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Troms

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Travel Guide Europe Norway Troms

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Introduction

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Troms sits between the Norwegian counties of Nordland and Finnmark. To some extent this area has been overshadowed by the more high profile tourist-attractions of the Lofoten Islands in Nordland and the North Cape in Finnmark. The name of the county of Troms is derived from Tromso, the main town in Northern Norway (indeed - it claims to be the largest town north of the arctic circle). Please note that Troms (the county) and Tromsø (the town) have only one letter to destinguish between them. Tromso certainly deserves its own entry on this site. It would, however, be unfair to single it out as the only great draw of this area.

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Geography

Troms is Norways fourth largest county. The approximately 155,000 inhabitants share a little less than 26,000 km2 between them, and almost half of the population lives in Tromso. The landscape is one of large islands and long fjords, with some major rivers making their course along forested valleys before they enter the sea. Four islands off the coast of Troms are on the top ten list of Norwegian islands. Like the mainland these islands will have fjords and adjacent arcipelagoes of smaller islands and islets. Even by Norwegian standards Troms has a coast with a lot of "nooks and crannies". The many fjords and straits means a lot of sheltered coastal waters. Boating, of course, has a long tradition, and kayaking has become popular in recent years. The ice age sculpted the landscape and most of the fjords are surrounded by alpine mountains. Sometimes the mountains rise straight from the sea, sometimes sea and mountains are separated by a narrow band of relativley level ground. The mountains inland are alpine as well, and generally a bit taller than on the coast, and the only reason the valleys running between them are not fjords is that they are above sea level.

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Cities

  • Tromso (population about 70,000) is the main town.
  • Harstad (population about 23,000) is situated near Trondenes, the medieval seat of power in this part of Norway. Much later, in the late 19th century Harstad grew from a farm to a town in a few decades. This was caused mainly by the rich herring fisheries at the time. Later Harstad became a town with important military institutions. In recent years the oil industry has contributed to the towns expansion.
  • Finnsnes (population about 4,500) decided in the year 2000 that they would like to be reconed as the third town in Troms county.

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Sights and Activities

  • Tromso has several sights.
  • Harstad has Trondenes Historical Centre - with an exhibition telling the story of the local viking chieftains. Nearby Trondenes church hold the distinction of being the worlds northernmost medieval church built in stone. The Adolf Gun is a German battleship gun from WWII. Mounted on land as a coastal gun.
  • Bjarkoy - a group of islands north of Harstad - the chieftains at Trondenes had a stronghold there as well.
  • Senja - Norways second largest island. Large enough for serious hikes.

Natural Phenomena

Troms is a good place for spotting the Aurora Borealis (Northern lights). One of the places where this phenomen occurs most frequently. Of course you will not be able to see them in summer, as dark nights are necessary. October to March are the best months.

Troms enjoys midnight sun in summer. Harstad, in the south of Troms from the 24th of May to the 17th of July, Tromso, lying further north, from the 19th of May to the 22nd of July. For at least a fortnight of either side of the periode of midnight sun, you will only have a short periode at midnight of something approaching twilight.

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Weather

Conditions will not be the same everywhere. And weather is not stable in this area. More than a week without a change is considered a bit unusual. In general the coast will have winter-temperatures around freezing point. Winters at the outer coast can be rather "slushy" and overcast. Brighter weather on the coast typically means easterly winds and colder weather, though temperatures below - 10 °C are not very common. The inland areas are colder, long periods of frost, at times severe frost, but also brighter and drier weather. The ocean never freezes in winter, and with a few exeptions the fjords are ice-free as well. Rivers and lakes will freeze over during winter, but do not venture out on the ice without consulting the locals as the strength of the ice can differ from one place to another. Summers can be rather dry and warm inland. Day temperatures of more than +20 °C are not unusual. At the coast summers are generally more rainy, day temperatures typically between +10 °C and 20 °C. At the outer coast warm days, unfortunatley, tend to bring in fog banks from the ocean.

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Getting There

By Plane

http://www.avinor.no/en/airport/tromso Tromsø/Langnes Airport (TOS) in Tromso is the main airport in this district. Frequent flights operate between Tromso and Oslo. Other destinations include Svalbard (Longyearbyen), Trondheim, Bodø, Arkhangelsk, Murmansk, Alta, Gran Canaria, Kirkenes, London Gatwick Airport, Andenes, Bergen, Båtsfjord, Berlevåg, Hammerfest, Harstad/Narvik, Hasvik, Honningsvåg, Kirkenes, Lakselv, Mehamn, Stokmarknes, Sørkjosen, Vadsø and Vardø. Some seasonal and charter flights operate to/from Burgas, Helsinki, Antalya, Chania, Stockholm, Palma de Mallorca and Sandefjord.

Bardufoss Airport (BDU) in Mid-Troms offers some flights, mainly to Bodo and Oslo.
Evenes Airport is just south of the border, in Nordland county. This airport serves both Harstad (in Troms) and Narvik (in Nordland). Destinations include Andenes, Bodø, Tromsø, Trondheim and both Gardermoen as well as Torp airports in Oslo.

By Train

Troms has no railroad. Nearest railroad station is in Narvik, which is in the county of Nordland. Narvik is not part of the Norwegian railway network, it is connected to the Swedish railways. Narvik is 50-60 kilometres south of the border between Troms and Nordland. The first station on the Norwegian railway network is Fauske, a further 250 kilometres south of Narvik.

By Car

The E-6 runs the length of Troms, as well as most of Norway, it is considered the main road both in the south and north of this county.
If you drive the length of Sweden you can cross the bortder to Finland at Karesuando and take the E-8 to Skibotn in Norway.

In summer a car ferry runs between Andenes (in Nordland) and Gryllefjord on Senja (Troms). This ferry is a shortcut if you have travelled the Lofoten islands and want to visit Troms as well.

From Lofoten you can take the E-10 to Bjerkvik, where it joins the E-6 and take the E-6 north from there. If you go to Tromso, this will be a considerably longer drive than taking the car ferry from Andenes.

If you take the E-10 from Lofoten you can visit Harstad as well. At Tjeldsundet (a little before the bridge to the mainland) you can take off the E-10 and follow road 83.

By Bus

If you come by rail to Fauske, you can continue your journey by bus to Narvik and further north into Troms. Long distance buses from Finnmark are connected to the bus network in Troms.

By Boat

Hurtigruten plies the coast of Troms and calls at Harstad, Finnsnes, Tromso and Skjervoy.
In summer a car ferry runs between Andenes (in Nordland) and Gryllefjord on Senja (Troms). This ferry will of course carry people that are not travelling by car, as well as those who are.

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Getting Around

Here is a link to a portal for timetables in Troms at tromskortet.no.

  • Buss means busroutes.
  • Hurtigbåt - means speedferries (do not take motorised vehicles) and passengerferries.
  • Ferger - means carferries

By Plane

Few connections inside Troms, some flights between Tromso and Eidkjosen airport at Storslett.

By Car

An extensive road network makes visits to a lot of places possible. In summer it is relatively easy to find a place to park the car should you wish to go for a hike. In winter only the more popular starting points will have parking that is regularly cleared of snow.

By Bus

An extensive bus network. Outside towns buses are not very frequent. For timetables - see above.

By Boat

Speed ferries run on the route Tromso - Finnsnes - Harstad. There is a speed ferry service between Lysnes on Senja and Tromso (calling at Vikran and Tennskjær as well). There is a speed ferry service between Tromso and Skjervoy.

Please note that the speed ferries do not carry cars. They will probably take bicycles, but not motorcycles.

Hurtigruten has one northbound and one southbound call per day at the sceduled ports. In Troms these ports are: Harstad, Finnsnes, Tromso and Skjervoy. Except for one old ship, the ships of hurtigruten can take cars.

Though more and more places are connected by bridges or subsea tunnels, still some car ferries are left.
For timetables - see above.

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This is version 54. Last edited at 10:49 on Jan 14, 14 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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