My fellow writer Whitney recently published a really popular guide for cruise ship visitors to Stavanger, which inspired me to write the same post all about my adopted home of Trondheim. While we don’t receive as many cruise ship visitors as Stavanger does, Trondheim does welcome a surprising number. In 2013, 78,521 passengers visited Trondheim on a total of 49 ships. I often receive emails from those with a few hours to kill wondering what’s the best way to see the highlights of Trondheim.
So, here you go!
A walk in the forest
If there’s one thing missing from a cruise ship, it’s trees. Luckily, Trondheim has a vast expanse of them just minutes from the city centre.
Take the traditional tram from St. Olavs gate in the city centre and take in the great view of the city as you slowly make your way up the city hills. After 25 minutes or so you’ll be travelling into Trondheim’s Bymarka – city forest – and disembarking at Lian. A slow stroll around the lake takes about 30 minutes and you can catch the tram back to the city. There are plenty of lovely spots to stop for a picnic too, whether it’s on a bench or the rocks. Whether you go fast or slow, it’s a lovely relaxing way to spend a few hours.
Remember to take cash for the tram (currently NOK 50 for a one-way ticket and NOK 25 for seniors over 67 and children under 16) or you can buy in advance from an automatic machine or the AtB office (close to the tram stop) for a 25% discount.
Explore Bakklandet & be photographed on the Old Town Bridge
Trondheim’s most photogenic neighbourhood, Bakklandet is known today for its timber homes, cafe culture and cyclists, but its origins actually lie in trade and industry, home to seamen, fishermen and labourers. You can enjoy freshly-brewed coffee in one of the many pavement cafes, shop for handmade crafts in the boutiques, or take in the views of the old wooden warehouses along the Nidelva river. Whatever you choose to do, a stroll along Bakklandet is a must on any day in Trondheim.
While you’re there, don’t forget to walk across Gamle Bybro, which links Bakklandet to the city centre. Built in 1681 and reconstructed in 1861, the Old Town Bridge has historical significance and still retains many of its old characteristics, such as the gate house on the city centre side and the old iron gates. It also offers perhaps the best view in Trondheim down the river.
Explore Norwegian music at Rockheim
Despite its name, Rockheim covers all genres of Norwegian music, from rock right through to folk, soul and modern experimental music. To call Rockheim a museum isn’t really fair, it’s best described as an interactive experience.
You can mix your own tracks, play guitar along with a hologram, listen to unsigned artists from across Norway, read countless old music newspapers and magazines, and a whole load more.
I love Rockheim and it’s top of my to-do list that I give to anyone visiting me here in Trondheim. The best thing for cruise visitors is it’s located just steps from the cruise ship terminal.
Go back in time at Nidaros Cathedral
So much more than just a big church! If you have even the slightest interest in history, the Viking era and how Trondhiem came to be what it is today, Nidarosdomen is a must-see. In fact, if you only have one day in Trondheim you could easily spend all of it here.
The cathedral itself towers above the city and its beautiful west face will keep your attention for a long time. Inside its tardis-like interior you can explore the the crypt, climb the tower, and be guided through the historical building in English.
Next to the cathedral is the Archbishops Palace, home to a fascinating museum where you can learn all about the cathedral and the city of Trondheim. You can also see Norway’s impressive crown regalia (the crown jewels). I advise buying a combination ticket, which gives you access to all the above, although climbing the tower comes at a small additional charge.
Fend off the Swedes at Kristiansten Fortress
Standing atop a hill to the east of the city centre, Kristiansten Festning was built along with the Old Town Bridge after the city fire in 1681 to protect the city against attack from the east. Today the site is popular with locals and tourists alike, as it offers terrific views across the city and the fjord, and is one of the best places to sunbathe in the city!
Donjonen, the defensive tower, is now a small museum and is well worth a visit, not least for the experience of walking around the creaking floorboards! You’ll also learn about the unsuccessful Swedish attempt to take Trondheim at the end of the Great Northern War in the 18th Century. Fascinating stuff.
Note, although the fortress area is open every day, the museum is only open during the summer months.
Enjoy your day in Trondheim!