Located 400km north of the Arctic Circle at 69˚N, the small town of Tromsø bills itself as Norway's gateway to the Arctic, and there's definitely more than a hint of polar atmosphere around town. Surrounded by chilly fjords and craggy peaks that remain snowcapped for much of the year, Tromsø sits on the eastern edge of Tromsøya, and is linked to the mainland by a gracefully arched bridge.
In previous centuries, the town was a centre for seal hunting, trapping and fishing, and was later a launch pad for several important Arctic expeditions, including some led by Roald Amundsen. These days it's best known as one of the better places in the north of the country to spot the Northern Lights.
It's also a notoriously lively city, with a large university, a happening cultural calendar and an animated nightlife. (Tromsø prides itself on having more pubs per capita than any other Norwegian town.)