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Which museums should you visit in Tromsø?

Deciding what to do in Tromsø can be thrilling, especially when museums are on your agenda. Tromsø houses unique museums like the Polar Museum and Polaria, beckoning those keen on exploring the Arctic's rich history and marine life.

Navigating through the museums in Tromsø, such as the Full Steam Museum, offers an immersive experience of the city’s maritime and exploration heritage. Visiting these museums introduces you to the essence of Arctic adventures and scientific endeavours in Northern Norway.

Full Steam Museum & Restaurant

Full Steam Museum in Tromsø

When exploring what to do in Tromsø, the Full Steam Museum emerges as a must-visit for those intrigued by the maritime and fisheries heritage of Northern Norway. Located at the heart of Tromsø’s harbor in a historic building, this museum offers a deep dive into the region’s seafaring and Sea Sami cultures.

A visit to the Full Steam Museum not only educates visitors about the unique ecosystems and wildlife of the region but also serves as a sensory journey through the fishery history of Northern Norway, from the scent and taste of local delicacies to the visual feast of the Northern Lights exhibition.

Here’s what you can expect:


  • Sea Sami Exhibition (3rd Floor): Discover the traditions and heritage of the Sea Sami people.
  • Seamen’s Exhibition (4th Floor): Explore the maritime history of sailors navigating the northern waters.
  • Northern Lights Exhibition: A collection of high-quality photos and films unraveling the science and mythology of the Aurora Borealis.

Amenities & Activities at Full Steam Museum & Restaurant:

Enjoy local seafood dishes at the cozy on-site restaurant and engage in the “Stories and Local Food Tasting at Full Steam Museum,” featuring a 1-hour guided tour with 5 food tastings, with tales of the cod and stockfish history.

Guided tours for groups of up to 50 participants offer personalized insights into the exhibitions.

Visiting Information:

Location: Søndre Tollbodgate 3, Tromsø.

Opening Hours: Daily from 10:00 to 18:00.

Polar Museum

The Polar Museum in Tromsø is a treasure trove for those fascinated by polar exploration and the rugged life of trappers in Northern Norway. A visit here is not just a journey through the history of Arctic exploration but also an intimate look at the lives of those who braved the elements in pursuit of discovery and survival.

Here’s what you can expect during your visit:

Exhibitions and Features:

Permanent Exhibitions: Delve into the gripping tales of sealing, overwintering, and polar expeditions, alongside the cultural history of Svalbard.

Notable Explorers: Learn about the heroic journeys of Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen.

Temporary Exhibitions: Located in the former boathouse, these exhibitions are refreshed regularly, based on new polar research findings.

Practical Information:

Address: Søndre Tollbodgate 11, Tromsø.

Opening Hours: 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily.

Museum Shop: Don’t forget to visit the museum shop for unique gifts and souvenirs.


Polaria tromsø

If you have an interest in observing the coexistence of animals, humans, fish, and plants, Polaria offers an ideal opportunity to explore and comprehend life in the Arctic.

Polaria was founded when the Norwegian Polar Institute relocated to Tromsø. Working closely with researchers from The Fram Centre, Polaria creates informative exhibitions that showcase the climate and environmental research conducted in the Arctic region. These exhibitions are based on scientific knowledge and provide a glimpse into the important work being done in the Arctic area.

At Polaria, you will have the chance to encounter and gain a deeper understanding of various species that inhabit the Arctic region, such as bearded seals, harbour seals, catfish, and many other Arctic water species. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the diverse species that traverse the ocean floor.

Seal Basin and Aquarium

The seal pool is home to five lively seals who engage in daily training sessions. In the aquarium section, you will encounter a wide array of animals, fish species, shellfish, and Arctic underwater flora. We invite you to observe the daily training sessions and witness the feeding of the seals.

Panorama Cinema

Our one-of-a-kind Panoramic cinema showcases films that capture the awe-inspiring wonders of the wild north. Before and after your cinematic experience, you can delve deeper into the Arctic through our exhibitions.


Polaria serves as a platform for displaying polar research conducted by the FRAM centre located nearby. Our exhibitions provide valuable insights into the man-made challenges faced by our region and shed light on the reasons behind climate changes.

Museum Shop: Visit Polaria’s gift shop with merchandise of good craftsmanship and high quality from the Arctic.

Opening hours: 10:00 AM (10:00) – 4:00 PM (16:00).

Seal training and feeding: 10:30 AM (10:30), 12:30 PM (12:30) & 3:30 PM (15:30).

Tromsø University Museum

When considering what to do in Tromsø, a visit to the Tromsø University Museum, also known as the Arctic University Museum of Norway, is highly recommended.

Established in 1872, it stands as the oldest scientific institution in Northern Norway, offering a unique blend of natural and cultural sciences. This museum not only educates but also provides an interactive experience, making it a must-visit for understanding Tromsø’s rich cultural and natural heritage. Here’s what you can expect:

Permanent and Temporary Exhibitions: With eight permanent displays and two to three temporary exhibitions yearly, the museum showcases a rich history, including Sami culture, geology, zoology, and over 100 years of regional exploration.

Special Collections and Activities: The museum manages several special collections. The grounds feature a Sami goahti (turf hut), sandboxes, hammocks, and a giant chess board.

Visitor Information: Located at Lars Thørings veg 10, Tromsø, the museum is accessible by bus 37.

Open daily from 9AM to 5PM (June 1st – August 15th) and has varied hours for the rest of the year.

Northern Norwegian Science Center

Exploring the Northern Norwegian Science Center in Tromsø offers a unique blend of entertainment and education, making it a must-visit for families and science enthusiasts alike. Here’s what you need to know:

Location and Hours: Situated on the campus of UiT – the Arctic University of Norway, the Science Center is open daily from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Admission for adults is 130 NOK.

Exhibits and Activities:

Interactive Exhibits: Engage with nearly 100 exhibits covering climate, weather, energy, and more.

Planetarium Shows: Don’t miss the daily Northern Lights show in Norway’s largest planetarium.

Educational Programs: Offers programs for various age groups.

Special Features:

Wheelchair Accessibility: The center is accessible, with some exceptions based on the degree of disability.

Gift Shop: Find unique souvenirs to remember your visit.

SKILLS Kveldslab: An evening lab for children aged 10-13, enhancing their learning experience.

Whether you’re marveling at the Northern Lights indoors or solving mathematical puzzles, the Northern Norwegian Science Center promises a day full of discovery and fun.

Throughout this exploration of Tromsø’s museums, we’ve traversed the depths of the Arctic’s maritime history at the Full Steam Museum, the daring tales of polar exploration at the Polar Museum, and the innovative blend of education and entertainment at the Northern Norwegian Science Center, among others.

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Which museums should you visit in Tromsø?

Which museums should you visit in Tromsø?

Deciding what to do in Tromsø can be thrilling, especially when museums are on your agenda. Tromsø houses unique museums like the Polar Museum and Polaria, beckoning those keen on exploring the Arctic’s rich history and marine life.