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Discover Norway: Five great things to do in Trondheim

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
Discover Norway: Five great things to do in Trondheim
Whether you possess a deep love for history or thrive in the great outdoors, Trondheim offers many enjoyable activities for both residents and tourists. Pictured is the popular Old Town Bridge. Photo by Joshua Kettle on Unsplash

Trondheim is abound with great experiences and landscapes that visitors can enjoy. Don't miss out on our guide to the best things to do once you make your way there.

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It's hard not to fall in love with Trondheim at first sight – especially if the city greets you with lovely weather.

Founded in 997, in the midst of Norway's Viking era and serving as the country's capital for centuries, Trondheim is one of those cities whose every street, corner, and park seems to be soaked in history.

With a population of roughly 190,000 people, it somehow manages to keep its small-town vibe alive – even in the city centre around Torvet, Trondheim's central square.

Regardless of whether you're a history buff or an outdoor enthusiast, there are numerous fun activities that visitors and locals alike can pursue in this beautiful city situated on the southern shore of the Trondheimsfjord.

Explore the Instagram-famous streets of Bakklandet

Located just a few minutes on foot from the famous Nidaros Cathedral (which we will cover in more detail soon) is Trondheim's charming Bakklandet area.

On a sunny day, Bakklandet's appeal is truly irresistible: the wooden houses, the cobblestone streets, fantastic picnic spots by the Nidelva River, and a host of restaurants (ranging from the sushi franchise outlet Sabrura to eateries offering local cuisine, such as Kalas & Canasta) all contribute to its status as a favourite among tourists.

The Old Town Bridge (Gamle Bybro), perhaps Bakklandet's most popular landmark, offers stunning views of the wooden riverfront houses and the river, so make sure to snap a photo or two once you're there.

The entire area can be a bit overflowing with tourists at times – especially in the spring and summer – but it somehow manages to preserve its laid-back vibe and authenticity.

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Nidaros Cathedral

Pictured is the majestic Nidaros Cathedral on a sunny day. Photo by Joshua Kettle on Unsplash

Take a guided tour of the Nidaros Cathedral

Conveniently close to Bakklandet, the Nidaros Cathedral is one of Trondheim's most famous symbols – and with good reason.

Built over more than two centuries, between 1070 and 1300, this majestic cathedral stands on the burial site of King Olav II, who later became Norway's patron saint. The cathedral was renovated and expanded through the centuries, with one of the most notable reconstructions ending in 2001.

Furthermore, the cathedral is also the traditional consecration site for new Norwegian monarchs, and you can find out all about its royal past by visiting the Archbishop's Palace in its vicinity, where Norway's royal regalia is on display, along with a standing exhibition on Norwegian royals past and present.

Once there, you'll be able to see several crowns worn by the country's previous royals, ornate sceptres, royal robes, thrones, and other relics. Just note that it is forbidden to take photos in the area where the coronation objects are on display, and there's a guard present at all times to ensure that visitors follow the rules.

Before you visit the cathedral or the palace, you'll need to buy a ticket, which can be purchased at the Visitor Centre.

Tickets are around 120 kroner at the time of writing, and guided tours are included in the entrance fee.

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Visit Lianvannet lake

Regardless of the time of year you decide to visit Trondheim, hopping on a tram in the city centre and visiting the Lianvannet recreational area is always a good idea. The tram trip should take around half an hour.

If you're feeling adventurous, and if the weather allows for it, you can go for a swim in the lake in the summer. If the weather is not kind to you, enjoying a nice walk around the lake is always an option - you can complete it in roughly 30 minutes.

The landscape surrounding the lake is beautiful, and if you develop an appetite during the walk, you can head to the Lian Restaurant nearby (just make sure to double-check opening times), one of the oldest eateries in Trondheim. The food there is usually delicious, and the view is great!

If you end up visiting Trondheim in the winter, expect the area to be covered in snow, making it an easily accessible winter wonderland just half an hour away from the centre.

Munholmen island

Munkholmen island is located just outside Trondheim and is accessible by boat. Photo by Erlend Ekseth on Unsplash

Hop on a boat and head for Munkholmen island

If you're visiting Trondheim in late spring or during the summer, the boat trip to Munkholmen (Monk's Islet), a small island just outside the city, might easily become your favourite part of the trip.

At Munkegata 70 Street, just a short walk from the central square, you'll find a small booth selling tickets for the boat to the island (priced at 120 kroner per person at the time of writing).

You can opt for a guided tour (available in English) at the same time while you're purchasing the boat ticket, just know that the guided tour is not included in the base ticket (which will only get you to the island and back).

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Munkholmen island has a fascinating history, which you can hear all about if you decide to go on a 40-minute guided tour (mainly consisting of sitting down while an experienced guide shares fun and not-so-fun facts about the island). Without spoiling too much, we can say that – through the centuries – the island has hosted a monastery, a prison, an execution ground, and a fortress.

Today, it's a major draw for tourists and locals, and you'll regularly see many young people bathing and having picnics on the island on warm spring and summer days. There's also a small café on the island, which serves sandwiches, light lunch, and sweets.

You should be able to take the guided tour and explore the island's surroundings in roughly an hour and a half.

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Get to know Trondheim's museums

Trondheim has a host of popular museums, so it's hard to handpick just a couple of them. However, if you're strapped for time and can only manage to visit a couple of museums, the Sverresborg Trøndelag Folk Museum and the Rockheim Museum are great picks.

The Trøndelag Folk Museum is the country's third-largest cultural history museum, boasting an impressive collection of historical houses, buildings, artefacts, and photos. It transports visitors to a different time and makes it easy to imagine what life in Norway used to be like in times past.

The museum has a collection of over 300,000 artefacts, and 5,000 of these are available to the public at any given time.

Norway's National Museum for Popular Music, Rockheim, is another great pick. Located at Brattørkaia 14, Rockheim is a real treat for all lovers of interactive exhibitions.

After buying a ticket on the ground floor (ca. 160 kroner at the time of writing), you can shop around for souvenirs. Once you're done, take the elevator to the 6th floor, where you'll find the main exhibition, which dives into Norway's musical history via high-end interactive exhibit technology.

You'll also get to see a series of unique objects from the museum's collections.

Once you're done with Rockheim's top floor, take the stairs down to the 5th floor and proceed down floor by floor (there are usually different exhibitions on different floors) until you're back at ground level again.

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