Tromsø and Sommarøy, magical even if in lieu of the Northern Lights
Situated upon the northern tip of Norway, Tromsø is an arctic gem well worth hopping on that 2 hour flight from Oslo.
The city itself is reflective of its inhabitants; friendly, slow-paced and possessing a beauty so natural and fresh you have to look twice most times. As if aware of its allure, the still surrounding fjords pose as mirrors making the combination of charming Scandinavian architecture, low-drooping clouds and the Aurora Borealis (if you're lucky to be there at just the right time) a photographer's haven.
A one hour drive west of the city is Sommarøy or Summer Island, a tiny coastal town home to just over 200 residents. It's known as Tromso's best kept secret (sorry for not keeping mum!) and if not for staying with a local family friend we probably would've missed this unique vista boasting of beguiling grass-roofed houses and mossy island blobs. If you make it out there, make sure you drive slowly to appreciate the rural splendours. My favourite: white silage bales sprinkled across green pastures like marshmallows.
I've included the most descript article on Sommarøy I could find below, which goes through some seasonal highlights. It's been said that Norway has a different magic act depending on the time of year, so a winter visit is in line in hopes to finally catch those impulsive Northern Lights, skate on a lake, or if I'm really lucky, both at the same time.