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Cities north of the Arctic Circle in Europe are not quite as rare as hens' teeth - as Tromsø proves. In both directions the Hurtigruten boat calls on the same day that it passes the glorious Lyngen Alps and on both days it passes them at sunset, northwards after an afternoon in Tromsø, southwards en route for Tromsø at midnight.
If you reach Tromsø on the Hurtigruten's northern voyage, there is a shore trip around the city visiting the so-called 'Ice Cathedral.' Unless you plan to use the funicular on your southbound return (and possibly even if you do) you could consider foregoing the trip and riding a local bus to the funicular. The church at Hammerfest can be adequate compensation for missing the 'Ice Cathedral' and the view from the top of the funicular is a stunner. What's more, it's cheaper!
There are several daily flights between Tromso and Oslo by different airlines (SAS, Norwegian Air Shuttle, both Oslo-Rygge and Oslo Gardermoen Airport). Norwegian Air Shuttle also flies to Bergen, Bodø, London and Trondheim, while SAS also serves Alta, Bodø, Longyearbyen, Trondheim and Stockholm. Nordavia has flights to Arkhangelsk and Murmansk, airBaltic flies to Riga and Oulu, and Widerøe has flights to Alta, Andenes, Bergen, Hasvik, Hammerfest, Harstad/Narvik-Evenes, Hasvik, Honningsvåg, Kirkenes, Lakselv, Sandefjord [seasonal; summer], Stokmarknes, Sørkjosen and Vadsø. Finally, BH Air has seasonal (summer) flights to Burgas.
Airport buses linking the airport with the town are synchronized with at least SAS flights, but increasingly also with other flights. City buses stop at the fork near the airport. Taxis are available, as are rental cars, both relatively expensive of course.
Still not possible, the nearest railroad station is in Narvik.
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If you drive the E-6 from the south or E-6/E-8 from the north, leave E-6 in Nordkjosbotn and follow E-8 to Tromso. If you have been driving in the Lofoten Islands or Vesteraalen and want to take a short-cut to Tromso you can take a car-ferry from Andenes to Gryllefjord, drive from Gryllefjord to Botnhamn on the northern part of Senja, take a car-ferry from Botnhamn to Brensholmen (the route is signposted, by ferry-signs marked Kvaløya), from there it is approximately 70 kilometres by road to Tromso. NOTE: These car-ferries only run in the summer months. Dates and timetables can be found on the Senjafergene website.
Connections both north and south. If you want to go to Harstad or Finnsnes/Senja, it is generally faster and more comfortable to go by boat. For Narvik, the bus is probably the best option.
Hurtigruten, of course. In addition, there is a speedferry-connection (hurtigbåt) between Tromso and Harstad (only passengers, no cars). This route also calls at Finnsnes. There are two daily trips in each direction in weekends, and three or four on weekdays.
If you are planing to visit just the city of Tromsø, a car is not needed. But to explore the nature which is surrounding Tromsø it is strongly recommended to rent a car. You will find car rental company at the Tromsø airport and also in the city center. Be aware that parking in Tromsø is very expensive, even more expensive is the fine you get if you do not buy a parking ticket. The car rental prices in Norway are very high, consider to rent a camper van so you combine mobility and accommodation. You will find many places along the roads outside of Tromsø to stay for the night in a camper. Also chasing the Northern Lights is perfect in a camper.
City bus from the airport to the city centre takes about 10 minutes and costs 27NOK. City busses are available for transport in the city. Taxis are also available.
The city centre is quite compact and easily traversed on foot.
Tromsø has several very good places to eat, especially if you are looking for local food. From whale steak to seagull eggs you can experience the arctic kitchen nowhere better then in Tromsø. Maybe the most attractive place for a coffee or cake is the old house of the slaughter house. It is called Aunegården, located right in the city center.
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Most Norwegian households are connected to the Internet in some way (often broadband), making cybercafés hard to find outside major cities, due to a relatively small market. Most public libraries have free public access to the internet, but a limited number of computers and limited opening hours.
However, if you bring a laptop with a wireless connection you will find wireless internet zones just about everywhere (gas stations, city centres, cafés, shopping centres, hotels etc.), sometimes free, but be prepared to pay for it though. It is not unusual for hotels to have a terminal for guest use. Well over half of the camp grounds have wifi internet, but if it's crucial for you, best to ask before paying for your camping space.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The international calling code for Norway is 47. Emergency numbers include Police at 112, Fire at 110 and Emergency Medical Services at 113.
If you are unsure which number to call, 112 is the central for all rescue services and will put you in contact with the correct department. For non-emergencies, the police is to be called on 02800.
Cell phone Coverage generally is very good, except maybe some of the valleys, fjords and mountains. The company with the best coverage is Telenor. The other main operator is Netcom. These two deliver coverage to a multitude of other companies (Tele2 and Network Norway are two smaller companies that deliver coverage in the main cities, but utilize the othe two's net when outside).Prepaid sim card are available in all shops that sell phones and also petrol stations and kiosks. Prepaid has been in a slump in Norway after forced registration was effected, so prices are a bit higher for these than for subscriptions.
If you plan to do quite a bit of websurfing on the phone then Telenor's Prepaid (or "Kontant" in Norwegian) might be the ticket. You can surf as much as you wish, but the card doesn't get charges for more than 10 NOK per day (worth it if you use more than 2MB per day on the days you surf - though after 500MB the speed get's axed to 100kb/s).
Red mailboxes are found easily and post offices are plentiful, with opening hours on most being 9:00am to 5:00pm, with usually shorter hours on Saturday. Stamps can usually only be found at post offices although some popular tourist venues might carry them. Norway's postal system, "Posten", has a good website with a lot of English information including up to date prices and also details about the opening hours of the nearest post office. The most commonly sent format for travellers are letters and cards up to 20 grams, check their website for current prices. If you want to send packages, you might also use international courier companies lik DHL, UPS or TNT.
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