The city of Tromsø will feel like an unexpected surprise. Here, far north of the Arctic Circle, is a bustling university town. After Bergen’s monopoly on the cod trade was ended in the 18th century, the city boomed in importance and earned the nickname “the Paris of the North.” One of the city’s claims to fame is having the highest concentration of old wooden houses in northern Norway, though its most famous landmark is also one of its newest. The so-called Arctic Cathedral is not, in fact, a cathedral but a parish church. Regardless of its official status, the concrete church designed by Jan Inge Hovig and built in 1965 has been described as “the Sydney Opera House of Norway,” a building that has achieved iconic status. If you visit Tromsø in the winter or spring, dog sledding is a popular option. In the summer you won’t be able to sled, but you can still meet the 250 or so huskies who live at the Wilderness Center.
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