A complete guide to using Trondheim’s international airport at Værnes.
Recently expanded, Trondheim’s international airport is an efficient, spacious place. Unfortunately its location at the end of a fjord is problematic for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s 32km (20 miles) east of Trondheim so getting there takes a while.
Secondly, airplanes frequently suffer from turbulence on approach to the one runway at Værnes, regardless of whether you approach from the fjord or over the mountains to the south-east of the airport. SAS and Norwegian pilots are well accustomed to the winds at Værnes, so don’t worry!
Travel to/from the airport
The purple Flybussen (140kr single /240kr return) coaches offer the most frequent service, departing every 10-20 minutes throughout the day. The competing Værnesekspressen (150kr single/ 240kr return) coaches claim to be quicker as they utilise the new tunnel on approach to Trondheim city centre, but in reality there’s not a great deal of difference between the two.
The Flybussen is the best choice for Trondheim’s eastern suburbs, the Clarion Congress Hotel and early/late departures to/from the city centre, while the Værnesekspressen is the better choice for students heading to the Gløshaugen campus or student villages at Moholt and Voll. Buy your tickets on the coaches, which both leave from directly outside the domestic arrivals hall and take around 30-35 minutes to reach Trondheim city centre.
You can also travel on the local NSB train service. A new airport station named Værnes has recently been improved with an indoor waiting area and direct access to the terminal building. The train service to Trondheim S (meaning central, not south!) is speedy (35 minutes) and cheap (79kr) but unfortunately services are not as frequent as the buses. Expect hourly departures through the day with less in the evening and at weekends.
Check-in & security
Most Norwegians check-in online or via the apps provided by SAS and Norwegian. If you can’t or would rather do it at the airport, the departures section of the airport is easy to navigate. You are strongly encouraged to use the automated process, which involves entering your details at a terminal screen which will assign your seat and print baggage labels.
You then attach the labels and use a barcode scanner to send your bags on their way at a “Bag Drop” desk. Both SAS and Norwegian have permanent staff on hand should you require any assistance, while KLM and other airlines have staff in the hours before their departures.
There is one security area for all departures, although there is a fast lane for those with the appropriate tickets. Security tends to take no longer than 5 minutes, although you should allow up to 15 minutes during the morning or afternoon rush.
Once you are through security, you come into the domestic terminal which is essentially one long corridor with shops, bathrooms and restaurants along one side, and gates along the other. To the left you tend to find SAS departures, along with the SAS Cafe Lounge and an escalator down to the annex from where most Widerøe regional flights arrive and leave. To the right, you find most Norwegian departures, a small children’s play area, most of the shops and restaurants, and the entrance to the international terminal.
Food outlets include an O’Leary’s sports bar, seafood bar, a coffee shop, Pizza Hut and an Upper Crust. Shops include a bookshop, clothes shop, and a shop selling perfumes and other Duty-Free style goods (albeit at fairly regular prices!)
The self-service SAS Cafe Lounge is small but offers plug sockets, fast Wi-Fi, buns, fruit, hot and cold drinks and other snacks. To gain access you need to be travelling in SAS Plus, or hold a regular SAS ticket and a SAS/Star Alliance Gold or Diamond card. Here is a picture of the lounge:
To reach the international terminal, turn right once you are through security and walk the length of the domestic terminal. Go through the doors and follow the signs around to the right, through the customs point and down the stairs (lift available) to the international terminal. You arrive in the spacious Duty Free store, which is shared by departing and arriving passengers.
The international terminal is small but has a restaurant, bar and kiosk selling food, drinks and snacks throughout the day. At the far end of the terminal is the non-Schengen area which can only be accessed via passport control. Passengers for London Gatwick will need to pass through here, but once you are through there are no facilities other than a water fountain and bathroom, so most passengers tend to wait in the main area until shortly before boarding begins.
Unlike the domestic terminal, there are no jet bridges to the aircraft, so all passengers are required to walk outside the terminal and out to the plane. Bear this in mind if you are travelling in the winter!
Domestic arrivals all converge into one arrivals hall which is open to the public. In addition to the three luggage belts, this area of the airport is home to the main office, lost luggage, a Narvesen kiosk and a Starbucks. The departures hall can be found immediately upstairs. There is an elevator and a set of stairs.
International arrivals move through a separate part of the airport to collect their bags before passing through customs. Once through customs, passengers walk down a long corridor and emerge into the domestic arrivals hall, from where the airport coaches, train station, taxis, car hire and airport hotels are all within easy reach.
Vehicle rentals should be booked in advance. On arrival at Værnes, leave the domestic arrivals terminal and cross the road towards the car park. You will see the car rental agencies located in a small building in front and to the right of the car park.
Staying close to the airport is a popular choice for those arriving on the late flights from London Gatwick and Copenhagen. The Radisson Blu chain operate a hotel immediately adjacent to the terminal building. Expect to pay around 1,250kr for a double room, but the advantages include a generous breakfast buffet and the ability to stay just minutes away from your gate.
A nearby alternative is the Scandic Hell hotel, with similar prices and facilities. The hotel is a 10-minute walk away from the terminal, via the signed footpath that runs past the Radisson hotel and railway station entrance.