An Afternoon in Røros

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History of Røros

It's well into October and I'm still writing about my summer vacation around Norway!

Faced with a mammoth seven hour plus train journey from Trondheim to Oslo with only me for company, my mum seemed a little glum at breakfast time. So I tried to cheer her up:

Smiling fruity breakfast

That didn't work, so instead I told her I'd arranged to break up the journey with a stop at another UNESCO World Heritage site. She soon perked up! We'd already taken in one World Heritage site, the West Norwegian fjords, which blew us all away. So what could the former copper mining town of Røros offer?

Quite a lot, actually.

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First things first, Røros is remote. It's close to the Swedish border, 154km away from the nearest town of any consequence, Trondheim. The train from there is not fast, winding its way through the valleys of central Norway, past fisherman in the salmon rivers, eventually arriving in Røros 2 hours 30 minutes later.

Salmon river of Trøndelag

We expected a town without the industry that made it for 35 years (the copper mines closed in 1977) to be a quiet desolate place of history and remembrance. Far from it!

The 3,500 residents of modern Røros live and work in the same wooden houses as their forefathers, but instead of toiling in the mines they welcome the tourist trade. But Røros is not full of tacky bars, shops, hotels and restaurants. In 2011 the town won the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism award for its authenticity.

We started off our brief stop in Røros with a walk from one end of the town to the other.

Main street in Røros

We skipped from one street to the next, looking in all directions, struggling to take everything in.

It was beautiful.

At the top of the town stands Røros Church, a landmark visible from all across the town. Inside – well, I'll save that for another day…

Even though the copper mines have closed, there's no mistaking the heritage of Røros. We wandered a few steps from the church and found a former smelting hut, now home to a museum. A short drive away is Olavsgruva Mine, which offers tours 50m underground. But the real museum is all around you in Røros. Just walking around the town is such a unique experience.

After all that walking we rested and warmed up with a lovely bowl of goulash soup at Frøyas Hus, a backgarden cafe like no other. A former small farmhouse right in the centre of town, it's now part-cafe, part-shop, part-guesthouse, and part-just-lovely-place-to-pause. The girl who served us was super friendly, in fact all the locals seemed happy and content despite the remote location.

As time ticked on we checked out some of the shops and discovered a great ceramic workshop with all sorts of colourful wares on display. Also an outdoor market where mum fawned over baby clothes for far too long. It's not all boutiques and gift shops though, Røros is a functioning town and so a useful shopping centre sits between the town centre and the train station. There's even a Moods of Norway store here!

Frøyas Hus in Røros

Moods of Norway store in Røros

Just four-and-a-half hours later we were back at the train station about to re-start our journey back to Oslo.

Røros is one of the most charming towns I've ever been to and I cannot wait to go back… I'd love to see it in the winter, even though it's inland location means temperatures of below -20C are the norm.

About 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 professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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9 thoughts on “An Afternoon in Røros”

  1. Oh David, you have just transported me back to Roros in an instant! Your descriptions of the town and the people are spot on. Experiencing such an amazing and unique place will stay with me forever. Thank you Roros and thank you David for such a lovely surprise!

  2. Dear David,

    Great Photography … it came alive. The clouds are moving , the houses are so awesome .. & I am glad I found your blogging.

    PS .. I hope I could gather as much info about Norway for my trip next year.

    Thanks a bundle.


  3. A few years ago I attended a legal conference in Roros , in March! Bit of a hike for a UK lawyer but it was fab. We went a horse drawn sleigh ride at night with the sleighs lit with flaming torches – something I will remember for ever. Thanks for the blog!

  4. We have never been in this corner of the world… a local former Israeli recommended us to see the place on our way to the Fjords and glaciers … kind of detour for us so we had some hesitation to take off road, but the beautiful pictures and writing persuade us that we are heading to the right direction… thanks


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