Trondheim Travel Guide: Things to Do, See and Eat traveling in Trondheim

Trondheim Travel Guide

Trondheim Travel Guide
Photo by Mariamichelle on Pixabay // CC0


Trondheim is one of Norway’s oldest cities – in 1997, it celebrated its thousandth birthday. Here, you’ll find the cathedral where Norwegians crown their monarchs. It also boasts old forts, interesting museums, and, of course, lots of scenery. Come check out our Trondheim travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Trondheim, Norway.

Top Attractions

Begin your time in Trondheim by exploring the Kristiansten Fortress. After the wholesale devastation that the Trondheim fire brought, local authorities were aware of vulnerable their city was. As their community rose from the ashes, they considered the possibility of a Swedish invasion from the east.

After determining that the city’s eastern flank was a glaring weak point, they built Kristiansten Fortress. Little more than a generation later, circumstances validated the decision of planners, as the Swedes did come. The forces of Trondheim were ready. Sweden laid siege to the city for months. As winter set in, the invaders were ill-prepared, and thus, had to retreat.

This fortification wasn’t always a happy place, though. During the Second World War, Nazi forces used Kristiansten to execute resistance fighters. Following the war, those who committed war crimes and treason against Norway also met their end here.

Admission to Kristiansten Fortress is free, making it suited to budget travellers. After scoping out the fantastic views from its ramparts, check out this attraction’s restaurant. It offers excellent portions, but even if you aren’t hungry, they serve coffee/hot chocolate as well.

If you have time for another attraction on your first day in Trondheim, visit Nidaros Cathedral. It’s easily one of the most impressive churches in Norway, with standout Romanesque/Gothic features. Its construction began in the 11th century and lasted for 230 years. By the time of its completion, it towered over the city, standing 98 metres tall.

Church authorities built Nidaros Cathedral over the grave of King Olav II. He was a beloved Norwegian monarch, who later became the patron saint of Norway. Due to this church’s significance, it has become the coronation location for all Norwegian monarchs.

The bones of this cathedral have lasted through the centuries. However, numerous fires, some extensive, means interior elements only date back a couple of centuries at most. Most noteworthy is an old Baroque organ, built by noted German crafter Johann Joachim Wagner in 1738.

You’re lucky to be able to enjoy this attraction. Terrorists plotted to destroy Nidaros Cathedral in the 1990s. In 1993, police arrested Varg Vikernes, bassist for Norwegian black metal band Mayhem, on conspiracy charges. In his house, they found over 150 kilograms of explosives.

This attraction charges an admission fee, but you can save by buying a combined ticket. This fare will also get you into the Archbishop’s Palace, so take advantage of it. To make the most of your visit, take the guided tour. These trained professionals will fill in knowledge that will only enrich your experience here.

Learn how Trondheim locals lived their lives centuries ago by visiting the Sverresborg Trondelag Folk Museum. This living history attraction consists of 80 buildings sourced from the surrounding countryside.

Many of the buildings used to be prominent structures in the Old Town of Trondheim. However, we’re confident you’ll find its collection of rural churches and farmhouses to be the most impressive. As with Nidaros Cathedral, a guided tour offers the best value for money.

People in the Trondheim area have an affinity for music. As such, it’s no surprise they founded Ringve Museum, an institution containing musical instruments from around the world. The private collection of Victoria Bachke is the basis for this museum, who opened it to the public in the 1950s.

The Manor House contains pianos favoured by composers like Beethoven and Chopin. Clavichords, fiddles, and other instruments are also featured here. In The Barn, you’ll find saxophones and folk instruments from as far afield as The Congo.

Other Attractions

In the mouth of the river Nidelva, you’ll find the fortified island of Munkholmen. This 3 1/4 acre speck of land has a long, storied history dating back to medieval times. It started as the location as a monastery where Benedictine monks lived in isolation.

Eventually, it became a place where the local authorities executed criminals and invaders. Executioners put their heads on pikes as warnings to other potential criminals. During the Renaissance period, the island became armoured in response to Swedish aggression. It also became a prison.

Finally, in the Second World War, it became a gun battery for the Nazis. On the isle, they built an anti-aircraft gun that saw action during the following years. To visit, take a ferry boat. It leaves once per hour and every 30 minutes during the summer.

Learn about the history of Norwegian music at Rockheim. Even if you only have a passing interest, the impressive postmodern architecture makes this place worth checking out. Exhibits of note include the one on Norwegian Black Metal.

End your visit by relaxing in the Bakklandet Old Town. This precious collection of old wooden and stone houses was almost bulldozed to build an expressway in the mid-20th century. Instead, you can walk cobblestone streets, take pictures of waterfront buildings on pilings, and enjoy cool cafes.

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