12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Trondheim
Trondheim, Norway's third largest city, is also one of the country's oldest. Founded as a trading post by the Vikings in 997 AD, it has the distinction of having been Norway's capital until 1217. Built on a peninsula and linked to the mainland at its west end, Trondheim is the main town of the county of Sør-Trøndelag in central Norway. Popular as both a cultural and shopping destination, the city's downtown core is scattered with quaint specialty shops as well as larger retailers around the pedestrian-only Nordre and Olav Tryggvasons gates (or streets). Like much of Norway - at least the northernmost regions - Trondheim experiences no darkness from mid-May to mid-July, and while it benefits from a mainly mild maritime climate, good skiing can be had in the surrounding areas.
See also: Where to Stay in Trondheim
1 Nidaros Cathedral
Built by King Olav Kyrre (1066-93) over the tomb of Norway's patron saint, St Olav, Nidaros Cathedral is widely regarded as the most magnificent church in Scandinavia. The cathedral is undoubtedly the jewel in the city's crown and one of the top tourist attractions. Kings have been christened and buried here, and since 1814 it's been a requirement of the Norwegian constitution that the monarch should be crowned in Trondheim Cathedral.
The transept and chapterhouse are in a late Romanesque style influenced by the Norman architecture of England, while the long choir with its beautiful south doorway was added in the 13th Century, along with the massive nave and tower. After being damaged by fire three times over the centuries - in 1531, 1708 and 1719 - the whole western half of the church was reduced to ruins.
Address: Bispegt. 5, Trondheim
2 Trondheim Harbor
A must-do in Trondheim is a visit to the city's old port area at the mouth of the River Nidelv. You can spend hours wandering around the colorful old wooden warehouses built on piles above the water, many of them converted to classy boutiques and high-end homes. If you can swing it, the best view of these stunning buildings is from the water, and a wide variety of harbor tour options are available. Be sure to visit the Trondheim Maritime Museum with its model ships and displays illustrating the city's deep-rooted connection to the sea.
Address: Øvre Elvehavn, Trondheim
3 Market Square
The focal point of Trondheim - and pretty much the city's center, so a good place to start your exploring - is the Market Square (Torget). One of the attractions is the tall octagonal column in the center of the square: built in 1923, it bears a statue of Olav Tryggvason, King of Norway from 995 to 1000 and widely regarded as Trondheim's founder.
Address: Kongensgata, Trondheim
Munkegata, the city's main street, runs from Trondheim Cathedral to Ravnkloa, a public open space adjacent the harbor. This wide, tree-lined thoroughfare is perfect for a leisurely stroll, so save some time for a little window-shopping. Sightseeing possibilities include the imposing Tinghus (1951) with its two bronze doors and colored ceramic reliefs depicting episodes in the history of the town; the 18th Century Cathedral School; and the Nordenfjeld Museum of Applied Art with its fine examples of modern Scandinavian design.
Address: Munkegata, Trondheim
5 Archbishop's Palace and Museum
The medieval Archbishop's Palace (Erkebispegården) is not only the oldest building of its kind in Scandinavia, it's also one of the best preserved such palaces in Europe. Dating back to the late 12th Century, the palace's west wing now houses a number of historic displays, including the Norwegian Crown Regalia exhibit - a spectacular collection of Norway's crown jewels - as well as the Army and Resistance Museums with their focus on Trondheim's military history from Viking times to WW2. Over in the south wing, the Archbishop's Palace Museum includes original sculptures from and archaeological finds from nearby Nidaros Cathedral.
Address: Bispegt. 5, Trondheim
6 National Museum of Decorative Arts
The National Museum of Decorative Arts is home to a vast collection of historical and modern artifacts including furniture, silver, glass, textile, ceramics and designs dating from the 15th Century. The museum itself is a work of art, its interior having been created by famous Belgian architect Henry van de Velde in 1907. Art enthusiasts will also enjoy the Trondheim Museum of Art with its collection of Norwegian art dating from the 1850s.
Address: Munkegata 5, Trondheim
Built by Christine Schøller between in 1778, Stiftsgården is used by Norway's royal family as their official residence whenever in Trondheim. One of the largest wooden buildings in Europe, this huge yellow mansion has housed royals and their guests since 1800.
Address: Munkegt. 23,7013 Trondheim
8 Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters
Founded in 1760, the headquarters of the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters has for centuries preserved important documents related to the country's rich history. Today, its extensive collections include a library of historic manuscripts along with artifacts from a variety of fields including botany, mineralogy, zoology, church art and antiquities.
Address: Erling Gate 47C, Trondheim
9 Ringve Museum
Opened in 1952, Ringve Museum is Norway's national museum of music and musical instruments and houses two permanent exhibitions: the Museum in the Manor House contains instruments from the European musical tradition; and the Museum in the Barn with its displays of modern sound and lighting technology. While in a musical mood, be sure to visit the city's newest museum, Rockheim. Dedicated to pop and rock, this fun museum showcases the best of Norwegian popular music from the 1950s to the present day through exhibitions, interactive experiences and concerts, as well as a restaurant with great views over the city.
Address: Lade Allé 60, 7041 Trondheim
10 St Olav Festival at Trondheim
Trondheim's St Olav Festival - a 10-day long event celebrating Norway's patron saint - includes a wide-variety of programming from concerts to lectures, recitals and operas. The main feature, however, is the traditional Nidaros Play, a nine-act performance highlighting the story of a blind peasant who travels to St Olav's shrine to be healed.
Address: N-7410 Trondheim
Just a mile outside of Trondheim, in the Trondheimfjord, is the fortified island of Munkholmen. Visitors can inspect the well-preserved round tower belonging to the former Benedictine abbey of Nidarholm (founded in the 12th Century). This site is now occupied by a fort built in 1658, the Gammel Festning, as well as more recent fortifications left behind by the German occupiers in WW2.
12 Fjellseter Gråkallen
A pleasant excursion from Trondheim is to Fjellseter (1,204ft), a popular ski area, complete with ski-jump, five miles west of the city. A path leads to the summit of Gråkallen (1,824ft) with its excellent views of Trondheimfjord and the mountains along the Swedish frontier. The hill can also be reached on the Gråkallen electric railroad from St Olavsgata, or by bus. Another good view of the city and its fjord can be had from the revolving Egon Restaurant in the Tyholt-tarnet, a television tower to the east of the city.
Where to Stay in Trondheim for Sightseeing
Trondheim's top tourist sites are in the compact city center, and this is the best place to stay for sightseeing. Most of these hotels are within easy walking distance of attractions such as the cathedral, market square, and harbor, and almost all include breakfast in the rates. Here are some highly-rated hotels in this convenient and central location:
- Luxury Hotels: Trondheim lacks true luxury hotels, but these properties top the list for quality. Near the harbor and a five-minute walk from town, the sleek and contemporary Clarion Hotel & Congress Trondheim hosts large conferences and features a rooftop restaurant and beautiful views of the Trondheim Fjord. Pirbadet, Norway's largest pool complex, and Rockheim are right next door. Also near the harbor, as well as Trondheim Central station, the popular, light-filled Scandic Nidelven has won awards for its delicious, free breakfast. Radisson Blu Royal Garden Hotel features colorful accents and comes with a pool.
- Mid-Range Hotels: Overlooking the Nidelva River, the pet-friendly Scandic Bakklandet is only a ten-minute walk from the cathedral and other city center attractions. About six minutes on foot from Trondheim Central Station and a few steps more from the main square, the pet-friendly Comfort Hotel Trondheim features an impressive atrium-style lobby and crisp, contemporary rooms, while the bright and cheery Scandic Solsiden, near many cafés and restaurants, is also pet-friendly and lends bikes to its guests.
- Budget Hotels: If you're relying on public transport, the centrally-located BEST WESTERN Chesterfield Hotel is steps away from the train station and offers large rooms that are great for families. A few blocks from the cathedral, near shops, restaurants, and cafés, City Living Scholler Hotel & Apartments is a great option for extended stays with its apartment-style rooms and communal kitchen and laundry. P-Hotels Brattora offers basic but clean rooms right near Trondheim Central Station.