Tromso Travel Guide

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North bound view (toward north pole) from Tromso Bridge

North bound view (toward north pole) from Tromso Bridge

Ingrid Brandeggen

Tromsø -- affectionately nicknamed "the Paris of the North" -- is a lively city, located spectacularly on an island in Northern Norway, and surrounded by mountains, fjords and islands in all directions. It is the largest city in the region (2004: pop. 62,000), and residents will frequently point out that their outpost is home to the "World's Northernmost" brewery, university, planetarium, and mountain cable car, to name a few.

The city's most famous landmark is the Arctic Cathedral ("Ishavskatedralen"), whose unique architecture is evocative of snow and icebergs. Its stained-glass windows are among the largest in Europe. The Tromsø Museum has a good permanent exhibit on the Lapps (or "Sami" people) who are the indigenous people to the Northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. The Polar Museum exhibits artifacts relating to arctic hunting and fishing, while the new Polaria Experience Center focuses on Arctic nature and environment, and features a "walk-through" seal aquarium.

The Northern Lights Planetarium features shows that are tailored to local phenomena, especially its namesake, the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), and the Midnight Sun.

"Fjellheisen," the Mountain Cablecar will take you 420 meters above the sea, where you can enjoy a nice meal at the restaurant and delight in the view of Tromsø.

Fishing, subsistence farming, and trade of Arctic goods were the traditional occupations in Tromsø. While education, administration, and high tech industries have displaced them, the locals' outlook on life is still colored by their roots. Residents are typically open, direct and hospitable with a good sense of humour that most certainly has been an asset when the going gets rough. The city offers a number of excellent restaurants (Emma's Drømmekjøkken deserves a mention), and has many cozy bars and a lively night life. 

Tromsø offers many options outdoors - whether in summer or winter, on land or at sea. Choices include sea or inland fishing, whale safaris and scuba diving, skiing and hiking, mountain climbing, biking, and swimming (the local beach, "Telegrafbukta", or Telegraph Bay, rarely gets above 14 degrees Centigrade, though). As for accommodation, the choice includes everything from first-class hotels to youth and family hostels to the very unique experience of staying in a fisherman's cabin or "Rorbu" with a rowboat moored right outside your door.


April 25, 2005 change by lenemeling

May 05, 2005 new by bjorn_richard

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