Tromso, Norway

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By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Jul 11, 2021

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Tromso, Norway: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

What do I need to know about living in Tromso?

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

"I would tell them that they should have to like a closed off culture of people. When you walk down the street people do NOT smile or say hello. A man will push you out of the way to get through the door first. If you are lazy and don't have a good work ethic, then this place will be perfect for you. There are plenty of expats that love this place, however its not for us," said another person in Tromso.

What do I need to know before moving to Tromso?

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

"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)," said another person in Tromso.

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How do I find a place to live in Tromso?

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

"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," said another expat in Tromso.

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We've partnered with Explorastay, the largest aggregator of 1-12+ month stays. Compare listings and rental rates from 20+ accommodation sites in one search, including: Booking.com, VRBO, Expedia, UniPlaces, Spotahome, HousingAnywhere, Zumper and over a dozen more accommodation companies. Search rental properties in Norway.

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

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"We live in a one bedroom apartment that we were able to sublease fully furnished. Typically people live in houses if available," explained one expat living in Tromso.

What is the average cost of housing in Tromso?

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

"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," remarked another in Tromso.

Need a rental in Norway? We've partnered with Explorastay, the largest aggregator of 1-12+ month stays. Compare listings and rental rates from 20+ accommodation sites in one search, including: Booking.com, VRBO, Expedia, UniPlaces, Spotahome, HousingAnywhere, Zumper and over a dozen more accommodation companies.

Search for Rentals

Need a rental in Norway? We've partnered with Explorastay, the largest aggregator of 1-12+ month stays. Compare listings and rental rates from 20+ accommodation sites in one search, including: Booking.com, VRBO, Expedia, UniPlaces, Spotahome, HousingAnywhere, Zumper and over a dozen more accommodation companies. Search for Rentals in Norway

How do I meet people in Tromso?

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When we asked people living in Tromso about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"I haven't been able to find an organization, club, etc.There are no expat clubs to welcome you or anything of that sort. My child goes to an International school so I have met parents (from other countries) who have become good friends. Norwegians are not easy to befriend if you don't know them through someone else. and from what I have heard northern Norwegians are not as welcoming as southern, so we have that up hill battle as well. Its been really hard to find anything if you don't speak Norwegian," explained one expat.

What to Bring When Moving to Tromso (and what to leave behind)

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When we asked expats living in Norway what they wish they had brought when moving to Norway and what they wish they had left at home, they replied:

"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," said another expat in Tromso.

Will I be able to find a job in Tromso?

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When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Tromso, they reponded:

"It's a University town, so lots of jobs on campus, hospital, fishery, technology. Its a big little city. I could not find a job since I do not speak or read Norwegian," remarked another expat in Tromso.

What is life like in Tromso?

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When we asked people living in Tromso what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"In general, it seems to me everyone for his own. Family is important because no one steps out of the box they live in. Socializing is for who you know. And work ethic is just different from what I am used to. When clock hits 4:00pm the desk is empty if you are Norwegian. All projects take forever to get done due to this mentality. Sports events are rare and again hard to find if you don't speak or read Norwegian, so you really have to be an extrovert to find out what is happening on the island for the weekend. Tourist center helps if you go by once a week," remarked another in Tromso.

Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Tromso accepting of differences?

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"It's very diverse, however very prejudice towards Americans and color of skin. We have a saying amongst expats here "Norwegians are the nicest most rudest prejudice people you will ever meet." I feel lucky to have white skin cause I pass as Norwegian sometimes, but my friends tell me stories that has never happened to me, nor would I want to be treated as they have," said another expat in Tromso.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 8 Best Places to Live in Croatia and the Living in Mexico Guide. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Allianz Care Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

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Join our Norway forum to meet other people living in Tromso, Norway.

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Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Tromso.

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Information about healthcare and hospitals in Norway.

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Advice about renting and buying real estate in Tromso

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