What's on in Tromsø

...Tromsø is more than raw nature and Northern Lights. It is also offering modern and traditional activities, exciting restaurants, varied nightlife and bustling cultural activity...

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The rich cultural Northern life 

When you think of Northern Norway and Tromsø, your thoughts might go to raw nature, the northern lights and dog sleds, but Tromsø is much more than that. Nicknamed "Paris of the North", Tromsø is a national treasure offering modern and traditional activities, exciting restaurants, varied nightlife and bustling cultural activity. When you visit Tromsø, you get the whole package. If you are curious about what you can find in Tromsø in the way of exciting events, you have come to the right place.

As you will see further down on this page, Tromsø is an active cultural city with major, interesting events almost every month. But – in addition to the international film and music festivals – the attractive cinemas Aurora and Verdensteateret, Tromsø's Kulturhus (cultural centre), the many fine museums such as the Polar Museum and Perspektivet, along with the lovely churches Arctic Cathedral and Tromsø Cathedral are all open year round and can be visited at any time.


Tromsø International Film Festival (TIFF) is Norway's largest film festival and is both an audience favourite and a meeting place for filmmakers from all over the world. The festival is remarkable for its improvised outdoor stage with a gigantic block of ice used as a film screen. The festival is usually held in the third week of January.

Nordlysfestivalen (The Northern Lights Festival) in Tromsø began as a small music festival, but since its humble start in 1988, it has grown into a huge ten-day party with tons of concerts. From opera to rock, chamber music for symphony orchestra, classical to modern – the Northern Lights Festival showcases the best music and features newcomers and established musicians from all corners of the world.

Sami week is arranged in connection with the Sami National Day, 6 February, during a week-long celebration that colours the city with Sami culture. The week offers everything from concerts to a traditional Sami dinner and Sami fashion catwalk in honour of Norway's indigenous people. 



cinema tromsø

Silent Film Days mix silent movies with live music for a unique experience. As a tribute to the original silent films, international and local musicians play different musical genres and styles over classic silent films. Everything is screened and staged in Tromsø's finest cinema, Verdensteateret.

Vårscenefest (Spring Stage Festival) aims to provide Northern Norway with diverse and financially risky performances featuring international and local theatre groups. Each year has a different theme that is reflected through the staged productions. The theme in 2019 was "Trust". If you want to see exciting and innovative theatre, this is the experience you're looking for. Tromsø's entire theatre community unites to arrange the Spring Stage Festival.


Nordic Youth Film Festival (NUFF) is a short film festival for filmmakers up to the age of 26 from around the world. Since it was started as an arena offered to young filmmakers to show their films, the festival has grown into a warm-hearted film festival showcasing young film talents from all corners of the world. Parallel with film screenings, there are workshops in which films are made reality, from concept to finished film, in one week. The goal is to produce and screen the films during the festival.

Midnight Sun concerts in the Arctic Cathedral are exactly what it sounds like. Norwegian folk music and other classical treats are played acoustically as the midnight sun shines down into the Arctic Cathedral for a truly unique experience.

Buktafestivalen is Norway's best outdoor festival and focuses on quality rather than quantity. This is a rock festival with a capital R that you can only experience in the far north. Bukta features the best rock stars regardless of what country they come from. In addition to international headliners and local and national heroes, the festival has rock, beer, stockfish eating, a large stage on the water and a united Northern Norway – all inviting you to a huge party. If you love rock, you simply have no other choice than to make the trip.

at the fjord

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Tromsø Jazz Festival highlights the strong jazz community in Northern Norway and hosts good jazz experiences in venues throughout Tromsø. Previously, the festival was called Barents Jazz, but in 2016 it was relaunched as a summer festival, Tromsø Jazz Festival, attracting audiences from all over the world.

Music Fest Tromsø provides music experiences in the heart of Tromsø that are varied, exciting and, not least, free of charge. Music enthusiasts in Tromsø gather and celebrate music in a party setting!

Tromsø Global (international week) was started to kickstart the Rakettnatt festival and highlights the multicultural solidarity of the North-Norwegian gem city. During this festival week you can experience everything from authentic Bollywood dance to African rhythms from djembe drums, and much more.

Rakettnatt Music and Arts Festival is an annual music festival held in the heart of Tromsø that has featured artists such as M.I.A., Bastille, MØ and Tove Lo, had Norwegian stars such as Röyksopp, Karpe and Susanne Sundfør and has profiled such super talents as AURORA and Astrid S before their careers took off. See the best Norway and the world have to offer during this festival held in the centre of the city.



TIFF Junior is a film festival for children and young people, where films are screened and pitched by and for children and adolescents.

Open Out Festival is an art festival that is about being inclusive and diverse, and about bringing Tromsø and the world together. It consists of exhibitions, films, live performances and educational seminars and workshops.

SMAK Food Festival is a new festival that promotes Northern Norwegian cuisine, ingredients and delicacies. This is a folk festival for the general public, the business community and young people. Since its inception in 2013, crowds of people have come to experience true Northern Norwegian delights.




The Insomnia Festival has gone from being a music festival to becoming an art festival. It still features good electro music, but as the festival grew in popularity, workshops, seminars and art exhibitions have also emerged. The festival is open to everyone and is completely free.

Tromsø International Church Festival is an annual event featuring concerts, exhibitions and performances in the city's magnificent churches – the Tromsø Cathedral and the Arctic Cathedral.

Kulturnatta Tromsø is the night of the year when Tromsø showcases its enormous cultural diversity, entirely free of charge, and gives a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on. All participating institutions are showcased and have longer opening hours than usual, so you can go and visit your favourite, or something you've never experienced before, for free. 

Tromsø International Literature Festival (Ordkalotten) encompasses Norwegian and international writers but has a particular focus on indigenous people and on maintaining the trilingual status of the northern region, namely the Norwegian, Sami and Kven languages. It is an inclusive festival that features recitation, poetry and lectures on its programme.