In the wilds of north Norway, walking and especially summer hiking are all the rage, by both locals and visitors. In the environs of Tromsø, there are more than 100km (62 miles) of trails cut across the mountains. The best hiking trail begins right at the upper station of the cable car, Fjellheisen.
For more extensive hiking, including overnight trips, you need to contact Troms Turlag-DNT (tel. 77-68-51-75; www.turistforeningen.no), which organizes tours through the wilderness areas around Tromsø, with stopovers in hotels or mountain shelters maintained by local municipalities and conservation groups. Accommodations are usually within bare-bones mountain cabins, staffed lodges, and self-service huts that come with army-ration-style provisions such as canned goods and freeze-dried staples.
One of the most spectacular trails meanders through the rugged peaks of the Lyngen Alps, forming the spine of the Lyngen Peninsula, with its glaciated terrain, lying to the east of Tromsø. Arm yourself with a good map from the tourist office before setting out, and don't embark at all unless you're an experienced hill climber. From the eastern banks of the Lyngenfjord, stretching for 150km (93 miles), you'll enjoy panoramic views in all directions. Mountaineers climb the highest peak, the Jiekkevarre, at 1,833m (6,012 ft.).
Tromsø Villmarkssenter (tel. 77-69-60-02) lies 20km (12 miles) west of the center of Tromsø. This outfitter organizes the best tours in the area, giving you a real close-up experience with nature in the north. Glacier walking, mountain hiking, kayaking, and winter dog-sledding are just some of the activities available. The dog-sledding is pursued November to May, and costs NOK1,220 ($244/£122) per person per day, including pickup and drop-off at your hotel.
On one of the less strenuous jaunts, you can visit Tove and Tore, two of Norway's most experienced dog-sled racers. You can see their home and hang out with 130 Call of the Wild-esque huskies. The trip takes 2 1/2 hours and is conducted during the summer, at a cost of NOK610 ($122/£61) per person, including transport.
Kayaking is one of the more popular summer sports here, allowing you to paddle along cold, racing waters against a mountain backdrop. Sometimes, if the weather is right, groups take time out to harvest sea mussels. Tours, each scheduled to last for a full day, leave daily May to October 9am to 4pm, costing NOK1,000 ($200/£100) per person, including transport and lunch.
Mountain hikers are taken to Store Blåmann, at 1,044m (3,424 ft.), the tallest mountain on Kvaløya outside Tromsø. This is not like climbing the Matterhorn, and the fairly athletic can handle the challenge. The season begins in June and lasts until the first snowfall. Escorted hill-climbing expeditions, each lasting a strenuous 9 hours, go for NOK850 ($170/£85) per person, including transportation to and from your hotel, as well as one meal.
In the unlikely event that you're in Tromsø for winter skiing, call the Tromsø Alpine Ski Center (tel. 77-60-66-80), the region's best site for downhill skiing. There is also an array of cross-country skiing trails, some 70km (43 miles) in all. Because of the pitch blackness, nearly three dozen of these trails are floodlit.
Horseback riding across rugged terrain can be arranged by calling Holmeslet Gård at tel. 77-61-99-74.