Tromsø

Located 400km north of the Arctic Circle at 69˚N, the small city 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 notable Arctic expeditions, including some led by Roald Amundsen. These days it's best known as one of the better places in Norway to spot the Northern Lights.

With a large university, animated nightlife and a happening cultural calendar, Tromsø is also a notoriously lively city, and prides itself on having more pubs per capita than any other Norwegian town.

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