So what is so special with Tromsø ?
Well, first of all it has to do with its location:
At nearly 70 degrees Northern latitude, the city is placed well within the Arctic Circle and with at least a couple of days solid driving needed to reach it from Norway’s Captitel Oslo, one might assume that the place is pretty remote and cold.
That is on both accounts only partially true.
Basically a small island being wedged between the Norwegian mainland in the East and a chain of larger islands in the West, Tromsø is very much sheltered from the extremes of the weather of the North Atlantic but at the same time it is benefiting from the warmer water of the Gulf Stream.
Even in the harshest winters the Sea is never frozen and the city can always be reached by boats, but more readily by its airport. The high alpine vegetation here meets directly the Sea with the tree line running just above the water level. Imagine Kitzbühel right next to the Cornish Coast just with the difference that the water temperature here rarely ventures above 15 C…..
Being the gateway to the Arctic Sea, Tromsø has been the base for North Atlantic fishing, for seal and whale hunting and for numerous expeditions to Svalbard and to the Polar regions. Even in the eyes of the Norwegians, Tromsø has for centuries been a place for pioneers and for adventurers.
Another thing that makes Tromsø stand out is the – at least for Norwegian standards – excellent provision with bars and good restaurants and the rich cultural scene.
A driving factor for the local hospitality industry has undoubtedly been Mack, the World’s most Northern (industrial) brewery, which – based right in the town center – is producting excellent beers with some impressive names…..
In addition to this the island of Tromsø has by far the highest density of polar bears in continental Europe, with the slight caviate, that all of them have expired long ago, but are still found well preserved in every second shop, in bars or in the entrance halls of public buildings.
According to the locals there was many years ago also a sizeable population of polar bear cups on the island, which were frequently brought back by seal hunters from their trips into the Polar Ice and then as an extra source of income sold on to zoos and private collectors.
However, the probably main draw that is bringing every year thousands of tourists to Tromsø is neither the beer, the bears or the restaurants, but the light.
From the middle of May until the middle of July you can enjoy here the Midnight sun, which is circling above your head and then failing to set in the North.
In the winter Tromsø is one of the few places where in relative comfort you will have a good chance to see the Northern lights providing that you have a clear sky.
So all together a lot of good reasons not only to go there, but to stay for a short while and to work there!