14 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 AD 997, it was Norway's capital until 1217, and new kings are still crowned here. 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. It is a popular stop on the route of the Hurtigruten, the coastal ferry that connects towns from Bergen to Kirkenes, and its location on the Trondheimsfjord makes it a good base for fjord cruises. Like much of northern Norway, Trondheim experiences no darkness from mid-May to mid-July, and while it benefits from a mainly mild maritime climate, there is good skiing 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 the world's northernmost medieval cathedral and one of the city's 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 several times, the church was fully restored in the early 1900s.
Address: Bispegt. 5, Trondheim
2 Bakklandet and Gamle Bybro (Old Town Bridge)
Cross the river Nidelva through the red arches of the Gamle Bybro (Old Town Bridge) to reach the picturesque lanes and colorful old houses of the Bakklandet neighborhood. It feels like a small village, and the historic wooden riverside buildings have become small shops, galleries, coffee houses, and restaurants. Stroll along the river for views of the buildings lining the opposite bank. This is Trondheim's most historic and atmospheric neighborhood.
3 Kristiansten Fortress
Standing on a hill to the city's east, Kristiansten Fortress (Kristiansten Festning) was built between 1681 and 1695 to protect the city against attack. It is a bit of a climb, but admission to the tower and its small museum is free, and the views across the city are lovely. Grim reminders of the fortress's 20th-century history are the cells in which the Nazis held members of the Norwegian Resistance during the World War II occupation, and the memorial to those who were executed here.
Address: Rosenborg, Trondheim 7016
Fans of pop and rock music will enjoy this trip down memory lane and the chance to hear some of Norway's greats. The museum's collections are displayed along with interactive exhibits, videos, and recordings. The permanent exhibit, The Time Tunnel, brings modern Norwegian musical and cultural history from the 1950s to the present to life through sounds and performance videos. Changing exhibits focus on particular aspects of music and culture. This is a museum where you can get actively involved, jamming with popular tracks, releasing your inner graffiti artist, dancing, or creating your own remixes. The museum's restaurant has views across the city.
Address: Brattørkaia 14, 7010 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 dazzling crown jewels - as well as the Army and Resistance Museums, with their focus on Trondheim's military history from Viking times to World War II. Over in the south wing, the Archbishop's Palace Museum includes original sculptures and archaeological finds from nearby Nidaros Cathedral.
Address: Bispegt. 5, Trondheim
Built as a private home by the wealthy Christine Schøller in 1778, Stiftsgården is used by Norway's royal family as their official residence when they visit Trondheim. One of the largest wooden buildings in Europe, this 140-room yellow mansion has housed royals and their guests since 1800. You can visit its opulent rooms on a guided tour.
Address: Munkegata 23, Trondheim
7 Ringve Museum
For a longer and broader view of Norwegian and European music, visit the Ringve Museum, Norway's national museum of music and musical instruments. It houses two permanent exhibitions: the Museum in the Manor House, with instruments from the European musical tradition, and the Museum in the Barn with its displays of modern sound and lighting technology.
Address: Lade Allé 60, 7041 Trondheim
8 Trondheim Harbor
You can spend hours wandering around the city's old port area at the mouth of the River Nidelv. Colorful old wooden warehouses, many of them converted to classy boutiques and high-end homes, are built on piles above the water. The best view of these 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
For a bird's-eye view of the entire city, go to the observation deck at the Tyholttårnet, a 124-meter-tall radio tower. At 80 meters high is a revolving restaurant, Egon, where you can spend an hour to get a complete rotation for a 360-degree panorama. If you are lucky enough to be there at the right time, this is an exceptional place to view the Northern Lights.
Address: Otto Nielsens veg 4, Blussuvoll, Trondheim
10 Sverresborg Trøndelag Folk Museum
Around the ruins of King Sverre's castle, parts of which date from the 12th century, this open-air museum of Norwegian history and culture includes upwards of 80 buildings representing village and city life, as well as the culture of the native Sami people. The town center of the museum is made up of wooden houses that were once in downtown Trondheim and include a grocery store, post office, and tradesmen's workshops. One group tells the story of Trondheim's maritime past, with storehouses, boat sheds, and fishing gear. A farming village demonstrates rural life and includes a historic stave church, as well as Sami displays.
Address: Sverresborg Alle 13, 7020 Trondheim
11 Vitensenteret i Trondheim
Trondheim's innovative museum/science center makes the physical sciences and principles of physics approachable and engaging to adults as well as children. Hands-on creative projects demonstrate scientific principles, and there are models to operate and other interactive exhibits. More than just an educational experience, this museum is fun to visit.
Address: Kongens gate 1, Trondheim
12 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
Just over a kilometer outside of Trondheim, in the Trondheimsfjord, is the fortified island of Munkholmen. In the summer, you can take a shuttle boat from Ravnkloa to visit the island, where you can see 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 World War II, when it was used as an anti-aircraft gun station.
14 Fjellseter Gråkallen
A pleasant day trip from Trondheim, and one of the most popular things to do in the winter, is to travel five miles west of the city to Fjellseter (367 meters), a popular ski area with a ski-jump. In the summer, hikers will enjoy the path leading to the summit of Gråkallen (555 meters) with its excellent views of Trondheimsfjord and the mountains along the Swedish frontier. The hill can also be reached on the Gråkallen electric railroad from St. Olavsgata, or by bus.
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, Archbishop's Palace, 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.