Can you name two things that Norway is famous for? Exactly, fjords and northern lights. As Trondheim isn’t particularly famous for either of them (unless you are very lucky in the deepest of winter), this city in central Norway, in a region called Trøndelag, is rarely found on traveller’s itineraries. It is not the Capital of Northern Lights like Tromsø, or surrounded by breathtaking fjords like Bergen or Ålesund. To be honest, I couldn’t even remember that I had visited before, back when my parents took me on a cruise up the Norwegian coastline. My mum had to show me pictures of me posing in front of the city’s landmark cathedral Nidarosdomen to convince me.

Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi KamleitnerThings to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner

Looking back at my 18-year-old self all I can do is shake my head. How could I ever forget this city? Following an invitation of the Trøndelag tourism board to explore the region and its capital I spent a weekend in the city and was surprised by all the cool things to do there. On the one hand Trondheim is a big student city, as students make up about 10% of the local population. This reflects in a gazillion of coffee places to work or chill, student discounts on the local beer and a cool vibe in the streets of the city centre. On the other hand the people of Trøndelag are incredibly proud of their local produce, which results in eateries and restaurants to die for. I could have easily named this post ’15 awesome eateries in Trondheim and a couple of other things’. It is also a great bike city. Yes, there are hills, but there are also bike lanes, plenty of racks to lock up bikes, relaxed traffic and beautiful routes through the city.

To give you a headstart on all the other visitors, who will discover Trondheim pretty soon (I’m sure), I have collected 15 awesome eateries in Trondheim and a couple of other things the 26 best things to do in the Trondheim area. Whether you visit particularly for the city, are passing through on your way further up north, or even just have a couple of hours while your cruise ships anchors at the harbour – you surely will have a fantastic time here!

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The unofficial first rule of travelling Norway is to pack a high tolerance for prices. This is one expensive country and visiting on a budget is very hard. Your best bet to save money is to enter by land/sea via Denmark or Sweden and bring groceries with you, couch surf or wwoof, and keep an eye out for those ride share websites. But even then, where is the fun in travelling if you don’t immerse in the local lifestyle but hide at your self-catering apartment. At some point you will go out for dinner or a drink, and then you need to be prepared for it. It is not rare to spend £9 for a pint of beer or £6 for a piece of cake. That said, I tried to be as thrifty as I could and will give you an estimation of what you can expect to spend at the places I recommend (NOK 100 are roughly £10). In the end, what counts is the experience and the deliciousness – let your credit card deal with this later.

Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner

Sightseeing in Trondheim

1) Channel your inner tourist and take a photo of the Old Town Bridge (Gamle Bybro), one of the most iconic landmarks of Trondheim, which crosses the Nidelva river from the town centre to the Bakklandet neighbourhood.

2) In addition, also walk across bridge Bakke Bru and take a picture of the old bridge in the background. This is probably the most touristy spot you could come across in the entire city, but it is just too beautiful not to stop and snap a shot. The wooden buildings in between the two bridges are up to 400 years old, although fires destroyed most of them at some point in history. On a calm day you can see their reflections in the water – twice the beauty!

Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi KamleitnerThings to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner

3) Visit the Nidaros Cathedral. Even if you’re not religious or don’t want to go inside, it is still quite impressive from the outside and the surrounding graveyard and park Marinen are ideal for a walk.

4) Cross Elgeseter Bru and hunt for the perfect photo from the opposite side of the river. I doubt that the image of the park and the cathedral in the background could be any prettier than in fall.

5) Go for a walk or a run along this opposite side of the river. The views onto the city are beautiful and it’s a good workout.

Things to do in Trondheim-8Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner

6) Explore the most adorable part of town: Bakklandet. You will inevitably end up here if you leave the centre to cross Bakke Bru, the old town bridge or after your stroll along the river. There are cute wooden houses in all colours of the rainbow, that look to good to be true. Numerous cafes and bars cater to a cool young crowd. Here and there you will find small terraces reaching out over the river.

Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi KamleitnerThings to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner

7) Take a walk along Solsiden, which means ‘sunny side’ in Norwegian. The pier – facing south it definitely deserves this name on a sunny day – is seamed with restaurants and bars/clubs. At night their lights reflect in the water – seaside romance, please!

Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner

8) If you are into urban art as much as us Travelettes you should definitely explore the area Svartlamoen just north of Solsiden. The locals call it ‘Little Christiania’ – after the liberal and artsy free state Christiania in Copenhagen. This might be a little exaggerated, but with its graffitis, murals and lovely gardens the streets of Svartlamoen are worth a wander. However, you can hunt for street art and graffitis all around town – you’d be surprised how much you can find! One of my favourite stencils was this popsicle I found in various sizes and moods all over the place.

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9) On a Friday visit the fish market at Ravnkloa in the harbour area. It’s open from 10am to 4pm, which is a lot easier to swallow than the opening times of the fish market in Hamburg. If you are a self-caterer you should get fresh fish for your dinner here.

10) And while you are in the harbour area check out Rockheim, Trondheim’s museum for national pop and rock culture. Having grown up with a metal-head brother I have grown fond of many a Norwegian band over the years and I loved getting an even wider picture of the local music scene of the 20th century. The museum is very interactive and depending on your motivation you can spend hours listening to music, playing with laser pens or even playing instruments yourself. A student ticket is NOK 70, the regular price is NOK 100.

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Active Things to do in Trondheim

11) Rent a city bike and explore Trondheim on two wheels. Special tourist cards can be hired for a charge of NOK 70 and a deposit of NOK 200. These cards must be returned to the Tourist Information Office after use. Although many roads in the centre and particularly in Bakklandet are cobble stone, there is usually a flat lane on each side for cyclists. There are many separate bike paths on the roads, which makes it a great bike city. There is even a bike lift up a steep hill in Bakklandet!

Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner

12) An alternative way of getting a view is to get a board a boat towards Munkholmen, a little prison island in the bay of Trondheim. Sounds like Alcatraz, right? There are two options the touristy 90-minute round-trip for ~£17 or the longer tour which takes you through the canals first for ~8£.

13) To get an even closer look at the buildings along the river Nidelven book a tour with Trondheim Kajakk. The offer trips during the day and at night, and although I haven’t had the time on this trip, I surely added it to the list for next time.

Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner

14) If you rented a bike (or scored a free bike at Rica Nidelven) you should venture a little further out of the city centre towards Lade. In about 20 minutes – theoretically; including photo stops in Solsiden, Svartlamoen and at the Ringve music museum more like 45 minutes – you will find yourself in what looks like finest Norwegian country side. The bay Ringvebukta can be easily reached by bike, but also by foot. There is a beautiful forest trail leading along the ocean (careful, steep hills ahead!) and also a little beach. It feels like there was no city close by at all. Take a look at this map to see which route I took.

15) On the other side of the city, up the hill in the popular recreational area Bymarka lies Lianvatnet, a little lake from which you get a fantastic view over the city in the distance. There is a restaurant up the hill, but you could also just bring your own lunch, walk around the lake and find a calm spot to rest. You can come here either by bike (although it is quite a hill) or by train. It leads all the way up to Lian.

Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner

Where to Eat in Trondheim

16) If you happen to be in Trondheim on the first Saturday of the month, drop by the farmer’s market on Torget, the main square. Torget literally means ‘the square’ – yes, the city is that cozy. At the market you will find local fresh produce, delicacies like tørr fisk (dried fish) or brun ost (brown cheese), and snacks to munch on straight away – for example top-notch hot dogs and waffles. For a veal sausage in a flat bread and toppings I paid NOK 50.

17) Spend an afternoon in one of Trondheim’s many cafes – they are everywhere! People are particularly proud of the local coffee shop chain Dromedar. Their first shop lies in Bakklandet and looks nothing like a chain cafe at all. It is decorated with wooden dromedary figures, there is free WiFi and the carrot cake is to die for! For coffee and cake I spent about NOK 70.

Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner

18)  Have a veggie burger at Cafe Løkka in the Solsiden area. They also regular beef burgers and other dishes, but I can highly recommend the veggie version. Like may other cafes, bars and restaurants Cafe Lokka doubles its size with an outdoor terrace. Heaters provide the necessary warmth to actually enjoy sitting outside. For a burger and a beer (with student discount) I paid around NOK 220.

19) Eat anything (lunch, cake, dinner) at Baklandet Skydsstation. This cafe/restaurant is situated in a building from 1751 and the interior looks like your potential Scandinavian great-grandmother’s living room. If you’re into spicy food, try the corn soup – yummy! For soup and juice I spent roughly NOK 160.

Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner

20) In addition to the ocean view you will get when cycling to Lade, you can also treat yourself to mouthwatering waffles at Sponhuset, a traditional cafe right by the beach in Ringvebukt. In all honesty, these waffles were my reason to get the bike. I paid NOK 40 for the waffles and NOK 30 for coffee.

I got some more recommendations, which I haven’t managed to try myself, but maybe you want to give them a shot: Søstrene Karlson for burger, Mormors Stue for coffee and cake, Brygghus 9, the new microbrewery in town, The Bangkok Cafe for Thai food and Bakgaården for tapas.

Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner

Where to go for drinks in Trondheim

21) In many bars and restaurants (national and international) students get a discount on the local beer Dahls, which is brewed just north of Svartlamoen.

22) For a more complex taste of beer have a pint at Mikrobryggeri. The price might knock you out a little bit (£9 for a pint of very delicious IPA), but what you get is proper craft beer, brewed in-house and with tradition. If you are into beer, this is totally worth it.

Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitnervia

23) If you are into live music check out Blæst at Solsiden, a venue for cool local and international live gigs.

24) For a chill night out with live music head to Antikvariatet, a small bar with regular live gigs. The terrace in particular is a cozy place to sit and watch the people strolling along the streets of Bakklandet.

Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitnervia

Where to stay in Trondheim

25) For a good night’s rest book a room at hotel Rica Nidelven. Its shape allows most rooms to have a sideways view onto the river. The bigger suites have tall corner windows with a gorgeous view over the city. As the hotel faces east, you will be woken up by the sun – on a lucky day that is. With a big comfy bed, floor heating in the bath room and Norwegian TV mainly consisting of US or UK films and shows, I could have spent the entire day just in my room, watching the people crossing the Solsiden bridge down below from time to time.

Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi KamleitnerThings to do in Trondheim Kathi Kamleitner Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner

26) Make sure to set your alarm clock – the breakfast at Rica Nidelven is one that you don’t want to miss out on! It has been awarded Norway’s best hotel breakfast by Twinings Best 8 years in a row. The restaurant has 30 full-time chefs, several of which show off their juice pressing, pancake making, egg squirling and fish filetting skills live on display. There are two coffee bars and a small patisserie. Even with the map it is hard to keep an overview. Luckily there are waiters coming through with fresh juices, chocolate bits and muffins – all the little things you might have missed at the buffet.

Things to do in Trondheim / Kathi Kamleitner

As you see a lot in Trondheim is about enjoying a good life – being physically active, indulging in good food and treats, drinking locally brewed beers, and soaking up the sun on a pier or by the ocean. With its cool vibe and endless options to spend a lazy or productive days around its different areas Trondheim took my by storm. Certainly, I will never forget it again.

If you plan a trip to Norway, of course the fjords and the North will be on your itinerary, but don’t forget to add this off-the-beaten-track destination to it as well! Trondheim and the region of Trøndelag have plenty to offer – soon I will tell you more about the country-side!

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Disclaimer: Travelettes visited Trøndelag and Trondheim on invitation of the Trøndelag tourism board.

All photos by Kathi Kamleitner (except stated otherwise)