Tromsø has long been considered the gateway to the Arctic. From the late 18th to the early 20th centuries, housing construction boomed, and today the city’s historic center boasts the largest concentration of wooden houses in northern Norway. With a rich array of French Empire, Swiss and neoclassical architecture also spread throughout the city, Tromsø exudes an air of sophistication that rivals some of its southern European neighbors. Its Arctic Cathedral, a stunning structure of soaring white rooflines and triangular peaks, has been compared to the Sydney Opera House. The city is also home to the northernmost Botanic Garden in the world, a rare collection of alpine and arctic plants, and the northernmost brewery. An active outdoor scene thrives here, with glacier walks, alpine peaks, sea kayaking and dog-sledding opportunities nearby.