Few cities can be considered as unique as Tromsø. Located 350 kilometres above the Arctic Circle, this Norwegian city offers its visitors marvellous landscapes and a close link to nature.
As a result, Tromsø attracts around two million tourists every year, enthusiastic about taking a closer look at the fjords or admiring the Aurora Borealis.
The one drawback to this stunning destination, which has also a lively city life and beautiful monuments, is its freezing weather.
The Arctic city counts around 160 days with at least 25 centimetres of snow on the ground, according to an average of climate data.
The all-time record for snow depth was set on April 29, 1997, when the meteorological station on top of Tromsøya – an island in Tromsø municipality – recorded 240 centimetres of snow on the ground.
Average low temperatures in winter range between -3.9C and -5.6C, while the coldest-ever temperature was recorded in February 1966 at -18.4C.
But chances to see up close whales as well as the Northern Lights make it worth facing similar cold weather.
Those who want to experience the Northern Lights should travel to Tromsø between September and April, when the nights are longer than the hours of daytime.
December in particular sees the polar night in full swing, with Christmas week averaging only about an hour of daylight per day.
December, alongside November, is also considered prime whale-watching period as killer whales and humpback whales gather to feed near the city’s waters.
People interested in architecture will surely find something to admire in this Arctic city, particularly in the city centre.
There, the wooden Tromsø Cathedral – dating back to 1861 – stands proudly alongside colourful shop buildings and homes.
Tromsø, which used to be an important Viking site, is not just a holiday destination and counts more than 60,000 residents. Its population rose in the 1970s, following the opening of the local university.
The several hours of darkness during the winter don’t prevent locals from enjoying their daily lives as well as practising sports, with the city being home to several football clubs as well as a gymnastics club, volleyball leagues and ski tracks.