“Isn’t this the coldest area of Norway?”, my mum asked nervously when I told her that I planned to go to Trøndelag in Central Norway. But minus 30-degree celsius is luckily not the only thing waiting for you in this region – that only happens during a few days in winter. No, Trøndelag is a region full of pleasant surprises!

When I recently introduced you to the city of Trondheim, I mentioned that Norway is probably best known for its breathtaking landscape and nature. It is no wonder then, that my journey did not end at the city’s border, but took me further inland into the area around Tydal and Røros. Here’s a little introduction on how to explore the region.

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The Facts

Trøndelag is located in central Norway and stretches from the coastline to the Swedish border. While the west is characterised by numerous islands, the capital town Trondheim and the big Trondheimsfjorden, the inland appears to be a little less spectacular. That’s an easy assumption to make at first sight only though, as its stunning scenery of hills and high plateaus is ideal for active holidays year-round. In summer they are perfect for mountain-biking, easy hiking and reindeer safaris; in winter for skiing, cross-country skiing and dog sledding.

Still, the region is relatively off the beaten track – many towns can only be reached by car, except for Røros, where the train between Trondheim and Oslo stops and there is even an airport. As it is rather close to the Swedish border, many tourists here are Scandinavian, so make sure to brush up on your basic language skills to blend in.

If you rent a car, be aware of the speed limit, which is considerably lower than in other European countries (I think it was around 80kmh – can you tell I was probably speeding?!); and also watch out for reindeer on the road. They might appear to be wild animals, but they actually belong to somebody – if you run over a reindeer this somebody will eventually come on knocking at your door, and you will have to pay a fee. Drive safely!

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Tydal

Tydal is an area that can only be reached by car – and yet it is absolutely worth it. It is only about 1,5 hours drive from Trondheim, but already feels like in the middle of nowhere. There are tiny villages with colourful wooden houses, surrounded by hills and calm lakes. By the shore of one of those lakes lies Patrusli Gård, a holiday destination like few others. Marte and Terje, who run the place together with her parents have built a little back-to-the-roots paradise that no 4-star hotel can excel. Patrusli Gård is a horse ranch surrounded by typically Norwegian wooden huts with grass on the roof. The two are buying and renovating hut after hut, some sleeping as little as four, other up to 10 people. They are not ideal for individual travellers, but great for groups of friends or couch surfers. If you don’t have a car yourself, they are happy to pick you up in Trondheim, but you have to request this specifically.

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Surrounded by water and hills there are many activities to fill the days. Terje is a kayak and kite surf instructor and offers classes and excursions on the nearby lake. Marte inherited her love of horses from her mother, who is still competing in horse riding competition. There are over 30 Icelandic horses on the ranch – some of them have been flown in from Iceland directly. They are small, but sturdy – and also pretty adorable. Guests can go on riding trips that last from a few hours to several days. The most basic tour lasts for about 3 hours and includes riding through the forest and hills, and a stop at one of the beautiful Lavvus for tea, coffee and cake. Lavvus are the traditional tents of Sami, the indigenous people of Lapland (Sapmi).

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Other than that there is little to do at Patrusli Gård – except for hiking and fishing if you are into that. There is one hotel restaurant close by, but hardly any other eateries, not even to mention bars. It is perfect then, that the atmosphere is not that of an anonymous hotel, but of an intimate family stay. I had dinner with Terje, Marte, her parents and two girls who were there for their work experience – I was even relaxed enough to pull out my indeed very basic Norwegian skills. After dinner, Marte and Terje proudly showed me their personal highlight on Patrusli Gård: a hot tub under the stars. I don’t know if it was the collision of hot water and cold autumn air, or the finish of local prosciutto, chocolate, liqueur and beer, but I suddenly felt very far away from all the stress at home.

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Røros

As I had read about the beautiful Christmas market of Røros and knew that visiting Norway was probably my best shot at snow this year (thanks Scotland…), I was actually quite bummed about visiting long before Christmas or snow knocked on Norway’s door. Instead I was blessed with unusually consistent autumn sunshine and warm-ish temperatures. Just the wind racing over the flat fields was cooling me down every time I got out of the car.

From Trondheim Røros is the furthest away region still belonging to Trøndelag. Still, it is only 3 hours away, or 1,5 hours drive from Tydal. Approaching the town from the north-east the most eye-catching, and simultaneously least beautiful landmark of Røros is a group of massive piles of black ore. This by-product of the area’s mining industry used to be loaded off at the outskirts of Røros, where the waste didn’t bother anybody. To remind of its cultural heritage the government passed a law to protect these piles, so that nobody could remove them.

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Luckily the rest of Røros makes up for this peculiarity. There are two parallel main roads crossing the centre. The broader Bergmannsgata on the one side is lined by several big representative buildings built by the mine owners and politicians, used for representative purposes or as gifts for daughters and wives. Kjerkgata is narrower and its small houses, which used to be farms, now mainly house shops and restaurants. Some of the buildings date back to the 17th century, however as they are all wooden, most have burnt down in one of the two historically biggest town fires, and were re-built later on. The one building you see from everywhere is the Røros church on top of the hill.

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You can either walk around on your own or join a guided tour at the tourist office. Although the tour might be a little long (1,5 hours) it give you a good overview of the town’s history, the background of the mining industry, and you get to peek into usually closed farm houses and courtyards. Back on your own make sure to head to Trygstad Bakeri for coffee and cake or lunch, or both. It is very popular with the locals and visitors alike, so getting a table is quite a task. Luckily they also do take away, so if it isn’t freezing, take your kanelsnegl (cinnamon roll) to the ore hills and pretend to have a picnic on the moon.

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If you are up for an adventure and interested in the mining industry, plan to visit Olavsgruva, the only mine of the area that is still open to the public. You can only reach it by car (on a road that makes every city driver tremble with fear) and need to come here for a guided tour. On the tour you only see a small part of the mine, which is a massive labyrinth of adits and halls. Imagine to find my way out in the absolute dark is even quite spooky. The temperature in the mine is constant, which could make for a nice warm day activity in winter, but don’t forget your coat in summer.

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Husky Adventures

If you thought husky tours are only possible in winter, I’m happy to tell you that you can perfectly well go on an adventure with sled dogs in summer as well. Well, maybe not when temperature hit their peak in June-August, but in October when it is cool enough tour operators like Alaskan Husky Tours will take you out anyways – not on sleds of course, but on little carts of wheels. The dogs didn’t seem to mind and were happily jumping up and down when me and the mushers parked the car next to the dog yard. I’m not a big dog person, but the enthusiasm these dogs showed for drawing me around Norway blew me away nevertheless. And these doggies were incredible!

The adventure started with taking on proper clothes to protect me from the wind and freezing air. The mushers then showed me how to harness and attach the dogs to the cart. I had five of them, the two mushers accompanying me had six. After a quick introduction to the cart’s numerous brakes we set out for a 2 hour drive through the Norwegian country side. Always talking to my dogs and cheering for them, I sometimes helped them by stepping off and pushing the cart up-hill. Every now and then we stopped to water the hard-working bunch. After two hours the tour was over and after bringing the dogs back to their little huts, we retrieved to a Lavvu for more coffee and cakes – I could get used to that.

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Husky tours are not the cheapest pastime there is (what is in Norway?), but totally worth the money. My favourite things was that I was allowed to drive my own cart, instead of just sitting in the front and feeling like a passenger. The feeling of forming a team with a group of dogs, putting in your effort and appreciating theirs, is definitely unique.

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Reindeer, huskies, ponies and kanel snegls (literally translated to cinnamon snails) – what more could you dream of for your next Norway escape?

All photos by Kathi Kamleitner, who was invited to Trøndelag by the regional tourism board.


This is a post by Kathi Kamleitner.

Kathi Kamleitner was a regular contributor at Travelettes from 2013 to 2019. Originally from Vienna, Austria, she packed her backpack to travel the world and lived in Denmark, Iceland and Berlin, before settling in Glasgow, Scotland. Kathi is always preparing her next trip – documenting her every step with her camera, pen and phone.

In 2016, Kathi founded Scotland travel blog WatchMeSee.com to share her love for her new home, hiking in the Scottish Highlands, island hopping and vegan food. Follow her adventures on Instagram @watchmesee!