Where to spend a rainy day in the Arctic - Vulkana Spa Tromso

It's no secret that the weather in the Arctic is by no means predictable. You dream about and plan your trip to the North for so long and in the end, you might not even get to see the winter wonderland you'd hoped for.

Or worse, you spend half the night outside in the cold, trying to get a glimpse of the Northern Lights and fall to bed frozen and exhausted and wished you'd just visited a spa instead.

I'm of course painting a very grey image of visiting Northern Norway and Tromso here because as we all know, late winter and even autumn can be extremely gorgeous seasons up North if the weather gods are in a good mood. 

In times like those, the skies are pink, the mountains white and the ocean a stunning deep blue. And it was conditions like these I had imagined when I planned my visit to Vulkana Spa Tromso.

Wonder why the weather could possibly matter when visiting a spa? It's usually inside after all and in a building. Well, things in the Arctic are often very unique and so is the spa in town. The Vulkana Spa in Tromso is not just an ordinary spa but it's situated on an old fishing vessel!

vulkana spa tromso

I actually got to visit Vulkana on a very wet and stormy winter afternoon and I argue that a visit in moody weather makes the experience even better!


Find out why!

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From fishing vessel to spa

The Vulkana vessel is a fishing boat from the 1950s which cruised the Arctic waters of Northern Norway for decades until retiring. It could have slowly decayed like any other old and redundant boat up North but instead, it was discovered by two adventurers who had bigger plans for the vessel. 

Actually purchased on a late night in the pub with a contract written on a paper napkin, as the story goes, the Vulkana was later on restored by the well-known Finnish architect Sami Rintala and Norwegian boat builder Gunnar Eldjarn and boy, what a great job they did!

The Vulkana now has a big relaxation lounge with a roof window to catch the Northern Lights at night and a Turkish hamam in the basement, as well as a sauna with panoramic windows upstairs and a saltwater hot-tub on deck.

And that's not even half of what makes Vulkana so special! I'd say it's their attention to detail.


Attention to detail

In the Zen-Lounge for example you could find a ton of games next to the fireplace, as well as a mini-library of books and magazines for you to enjoy. There were also refreshments like mint water and sodas, as well as snacks and fruit everywhere so you don't have to leave the warmth of the lounge to get a snack or water.

And if you've read this blog for a while, you probably know that you can always win me with food...

But also towels, slippers and bath products are provided on board so that all you really need to bring is your bathing suit and start relaxing!


Budget or Luxury?

And the very best thing about Vulkana? It's budget-friendly and I know how important that is for some of you. Visiting Tromso is not exactly cheap after all so Vulkana offers a drop-in spa* at the harbour next to Polar Museum on Sundays and, depending on availability, also on weekday afternoons.

For 199 NOK (22 €) per hour and person, you can use all facilities on board, inclusive snacks, refreshments and towels/slippers. The view on the Arctic Cathedral from the sauna and hot-tub also comes with the price of course!

Update 2019: MS Vulkana currently doesn’t offer the drop-in spa anymore, but you can book a spa session on the boat with brunch, book a spa boat fjord cruise with lunch or a fjord cruise with a 3 course dinner instead!

vulkana spa tromso

The best about this? You can jump right into the crystal clear Arctic ocean if you're getting too hot in the sauna or hot-tub. If you dare, that is!

And if skiing is more your thing, you can even book a 3-4 day ski adventure where you cruise to the Lyngen Alps on Vulkana and eat and sleep on the boat as yes, they even have sleeping cabins on board!


More Info

The Norwegian and Dutch Royals even went on an adventure with Vulkana not too long ago so remember that it's actually allowed to feel like a princess sitting in the hot-tub and enjoying the view on the mountains - there's no shame in that!

vulkana spa tromso

Are you interested in visiting Vulkana during your stay in Tromso now? Check out their website for more info on prices and available dates or follow the Vulkana Team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for a peek behind the scenes of an Arctic spa!

I certainly felt very relaxed and refreshed after our visit to Vulkana and I'm so glad that the weather was moody that day. You appreciate the warmth of the sauna, hamam and hot-tub so much more when it's cold and dreary outside, at least that's the way I feel.

However I can imagine that enjoying some sunshine from the hot-tub can't be a bad way to spend the day either...


Would you dare to jump into the Arctic ocean or would you rather sit in the hot-tub and enjoy the view?

Leave a comment below!

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*Snow in Tromso was a guest of Vulkana, though as always, my opinions are my own. 

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