Trondheim is Norway’s third-largest city, and is a fantastic place to visit if you’re looking to see more than just fjords and mountains.
The city used to be the capital of Norway during the time of the Vikings, and traces of this history still live on. But nowadays, the place is also known for its creativity and forward thinking. Helped by its large student population, Trondheim has developed a thriving cultural scene and is fast becoming known as a tech hub. Alongside its colorful wooden wharves, you’ll now find contemporary art galleries, trendy cafes and boutique clothes shops.
Meanwhile, beyond the city lies the beautiful Trøndelag region, home to many national parks and reserves where you can experience Norway’s stunning natural scenery.
There’s just so much to explore here, it’s hard to know where to start! To make life easier, here’s a list of some of the best things to see and do in Trondheim.
Some of the Best Things to See and Do in Trondheim
Marvel at Europe’s Northernmost Cathedral in Trondheim
If it’s your first visit to the city, I’d recommend a visit to the ancient Nidaros Cathedral.
This impressive building is around a thousand years old, and is the northernmost medieval cathedral in Europe. It was built to honor Norway’s patron saint, the 11th-century Saint Olav, and is still seen as one of the country’s most sacred places.
The front of the cathedral is especially stunning. Here you’ll see saints rubbing shoulders with gargoyles, while carvings and sculptures represent stories from the Bible and Norwegian history.
The building is usually open to visitors, and guided tours are on offer to help you find out more about its interesting past.
Enjoy Trondheim’s Street Scene
Norwegians are known for their love of coffee, and Trondheim is home to a thriving café culture. One the best places for a relaxing cuppa and a spot of people watching is the historic Bakklandet district. Once occupied by Trondheim’s fishermen, the area now hosts characterful cafes and bistros with outdoor seating.
Some of the coffee shops here have even invented their own special brews – try the Sweet Chili Latte offered by Dromedar Kaffebar, if you dare! And if you’d prefer a drop of something stronger, you could head to the waterfront area of Solsiden. What was once an old shipyard has now been converted into a row of lively bars and restaurants. The area still retains its industrial vibe and, come summer, the area is a popular spot for locals to enjoy a beer by the water.
Take a Scenic Hike at Bymarka
Trondheim is a fairly large city – at least in Norway’s terms. But nevertheless, in this country you’re never too far away from the great outdoors. On the city’s doorstep lies the beautiful forest area of Bymarka, the perfect place to take a break from the crowds and enjoy some fresh air.
The best way to reach this idyllic spot is by tram. That’s right: as well as having Europe’s northernmost medieval cathedral, Trondheim is also blessed with its most northern tram service. A ride in one of these charming vehicles is a great day out in itself. As the tram rattles up past the suburbs and then climbs the side of Mount Gråkallen, you’re treated to some amazing views out over the city below.
Once you’ve reached Bymarka you can choose from a number of walking routes, ranging from trails suitable for families, to some more challenging hikes. In winter, the area is also a popular spot for cross-country skiing.
Rock Out at Rockheim Museum in Trondheim
Are you a music lover? If so, you should definitely make a pilgrimage to the city’s Rockheim Museum. Dedicated to Norwegian popular music, the museum boasts a range of exciting exhibitions that will make you feel like a rock god or goddess.
Guests can play guitar along with one of Norway’s famous musicians in the Ronni Room, and even practice breakdancing and graffiti spraying in the Hip-Hop room. Most of these exhibits are located on the museum’s top floor, a special extension that seems to float above the main building. At night, this upper floor is lit up with shifting colors, making this one of Trondheim’s most distinctive landmarks.
Where to Stay in Trondheim
Radisson Blu Royal Garden Hotel
Overlooking Trondheim’s beautiful Nidelva river, the Radisson Blu Royal Garden Hotel provides an excellent base from which to explore the city. The rooms are comfortable and stylishly furnished, and the hotel is known for serving up tasty Nordic cuisine.
With a range of attractions such as the Nidaros Cathedral, Bakklandet shopping district and the Old Town Bridge within easy walking distance, you won’t find a more convenient place to stay.
Trondheim Vandrerhjem Hostel
Looking for a clean and affordable hostel in the centre of Trondheim? Then the Trondheim Vandrerhjem hostel is the place for you. This modern building provides a number of options including shared and single-bed rooms, as well as amenities such as Wi-Fi, laundry room and 24-hour reception.
The Vandrerhjem is also located close to the city centre, with the trendy Solsiden area just a short walk away.
So, there you have it: a whistle-stop tour of the top things to see and do in Trondheim. This is by no means an exhaustive list – there is so much to do here, from sightseeing to fine dining, shopping to nature spotting, that I couldn’t hope to fit everything in!
Nevertheless, I hope I’ve given you a taste of things to do in Trondheim, and why it is such an excellent destination for a Norwegian city break.
About the Author: Ben Steele
Ben spent his childhood in London, and has until recently been living in Brighton on the south coast of England. He and his family relocated to the small town of Kristiansund in Norway in August 2017. He is currently working as a freelance writer and social media manager, while planning further adventures around Scandinavia and the world.
You can read more articles by Ben right here in the near future, or on his blog.
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