Tromsø is a popular city for tourists who want to experience the northern light, summer sun or even the polar nights, and this city welcomes tourists all year long. There are roughly 65,000 inhabitants as well as a few thousand students in Tromsø, so what is the crime rate in Tromsø like? And how safe is it to visit Tromsø as a tourist?
Tromsø is generally considered very safe, like most of Norway. Despite being a popular city for tourists, it does not have typical crimes against tourists like scams, pickpockets, taxi scams etc. You will be safe in Tromsø at night as long as you stay away from bar brawls.
That said, there are some things that are potentially unsafe, especially for unprepared tourists. The most common thing that will lead to danger for tourists in Tromsø are underprepared hikes, walking on glaciers without a guide, or being underprepared for the changing weather.
Anyway, let’s take a closer look at the different types of potential dangers in Tromsø, and how to stay safe from them.
Places and situations in Tromsø to be wary of
There are no parts of Tromsø that are considered unsafe or high risk to travel in, so just feel free to explore the city as you wish. You will notice that there are some beggars and homeless people in Tromsø, but these are generally harmless, and not something to be afraid of.
There are some situations where you should be a bit on the alert. This is mainly after midnight on Fridays and Saturdays when drunk people are roaming the streets. As you can imagine, drunk people are not always the best to be around, and there are the occasional bar brawl and conflicts outside of the bars.
The worst time is when the bars and pub close at 02:00. At this point everyone gets kicked out of the bars at the same time, meaning that a lot of drunk people will be roaming the streets at the same time.
There is not a high risk for people to travel while there are drunk people in the streets, but you should be a bit careful about getting into arguments, especially if you are drunk yourself.
Women are generally considered to be safe when travelling alone, but again, be a bit wary when travelling in the city center in the middle of the night to be on the safe side. Crimes against women are rare in Tromsø, but they can happen.
Crime rates in Tromsø
The crime rate in Tromsø is low, and on par with most other cities of its size in Norway. There are very few muggings, pickpockets, attacks or any crime with a victim in Tromsø really. This means that you should be very safe when visiting Tromsø as a tourist, and should not be afraid of crimes being committed against you.
That said, crimes do happen from time to time, and you can always get unlucky. When visiting any new place, make sure to keep your valuables where they cannot easily be taken by pickpockets.
Pickpockets are generally very rare in Tromsø, and there are likely no or few “professional” pickpocketers, but there are some who will commit crimes of opportunities, so make sure to not give them the opportunity to steal your belonging.
Nature just outside of Tromsø can be dangerous
The biggest threat to your safety when visiting Tromsø is nature itself, especially in winter. It is unfortunately common for tourists to not be prepared enough for the rapidly changing weather in Tromsø and the rest of Norway, and there are plenty of examples where the Red Cross and Norwegian police have to rescue people from hikes due to a change in weather.
The good thing about this threat is that you can mostly eliminate the risk by using good hiking equipment and clothing, and preparing for the weather to take a turn for the worse. If you are unexperienced with hiking in the snow or during the winter, consider bringing a guide with you.
If the weather is looking bad, just don’t go on the hike. Some tourists feel like they need to go on the hike no matter what, but the truth is that you should just cancel it if the weather makes it unsafe.
The same goes for glaciers, although you need to travel a bit from Tromsø to get to a glacier. Glaciers with guides rarely lead to any problems, but it can be very dangerous to go out on the glacier by yourself if you don’t know what you are doing and what warning signs to look out for.
It is always recommended that tourists hire a guide if they want to hike on a glacier – both those close to Tromsø and the rest of Norway.
In addition to the risks when hiking outside Tromsø, the winter can also bring some risk even inside the city. One of the biggest reasons for a visit to the ER during winter is from people who slip on the ice.
It’s very easy to fall on the ice, even if you learn to walk to the ice correctly. There will be lots of people who break their ankle or another bone during the winter from falling on the slippery ice, every single winter.
The summer can also bring some risk, especially for tourists who think it’s a good idea to go for hikes in slippers and a t-shirt. Always bring decent hiking clothes with you even when hiking during the warm summer months, because fog and rain can quickly make the hike much more difficult than it is in clear weather.
The same advise goes for when you are going out on the ocean for a whale safari or fishing. The wind can make even nice summer days very cold, so bring some extra clothes with you in case of changing weather.
Is Tromsø safe for solo female travelers?
Tromsø is considered safe for solo female travelers, and there are no increased reports of threats to solo female travelers in Tromsø compared to the rest of the country.
The sections where we walk about the dangers of the nature in Tromsø obviously applies just as well to female solo travelers as anyone else, so this is worth keeping in mind.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.