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Moving to Tromso, Norway

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 03, 2023

Summary: Expatriates are drawn to Tromso, Norway for its stunning natural beauty, its vibrant cultural scene, and its unique Arctic lifestyle. With its breathtaking fjords, majestic mountains, and the Northern Lights, Tromso offers a unique experience for those looking to explore a new culture and environment. The city also boasts a lively nightlife, a wide range of outdoor activities, and a strong sense of community. With its excellent quality of life, Tromso is an attractive destination for expats looking for a new home.

What do I need to know before moving to Tromso?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Tromso, they said:

"Tromso is located in the far north of Norway, close to the Arctic Circle, so you should be prepared for cold weather and long, dark winters. Make sure to bring warm clothes and supplies with you, as well as prepare for the transition to the colder climate. Make sure to research about the cost of living and employment opportunities to ensure you can support yourself when you are there. Also important is researching about education and healthcare options. Additionally, take the time to learn some of the language as this will make most aspects of your move and transition much easier. Lastly, get to know the locals and their culture, as this will make you feel more at home and part of the community," remarked another expat who made the move to Tromso.

"My advice would be to start looking as soon as possible or have someone help you find a place. If you live on the Island it's easy to get around by bus. If you live in Kvolya or Krokken you may need a car, but homes are cheaper to rent. Norwegians speak English so it's easy to get around and communicate. You can buy jackets, shoes, clothes, etc so no need to bring your whole wardrobe or the Arctic clothing you "think" you might need. Tromso is very beautiful and accommodating to expats (except for the Visa and Norwegian # process)," explained one expat living in Tromso, Norway.

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How do I find a place to live in Tromso?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"Finding a place to live in Tromso is easy. There are a variety of options to choose from, including privately-rented apartments and houses, social housing, student accommodation, and more. The Norwegian State Housing Bank offers subsidies and rent deduction options, and rental agencies like Finn.no and Hybelportalen offer an extensive range of rental properties. The websites of Tromso University, student unions, and NGOs such as Frifond are also good sources of information and could help you find suitable accommodation. Additionally, local newspapers and search engines such as Airbnb and Booking.com have listings of accommodation options," said another expat in Tromso.

"We found our place to live off the internet site here in Norway Finn.no. We weren't concerned about neighborhood as much as we were concerned about finding a place to live. Its a University island so places go fast and there's not a lot available," added another expat who made the move to Tromso.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Tromso?

"Expat homes and apartments in Tromso tend to be spacious with high ceilings and large windows that allow for plenty of natural light. There are generally a variety of options for expats in terms of size, style, location and budget. Many apartments offer modern amenities such as decking/balconies, laundry facilities, storage areas, and fully equipped kitchens. In addition, some popular amenities include underfloor heating, whirlpool baths, and secure parking lots. Many apartments also offer incredible views of the mountainous landscape, which can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home. Most expat residences are located near the city center or the stunning Arctic ocean, allowing for easy access to the many activities and restaurants that Tromso has to offer," said another expat in Tromso.

"We live in a one bedroom apartment that we were able to sublease fully furnished. Typically people live in houses if available," remarked another expat who made the move to Tromso.

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What is the average cost of housing in Tromso?

If you are thinking about moving to Tromso, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The cost of housing in Tromso varies widely depending on location and size of the property. However, on average, rental prices for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre can range from around 5,000 to 9,000 NOK per month," explained one expat living in Tromso, Norway.

"The housing and food costs is the most expensive you will ever find in all of the world. Our small 1bdrm is $1300 and food costs are about $1200/mth for 2 people. Beers are $12/pint if that gives you any indication of food prices," said another expat in Tromso.

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William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.
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William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.
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Should I buy or rent a home in Tromso?

If you have not spent a lot of time in Tromso, you should rent before even thinking about buying. We asked expats there about the buy vs. rent decision:

"Buying or renting a home in Tromso depends on several factors. If you plan to stay in the city for an extended period, such as several years, buying may be a better option. It can be expensive to buy a home in Tromso, but if you have the financial resources and can afford the up-front costs, then it may be worth it in the long run. Owning a home can also help build wealth over time, while renting typically does not. However, if you are only planning to stay in Tromso for a shorter period of time, renting may be a better choice. Renting can often be cheaper, and more flexible, than buying a home. It is also less complicated and involves less commitment. Ultimately, it is important to consider your own needs and resources when deciding whether to buy or rent a home in Tromso," said another expat in Tromso.

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What should I pack when moving to Tromso?

We asked people living in Tromso to list three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They responded:

"Clothing and accessories suited to cold weather; gloves, hat, scarf, warm coat, quality waterproof boots, snow tires for vehicle, extra blankets, space heater, rain gear, snow chains, winter survival kit, extra layers of clothing, essential medicines, sunscreen, insect repellent, water filter, groceries, flashlight and/or candles, matches or lighter for lighting candles/fire, games and activities for entertainment, extra bedding, blankets and pillows, camping supplies if you plan to go outdoors, toiletries and personal items, local currency, guidebooks and maps of the area, laptop, electronics and chargers, camera and cleaning supplies, sturdy furniture and appliances," commented one expat who made the move to Tromso.

"First of all, coming from California and moving to the Arctic we figured we needed to dress for extremely cold weather. I would of left all the California Arctic gear at home and waited til I got to Tromso to buy. Bring normal going out clothes, not the mountain gear you would think to wear, people dress nice here. I wish I would of brought US measuring cups/spoons in order to cook american recipes. Cold medicines are just not as strong off the shelf here," remarked another expat in Tromso, Norway.

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What cultural faux pas should I try to avoid making in Tromso?

We asked people in Tromso if they could share any humorous cultural blunders they commited. For new expats, keep in mind that these incidents are an inevitable part of expat life. Learning to laugh about them is the key!:

"When visiting Tromso, it is important to be mindful of the local customs and culture to avoid cultural faux pas. To begin, wearing rugged, outdoor clothing is an important part of the culture and fashion in Tromso, and wearing more formal clothing may make you stand out. Additionally, it is customary for greetings and general communication to be formal and courteous, so maintain a polite attitude when interacting with people. Because Tromso has a diverse and multicultural population, it is important to act respectfully towards others. Refrain from talking or making jokes about race, gender, or other sensitive topics, as well as using language offensive to the local population. Lastly, in Tromso, people pride themselves on their seamanship, so shouting or making loud noises unnecessarily should be avoided," said another expat in Tromso.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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