Away from the crowds of Oslo and Bergen, Norway’s former Viking capital has a lot to offer the curious tourist.
Trondheim is often skipped by tourists in favour of the capital, the fjords or the draw of the northern lights. Yet the country’s former Viking capital has so much to offer the curious traveller, including incredible hiking opportunities, a splendid old town, and not one, but two of the country’s best music museums.
Trondheim is an ideal weekend destination with easy flight connections from all Norwegian cities along with Amsterdam, Copenhagen and London. Its main draw is the Nidaros cathedral that dominates above the low-rise and compact city centre.
Top sights in Trondheim
Trondheim isn’t short of things to do, but there are some top sights that should be at the top of anyone’s list. Thankfully for those on a brief cruise stop and/or without their own transport, the city’s main attractions are all within easy walking distance of each other.
Nidaros Cathedral: Built over the burial site of Saint Olav, Nidaros Cathedral is the undoubted highlight of any trip to Trondheim. The beautifully-carved western front, reminiscent of those at Salisbury and Wells in England, surprises visitors from around the world. More than 50 sculptured figures line three rows around the restored rose window.
You have to pay to go inside, and if you do make sure to make time to visit the crypt, the interesting archaeological museum, and the royal regalia. The latter two are located in nearby buildings and a combination ticket can be bought.
Bakklandet: The closest thing Trondheim has to an old town, the cobbled streets and wooden buildings of the Bakklandet neighbourhood were saved from demolition less than fifty years ago. Today, it’s one of the city’s most popular neighbourhoods and is packed with boutiques, coffee shops and bars. Let’s take a stroll down the street.
Other things to do in Trondheim
Trondheim has a proud musical heritage, especially in the genres of heavy metal and classical music. Explore this heritage with not one, but two great music museums. An excellent folk museum and the historic Kristiansten fortress are among the other museums in Trondheim to think about adding to your itinerary.
Trains, buses and even a tram are on hand to whisk you away to the wonders of nature, in whichever direction you choose. To the south-west of the city, Bymarka (the city forest) offers hundreds of miles of hiking and cycling trails, which transform into cross-country skiing trails in the winter. Here’s one writer’s story of hiking in Bymarka.
Once you’ve finished sightseeing, check out our recommendations for where to eat in Trondheim.
Where to stay
Trondheim’s accommodation offering is diverse with a good range of business-class conference hotels, chain hotels, and budget hotels and guest houses. Some of the newer hotels such as the Clarion Congress and the Scandic Lerkendal are located away from the central area, so be sure to check this when booking. Read our complete guide to hotels in Trondheim.
If you are staying in the city for more than a couple of days, you may run out of obvious things to do once you’ve ticked off the main sights. There are some great places to visit in the surrounding region such as the atmospheric Røros and the ski resort Åre across the Swedish border. Both of these can be visited by public transport, but you’ll need a car to get to some of the other recommended day trips from Trondheim.
Getting here & getting around
The most common way to reach Trondheim is by air, with up to thirty flights per day moving passengers between the city and the Norwegian capital Oslo. Regular direct international flights link Trondheim with Copenhagen, London and Amsterdam, amongst others.
Downtown Trondheim is compact and walkable. Public transport is coordinated by AtB. Public buses are useful to get to some of the attractions outside the central district, while the city’s sole tram line allows easy access to the vast forest.
Before you visit Trondheim, here’s a quick checklist of important things to consider:
- Guidebook: The Moon Norway guidebook is the most up-to-date on the market
- Accommodation: Book your hotel in advance and save money
- Car Rental: Secure the best rates by reserving your choice of car in advance
- Insurance: Don’t run the risk of travelling to Norway without adequate cover
- VPN: Secure your smartphone’s internet connection while you travel
- Tours & activities: Save money by pre-booking tours & activities