Why Go: The snowy city island of Trømso offers unparalleled views of the northern lights (look for them between 6 p.m. and midnight) and a chance to say you’ve been to the North Pole—well, the Arctic Circle, anyway—for Christmas. Plus, there’s dogsledding, great food, and a mountaintop cable car. Here, “day” is just a couple hours of twilight blue.
Where to Stay: Most hotels shut down for the holiday, but not the Clarion Hotel Bryggen, right on the harbor. The views of Trømso Sound are best admired from the roof’s steamy Jacuzzi.
Holiday Dinner: Stay put at the Clarion for a traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner at its restaurant, Astro. The chef serves basil-glazed filet of catfish and whole roasted filet of pork and recommends a side of French salt-baked Rosewald potatoes.
The fjords and mountain ranges of Tromso are simply magical. Here, the northern lights sparkle across the same navy blue sky that's illuminated by the midnight sun. You'll be spellbound by Tromso's enchanting fishing villages, fragrant botanical gardens and crystalline waterfalls. Music is a major part of the Tromso culture, particularly techno and electronic music, which adds some thumping thunder to the city once a year during the annual Insomnia Festival.