Trondheim Travel Itinerary – how to spend 48 hours in Norway’s Trondheim

Aug 6, 2018

Photographed in

Our short trip to Trondheim was kindly supported by the region of Trøndelag

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The approach to Trondheim is THE worst we have ever had so far. One second we gently fly through a breathtaking sundown, the other the plane starts jiggling like crazy as soon as we leave flying altitude, and we start fearing for our lives. Strong side winds are catching the plane, giving it a good shake, bending the wings disturbingly much. Our stomachs begin to feel sick like when sitting on a roller coaster, and we are close to tears. The fact that the runway is very close to the ocean scares us even more. It is the 5th of September, and we experience ten minutes of hell. The machine is rolling while touching down, and we close our eyes for a second. As soon as the plane is slowing down we sigh so loud that we almost have to laugh about ourselves. Relieved like never before we decide to grab a Java Chocolate Chip at Starbucks and to sit down for a bit after having picked up our luggage. As soon as our nerves calm down we find our way to the bus transfer driving us to Trondheim.

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40 minutes and a nap later we arrive downtown. The sight immediately makes up for the bad landing. It is golden hour and we pass by old storehouses, a vast number of boats on the docks and cute shops and cafes. We arrive at the Scandic Bakklandet Hotel (Nedre Bakklandet 60) late in the evening. Our room has the most beautiful wallpaper with ships and farmhouses on it – we feel kind of homey right away. After a short stroll, we go to bed and fall asleep almost immediately. As it was already dark when we arrived at the hotel we have no idea what to expect when we open the curtains in the morning. We are right in the middle of idyllic Bakklandet overlooking the river Nidelva and the charming 17th - 18th-century houses along the waterfront. Breakfast at the hotel is just as perfect as the view. Seriously, you hardly ever find such an extensive selection of delicious and high-quality food in a hotel. Omelet, smoothies, waffles, fresh juice, all kinds of cereal, fish, French, Italian and English options - you name it! After half an hour we are more than full and ready for departure. Unfortunately, for now, there is no time to explore this beautiful city as we leave for Røros, right away. (Buses and trains at Trondheim station are not only going to Røros but Oslo and Bodø for example, as well and you can also take the express bus to Bergen and Ålesund. Be careful though, on Saturdays and Sundays buses and trains run limited.)

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The ride back from Røros to Trondheim a few days later takes a bit more than three hours. Enough time to process all the impressions we gathered in the region of Trøndelag before making more great memories in Norway's third biggest municipality. After a short walk from the bus station, we arrive at our accommodation for the night. Thon Hotel Nidaros (Søndre gate 22B) is located in a beautiful building in the heart of downtown Trondheim. The furnishing is a nice mix between modern and historic, and we take quite a while taking tons of pictures as inspiration for our own apartments.

After changing into something more comfortable we start exploring the city – the cute houses, roads, shops, and we can’t believe what an overall beautiful place this is. For lunch, we stop by at one of the most famous cafes in town called Skydsstation (Øvre Bakklandet 33). We are told that the fish soup is supposed to be awesome and decide to try one even though we would have never done that without the recommendation. After we finish this rightly hyped soup it immediately becomes one of our favorite dishes, and we have eaten it so many times since then. But not only the soup makes this experience so great, the place itself is super cozy, as well. It is located in an old cute house, decorated with antique furniture, old signboards, and other cool stuff. The people working there are incredibly friendly. We also try the blueberry cheesecake with self-picked berries from the woods and what can we say, it is delicious.

Our Personal Favorite

Back downtown we walk over the iconic red bridge (Gamle Bybro) that offers a fantastic view over the lake and the colorful houses along the riverbank towards the impressive Nidaros Cathedral (Nidarosdomen). This stunning building is the biggest medieval church of all the northern countries. It is one of Norway’s most famous monuments, former coronation church and a popular place for pilgrims from all over the world. A building so full of history that we have to get a guided tour to learn more about it. For as long as we can remember we've been interested in structures like this. Places that have seen so much that we can only know and understand a tiny little fraction of it. To sum up what we learned during our tour: it all started with a small wooden church, built over the remains of the holy king Olav (a name you will hear quite a lot in that region of Norway). In the 11th century, the wooden church was replaced by a stone church as it became more and more famous amongst pilgrims. Until the 13th century, the building grew to become a Romanesque-Gothic cathedral (with Viking elements) called Nidarosdomen. After 1320 the church started decaying, it was also burned and plundered and finally ended up as a ruin. Reconstruction only finished at the end of the 19th century. The entrance fee is NOK80 and if you are interested in history, Vikings, the Middle Ages and the time of kings you should definitely pay the Nidarosdomen a visit.

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The cathedral closes pretty early, and we are back on the streets of Trondheim. One cute cafe follows another, the same as the shops and restaurants, and we are beginning to feel hungry, again. We got a dinner recommendation for the Kommandanten at the Kristiansen Fort which is located on a hill and was used as a fortress back in the days. Good food surrounded by so much history, usually we wouldn’t even have to think about it but the jet-lag we suffer from our recent trip to Canada is real, and all we manage is to get some Sushi close to our hotel at YA!Sushi (22b/24 Søndre gate). A lucky pull as it turns out – fresh and delicious. We eat in our room while watching Netflix and are already half asleep when we have a look outside our hotel room window. WOW, what a sunset. The sky is burning and suddenly all weariness is gone. We grab our camera, run outside and end up at the so-called ‘Flower Bridge’. The handrails are planted with colorful flowers in full bloom, and we stand there, admiring the view that is presented to us. The river is reflecting the dark red and purple colors of the sky and the small boats in it are swinging to the rhythm of the wind. We can’t believe how beautiful this is and are not back in our room until the night has fallen over the city.

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 After a quick breakfast, another interesting day is awaiting us. We start with a guided tour through Trondheim. This is something we actually never tried before, we usually explore a place on our own by just walking wherever our feet take us. But when a town has a history as rich as Trondheims then we want to know EVERYTHING about it. Before we start the tour our lovely guide asks us what we are especially interested in (ancient history, of course) and then shows us all the hidden gems and interesting spots there are within two hours. There is this disinterment going on for example, right in the middle of downtown and as a matter of fact, we wanted to become archaeologists when we were children which is why we are really excited about this. We scout narrow alleys, sneak a peek at the catacombs (which you can find in the town library), stroll along the Solsiden (a shopping center with a lot of nice shops) and its appealing bars and restaurants along the riverside. We learn a lot about beautiful Trondheim during the tour which ends at a bus stop. After saying goodbye to our guide we wait for the bus towards Tempe where we will start our long-awaited kayak tour.

For two hours we skim over the Nivelda (more or less gallant). Even rain and sore muscles announcing themselves cannot ruin this experience. We row past green woods, historic mansions, and a modern suburb until we paddle beneath the previously mentioned red bridge and the peak of our kayak points at the colorful houses of Bakklandet. This very perspective shows us Trondheim from another view yet again, and we feel a growing affection for Trondheim in our hearts – that kind of affection you only feel for special places. This must be a nice place to live!

Highly Recommended!

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The tour ends at Skansen, the seaside of Trondheim, where a vast number of boats are lying at anchor. In between more of those beautiful old houses we already raved about a lot, we find another iconic small restaurant/cafe called Ila Brainnstasjon (Ilevollen 32B). The menu is simple and the furnishing pretty retro – a place we like from the minute we step inside. The building used to be a fire station and its age give it a special and cozy vibe. We order French Toast with extra cheese and coffee (they only serve black coffee, no fancy stuff like Latte Macchiato) – everything is really good! Pretty full we decide not to take the bus but to walk back downtown to see more of the city.

There would be tons of museums to visit, places to see (find an overview over all attractions and sights here: CLICK!) but we decide to try the 3D cinema that just recently opened in an old Planetarium. We miss the movie by a few minutes and are quite disappointed about it. If you are in Trondheim make sure to pay it a visit, it is supposed to be amazing. Instead of letting it get to us we explore more of Bakklandet. Here we find more cute cafes, unique stores, and antique shops. We notice that if we would live here we would spend time at one of those many cafes every day and fill our homes with tons of vintage and antique things. At the end of our walk, we have a coffee at Café Le Frère (Søndre Gate 27) which is close to our hotel– the lemon cake is something to remember.

Around five o’clock we have a shower and put on our fancy clothes. We heard about a new restaurant which immediately caught our attention. The Fagn (Ørjaveita 4) opened up just a few weeks ago and is supposed to be quite the experience. The 30-year-old chef learned in one of the best restaurants in the world in Chicago. What makes the place special? A monthly changing 18-20 course (!!) menu. We never heard about something like that before which is why we really want to try it. At six o’clock we are the first guests and beyond excited what to expect. We go for homemade lemonades instead of matching wines and are not disappointed – they are SO good. The sequence of the courses is perfectly matched, the presentation of the food unbelievably creative and the courses itself so small that it is no problem to eat all the 18-20. To be honest, though, we are not gourmet enough to appreciate oysters, caviar, and fermented food. The cookery is undeniably high, but there a too many courses that don’t match our taste. Others though are so good that we could eat them three times – especially the delicious desserts. If we ever come back, we would go again but this time we would eat à la carte with only those courses we really like.

As this many courses take their time we go to bed late that night. We also HAVE to tell our husbands about this unique experience we just had and to send a picture of every single course. (Not kidding.) They would have loved it. The next morning we pack our things and are already on our way to our next stop Inderøy.

Dear Trondheim, we hope we’ll meet again.

Additional info

History

Trondheim was founded as Nidaros in 997 by the Viking king Olav Tryggvason. 30.000 of the 190.000 inhabitants are students, it is a very popular place to study. Trondheim is an idyllic town with lots of charm placed at the river Nidelva. The climate is mild and can be compared to Germany, at least in winter (only with more snow). In summer the temperatures climb up to 20°C. The history of the town goes way back to the time of the Vikings, and they were holding their ‘Thing’ (an assembly of people to discuss important matters) in Trondheim. The city was Norway’s major trading post back in the days, then became a religious center, a popular pilgrimage destination, and royal residence and therefore capital. No matter who you ask about the history of Norway in Trondheim (even in the whole region of Trøndelag) the first answer will be about the Christian King Olav II. and his endeavor to unite Norway under his reign and to Christianize the whole country. You won’t get around him, believe us. 😉 He was killed in a big battle taking place in Stiklestad and was canonized only a year later. Many pilgrims came to see his shrine. But Trondheim isn’t only famous for its history it is also one of the most important research and teaching places in Norway with a high reputation. You also find the oldest science library and the oldest daily newspaper of Norway there.

Journey there

Trondheim Værnes airport lies about 32km north-east of the town. The easiest way to get to town is taking the airport transfer buses that leave every 15 minutes. The drive takes about 40 minutes and costs (depending on the vendor) approx. NOK130 per person. You can buy the tickets on the bus – paying with a card is also possible. In Trondheim, you find good links to the nearby and further away from cities like Bergen, Oslo or Røros. Express buses and trains are driving frequently and punctual during the week. On the weekends the traffic is limited. The bus network in Trondheim is great (a single ticket costs NOK50, a day pass NOK100) there also is a tram going to Munkvoll. In our opinion taking the bus is not necessary to explore the city, though. You can walk between the sights and by this even enjoy more of this beautiful town.

Accommodation

If you like it casual we would recommend the Thon Hotel. We loved the furnishing and a big breakfast is included. They also offer a small dinner from Monday to Thursday that is included in the price. You find free Nespresso coffee in the lobby. Located downtown it is perfect to explore Trondheim city by foot. The hotel chain lies its focus on environmental protection and has several accolades and certifications.

Thon Hotel Nidaros // Søndre gate 22B, 7010 Trondheim, Norwegen
www.thonhotels.com

We loved the Scandic Bakkalandet Hotel as it is perfect to explore not only downtown but also other parts of Trondheim. It is beautifully located at Bakkalandet with a view of the river Nidelva and all the colorful houses at the riverbank. The rooms are super cozy with Nordic chic furnishing. The breakfast is fantastic and one of the best we ever had in a hotel. Also, the bar and the restaurant look nice and are sure worth a visit. This hotel would be our top recommendation.

Scandic Bakkalandet Hotel // Nedre Bakklandet 60, 7014 Trondheim, Norwegen
www.scandichotels.com

Cafe recommendations

Trondheim is a Paradise for Foodies like us. Tons of great restaurants, unique bars, and cute cafes are to be found at every corner in town. If you like all things retro, antique and cozy, like we do, then Trondheim will definitely be your happy place. We felt home at Baklandet Skydsstation right away and highly recommend their fish soup and the blueberry cheesecake – the interior is really lovely too. Ila Brainnstasjon is a great place for lunch with reasonable prices and great atmosphere. Café Bare Blåbær is another tip – the colorful place is just amazing. Kaffeebar Dromedar serves award-winning coffee and is also worth a visit. Be aware though, some places don’t serve fancy coffee options like Cappuccino or Latte, they only serve black coffee and some milk with it. Find an overview of all the cafes in Trondheim here: CLICK!

Sights / To Do

We highly recommend booking a kayak tour to experience Trondheim from a different perspective than by foot. Paddling through town and especially through Bakklandet is stunning. Trondheim Kajak offers several tours a day. Second best way to see Trondheim is by foot. Walk to Skansen, the view over the harbor and Munkholmen in the far distance is really nice. You can walk, shop, eat and explore Trondheim as much as your heart desires. You find tons of museums to choose from and make sure to pay Nidaros Cathedral a visit. Drift along the Solside and enter the narrow alleys – there are so many beautiful houses to see. Bakklandet itself offers next to cafes a lot of unique stores and antique shops. The town library locates Trondheim’s catacombs. If you are interested in history and the time of Vikings then you might think about booking a guided tour through town to learn all there is concerning Trondheim’s fascinating history. There is a lot of nature to find, too. When you are interested in combining your city trip with some outdoor fun CLICK HERE!

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