of useful things to keep in the car with you includes some thick winter clothing and a small shovel in case you get stuck in a snow drift. Besides that it’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast before you drive and delay your travel plans if the conditions are expected to worsen.

    Where can I park my car hire in Tromso?

    Parking free of charge in downtown Tromso is virtually impossible, especially on weekdays and during daytime. Tromso Parkering is the name of the city’s largest car park operator with plenty of affordable parking available both on-street and in the many car parks located around town. Heated car parks (necessary inside the Arctic Circle) are open 24 hours a day, seven days week, with round-the-clock security and surveillance provided (important for car rental customers). Parking on the city’s streets is usually limited to just one or sometimes two hours which can be a bit restrictive when sightseeing, so we suggest using the indoor car parks. If you do decide to park on the street, make sure you pay for sufficient time because traffic wardens are numerous and fines are issued very quickly and without mercy!

    Tromso Airport

    The history of Tromso Airport goes back to the 1930s when a small seaplane aerodrome opened in nearby Skattora, which was subsequently taken over by the German Luftwaffe during World War II. After the war a new seaplane service was established and due to the gradual increase in passengers the current airport was built, with the first domestic services beginning in September 1964. Tromso Airport's first international flight departed for Kiruna in Sweden in 1979, followed by a second to Rovaniemi in Finland four years later. Business grew significantly from 794,480 passengers in 1992 to 1,413,610 in 1996 and to cater for the increase in demand a series of improvements took place, including a 240-metre runway extension, a new air traffic control tower and a new terminal building which led to the launch of a weekly service to London Stansted in December 2007. Operated by the state-owned airport management company Avinor, Tromso Airport now handles over 2 million passengers and around 45,000 aircraft movements per year, making it the fifth-busiest airport in Norway and a major hub for travel to and from the far north of Europe. Mostly seasonal, routes in and out of Tromso Airport are operated by a growing number of top international airlines, most notably Finnair, Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Edelweiss Air, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Scandavian Airlines, Transavia, Wideroe and Wizz Air. Modern and very functional, the airport has two terminals covering a total of more than 13,500 square-metres (145,000 square-feet), the most recent of which (Terminal A) opened in 1997, twenty years after the inauguration of today's Terminal B. There are stands for almost a dozen aircraft and an adjacent operations building measuring 6,400 square-meters (69,000 square-feet). Passengers are well catered for with a large and very well-stocked duty-free shop located in the international area. Other facilities include free Wi-Fi throughout the airport, an excellent restaurant, café, Irish pub, bookshop, newsagent and 7-Eleven convenience store. On the ground-floor at the south end of the check-in hall there's a large currency exchange bureau with cash dispensers and desks for making withdrawals. There are more ATMs located next to the check-in area just inside the main entrance and on the first floor close to security.

    Tromso Airport (TOS)
    Telephone: +47 67 03 46 20
    Address: Flyplassvegen 31, 9016 Tromso, Norway

    What to do in Tromso

    Uniquely set in the heart of the Arctic wilderness, Tromso is a multi-faceted destination with immense tourist appeal. Thanks to the extended hours of daylight throughout the summer, planning local trips and sightseeing activities can be approached with a greater degree of flexibility than many other places because the north of Norway is the land of the midnight sun. Here follow some of our suggested attractions to get you started on an Arctic adventure with your car hire in Tromso;

    • Polar Museum: The excellent Polar Museum in downtown Tromso is one of the four exhibition venues that constitute the Arctic University Museum of Norway. Housed in a beautifully-restored 1830s warehouse, exhibits recount the story of sealing, winter trapping (including the lives of legendary trappers like Henry Rudi and Wanny Wolstad) and the history-changing expeditions of Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen

    • Northern Norway Art Museum: Known locally as the Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum, this first-class museum located a stone’s throw from Tromo Cathedral (the only wooden cathedral in Norway) exhibits work from the early 19th century to the present with the main focus on artists from Northern Norway, featuring pieces by David Hockney, Edvard Munch and many other highly regarded Scandinavian artists.

    • Arctic Cathedral: Tromso's most recognisable landmark is Tromsdalen Church which overlooks the city from its prime location in the Tromsdalen valley on the east side of the city, right next to Tromso Bridge. Designed by Jan Inge, one of Norways top architects, it is shaped like an iceberg and similar in some ways to Australia’s famous Sydney Opera House.

    • Tromso Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden: Open May-October, this lovely garden attraction is the northernmost botanical garden in the world and filled with all manner of colourful species. Operating from early May and continuing until the snow arrives in October, it houses many rare plants from the polar regions and elsewhere around the world, including the magnificent Tibetan blue poppy which blooms in late June and stands over three feet high.

    • Tromso Museum: This fascinating museum houses an absorbing collection based on the theme of the Arctic and Northern Norway, including the Sami people and their culture, the science (and myth) of the Northern Lights, the Viking era and Tromso’s nature and wildlife in general.

    • Polaria: Much more than a museum, this excellent waterside attraction offers a family-friendly Arctic experience comprising an aquarium, museum, five-screen panoramic cinema (the Northern Lights film is particularly impressive) and a gift shop. Don't miss the feeding sessions of the resident bearded seals before watching them swim and play from the unique vantage point of the aquarium's underwater tunnel.

    • Tromso Cable Car: Opened in 1961, the Tromso Cable Car (known locally as Fjellheisen) runs from Solliveien in Tromsdalen right up to the Storsteinen mountain lodge located at an altitude of 1,378ft (420m), with a journey time of around 4 minutes. Besides the head-spinning views from the top, visitors can enjoy a relaxing lunch or dinner at the panoramic Fjellstua Cafe open all year round.

    Best day trips with my car rental in Tromso

    The land and seacapes surrounding Tromso are truly spectacular with a series of imposing mountains interspersed with fjords providing visitors with a sweeping perspective of the Arcitc. There’s much to explore in a short radius of the city, all of which is easily accessible for those who rent a car in Tromso.


    A visit to the fairy-tale island of Senja offers summer visitors the chance to relax in the sun after a few days of busy sightseeing in the city. Take the scenic route from Tromso to enjoy the pure air, crystalline waters and fine white sandy beaches of the country’s second-largest island. Senja offers an exciting range of activities, both inland and along its extremely picturesque coastline, including scuba-diving, kayaking and hiking.


    About a four-hour drive south-west of Tromso lies the lovely city of Harstad, one of the most scenic places in the whole of northern Norway. Vibrant in summer and particularly captivating in winter, Harstad is a popular place to go cycling, watch the aurora borealis and hike, most specifically to the top of Mount Keipen. The city also has a reputation for fine dining, having acquired the title of gourmet capital of the north in recent years.


    A two-hour drive south of Tromso brings you to the Malselv Mountain Resort where you can stay in stylish cabins and enjoy an Arctic-style alpine adventure. At Maselv you can make the most of the ski slopes or embark on a variety of more offbeat activities, such as dog sledding, snowmobile safaris and experiences portraying the native Sami people. Other unusual features include an indoor water park, the world’s northernmost zoo and the Polar Park at nearby Bardu.


    Whales typically feed in the fjords that surround Tromso until late January or early February, meaning that there’s plenty of whale-watching potential in the city’s environs. Should the right conditions prevail, you can head for the island of Sommaroy to the west of Tromso to join a two-hour whale safari cruise. Besides the chance to see magnificent humpback, killer and sperm whales in their natural habitat, the voyage passes fishing trawlers and jagged mountain peaks to provide memorable photos of your trip for family and friends back home.

    Lyngen Peninsula

    One of the most pleasant drives in the whole of northern Norway is without doubt the route through the high peaks and blue glaciers to the Lyngen alps about 60 miles (100 kms) east of Tromso. No other road offers such stunning mountain vistas, with the chance to stop off for a picnic at one of the many vantage points en route. It’s an easy round-trip from Tromso but the thought of staying over in one of the mountain lodges for the night is an irresistible one, as you’ll discover when you get there!

    Geographic Information & History

    Surrounded by mountains and fjords, and often blanketed by thick snow, Tromso is one of the most scenic places in the whole of Norway. Located 217 miles (350 kms) north of the Arctic Circle, most of the city (including the centre) is located on the island of Tromsoya with higher temperatures than most other places located on the same latitude due to the warming effect of the Gulf Stream. Tromso’s geography is even more extraordinary for the fact that the midnight sun occurs from about 18 May to 26 July, and owing to the city’s high latitude twilights are long so there’s no true night between 27 March and 17 September. In winter the sun remains below the horizon during the polar night, which means that the sun is not visible from about 21 November until 21 January. With so much sheer darkness, this is often a good time to leave the city for a night or two to enjoy Norway’s famous Northern Lights.

    Historically speaking, Tromso and its environs have been inhabited since the end of the Ice Age. Archaeological excavations in Tonsvika just outside the city’s perimeter have turned up many interesting artefacts and remains of buildings estimated to be 9,000 to 10,000 years old. The city itself was established in the middle of the 13th century about the same time its first church was built, although it didn’t officially receive its town charter until 1794 from King Christian VII before it was established as an independent municipality in January 1838. By the end of the 19th century, Tromso had become a major Arctic trade centre from which many pioneering expeditions were launched. Explorers like Roald Amundsen, Umberto Nobile and Fridtjof Nansen made use of local knowledge about the conditions in the Arctic and often recruited their crews in the city. Tromso expanded rapidly after World War II and a major development was the opening of Tromso Airport in 1964 situated on the main island, followed by the inauguration of Tromso University in 1972, thus establishing the city as one of northern Europe's leading tourism and educational centres.

    How to get around Tromso

    Despite its relatively remote location, Tromso is a small, compact city that’s easy for tourists to navigate, whether in winter or summer, largely because most of the top attractions are located downtown and within easy walking distance of each other. Another plus is the fact that the local roads are kept in very good condition so it’s always quick and stress-free getting around with a car rental in Tromso. On-street parking can be difficult to find and quite expensive on weekdays, so our advice is leave the car and use the city’s excellent public transport system comprised of buses, ferries and the popular cable car that can carry you up to the top of Mount Storsteinen in just four minutes.


    Plentiful and reliable, Tromso’s modern bus network serves most parts of the city, with the majority passing through the city centre en route to their final destination. Take numbers 20 for the Botanical Garden, 26 for the cable car, 28 for the Arctic Cathedral and 37 for the Tromso Museum.


    Operated by Torghatten Nord, Tromso’s excellent ferry services are an alternative way of leaving town for a day or two to visit some of the neighbouring islands to enjoy the surrounding scenery, which is spectacular in parts. There's plenty of local sightseeing potential because the famous Hurtigbater catamarans connect the city with Harstad (via Finnsnes, Brostadbotn, Engenes, Lysnes, Vikran, Tennskjaer, Skjervoy, Finnkroken, Vannvåg, Nord-Lenangen, Arnoyhamn, Nikkeby and Vorteroya.


    Taxis are in abundance all over Tromso with several ranks conveniently located in the city centre at Stortorget, Aurora Fokus Cinema, Bankgata, Kirkegata, Prostneset Port Terminal and Nerstranda (outside Fretex), with the most popular taxi companies being Tromso Taxi, Stein Sorensen and Din Taxi. Picking up a taxi at Tromso Airport is equally stress-free with the taxi rank located right outside the Arrivals Hall. Travel time to and from Tromso city centre by taxi is around 10-15 minutes, making it one of the quickest airport transfers in Norway.

    Useful links

    Tromso Tourist Info