When the sun shines in Tromsø, locals head to Telegrafbukta at the south of the island. Here's why you should too.
There's something very special about summer in Northern Norway. After a long, dark, cold winter and many months of snow, the change in weather is good for the soul!
Driven by the midnight sun, Norway's north can enjoy wonderful, long summer days. Of course, there's never any guarantee of good weather at this latitude, but the weather can be better than you think.
In fact, some of the hottest summer temperatures I've ever experienced in Norway happened in the north! In 2018, I was in Alta and Hammerfest during a remarkable summer heatwave when the temperatures soared above 30C.
That might not sound like much to our readers who live in California or Florida, but remember this is the Arctic!
Seeking summer in Tromsø
The weather wasn't as hot on a recent trip to Tromsø, but it was good enough to seek out a beach. I often write about how quiet Norwegian towns are during winter, as Norwegians tend to be out skiing. But where do they go in the summer?
Every town has its own favourite summer spot, typically a beach or an island within easy reach of the town but far enough to keep the tourists away! In Tromsø, that's definitely Telegrafbukta.
Where is Telegrafbukta beach in Tromsø?
Telegrafbukta is the name of a bay on the southern end of Tromsøya, the island on which Tromsø is located. It's easy to reach via a bus from the town centre. It takes barely 10 minutes to reach Telegrafbukta on bus 33 from Sjøgata.
You can also walk all the way in about 45 minutes. For a hybrid approach, get off the bus a stop earlier at Sydspissen and walk the lovely coastal path.
Why visit Telegrafbukta?
First and foremost, Telegrafbukta is about the beach. While not the most spectacular of Norway's beaches, the setting is beautiful, the water calm and the beach sandy. The beach areas are small but there is much more space on the grassy bank.
There's a lot to be said for cold water bathing, so it's not uncommon to see Norwegians taking a quick early morning dip. And yes, even in the summer, the water here is chilled!
The area is also great just for relaxing, whether soaking up some sun on the grassy bank or strolling the gentle coastal paths. For the more active, there's a small training park including a beach volleyball court.
Beach volleyball in Arctic Norway? Yep, that's a thing!
As you walk from the bus to the beach, you pass the Nobile monument. This striking tall monument remembers the victims of the 1928 airship Italia disaster, and the rescuers who died trying to save them.
Norwegian hero Roald Amundsen was among those to have died in the rescue attempt. Some wreckage was eventually found near Tromsø.
The front of the memorial reads: “Here united upon this stone are the names of whose who died in the wreck of the Italia and of those trying to rescue them. In remembrance of a glorious feat of human endeavour which stands today as a memorial and a testimony to the brotherhood of men.”
Continuing up the coastline from Telegrafbukta is an area known as Folkeparken, or ‘The People's Park.' The largest green area on the island, Folkeparken is a popular recreation area of varied vegetation with hiking/skiing trails, coastal paths, benches and play cabins.
The marked trail Smartstien is dotted with signposts detailing nature and culture highlights, with QR codes for those curious to find out more.
The nearby Tromsø Museum organises children's activity days in the area. It's common to see groups of kindergarten children here looking at the nature. The main path from the museum to the coast is termed the ‘love path'. Speaking of the museum…
Just a few minutes walk away from the beach is the Tromsø university museum. This is the perfect place to come in the summer to get the full Tromsø experience, as there is an exhibition dedicated to the northern lights, which of course you can't see in the summer!
This might be a temporary exhibition though, so do check in advance if you're going to make a special journey.
The museum is also a great place to explore the history and culture of the Sami people in Norway, especially if you're not continuing your journey in northern Norway.
Back to the beach! The grassy area of Telegrafbukta is home to the Bukta Festival. This well-established open-air festival is a highlight of the cultural calendar in Northern Norway.
Usually held every July, Bukta welcomes mainly Norwegian bands but with a smattering of international names. There's also a focus on local food, with fish burgers a popular choice!
Of course, the 2020 event was cancelled, while the 2021 event is planned to be a paired-down affair.
Have you been to Tromsø's Telegrafbukta? What's your favourite coastal spot in Northern Norway?