A Walking Tour of Historic Trondheim

Trondheim river

Norway’s first capital has much to offer in a small town centre, from a gothic cathedral to bars and boutiques.

Norway’s former viking capital is often ignored by tourists in favor of the fjords of Vestlandet and the bright lights of Oslo. However, a simple stroll around the compact city centre reveals a city rich in history yet on the cutting edge of technology.

Start your walk at the brand new tourist office on Nordre gate, a bright airy centre where you can find maps, information and products from Trondheim and across Central Norway. From here it’s a short walk to the undoubted highlight of the city, Nidaros Cathedral (Nidarosdomen).

Nidarosdomen winter

The northernmost medieval cathedral in the world stands over the burial site of Saint Olaf, the 11th Century King of Norway. Spend some time exploring the cathedral but don’t ignore the impressive grounds of the Archbishop’s Palace (Erkebispegården) just next door. Here you can explore a fascinating museum about the history of Trondheim and also see the Norwegian Crown Regalia, including the jewel-incrusted King’s Crown.

Leaving the grounds through the peaceful graveyard will lead you to the Old Town Bridge (Gamle Bybro) over the Nidelva river, from where you get a perfect view of the stunning merchant’s wharves that line the river. This is the most photographed part of Trondheim, so don’t forget your batteries!

The bridge leads to Bakklandet, a charming neighborhood of wooden houses. Nowadays Bakklandet is home to numerous bars, restaurants and boutiques, but without losing its charm. As you sip your latte in one of the pavement cafes, be thankful that Bakklandet still exists: it was nearly demolished for a motorway fifty years ago.

Bakklandet summer

Another photo opportunity awaits you as Søndre gate crosses the river onto the artificial island Brattøya, home to the city’s train station and port. While you’re there, check out Rockheim, Norway’s national rock and pop museum and a shining example of Trondheim’s technological focus. Inside, interactive exhibits immerse you in the story of modern Norwegian music. You can even play along with the greats on a guitar or create your own tracks on a mixing desk.

Rockheim Museum

Other things to see:

Ringve Museum
Norway’s national museum of music and musical instruments houses two permanent exhibitions. “The Museum in the Manor House” (April – October) has been preserved as it looked when Ringve’s founder opened the museum in 1952. “The Museum in the Barn,” features modern sound and light technology.

Stiftsgården, the Royal Residence
Stiftsgården, built during 1774 and 1778 by the ambitious widow of the privy counsellor, is the largest wooden palace in Scandinavia.

Sverresborg-Trøndelag Folk Museum
A museum of cultural history around the ruins of King Sverre’s medieval castle. Large open-air museum with wooden buildings and scenes from Trondheim and Trøndelag as well as beautiful indoor exhibitions.

The Trampe bicycle lift
The Trampe bicycle lift, developed in Trondheim, goes up the steep hill at Brubakken near Gamle Bybro, and takes you from the bridge and almost all the way up to the Kristiansten Fort. For test-runs, you need a lift card and a bike. Lift cards are available at the tourist office.

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a freelance writer for technology companies in Scandinavia.


  1. Hi! We will be in Trondheim for just a few short hours during a Hurtigruten voyage this summer. My question is, can we navigate a brisk walk to the major sites you wrote of above from the ship terminal or do we really need to go with the organized tour? Not sure of the distances involved in relation to time available.
    My friend’s mom grew up in the city as well, and we would love to find her old address if time and distance permit (thus a reluctance to be on the official excursion)

    1. You can absolutely do a walk yourself, and I know many people visiting the Hurtigruten do so. The terminal is about a 10-minute walk to the train station (over a pedestrian footbridge) and then you are in the centre of town.

  2. Hi David
    I was a hungarian refugee in Oslo in the late 1950s. Got a job in a textile factory, where I earned enough to eat five days a week, try not to think of food for two. Then the factory closed and we were thrown out of the two-in-one-room barrack accommodation the factory provided. The local Salvation Army gave shelter for three days, then we were on the street. There were employment opportunities that provided a room with the job… As bad as life in post-war Hungary has been, those days I wished I had never left.
    I found a way out of Norway by getting married in Canada. A happy ending to a long, painful journey.

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