What’s On in Tromsø in 2024: Major Events in the Arctic

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The biggest city in Northern Norway hosts many festivals and events throughout the year. Here's our highlights of the Tromsø events calendar for 2024.

Most people visit Tromsø in the winter to see the northern lights, or in the summer to enjoy the endless days under the midnight sun. But there are many other reasons to visit too, year-round.

Fireworks over the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø, Norway.
Fireworks over the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø.

Although only 78,000 people live in Tromsø, the city punches far above its weight in cultural circles. That's because as the biggest city in Northern Norway, it serves as a regional capital and a cultural hub for all things Arctic.

Events in Arctic Norway

As you might expect, there are many events related to Arctic culture. But there are also a handful of big festivals that compete with the very best in Norway.

Tromsø resources: Find a hotel – Car rental – Book tours

Tromsø International Film Festival attracts film lovers from all over Europe, while Sami Week showcases the indigenous Arctic people in the heart of the city. Popular music festivals include Insomnia, Bukta, and Tromsø Jazz festival.

During the summer, people again travel from all over Europe to Tromsø to participate in the Midnight Sun Marathon. Shorter races take place in the winter.

Northern lights tour group in Tromsø, Norway.
People travel to Tromsø to see the northern lights, but there are many events too.

We keep our eyes on the major festivals and other events in Tromsø so you don’t have to! Whether you're a resident or planning to visit Northern Norway, check out this events calendar to make the most of your time.

Polar Night Marathon

6 January 2024: Norway's biggest winter race attracts around 2,000 runners from across the world. During the event, there are four different road races, all certified by AIMS.

Although the race takes place in the middle of the day, you won't see the sun as it's still the polar night period. In fact, there's a chance you'll be running under the northern lights. Fingers crossed!

Tromsø International Film Festival

15-21 January 2024: Locals don't let the winter get in the way of having fun! Held every January, Tromsø International Film Festival (TIFF) serves as an important meeting point for the Norwegian film industry.

Screenings take place across Tromsø of films from Norway and around the world. First held in 1991, the festival has gone on to become a major event in the lives of Tromsø residents.

Northern Lights Festival

27 January – 4 February 2024: What was once a small classical music event in 1988 has grown into a large music festival.

Although classical music remains at its core, the Northern Lights Festival now encompasses a broad range of music genres. Experimental Norwegian music collective Jaga Jazzist has been announced as the first name confirmed for the 2024 event.

Sami Week

5-11 February 2024: From reindeer races through the streets of Tromsø to a traditional arts and crafts market, Sami Week is a major highlight of the cultural calendar in Northern Norway.

Reindeer at Sami Week in Tromsø. Photo: Kamila Sankiewicz Photo / Shutterstock.com.
Reindeer at Sami Week in Tromsø. Photo: Kamila Sankiewicz Photo / Shutterstock.com.

Other things on the calendar include craft workshops, book readings, debates, speeches, exhibitions, and concerts. Even if you don't attend any events, the winter market in the centre of Tromsø is full of arts, crafts, and local food.

The festival has grown up around Sami People’s Day. Held every year on 6th February, the day commemorates the first meeting that brought Sami people together from north and south and from Norway and Sweden.

Midnight Sun Marathon

22 June 2024: The twin event of the winter marathon, the Midnight Sun Marathon attracts even more people to the north. An estimated 6,000 people join the event, which is understandable given the weather is likely to be better!

The event is a collection of five different races, from a certified marathon to a 500-metre race for children. There's a festival atmosphere throughout the day with the streets usually lined with locals cheering on the participants.

Bukta Festival

TBC July 2024: Held at Telegrafbukta, a beachside park at the southern end of Tromsø island, Bukta has become a firm fixture on the cultural calendar over the past 20 years. The lively music festival hosts some of Norway's most popular artists, with a handful of international musicians joining in the fun too.

Tromsø Jazz Festival

8-11 August 2024: First organised in 2016, Tromsø Jazz Festival has helped to build interest in jazz music throughout Northern Norway. It replaced a former jazz event that had been held in the winter.

View of Tromsø in the summer.
Tromsø in the summer.

SMAK Food Festival

TBC September 2024: This annual event attracts about 70,000 visitors to explore the best of North Norwegian cuisine.

Tromsø Mountain Challenge

30 September – 1 October 2024: Four trail running races are held over three days in the mountains that surround Tromsø. The keenest participants can take part in the Triple (three of four back-to-back trail races) or choose a single race.

Insomnia Festival

TBC October 2024: Billed as a festival for innovative electronic music, Tromsø's Insomnia celebrates all things electronic music and techno culture. Live concerts attract the big numbers, but there's also dj/club events, seminars, workshops, exhibitions, installations and debates.

Arctic Pride

TBC November 2024: A celebration of the diversity of gender and sexuality in the city centre of Tromsø. As with other LGBTQ+ Pride festivals, there is a parade though the streets along with a series of events throughout the city.

Tromsø resourcesFind a hotel – Car rental – Book tours

Have you attended any of these events in Tromsø, or other festivals in Northern Norway? Let us know in the comments below.

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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