Concerts at the Arctic Cathedral

Concerts at the Arctic Cathedral

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In the summer season, Tromsø’s best known landmark, the Arctic Cathedral, invites all guests and residents of our city to a truly unique concert experience. Due to its high latitude, the city of Tromsø is blessed with the Midnight Sun, giving us bright summer nights full of golden light. The Arctic Cathedral is built in such a fashion that the light of the Midnight Sun can illuminate the inside of the church in a most marvellous way in the hours around the middle of the night.

The concerts take place during these hours of the day, when the sun is aligned with the church, which is then bathed in golden light. Three local musicians, perform a varied programme, including Northern Norwegian folk music and classical music, using both traditional and modern instruments, including the organ of the Arctic Cathedral, which has been tuned by Swiss specialists this winter.

In addition to the Midnight Sun Concerts, there are also daily organ recitals at 2pm, where the organ can shine in its full glory.

Organ recital: Daily until July 31st, 14:00-14:25, 70kr. Tickets are available online and at the door.
Midnight Sun Concert: Daily until August 15th,  23:30-00:00, 170kr. Doors open at 23:00. Tickets are available online and at the door.

Tromsø’s first airport had no runway. Today we have direct flights to several European countries.

Tromsø’s first airport had no runway. Today we have direct flights to several European countries.

Helvetic's first flight to Tromsø, June 24th 2016
Helvetic’s first flight to Tromsø, June 24th 2016

The airport

Tromsø’s first airport was located on Skattøra from 1938 to 1975. The airport consisted of a hangar building and a small parking area for planes, but it had no runway and could only serve sea planes. After civilian use of the airport started, Tromsø got its first air connections to Kirkenes, Trondheim and Oslo.

In September 1964, the new airport of Tromsø was opened by Crown Prince Harald. On this link you can view a multimedia special in Norwegian language on the history of our airport, created on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.

The airport has been experiencing an enormous passenger growth ever since it was opened. Two major upgrades in 1977 and 1997 were already too small once constructions were finished, and the next upgrade, scheduled to start once the extension of Norway’s main airport Gardermoen is completed in 2017, will likely suffer the same fate.

The old new terminal building from 1977 - also called "The Tromsø Banana"
The old new terminal building from 1977 – also called “The Tromsø Banana”

Without the airport, Tromsø would not have become the city it is today. Four years after the airport was opened, the parliament chose Tromsø as the seat of Northern Norway’s first university, a decision, that catalysed the development of Tromsø into the centre for research and education it is today,

In addition to a wide variety of domestic routes, we have direct connections to Alicante, Gran Canaria, London Gatwick, Luleå, Zürich (since June 24th) and Stockholm (since June 28th), in addition to charter tours to further destinations.

New routes

Since June 24th, Helvetic Airways operates weekly direct flights between Tromsø and Zürich until the end of August.

Since June 28th, SAS is operating direct flights between Tromsø and Stockholm, with 5 departures each week in July and August. After a short break, the route will resume during the Northern Lights season from October to March.

In the winter season, there will be another direct route to Switzerland, in addition to a direct route to Frankfurt starting November 26th, operated by Lufthansa.

6 ways to save money on a cruise to Norway

6 ways to save money on a cruise to Norway

1. Take your own pictures

Arctic Cathedral and Midnight sun
Arctic Cathedral and Midnight sun (cell phone picture)

To start with the most obvious way to save money: Take your own pictures. You most likely have a state of the art camera in your pocket right now, so why not capture moments you want to remember yourself, even if the ship’s photographer is not around?

2. Stay off the grid

Tourist information office in Tromsø - one of many places with free Wi-Fi
Tourist information office in Tromsø – one of many places with free Wi-Fi

Spend your vacation on the cruise you paid for, not on social media. By disconnecting during your cruise you don’t only improve the quality of your travel experience, you also save a lot on overpriced on-board Wi-Fi and roaming charges.

If you absolutely need to connect, find free Wi-Fi spots at libraries, hotels, restaurants or the tourist information at the port.

3. Discover local cuisine

A rare treat, even in Norway. What's on the picture? Comment below!
A rare treat, even in Norway. What’s on the picture? Comment below!

While on board, stick to the dining venues that are included in your rate. Instead of paying out of your nose for specialty restaurants of varying quality, rather visit local restaurant on port days. Not only will the prices be more budget-friendly than on board, but it is also a great opportunity to experience genuine local cuisine and hospitality. Norwegian restaurants have access to some of the freshest ingredients, harvested directly from the pristine nature of our beautiful country.

4. Book your own excursions

Individual tourists in Henningsvær, Lofoten
Individual tourists in Henningsvær, Lofoten

While you can book excursion on board, those are often priced at a premium and include a generous commission for every link in the supply chain. Often you can get excursions from local tour operators for a fraction of the price you pay at the shore excursion desk and with much smaller groups.

By booking your own excursion, you can either select a ready-made tour, or you can customize a tour to suit your interests and at a time convenient for you. As an additional benefit, a local guide will be able to recommend a restaurant for the experience you are looking for.

Most tour operators offer favourable group rates. If you want to save even more, why not try to find fellow passengers who may want to join your tour at your cruise’s roll call?

Wikitravel pages on cities often include a list of local tour operators for you to choose from. To make sure that you book with a reputable operator, you can check the reviews on their Trip Advisor page (make sure to leave one yourself after the tour!) and call their local tourist organisation to enquire about them.

5. Pay less for drinks than for your cruise ticket

Beer samples - a great way of tasting many different beers in one sitting.
Beer samples – a great way of tasting many different beers in one sitting. (guest picture)

Acknowledge your drinking habits and do the math. Do you really need to purchase a beverage package, or will you be better off with individual purchases?

During your stay on board, you are residing in a floating restaurant, which is also reflected in the prices for beverages. Check the terms and conditions. Can you bring your own bottled water? If so, do it and you will save at least enough for a fancy lunch at a local restaurant on shore.

If you start to become weary of drinking the same generic brand beer every evening, you may also want to look into booking a shore excursion which includes local food and drinks.

6. Travel on a smaller ship

Hurtigruten next to the ship of the King of Norway
Hurtigruten next to the ship of the King of Norway, a known appreciator of small ships

While big cruise lines may have an appeal as well, they are also the very pinnacle of mass tourism. If you don’t want to spend your vacation on a floating mega-mall, getting everything from souvenir glasses to timeshares on Spanish islands pushed on to you, you may be better off looking for smaller lines with smaller ships.

In addition to a more relaxing experience, smaller ships often provide better value by offering a more special experience. Smaller ships can reach ports off the beaten path, and sometimes they even stay overnight, giving you more time to explore the life on shore.

Also cabins with ocean view are standard, and on the way perks such as a la carte dining and premium beverages are often included.

While the initial rate may be higher, you may still save money at the bottom line. Value is the key, what is included in the rate, and how much do you have to pay for extras?