Trondheim sits in the heart of the country and has been said to reflect Norway in miniature. The River Nidelven meanders through its heart, the forest borders its edges and the fjord meets the city center. The historic highlights include Nidaros Cathedral, Kristiansten Fortress and the Old Town, Bakklandet. The city has its own Royal Palace and Folk Museum, as well as plenty of places to sit and relax with coffee or delicious food. Trondheim has a population of over 190,000 and although it is officially a city, it has a charming small town feel to it. Norway’s historic capital was founded in 997AD by the Viking King Olav Tryggvason; his statue in the heart of city square serves as a daily reminder.
Old and new, side by sideOver 1,000 years old, it is rich in heritage and culture, which can be seen in every nook and cranny of the city. In saying that, you will also find a blend of modern design and culture standing side by side with historic elements. For example, if you visit the NTNU University campus you will see the historic twin towered main building, completed in 1910, set against several colorful modern buildings. This is a beautiful blend that represents Trondheim’s character.
Nidaros Cathedral and The Archbishop’s PalaceThe largest attraction, and one of the main reasons for many to visit Trondheim, is Nidaros Cathedral. Known as Nidarosdomen in Norwegian, the church spire can be seen from across the city. Once the center of the city, today it’s the country’s national sanctuary. Just outside the cathedral, along the banks of the River Nidelven, lies The Archbishop’s Palace which dates back to the Middle Ages. Step back in time with a visit to the Palace Museum, showcasing the findings from archaeological digs around the grounds. The complex is also home to the Armory, which documents Trondheim under the occupation, as well as the Norwegian Crown Jewels Museum.
Kristiansten FortressKeeping a watch over the city is Kristiansten Fortress, recognizable as a white stone structure with the Norwegian flag flying high beside it. Construction began in 1681, so the military could protect the open defenses along the river. Today, it has a café and museum, amazing views over Trondheim and the fjord, and is set in the city’s largest recreation park.
The Old TownCalled Bakklandet, the Old Town is a tranquil haven of charming wooden houses, wharves, cafés, restaurants and pubs, all set along the banks of the river. This is a bustling area and a favorite destination for locals, especially when out for a weekend stroll. The main feature is the vibrant and colorful wharves, the earliest of which date back to the 18th century. This was originally the trading hub where goods came in by the sea.
Gamle Bybro Bridge is one of the most iconic attractions, connecting the old and new town. The bridge was first built on this site in 1681, although the structure we see today dates back to 1861. The original wooden bridge has since been updated to concrete but the red portals remain, marking the significance of one of Trondheim’s most photographed sights. The view from this bridge is perhaps the best in the city.
Bakklandet is the perfect place to begin a stroll along the meandering riverbanks and through Marinen, the city’s most popular park, situated in front of the cathedral. Trondheim has a strong café culture and some of the most loved coffee houses are situated here: Baklandet Skydsstation, Kaffebrenneriet and Dromedar. There are also plenty of quaint restaurants and bars that will tempt your taste buds including Den Gode Nabo with its excellent beer selection, Antikvariatet and Folk og Fe.
SolsidenNeighboring Bakklandet is Solsiden, which translates to ‘the sunny side’. In contrast to the old wooden houses and wharves of Bakklandet, Solsiden has been modernized and is the vibrant hub of the city. The old wharves and warehouses here are lined with bars, restaurants and cafés with outdoor seating.
- Munkholmen is a great location for a summer day trip. This islet, a former prison, fort, monastery and execution ground, is steeped in history. Take the boat from Ravnkloa between May and September and you will find a lovely recreational area, restaurant and a great beach for bathing in the sea.
- Sverresborg Folk Museum is an open-air museum depicting over 80 buildings and indoor exhibitions that tell the story of the region. This is a fantastic opportunity to see how people used to live during the 18th and 19th centuries.
- Stiftsgården is the Royal Residence in Trondheim and is still officially used for royal visits. It is also open to the public. This baroque building is one of Scandinavia’s largest wooden houses with over 140 rooms.
- For kids, the Science Museum and NTNU Museum of Natural History and Archaeology offer hours of entertainment and will challenge young minds.
- Trondheim is surrounded by forest and Norwegians love the great outdoors. If you are tempted to venture into the forest, then taking the tram to Lian is a good place to start.