Tromso is located in the north of Norway and the third largest city north of the Arctic Circle anywhere in the world. The majority of Tromso, including the city centre, is located on an island. It is 350 kilometres/217 miles north of the Arctic Circle but is warmer than most other places located on the same latitude due to the warming Gulf Stream. The city centre of Tromso has the highest number of old wooden houses in Northern Norway with the oldest house dating back to 1789. It is a cultural centre for the region, with several festivals taking place in the summer. Tromso is home to the world's northernmost university and also the northernmost botanical garden and planetarium to be enjoyed on a Norway vacation.
The surrounding landscape consists of tall mountains, many islands and several fjords. The midnight sun exists from mid-May to about the end of July. There is no real darkness between late April and mid-August. In the winter, a combination of snow and sunshine often creates intense light conditions from late February until the snow melts, usually in late April. It is possible, on Norway trips, to view the Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights). However, because it is always light in the summer, no Aurora Borealis is visible between late April and mid-August.
Being the largest city in Northern Norway, Tromso is the cultural centre for the region. Many cultural events take place in Kulturhuset including concerts by the Troms Symphony Orchestra. The city contains several museums, the largest being the Northern Norwegian Art Gallery (Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum) and the Tromso Gallery of Contemporary Art (Tromso Kunstforening). The Polar Museum (Polarmuseet), situated in a wharf house from 1837, portrays Tromso's past as a centre for Arctic hunting and starting point for Arctic expeditions with everything from the history of trapping to the ground-breaking expeditions of Nansen and Amundsen. The city is known for its lively night scene and has a range of restaurants specializing in the fresh ingredients of the Arctic. It boasts more pubs per capita than any other Norwegian town to be experienced on tours of Norway.
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