At 217 miles (350 kilometers) above the Arctic Circle, the Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden (Arktisk Alpin Botaniske Hage) is the world’s northernmost botanical garden. The Tromso attraction is home to thousands of plants from around the world, but the emphasis is on species that flourish in Norway’s cold, snowy winters and cool, moist summers.
Displayed by geographical area, each of the garden’s sections are well signposted in English and have informative labeling to explain each group of plantings. A Geology Walk at the entrance details many of the rock formations common within the Arctic Circle. One of the most eye-catching species is the magnificent Tibetan blue poppy (found in the garden’s Himalayan section), which blooms in late June and stands over 3 feet (1 meter) high. Few of the world’s botanic gardens can boast such thriving Tibetan blue poppies.
The garden is a popular destination for photography enthusiasts, and dedicated photo tours can help develop your skills in macrophotography on-site.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden is a must-see for flora enthusiasts and nature lovers.
- Entrance is free of charge.
- The garden’s small café is open during the summer.
- To find out what is currently in bloom, read up-to-date “bloom alerts” on the Tromso Museum website.
- Despite its high north location, thanks to the moderating effects of the Gulf Stream the garden has a fairly long growing season (from late-May through mid-October).
How to Get There
Take bus 20 from the city center to the Northern Lights Planetarium, from where it is a short and pleasant walk through the woods to the garden. Alternatively, the garden is a 40-minute walk from the city center or a 10-minute drive from the cruise harbor.
When to Get There
The garden is open 24 hours a day year-round. The best time to visit is during the summer, when many flowers are in bloom and the ground is not covered in snow.
Preservation of North Norwegian Traditions
One of the Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden’s central purposes is to preserve the garden traditions of Northern Norway. A large North Norwegian Tradition Garden is located above the red building and is home to almost 700 plants—including wolf’s bane (Aconitum) and old species of rose—brought in from old gardens of North Norway.