About the region


With a population of 72,066 and some 9,000 students and a centre for education and research – Tromsø is known as the capital of the Arctic. Tromsø, a city in Norway, is a major cultural hub above the Arctic Circle. It’s famed as a viewing point for colorful Northern Lights that often light up the nighttime sky. The city’s historic center, on the island of Tromsø, is distinguished by its centuries-old wooden houses. The 1965 Arctic Cathedral, with its distinctive peaked roof and soaring stained-glass windows, dominates the skyline.


Tromsø is a lively place with a busy city centre. It has a vast range of nightlife, entertainment and outdoor activities and a wonderful and ambitious cultural diversity all enjoyed by the flamboyant, often humorous and sociable residents. The population grows each year by approximately 1,000 people – signalling that people enjoy life here in Europe’s northernmost “capital city”. A recent survey of living conditions indicated that the inhabitants of Tromsø enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. This may be attributed to the large number of inhabitants with higher education, combined with a vast range of leisure and cultural activities offered in the city and natural surroundings. The survey also concluded that Tromsø is a good provider of family services, such as high quality child-care, school and health care facilities. And, Tromsø has an International School to serve families from abroad, meeting the needs of an increasingly international city. Tromsø also hosts the world’s northernmost University and the world’s northernmost Botanical Garden, as well as, a salt water aquarium, glassblowers, a golf course, indoor ice rink, top division sports teams, a majestic cathedral, a Catholic church, a mosque and some of the best restaurants in Norway.

Competence and commerce

Tromsø’s technology, research and university centres play a leading role in Norway. Internationally Tromsø is at the forefront within space industry and polar, fisheries and Northern Light research. Tromsø is the centre of bioprospecting in Norway, with a major part of the Norwegian expertise situated at the Barents BioCentre. The majority of Norwegian fish exports are sold from Tromsø, and the town is home to numerous private export companies. It also holds the headquarters for the Norwegian Seafood Export Council. The Fram Centre for the High North includes several institutions, with the two principal environmental institutes being the Norwegian government’s Norwegian Polar Institute and the company Akvaplan-niva. As a result of the University’s targeted efforts to strengthen biomarine research and cooperation between industry, commerce and public authorities, the region is recognized as the hot spot for blue biotechnology.

The great outdoors

The scenery in and around Tromsø will take your breath away; you are surrounded on all sides by fjords, sea, islands and mountains.

Many people choose to live in Tromsø because of the beautiful scenery and the unspoiled countryside. The town is surrounded by natural beauty, with fjords, narrow sounds, islands and majestic peaks. Every type of skiing and skating sport is represented here, with a large number of clubs for winter sports. The town even has a club for people who go swimming in the ice-cold sea every Friday afternoon, no matter the time of year or weather. You don’t have to go far from Tromsø to reach the mountains, with the spectacular Lyngen Alps starting within the town boundary. This stunning range of peaks is increasingly popular with local and international off-piste skiers. Only 6 km from the town centre, Tromsø has its very own downhill skiing centre with several lifts and slopes for all ages and capabilities. Crosscountry skiers hardly have to leave the town with the wonderful network of floodlit trails and tracks nearby to populated areas. These are in use all year round, both on skis or without. A cable car, open all year, carries passengers up to the Fjellheisen restaurant that sits 420 metres above the town. The land around the restaurant is gently rolling and perfect for crosscountry skiing in winter and walks in summer. One of the most demanding yet popular peaks to climb in the area is Tromsdalstinden, rising 1,238 metres above sea level.

Not to forget the coast: with the vast stretches of sea, myriad islands and the beautiful archipelago off the coast of Tromsø, this is a perfect setting for sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, diving and all other sports and activities related to water and the sea. Tromsø even has its very own “spa-boat” – an old traditional fishing boat that has been converted to house a sauna, hot tub, and Turkish bath.

Explore Tromsø and the region with Official Visitors Guide 

Biotech North is a cluster organisation facilitating innovation, network and businesses within the blue biotech sector

The Artic University of Norway includes educational programs in biomarine science and biomedicine. In biomarine science, the University of­fers educational programs in marine biotechnology and bioprospecting, aquamedicine and seafood science, in addition general biology.

From Tromsø there is a short way to the Arctic Sea. We have a rich tradition of demanding expeditions and cautious use of marine resources; to exploit what we find in the best possible way. We uncover all the opportunities and value the sea creates by means of our skilled research base and scientific knowledge.