Dog sledding is a Tromso bucket list must — it’s an experience you’ll never forget.
There’s no more incredible feeling than bounding over powdery snow, powered only by a team of enthusiastic huskies and your steering.
From self-driving Tromso husky tours to musher-led tours, from daytime tours to nighttime tours with hopes of glimpsing the Northern lights above you, there’s a dog sledding tour in Tromso perfect for you!
In this post, I’m going to tell you exactly what it’s like to go dog sledding in Tromso and share the best favorite Tromso husky tours.
The Abisko dog sled tour was self-driven; one of my Tromso ones was a daytime self-driving tour as well.
The other Tromso tour I took was a nighttime combination with a Northern lights tour, where the musher drove the dog sled.
Table of Contents
What to Expect on a Tromso Husky Tour
What you experience depends what kind of tour you book, to be honest!
All the Tromso husky tours are quite different and require different levels of fitness or commitment.
Here are a few different kinds of tours and my comments on each.
Self-Drive Tromso Husky Safari Tours
This is usually a daytime tour as it’s a bit tough to drive a dog-sled at night!
However, during the polar night in Tromso (December and January), you won’t have much light as you do a self-driving tour, so do keep this in mind.
On a self-drive dog sled tour, you and a fellow tour participant — either someone in your group or a fellow solo traveler in my case — are in charge of leading your dogs.
You’ll bound through the landscape on a beautiful circuit, passing gorgeous Northern Norwegian landscapes like fjords and mountains.
You take turns, one of you steering and the other sitting, and it’s actually a lot more hard work than it looks to steer the dog sled with your very own team of Alaskan huskies!
This is no passive activity, but rather, you work as a team with the dogs. This means that you help the dogs run up hills, and you use your body weight to steer and also to brake as needed.
You also have to keep your eye on the order of the dog sleds and not get out of order or race ahead of the line.
Keep in mind that these huskies aren’t pets, but rather working dogs.
There is a specific order to the line-up of sleds that the mushers organize based on their temperaments and relationships between the dogs.
I’ve done two self-drive dog sled tours and they are absolutely incredible.
Personally, they are my favorite way to do a dog sledding tour in Tromso, because it’s active and you develop a really cool bond with dogs as you work together.
However, the con of doing a self-drive dog sled tour is that it is physically demanding, and it’s not suitable for people recovering from injuries, people with mobility concerns, or families with small children.
I’ve done one musher-driven tour and it was also a super fun experience! I did a combination Northern lights tour with a dog-sledding tour and it was an Arctic adventure I’ll never forget.
On a musher-driven tour, you’ll be guided by expert mushers who know exactly how to handle the dogs and make sure everything goes smoothly.
You don’t have to worry about making sure the dogs don’t run ahead of their assigned order.
The mushers ensure this won’t happen and have more of a relationship with the dogs because they’ve been working with them so long, so the dogs stay in line more and don’t test the waters!
Musher-driven tours are ideal for families, people with mobility concerns, and people who are a little anxious about doing their own self-driving husky sledding adventure.
I loved the experience and was glad I got to do it, but personally, if I had to choose just one, I think a self-drive husky tour is more fun if it’s the right option for you!
The Best Winter Dog Sledding Tours in Tromso
There are a number of great dog sledding tours in Tromso!
Note that the conditions have to be right for dog sledding tours, and they can be canceled due to poor weather and bad snow conditions.
Dogs cannot safely run when the snow is very icy, such as when the daytime gets too warm, melts the snow, and then it forms back into ice at night.
In this case, they would cancel the tour and issue a refund, as it’s not safe for either the dogs or the humans on the tour.
The later you get into the season, the more likely this is to occur.
I went in the first week of February on my most recent trip to the Arctic.
It was the perfect time for dog sledding with lots of fresh powdery snow for them to pull sleds through comfortably.
However, someone I know who went to Tromso a few weeks later than me at the end of February experienced issues with ice and her dog sled tour was canceled as a result.
Similarly, booking a dog sledding tour too early in the winter means there may not be enough snow on the ground.
I had friends who were in Tromso in December a few years back, and there was no snow on the ground at all in December — even by Christmas!
Keep in mind that climate change means that weather is more and more unpredictable.
Mid-January is likely the safest month to plan for, and it has the added bonus of being a prime time for whale watching in Tromso (as the whale watching season ends near the end of January).
With that out of the way — here are my picks for the top Tromso husky tours.
Self-Drive Husky Dog Sledding Adventure – Book Here
This is the exact Tromso husky tour I did and it was my favorite!
You start by getting oriented to the husky farm and acquainted with what you’ll be doing on your half-day adventure.
You’ll pick out your warm gear, put everything away that you won’t be taking with you in a locker, and then it’s time to meet the pups!
They give you a chance to cuddle the huskies who aren’t doing the run and get to take a billion husky selfies while they get all the husky sleds geared up and make sure all the safety checks are passed.
Once they’re satisfied that the huskies are ready to run, they give you a quick demo of how the dog sledge works — how to steer, how to brake, how to help your team of huskies up the hill, that sort of thing.
Then it’s off to the races!… Though not quite, as the head mushers and other mushers interspersed throughout the line of husky teams set a pace, and you follow in a line to ensure everyone, including the dogs, are safe.
You’ll speed around the Arctic wilderness on the beautiful island of Kvaløya for a time, about 90 minutes, stopping every so often.
They’ll check to ensure all the sleds are still in the correct order and that everyone is safe, as well as to stop and snap some photos of you enjoying your husky sled ride!
At the end, you’ll eat a tasty meal of a warm codfish stew in the lavvu (a typical Sami tent), followed up by some chocolate cake and hot drinks of your choice — coffee, hot tea, or hot chocolate.
This also included a meet-and-greet with one of the retired sled dogs, who greatly enjoyed all the love and attention.
This tour includes pick up and drop off in the city center, making it one of the easier day trips to arrange in Tromso.
Self-Drive Tromso Dog Sled Tour in Kvaløya – Book Here
This is another self-drive tour, and like the first one I listed, it’s also on the island of Kvaløya just a short ride from Tromso.
I didn’t do this exact tour, but it’s with Tromsø Villmarkssenter, who I went with on a nighttime guided dog-sledding tour, so I can vouch for the operator being great!
There are two morning tours daily, so you can make the most of Tromso’s limited winter sunlight hours: one that departs Tromso center at 8:45 AM and one that departs at 9:45 AM.
You’ll meet the pups on the farm before getting all suited up for the ride before learning all the basics of dog-mushing before you go!
Like the other self-drive tours, two people share a sled, and you have the option to swap between driver and passenger at the halfway mark.
After the tour, you’ll enjoy a delicious meal of bids, a traditional stew made from reindeer meat that is popular amongst the Sámi people. If you’re not one for reindeer, vegetarian options are available.
A hot beverage and a tasty piece of chocolate cake are the perfect cap on a wonderful day!
This tour is really similar to the first listed, so my choice would really depend on availability, as there’s not any major difference between the two tours.
Self-Drive Tromso Husky Tour in Breivikeidet – Book Here
Here’s another self-drive Tromso husky tour, where you become a dog musher for the day and lead your own dog-sled with a team of powerful huskies!
The key difference between this tour and the one above is that it’s a little further out from Tromso, about a 50-minute drive to the husky farm, which is in Breivikeidet.
However, they include the transfer, and the views should be really beautiful (as they are everywhere in the Troms region, to be honest!) so that isn’t a huge factor, unless time is a major constraint during your time in Tromso.
There are three daily tours: one leaving at 8:10 AM, one at 10 AM, and one at 11:50 AM.
These later-in-the-day tours can be a great option if your schedule has you getting into Tromso in the morning and you want to hit the ground running (er, sledding?) or if you simply want to sleep in while on vacation.
Just keep in mind the limited (or sometimes non-existent) daylight hours in Tromso if you book one of the later tours!
After the drive, you’ll arrive at their picturesque camp, which is located in a stunning valley close to the water.
You’ll get suited up in all the necessary gear, meet the dogs, and get an introduction to how to drive the dog sled as well as important safety information.
This tour works similarly to the above, where two people share a sled — one is the driver and the other is the passenger, and you have the option to swap halfway through the husky tour, so everyone can have the chance to be a musher if they want to.
This also lets you take as many photos as you want while you’re the passenger… something you definitely can’t do while you’re driving!
The tour ends with a hot beverage in the lavvo (a Sámi tent typical of the region) and some cake around an open fire.
Note that this tour does not include a full meal, unlike the one above.
Given that this tour and the one above are roughly the same price (the above is actually slightly cheaper), I would opt for the one above unless you specifically want to visit the Breivikeidet area.
That said, this tour still has 4.8 out of 5 stars with over 500 reviews, so clearly it’s still a fan favorite!
If having a meal isn’t an important factor, such as if you have a lot of food intolerances and prefer to make your own plans around meals, this is another good option for a Tromso husky tour.
Tromso Ice Domes Tour and Dog Sledding Adventure – Book Here
Want to combine two epic Tromso bucket list items into one excursion? Check out this Ice Domes visit and dog sledding tour combination.
I didn’t do this exact tour, but I did enjoy a fantastic guided visit to the Tromso Ice Domes and can highly recommend it to every traveler!
Personally, I did these tours on different days as I had one whole week in Tromso, but if you were short for time, I’d suggest this combination tour.
This tour picks you up in the city center of Tromso and drives you far into the Tamok Valley, about an hour and a half away from downtown Tromso.
But the ride into the Tamok Valley is in and of itself an absolutely gorgeous experience, as you pass all sorts of mountains and fjords along the way, including the beautiful Lyngen Alps.
Once you’re at the gorgeous Ice Domes, the fun really begins!
You’ll be greeted by a guide and either begin with a dogsledding tour or a guided tour of the Ice Domes.
The order of activities will depend on a number of factors, including how many people are on the tour, weather, and availability.
The tour of the Ice Domes is incredible — a true winter wonderland — and it’s something I’ve done firsthand and loved.
First, you’ll watch a brief video in the ice cinema that explains exactly how the ice hotel is built (from scratch!) each and every year, using ice from the nearby rivers.
All in all, it takes about 6 weeks to build, all done as the Polar Night approaches.
Then you’ll get to tour the hotel in a small group, starting at the ice restaurant and all its incredible sculptures and themes, have a shot of lingonberry juice at the ice bar, and then get to tour the different rooms.
This way, you can see what it would be like to spend the night in an ice hotel (without having to splash out $1,500+ to do so!).
For a full recap of my visit to the Ice Domes, read here, although keep in mind I did not do a husky tour on my trip (I did get to meet the reindeer and feed them some lichen, though!).
This tour includes the guided tour of the Ice Domes, a non-alcoholic drink, a light meal, a dog-sledding tour, warm clothing rental, and transfers to and from the ice domes.
This is another self-drive dog sled experience like how I described all the above husky tours, so you’ll man your own dog sled during your tour.
The thing that really sets it apart is the Ice Domes visit; the dog-sledding portion of the tour is similar to the others.
If you want to combine two epic things in one go, it’s the perfect tour!
Camp Tamok Dog Sledding Tour – Book Here
This self-drive husky tour is similar to the tour above except there’s no Ice Domes visit.
Note that Camp Tamok is located a 1.5-hour drive away from Tromso, so it’s a longer time commitment than many of these other Tromso husky tours.
While I didn’t do this tour, I have taken the transfer to the Camp Tamok area when I visited the Tromso Ice Domes (which this husky camp is associated with), and I can vouch for how incredible the drive is!
However, I do also acknowledge that the fact that you’re spending 3 hours in a bus may not be how you want to spend your dog sledding trip to Tromso.
You can book it with or without a transfer, and the transfer is only about $20, which is a pretty good deal.
If you plan to drive yourself to Camp Tamok, the dog sledding tour leaves at 10:15 AM; if you plan to take the transfer, the transfer bus leaves at 9 AM.
This is another self-drive dog sled experience like how I described above.
Your guides will explain how to man the sledge and handle your team of dogs and give you all the tips you need to ensure you have a safe and fun sledding experience.
Like the other tours, you will be actively dog-sledding for about an hour and a half, swapping spots halfway through if you want a chance to switch.
And of course, there will be plenty of time for lots of husky cuddles!
The tour includes a tasty meal (a meat stew or a vegetarian option), and warm drinks after the dog-sledding portion of the tour ends.
Guided Husky Sledding with Lunch – Book Here
All of the above tours fall under the self-drive category, which are the perfect adrenaline-pumping tours for travelers who like a more active adventure.
But what about if you want to relax and let the mushers do what they do best?
Or what if you’re traveling with small kids who aren’t strong enough to be on their own on a sledge? Then a guided husky sled tour is the perfect solution.
I actually did this same tour but in the nighttime (which I’ll talk about more later), and I can highly recommend it.
While I personally prefer the adrenaline that comes with mushing my own dog sled, I can definitely see why this might be a better experience for some travelers.
For example, most of the self-drive tours require kids to be at least 7 or older, sometimes 16 and up.
This tour has no age limits, so as long as you feel comfortable bringing your little ones, you are allowed to.
On a guided husky tour, each team of dogs is paired with a professional musher, and you and another passenger get to sit in the sledge, nice and toasty in your warm suit!
After about a 45-60 minute dog sledding tour, complete with views of Balsfjord, it’s time to thank your team of huskies and have lunch.
You’ll head into the lavvo to enjoy bidos (a Sami reindeer stew) or a vegetarian option, and a cup of coffee around the fire, before heading back to Tromso city center on the provided transfer.
Full Day Arctic Dog Sledding Expedition – Book Here
Want even more time with your four-legged pals?
A full-day expedition tour is the perfect way to amp up your dog sledding experience and make it even more memorable.
The dog sledding tour lasts about 6 hours, much of it active, so be prepared for a lot of hard work!
You don’t need to be experienced with mushing, but you should be in good shape and prepared to pay attention to your team of huskies at all times!
Along the way, you may see different Arctic wildlife like foxes, snowshoe hares, Arctic hares, eagles, moose, and even reindeer!
This full-day mushing tour will really get you in the mindset of how Arctic mushers experience daily life as you explore the beautiful landscapes of Kvaløya with your own team of sled dogs during this full-day mushing expedition tour!
You’re in charge of your team of dogs and for ensuring they stay on task and stay safe. But don’t worry, you won’t be doing it all alone — you’ll have experienced guides with you every step of the way.
I didn’t do this tour, but I did do a different tour with this same company and I can stand behind the organization and team 100%!
They truly care about their animal’s welfare and make sure you have a phenomenal experience on the tour.
This tour includes the 6-hour tour, transfers, and a delicious meal of reindeer stew (or a veggie option) served in the lavvu, with tea or coffee and a dessert of chocolate cake to reward you after a long day’s work!
Musher-Led Evening Dog Sledding Excursion – Book Here
This is the exact tour I personally did (afternoon version) while visiting Tromso in winter!
I wanted a chance of seeing the Northern lights while I dog-sledded, and while unfortunately, the lights didn’t make an appearance, it was still a lot of fun and a great way to spend an evening in Tromso.
With limited daylight hours in Tromso in winter, it’s nice to be able to have activities that are just as enjoyable in the dark night hours as the softly-lit day hours.
So if you are trying to pack quite a few activities into your time in Tromso, this is a great way to maximize your Tromso vacation.
One quick note though: I wouldn’t make this the only Northern lights excursion you do if you have your heart set on it.
There are so many different ways to see the Northern lights in Tromso, but a tour where you move over a large area and have a guide and driver specifically chasing the lights and the perfect weather conditions is the best way to ensure you see the lights.
It’s still not 100%, but you have a very good chance on a minibus tour, as they’ll drive far — in my case, we literally went all the way to Finland! — to get the best chance of seeing the Northern lights.
However, if you have another Northern lights expedition booked, and you’re looking for another chance to see the lights and also enjoy a fun activity, I strongly recommend this tour — I absolutely adored my experience, lights or not!
This is a musher-driven guided tour, so you don’t have to worry about driving yourself in the dark.
You are provided with a headlamp and the guides lead you all away around the ‘track’ that the huskies run.
This way, you can see what you’re doing while also having a chance to maybe spot the Northern lights as you get away from the light pollution of the husky camp.
The tour is done with a ratio of 2 guests to every guide, so you can ensure you have a lot of personal attention.
Although I was a solo traveler, I didn’t have to share my sled with anyone, so I got the experience all to myself.
I can’t ensure this will happen to you, if you travel solo you may get paired up with another solo traveler, but since there was an odd number in my group, I got lucky.
This tour also includes a meal in the lavvo — a delicious plate of stockfish stew (similar to bacalao/bacalhau, dried codfish) for dinner, which I can attest firsthand was so, so tasty!
Transfers are included to and from the Radisson Blu hotel and the tour lasts about 4 hours including travel time.
Ice Domes Overnight Stay and Dogsledding Tour – Book Here
If you’re visiting Tromso for a special occasion like a honeymoon, anniversary, or you just like to vacation like a baller, then you’ve got to spend a night hunting for Northern lights at the ice hotel!
Combine your dog sledding adventure with an overnight adventure at the Tromsø Ice Domes.
This gorgeous ice hotel (yes, made of real ice) is located in the Tamok Valley, about an hour and a half away from Tromsø City Centre.
You can do a day tour of just the hotel or take a dog sledding tour at the nearby Camp Tamok, but the full-on experience is the overnight experience!
This includes a night staying the ice hotel, which also includes a dog-sledding tour the following morning, a Northern lights campout, a snowshoe tour, and all your meals (dinner and breakfast).
On this experience, you can enjoy the entire property of the Tromso Ice Domes — which includes a bar made of ice, an ice cinema, an ice restaurant, and even ice bedrooms!
The whole property is decorated with themed ice sculptures as well, carved by local artists each year.
The evening part of this overnight tour includes a snowshoe walk in the Tamok Valley.
As you explore deep into the Arctic wilderness, you’ll be accompanied by a local guide.
They can help you identify wildlife tracks and nature in the area, set up the nature camp and fire, grill a dinner over the open fire, and spot and photograph the beautiful Northern lights if they make an appearance!
The overnight part of the tour consists of staying in a literal ice bedroom. Don’t worry, though, you won’t be sleeping on an actual block of ice (though the bed frame is made of ice!).
You’ll have an expedition-rated sleeping bag to keep you warm and cozy, and your mattress is covered in reindeer skins to keep you toasty warm.
The morning is when the real fun begins!
You’ll wake up to a winter wonderland landscape and enjoy a delicious Nordic breakfast to fuel you up.
You’ll then suit up for a self-drive dog-sledding excursion for a few hours, before you head back to Tromso city center and end the tour.
Aurora Camp Overnight and Dog Sledding Morning Tour – Book Here
For an epic spin on the dog-sledding experience, you can dothis overnight aurora camp with a husky tour in the morning.
This tour brings you away from the bright city lights of Tromso and into the wilderness around Kvaløya at the Tromso Villmarkssenter, where there’s very little light pollution.
You’ll be suited up in a thermal expedition suit and waterproof boots so that you stay nice and toasty, and then you’ll get a chance to meet the 200 Alaskan huskies who call this farm their home!
Once you’ve met the pups, you’ll have dinner in the hut, where you can try a codfish stew or a vegetarian alternative (from personal experience, I can tell you the stew is delicious!)
After dinner, you can sit around the bonfire and wait to see if the Northern lights make an appearance overhead!
When you’re ready to sleep, there are lavvu tents all ready for you, where you can sleep nestled up in with sleeping bags and warm reindeer skins.
The next day, you’ll finally go on your dog sledding tour (you can pick between self-driving or having a musher-led guided tour).
After, it’s time for a lunch of bidos (a Sámi traditional reindeer stew) before you say goodbye to the dogs and head back to Tromso city center.
If you want to combine the chance of seeing Northern lights in the countryside and a dog-sledding tour, this is a great choice.
It’s also a budget-friendly way to combine two popular activities into one!
Other Ways to Meet Huskies in Tromso in Winter (Without Dog Sledding)
Snowshoe Hike with Husky Visit – Book Here
Like I detail below, I do believe husky tours are absolutely an ethical way to interact with these gorgeous, hard-working Alaskan huskies.
However, if you’re not into the concept of husky sledding for ethical or personal reasons, there are other ways you can interact with huskies that have nothing to do with sledding!
You can do a snowshoe tour and husky visit with Tromso Villmarkssenter where you get to meet their huskies and embark on a beautiful snowshoe adventure in the Norwegian Arctic wilderness.
Northern Lights Camp with Dinner and Husky Visit – Book Here
Another option, also at Villmarkssenter (where I did my Northern lights and guided husky sled tour, and can highly recommend!), is the Northern lights and husky experience.
This is similar to the tour I described above, but instead of doing a sled ride, you just get to meet and interact with the huskies.
It’s also a nice way to have a Northern lights tour and husky experience on a budget, as it’s about half the price of the dog-sledding tours.
Husky Tours in Tromso in Summer & Fall
Summer Husky Hiking Tour – Book Here
Yes, you can play with huskies in the summer in Tromso, too!
These pups need attention and exercise at all times of the year, so don’t fret if your trip to Tromso falls under the midnight sun or beautiful autumn season.
There are a few different ways you can interact with huskies in the summer and fall. One great option is going on a husky hike tour!
Visit the Villmarkssenter husky farm while taking these energetic pups out for a walk in the beautiful summer Norwegian countryside.
You’ll have views of fjords, mountains, and all sorts of beautiful views in the gorgeous summer light — accompanied by huskies, of course.
This tour includes a lunch, coffee, and tasty chocolate cake as a dessert — you’ll need to replenish your energy after walking these rambunctious pups!
Tromso Husky Puppy Training Tour – Book Here
More interested in some puppy love?
Do the puppy training tour, where you can interact with and train puppies aged between four weeks to six months!
You’ll do an hour to hour and a half hike our with the puppies, including some training exercising depending on the ages of the dogs.
This is a great tour for kids in summer – they won’t be disappointed!
Dog Sledding FAQ
- Is dog sledding cruel to dogs?
I definitely don’t think so!
Of course, there may be some bad apples in the dog sledding world, as with any animal tourism enterprise.
However, I’ve gone dog sledding three times, and every dog sledding tour operator I’ve used has treated the dogs as members of the family and care for them well.
Remember, Alaskan huskies are… well, to borrow the words of Bruce Springsteen, born to run!
I’ll answer this question in more detail below on the section on “Is Dog Sledding Ethical”, so be sure to read that section.
- When can you dog sled in Norway?
This truly depends on the year!
As climate change means weather patterns are more and more unpredictable, there is a less definitive start and end date of dog sled season in Norway.
Generally, dog sledding tours open up November 1st and run through the end of April.
However, snow conditions are critically important, and if there is not enough snow or if the snow has melted and turned to ice, dog sledding tours cannot safely run.
- Where can I go dog sledding in Norway?
There are several places you can go dog sledding in Northern Norway, but Tromso is by and far the most popular.
Keep in mind that places in Southern Norway like Oslo and Bergen do not have enough snow to support dog sledding, so you want to be North — like, North of the Arctic Circle North!
- How much does it cost to go dog sledding?
Most half-day dog sledding tours in Tromso cost around $200 and full-day tours are closer to $400.
If budget is a concern, there are cheaper ways to visit the husky farms by doing a tour that does not include sledding, which can be as little as $100 USD or so.
- Why is dog sledding so expensive?
These are hard-working dogs who need a lot of food and care… I remember one tour operator telling me that these 45-60 pound dogs eat 10,000 calories worth of food a day!
That’s a lot of food… especially since most Tromso husky tour companies have 100-300 huskies they care for!
Considering a ~150 lb. human needs about 2,000 calories a day, that’s pretty wild!
The money spent on a dog sledding tour also ensures that the dogs have access to regular vet care.
Other expenses for operators include maintaining their licensure to operate, paying the staff to feed and clean and take care of the dogs, as well as paying the staff a living wage.
Remember that the cost of living in Norway is high and salaries are high as well.
While a dog sledding tour may seem expensive, remember that you are paying for an ethical experience in multiple ways.
Your tour cost goes to not only well-fed, well-kept dogs, but also well-paid people and healthy families!
- Is dog sledding difficult?
If you’re self-driving… definitely, in the sense that it’s a real workout!
However, it is not hard to learn how to operate the sledge, so you can absolutely get acquainted with the basics of dog sledding and do it safely, even in a short 90-minute tour.
That said, there are also musher-driven dog sled tours which are a lot less difficult on the body… just sit and enjoy!
These are the perfect dog sledding tours for kids, older adults, people with injuries or disabilities, or people who just want a more relaxing experience.
Is Tromso Dog Sledding Ethical?
The ethics of dog sledding is understandably a concern, and it was a subject I researched in depth before first deciding to do a dog sledding tour in Abisko in 2016.
Before I did another two dog sledding tours on my 2020 trip to Tromso, I dove deep into the research again to ensure that I was still operating with good information and that my initial assessment that dog sledding can be ethical with the right company still stands.
My opinion is this: dog sledding can be ethical or unethical depending entirely on the treatment of the animals.
I would compare it to horseback riding, but I think the dogs enjoy running and sledding more than horses enjoy people riding on them!
At the two Tromso tour companies I visited as well as the one in Abisko, I felt the dog sledding companies truly had their dogs’ health and happiness at the heart of everything they did.
My conclusion was that these are ethically run husky sledding tours and that I felt comfortable with everything I saw.
The reality of these tours is that these dogs are, quite simply, born to do this.
These are Alaskan huskies who have generations upon generations of running and pulling sleds in their bloodlines.
It is, quite simply, what they were born and bred to do, and they would go insane as pets kept in an apartment.
They need to run for several hours a day to let off all their energy, and you can see just how much they love to run when they start howling as a team as they get suited up and ready to pull the sleds.
One thing I will say, though, is that the dogs are kept chained up when not running. This is due to Norwegian laws.
This can be a little off-putting at first, so I asked about this. I learned that the chaining is done to prevent fights from breaking out between the dogs, which can happen as dogs are pack animals and form different little “cliques.”
This also helps ensure no unwanted puppy accidents happen and that the husky farms only breed exactly as many puppies as they can care for and take care of.
I should note that the husky babies are bred in small numbers, usually just one or two litters at a time so as not to be overwhelmed by puppies.
The husky mom gets to live in a giant suite with all her puppies, kept away from the other dogs.
All the dogs have their own little homes and live next to a dog they are friendly with so they can socialize.
Sometimes, if a particular dog has trouble living and sharing a close space with other dogs, it will have its own cage, with a box to keep warm and snuggle in, as well.
Their boxes are filled with straw, cleaned multiple times daily, and provide plenty of space for the dog (I saw two particularly friendly pups spooning and sharing a box instead of enjoying their own rooms!).
About the temperatures: huskies are happy out in the cold and can withstand temperatures as low as -60° F / -50° C.
It rarely gets below -20° F / -6° C in Tromso, and if it does, they have their dog houses with plenty of warm insulating straw for them to keep warm in.
The dogs get exercise daily with one day of rest per week.
With so many different husky tours running at all hours of the day, every dog gets a chance to run daily, and they never run more than 50 miles in a week, and never if they are sick or injured.
Compare this to the Iditarod, where dogs sometimes run 100 miles in a single day.
The dogs are checked frequently by vets and the kennels are inspected by Norwegian government inspectors to ensure the dogs are enjoying high-quality care.
But my favorite thing was seeing that the retired dogs get to live a good life, too.
On my self-drive Tromso husky tour with Arctic Adventures, they brought out a retired sled dog at the end to meet and greet all of us while we enjoyed our dessert.
They explained how every dog is part of the family, and that often those who work at the husky farm end up adopting the retirees!
Some sometimes, the retirees end up enjoying a comfortable retirement as a pet, getting loved on by visitors to the farm!
What to Wear When Dog Sledding in Tromso
On your dog-sledding tour, they will provide you with a warm suit and boots to ensure that you don’t get too cold on your tour.
I strongly suggest you wear what they offer you, as you’ll be so nice and toasty!
This is expedition-strength gear and will likely be warmer but more breathable than whatever you brought.
Remember, you’re above the Arctic Circle, and it gets cold! Make sure that you come equipped with thermal base layers, waterproof gloves, and a hat that tightly covers your ears.
Here’s what you should bring:
- Winter hat
- Base layers
- Wool socks
- Your everyday winter clothing (sweaters & jeans/pants)
Where to Stay in Tromso
Here are my 3 top picks in Tromso city center.
The best budget option in Tromso is Smarthotel Tromso.
It’s right in the heart of central Tromso and has 24-hour reception, comfortable beds, a work desk, and some snacks available in the lobby.
If you want to stay in a chic boutique hotel that’s not overly fancy, Thon Hotel Polar is a fabulous choice.
With Arctic themed art and Nordic decor, it’s a cute place to stay.
Breakfast is included and there is also a restaurant on-site should you want to dine in.
A great luxury option is the Clarion Collection Hotel Aurora.
It’s harborfront and has an incredible rooftop jacuzzi where you can try to spot the Northern lights!
Rooms are luxurious and modern with updated bathrooms.
Extras include a gym, free afternoon coffee with waffles, and a light evening meal as part of your stay.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE!
When planning any trip, especially a winter trip, be sure not to forget about travel insurance!
I use SafetyWing and its Nomad Insurance to insure all of my trips for its affordable rates and comprehensive coverage for all my travel needs.
For a trip as expensive as traveling to Norway, with weather as unpredictable as the Arctic, it’s especially important for me to have coverage.
It provides both travel insurance (coverage for trip delays, cancellations, interruptions — the likelihood of which increases in winter) and travel medical insurance (coverage for things like accidents, illnesses including Covid, etc. — also more likely in winter!).
Coverage is really affordable — for me, it costs roughly $11 USD for a week of coverage outside of the U.S., with a policy max of $250,000 after a deductible of $250. Not bad!
Allison Green is a former teacher who has been travel blogging since 2016. She has a Masters in Teaching and a B.A. in English and Creative Writing. Her blog posts merge her background as an educator with her experience traveling to 70+ countries to encourage ethical, meaningful travel. She has been a speaker at the World Travel Writers Conference and her writing, photography, and podcasting work has appeared in National Geographic, CNN Arabic, CBC Canada, and Forbes, amongst others. Now a full-time traveler, she has lived in Prague, Sofia, New York City, and the San Francisco Bay Area.