Strandgata, a main shopping street in Tromsø city centre, Norway
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

With houses built from the 1700s that remain standing along narrow cobbled streets close to the waterfront, the city centre of Tromsø makes for romantic evening strolls and compact access. One could spend just about 20 minutes navigating the main shopping street from end to end. And where I have bypassed souvenir gift shops in most other places I have visited, I would certainly recommend visitors to stop by a souvenir shop in Tromsø. Souvenir shops here offer some well crafted, artisan Scandinavian products that range from sustainable fashion made from salmon leather, kitchen wear made from reindeer antlers and natural pure wool throws that is perfect for cooler nights in.

I found plenty written on what to do and see when in Tromsø on the internet. Of recommended places to visit when in the city centre is a bookstore located along Kirkegata that sells mostly used books called, Tromsø Bruktbokhandel. Tucked away in a cozy corner across Tromsø domkirke, I personally thought this shop was a gem of a find, and could well be one of my favourite shops to visit for Saturday browsings. On the outside, it has wood paneled walls that are painted in a pale yellow. The façade of the shop with its vibrant lego displays and posters brings out the child in you (at least it did for me), with curiosity bubbling over before stepping in.

Navigating the busy shops of Tromsø city centre, finally making my way into Tromsø Bruktbokhandel, the bookshop reminded me of what I used to do when I was growing up in the east coast area of Singapore during the 1990s. In my early teens, I loved exploring the small shops located at the hawker centre across Parkway Parade. In the wet market right next to a shop that sold textiles, lace and buttons for sewing projects was a small space dedicated to trading in used books. I spent hours at that shop, buying and borrowing books of various subject that caught my interest. Tromsø Bruktbokhandel is at least three times larger than that small space at Marine Parade wet market, and certainly more well known globally, but it did in an instant of walking into the shop, remind me of what I used to do in my spare time when I was about 14 years of age.

With rows and rows of densely packed books, magazines, posters and toys, the bookshop delivered a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory experience for myself and fellow bookworms.

Tromsø domkirke

Tucked away in a cozy corner at Kirkegata 6, Tromsø, Norway is Tromsø Bruktbokhandel.

The Charlie and The Chocolate Factory of bookstores in Tromsø, Norway.