Tromsø is a city and municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Tromsø. Outside of Norway, Tromso and Tromsö are alternative spellings of the city. Tromsø is considered the northernmost city in the World with a population above 50,000. The most populous city north of it is Alta, Norway, with a population of 14,272 (2013).
Tromsø lies in Northern Norway. The municipality has a population of (2015) 72,066, but with influx of students it has over 75,000 most of the year. It is the largest urban area in Northern Norway and the third largest north of the Arctic Circle (following Murmansk and Norilsk). Most of Tromsø, including the city centre, is located on the island of Tromsøya, 350 kilometres (217 mi) north of the Arctic Circle. In 2012, Tromsøya had a population of 36,088. Substantial parts of the urban area are also situated on the mainland to the east, and on parts of Kvaløya—a large island to the west. Tromsøya is connected to the mainland by the Tromsø Bridge and the Tromsøysund Tunnel, and to the island of Kvaløya by the Sandnessund Bridge. Tromsø Airport connects the city to many destinations in Europe. The city is warmer than most other places located on the same latitude, due to the warming effect of the Gulf Stream.
The city centre of Tromsø contains the highest number of old wooden houses in Northern Norway, the oldest house dating from 1789. The Arctic Cathedral, a modern church from 1965, is probably the most famous landmark in Tromsø. The city is a cultural centre for its region, with several festivals taking place in the summer. Some of Norway's best-known musicians, Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge of the electronica duo Röyksopp and Lene Marlin grew up and started their careers in Tromsø. Noted electronic musician Geir Jenssen also hails from Tromsø.
The most famous soccer team in the area, Tromsø IL, currently plays in the Norwegian Premier League.
The compact city center is the biggest concentration of historic wooden houses north of Trondheim, that co-exist with modern architecture. The houses date from 1789 to 1904, when building wooden houses was banned in the city centre, like in several other Norwegian cities. The oldest house in Tromsø is Skansen, built in 1789 on the remains of a 13th-century turf rampart.
The Polar Museum, Polarmuseet, situated in a wharf house from 1837, presents Tromsø's past as a center for Arctic hunting and starting point for Arctic expeditions. The Tromsø Cathedral, Norway's only wooden cathedral, built in 1861, is located in the middle of the city, and so is the small Catholic church Vår Frue ("Our Lady"). Northern Europe's oldest cinema still in use, Verdensteatret, was built in 1915-16. The cinema has large wall paintings, made by the local artist Sverre Mack in 1921, that picture scenes from Norwegian folk lore and fairy tales.
The Arctic Cathedral, a modern church built in 1965, is situated on the mainland, facing the sound and city centre. The church, in reality a parish church and not a cathedral, was drawn by Jan Inge Hovig and is probably the most famous landmark in Tromsø. The aquarium and experience center Polaria from 1998 is a short walk south from the city center. The Tromsø Museum is a university museum, presenting culture and nature of North Norway. The museum also displays the Arctic-alpine botanic garden, the world's northernmost botanical garden. A cable car goes up to mount Storsteinen, 421 metres above sea level, with a panoramic view over Tromsø. The mountain Tromsdalstinden, 1,238 metres (4,062 ft), on the mainland, which is easily spotted from the city center, is also a major landmark. On top of Tromsøya is lake Prestvannet.