The church known as the Arctic cathedral has become an iconic symbol of Northern Norway. Read on for a visual introduction to Tromsø's most famous building.
Tromsø is a popular destination for visitors to northern Norway. Tourists flock to the city in the hope of seeing the northern lights or simply to enjoy life in one of the biggest towns above the Arctic circle.
The Arctic cathedral is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the city. The striking building is impossible to miss across the water from the city centre. Thanks to its unique design, it is one of the most famous churches in Norway.
In this post, I’ve pulled together some images of the church—both inside and out—so those of you unable to make the trip can still experience the church. Enjoy!
Watch: The Arctic Cathedral in 60 Seconds
If you prefer to watch video, check out this quick visual tour of the church. It will take you just one minute!
I hope you enjoyed the video! Now, if you want to find out more, read on.
Tromsø is the biggest city for hundreds of miles around in northern Norway. In fact, after the Russian cities of Murmansk and Norilsk, it is the biggest city above the Arctic circle anywhere in the world.
As such, Tromsø punches way above its weight in cultural events and things to do considering its small population of just 72,000. That's one of the reasons for this landmark church, which can be seen from all along the waterfront of Tromsø city.
Introducing the Arctic cathedral
It surprises many visitors to learn that the striking modern design of the church was actually completed as long ago as 1965.
Despite its memorable marketing name, the Arctic cathedral is actually Tromsdalen parish church. The church puts on regular church services and hosts weddings and funerals.
Exterior of the church
The tall white triangular structure featuring a large cross and 11 aluminium-coated concrete panels.
Thanks to the brave vision of architect Jan Inge Hovig, the church has become far more than a place of worship. Today, it is an internationally recognised icon of northern Norway.
Inside the church
The interior is simple, but your attention will be drawn to the prism chandeliers and prominent colourful glass mosaic on the far wall, packed with intricate detail and symbolism.
Installed more recently, the French Romantic organ was said to be inspired by the sails on passing ships.
There's also a small gift shop stocked with books, postcards and brochures about the church.
Visiting the Arctic cathedral
The church is open to tourists for a few hours most days, longer in the summer. But it's always worth checking in advance, as the church can be closed to tourists because of services, weddings or funerals.
The best way to get to the church depends on the time of year and the weather. In the summer, walking over the bridge from the city centre is a great choice. Just be wary it will likely be windy and it’s definitely not a walk for vertigo sufferers.
All buses from the city centre that cross the bridge into Tromsdalen stop at the Arctic Cathedral. The trip takes just a few minutes and tickets are easy to buy using the Troms Fylkestrafikk website and app.
When you're looking for stops, you'll want to search for ‘Tromsdalen Bruvegen' or ‘Tromsdalen kirke'. These are the two stops either side of the church.
You could also take a taxi, but as with all taxi trips short journeys are relatively pricey. But it could be an option if there’s three or four of you.
During the summer, the church puts on a midnight sun concert most nights starting at around 11pm. Originally a hobby by local musicians, the concerts quickly became one of the most popular summer attractions in Tromsø.
Have you been to the Arctic cathedral in Tromsø? What did you think?