Trondheim City Guide

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This week we’re going to focus on the beautiful city of Trondheim. This city is often overlooked by tourists in favor of the famous fjords, or the larger cities of Oslo and Bergen. However as Norway’s 3rd largest city, Trondheim has so much to offer. This is in part due to the city’s large student population, who number more than 30,000. The settlement was founded in 997 as a trading post and it served as the capital of Norway during the Viking Age until 1217. With a rich history, great museums, and a focus on local cuisine, this is a city worth visiting. Come explore Trondheim with us in our guide to the city!


A view of the medieval Niadros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway.
Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway

Nidaros Cathedral

No visit to Trondheim is complete without a visit to the Nidaros Cathedral. Nidaros is the world’s northernmost medieval cathedral and is Norway’s national sanctuary. The cathedral was built over the tomb of St. Olav, the Viking King who became the patron saint of Norway. Even if you don’t want to venture inside the cathedral, the exterior has the most beautiful patina and medieval architecture. It is definitely worth wandering the grounds and taking pictures – especially when blanketed with snow in the winter months. For more information, please visit the cathedral website.

A view of the colorful buildings in the Bakklandet neighborhood in Trondheim
Bakklandet, Trondheim


Bakklandet is a charming neighborhood filled with houses, shops, and cafés. The area boasts old timber buildings which were originally homes of the working class. This culturally significant part of town plays an important role in Trondheim’s identity. The old part of the city brings students, locals, and businesspeople together to dine, drink, and enjoy the atmosphere. While here, you won’t want to miss the world’s first bicycle lift, Trampe. If you aren’t on a bike, or don’t want to brave it yourself, it is a fun pastime to watch people attempt to use it. It’s harder than it looks and some are more successful at it than others. We encourage you to rent a bike and join in on the fun though!

A view of the arches of Gamle Bybroa (Old City Bridge) in Trondheim, Norway.
Gamle Bybroa, Trondheim, Norway

Gamle Bybroa

The Gamle Bybroa, or Old City Bridge, is probably the most popular way to enter Bakklandet. Built in 1681, the bridge is also known by the nickname “Lykkens Portal”, which means “Portal of Happiness”. The bridge not only makes for a picturesque way to enter the colorful neighborhood of Bakklandet, but also a great photo op of the colorful buildings lining the Nidelva river as well as the beautiful archways that cover the bridge.


A view of the exterior of the Rockheim Music Museum in Trondheim, Norway.
Rockheim Music Museum, Trondheim

Rockheim and Ringve Music Museums

If you’re a music fan, then you won’t want to miss paying a visit to the city’s music museums.

Rockheim, is the National Museum of Popular Music. Rockheim takes you through Norwegian music from the 1950s to the 2000s.  You can listen to, read about and play with music in the museum’s interactive exhibits. For more information, please visit the museum’s website.

A view of the exterior of the Ringve Music Museum in Trondheim.
Ringve Music Museum, Trondheim, Norway

While Rockheim’s focus is popular music, the Ringve Music Museum is Norway’s national museum for music and musical instruments. Housing a large international collection of more than 2,000 historical musical instruments, this museum offers wonderful opportunities to learn and explore music from around the world. The museum, at almost 70 years old, is closely linked to the Ringve Farm and its architecture. The old park’s garden was the impetus for the Ringve Botanical Garden NTNU which was founded in 1973. For more information, please visit the museum’s website.


Waterfall at ilabekken in Trondheim, Norway.
Ilabekken Waterfall, Trondheim, Norway

Bymarka and Ilabekken

Norway is known for its stunning natural landscapes and there’s no reason you can’t enjoy the great outdoors even when visiting a city.  For a dose of fresh air we recommend that you head on up to Bymarka, a large park and nature reserve on the west side of Trondheim. It’s easily accessible by public transport and offers a wealth of outdoor activities no matter the season, from skiing, to hiking, swimming, and even foraging for mushrooms.

Ilabekken is the corridor that connects the city with the Bymarka natural reserve. The Ilabekken hiking trail starts close to the city center at Ilabekken park, and ends at one of Trondheim’s most popular swimming lakes, Theisendammen. The wooden stairs and waterfall area of Møllebakken are particulary scenic and a great spot to take photographs and enjoy the natural beauty.

Old Kristiansten Fortress White Tower, historical touristic attraction at Trondheim, Norway
Kristiansten fortress, Trondheim, Norway

Kristiansten Fortress

Kristiansten Fortress is located on a hill on the east side of Trondheim. It was built after the city fire of Trondheim in 1681 to protect the city against attack from the east, and named after Christian V of Denmark. The fortress is open to the public and you’ll find a café within the fortress walls.  This location offers sweeping views of the city and many come here to picnic, grill, and lounge about on sunny days. We recommend grabbing some picnic supplies and lunching on the grounds after a tour of this historic spot. For more information, please visit the fortress website.


Old architecture at the Sverresborg Trondelag Folk Museum in Trondheim, Norway.
Sverresborg Trondelag Folk Museum, Trondheim, Norway

Sverresborg Trondelag Folk Museum

For a glimpse back in time, be sure to visit the Sverresborg Trondelag Folk Museum. As the 3rd largest cultural museum in Norway, it has an incredible collection of houses, artifacts, and photos. The oldest building on the site is a stave church dating back to 1170 A.D. The museum is placed around the ruins of King Sverre’s castle which dates back to 1183 A.D. Offering sweeping views over the city of Trondheim and the surrounding fjord, the museum has more than 80 buildings from the Trondheim and Trondelag area. From castle ruins, original buildings of downtown Trondheim, to more rural building structures, the folk museum makes for a fun and informative day. For more information, please visit the museums website.


While these are arguably the most popular destinations for visitors to Trondheim, we’ve just scratched the surface.  This vibrant student city is also passionate about local food and cuisine, so be sure to check out the wonderful restaurants for a true taste of Trøndelag. We hope that you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into the wonderful experiences waiting for you in Trondheim.

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