People smiling in Tromso city centre

How to dress in the Arctic

In order for your stay in Northern Norway to be as comfortable as possible, it is important to have the right clothes.

Tromsø has a varied climate both during winter season (average temperature -4 °C) and summer season (average temperature 12 °C). However, if you are here to experience Arctic adventures or chase the northern lights, you need to expect temperatures from -25 °C to 5 °C.

In general we would recommend you bring warm and comfortable clothes and shoes. Layer your clothing so that you can easily regulate your temperature by removing or adding layers. If you are in activity remove layers when you get warm. When you stop you will quickly get cold, and that is a nice time to add an extra layer of clothing. Many activity organisers supply clothing for excursions, i.e. thermal suits, shoes, hats and mittens. 

Spring and summer (May – August)

Summer wool, summer hats, summer down-jackets and summer gloves – these are words the locals are very familiar with. With the average temperature being only 12 °C, we know how to dress accordingly. In early summer (May – June) it can be wet and cold, so a good idea is to bring thin wool underwear and a light wind- and rainproof jacket when exploring the city. The weather in July – August tends to be better, but the same range of clothing applies, especially if you intend to go hiking in the mountains around Tromsø. The weather changes quickly and it is often a lot colder up in the mountains than it is in the city centre.

Autumn and winter (September – April)

Warm clothing is key to a good and comfortable stay in Tromsø during winter. Start with wool clothing closest to your body and then supply with layers of warm and dry sweaters and jackets. Don’t forget to bring warm shoes, gloves, scarfs and hats.

Your feet, hands, neck and head are the body parts where you feel the cold first and are important to keep warm in cold temperatures. Shoes should be big enough to wear extra woolen socks, and hand-warmers are really nice to buy to have inside both gloves and shoes.

During winter it can be slippery outside in the nature and in the city streets. Crampons/spikes are a useful safety meassure to avoid falling on the ice and can be bought in shoe and sport shops in addition to the Tourist Information office. If you come from warmer countries or do not wish to carry a lot of bulky clothing with you, there is an excellent company in Tromsø called Tromsø Outdoor, which supplies a full range of outdoor clothing.