A walking tour of historic Trondheim

Norway’s first capitol has much to offer in a small town center, from gothic cathedral to bars and boutiques

David Nikel
Trondheim, Norway

Norway’s former viking capitol is often ignored by tourists in favor of the fjords of Vestlandet and the bright lights of the capitol.

However, a simple stroll around the compact city centre reveals a city rich in history yet on the cutting edge of technology.

Start your walk at the brand new tourist office on Nordre gate, a bright airy center where you can find maps, information and products from Trondheim and across Central Norway. From here it’s a short walk to the undoubted highlight of the city, Nidaros Cathedral (Nidarosdomen).

Photo: Terje Rakke / Nordic Life / Visitnorway.com The Nidaros cathedral, highlight of the city. For a great view of the rest of the city, climb the narrow, steep stairs up to the tower.

Photo: Terje Rakke / Nordic Life / Visitnorway.com
The Nidaros cathedral, highlight of the city. For a great view of the rest of the city, climb the narrow, steep stairs up to the tower.

The northernmost medieval cathedral in the world stands over the burial site of Saint Olaf, the 11th Century King of Norway. Spend some time exploring the cathedral but don’t ignore the impressive grounds of the Archbishop’s Palace (Erkebispegården) just next door. Here you can explore a fascinating museum about the history of Trondheim and also see the Norwegian Crown Regalia, including the jewel-incrusted King’s Crown.

Photo: Johan Berge / Visitnorway.com The old town bridge.

Photo: Johan Berge / Visitnorway.com
The old town bridge.

Photo: David Nikel A view of the river from the old town bridge, showing restored warehouses on stilts.

Photo: David Nikel
A view of the river from the old town bridge, showing restored warehouses on stilts.

Leaving the grounds through the peaceful graveyard will lead you to the Old Town Bridge (Gamle Bybro) over the Nidelva river, from where you get a perfect view of the stunning merchant’s wharves that line the river. This is the most photographed part of Trondheim, so don’t forget your batteries! The bridge leads to Bakklandet, a charming neighborhood of wooden houses. Nowadays Bakklandet is home to numerous bars, restaurants and boutiques, but without losing its charm. As you sip your latte in one of the pavement cafes, be thankful that Bakklandet still exists: it was nearly demolished for a freeway fifty years ago.

Photo: David Nikel The cobbled street of Nedre Bakklandet, across the river from the central part of town.

Photo: David Nikel
The cobbled street of Nedre Bakklandet, across the river from the central part of town.

Another photo opportunity awaits you as Søndre gate crosses the river onto the artificial island Brattøya, home to the city’s train station and port. While you’re there, check out Rockheim, Norway’s national rock and pop museum and a shining example of Trondheim’s technological focus. Inside, interactive exhibits immerse you in the story of modern Norwegian music. You can even play along with the greats on a guitar or create your own tracks on a mixing desk.

Other things to see:
Ringve Museum
Norway’s national museum of music and musical instruments houses two permanent exhibitions. “The Museum in the Manor House” (April – October) has been preserved as it looked when Ringve’s founder opened the museum in 1952. “The Museum in the Barn,” features modern sound and light technology.

Stiftsgården, the Royal Residence
Stiftsgården, built during 1774 and 1778 by the ambitious widow of the privy counsellor, is the largest wooden palace in Scandinavia.

Sverresborg-Trøndelag Folk Museum
A museum of cultural history around the ruins of King Sverre’s medieval castle. Large open-air museum with wooden buildings and scenes from Trondheim and Trøndelag as well as beautiful indoor exhibitions.

The Trampe bicycle lift
The Trampe bicycle lift, developed in Trondheim, goes up the steep hill at Brubakken near Gamle Bybro, and takes you from the bridge and almost all the way up to the Kristiansten Fort. For test-runs, you need a lift card and a bike. Lift cards are available at the tourist office.

David Nikel is a British freelance journalist living in Trondheim, Norway. He moved to Norway in 2011 and began recording his observations on the country and the quirks of the Norwegian people at his blog www.lifeinnorway.net. Of particular interest to David is the Scandinavian obsession with English football, and trying to get his head around the mechanics of skiing. In addition to writing for magazines about the topics of Scandinavia, travel and innovation, he helps Norwegian companies to improve their global communications.

This article originally appeared in the April 11, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.

You may also like...