Trondheim is becoming increasingly accessible for those with limited mobility, thanks to its efforts to meet universal accessibility demands. From disability-friendly transport and hotel options, to tips on how to navigate the city’s best attractions, here’s a guide on how to make the most out of your Scandinavian city-break.
Trondheim, the third largest city in Norway, is famed for its quaint charm. Though the picturesque cobbled streets can be difficult to navigate for those with limited mobility, the city on the whole is becoming increasingly more disability-friendly. The majority of airlines, trains, buses and ferries in Trondheim are accessible for everyone, and many restaurants, bars, hotels and landmarks are now required by law to have wheelchair access. Here’s everything you need to know to enjoy your next visit to this charming Norwegian city.
Trondheim’s public transport system is becoming increasingly accessible for those with reduced mobility. The easiest way to get around the city is by bus, which is run by the company AtB. The buses all have low entrances and ramps for easy access with wheelchairs. There are also designated areas for wheelchairs near the driver, with buttons that signal to the driver that someone needs assistance or extra time. All regional buses and ferries are also equipped with a ramp. Unfortunately, Trondheim’s famous tram, Gråkallbanen, is not designed for universal accessibility, and there is no ramp available.
Kristian Lian, regional manager for Norway’s Handicap Society Trøndelag, tells Culture Trip: “Trondheim city centre is both flat and relatively simple to navigate, and the municipality has for many years had a consistent focus on universal accessibility demands.” Kristian explains that there are “still some pavements that are in bad condition and some steep curbs, but all in all, Trondheim is easily accessible for those with limited mobility”.
Kristian added: “Like many of the older cities in Norway, there are a lot of cobbled streets in Trondheim.” However, the city is becoming easier to navigate for wheelchair users, because according to Kristian “on Trondheim’s main square and several side streets, the cobbles have been replaced with tiles, flagstones and asphalt. That makes them easy and accessible”. In the popular Bakklandet neighbourhood, you can easily use a wheelchair on the pavement, or the cycle path on the road.
Kristian tells Culture Trip: “There is good accessibility for those in wheelchairs at several of the city’s biggest attractions.” When deciding on what sightseeing spots to add to your itinerary, keep in mind that “VisitTrondheim can customise guided tours depending on individual needs”, notes Kristian. The tourism office has previously arranged a guided tour around the city centre for the Blind Association in Trondheim, for example. He added: “On the guided tours where you have to use a bus, VisitTrondheim uses a company that has wheelchair lifts on all the vehicles.” Additionally, most of Trondheim’s museums are accessible to those in wheelchairs.
The Sverresborg Folk Museum is one of Norway’s biggest open-air museums, where they welcome and “facilitate everyone that wants to visit, as best they can”. With automatic doors in the main building, wheelchair users can easily come and go. They also have a lift that goes to the exhibition floors, and there is easy access to the toilets, café and gift shop. In the outdoor museum, there are signed trails that make it accessible for wheelchairs, but some areas are elevated. Kristian warns that “Sverresborg Museum can be quite steep, and the antique buildings aren’t wheelchair accessible”. Note there are some steps inside the historic house, which make them difficult to access.
Nidarosdomen, or Nidaros Cathedral, is one of the largest medieval churches in the Nordics. Staff aim to make the cathedral’s facilities as accessible as possible for disabled travellers. The western entrances of the cathedral feature ramps, which allows for easy access to the main building as well as the High Altar in the east. However, there are several areas (like the Octagon or the Chapter House) which are not possible for wheelchair users to access, due to the age of the building. Those with limited mobility will be able to use a lift to get to the cathedral’s basement, where a disabled toilet is located.
Trøndelag Theatre is the oldest theatre house in the Nordics, where shows have been running continuously since 1816. All of the theatre’s stages are easily accessible for wheelchair users, and have dedicated spacious seats. If you require assistance, mention this when booking and upon arrival, and friendly staff will gladly help you to your seat.
Vår Frue Kirke, or the Church of Our Lady, is one of Trondheim’s oldest buildings, and was originally constructed during the 1100s. Situated in the heart of the city centre, the church has a rich and fascinating history. It is run by the City Mission on behalf of Nidaros Cathedral as an open church, and can be easily accessed by wheelchair. There is step-free access, and once inside there are designated wheelchair spaces.
Built in 1989, the Olavshallen Concert Hall is Trondheim’s largest and most important building. The best way to access the concert hall for wheelchair users is the entrance from Brattørgata/Krambugata. The glass lift will take guests straight to the Big Hall, or down to the Small Hall, which is situated closest to Kjøpmannsgata. For every show, there are a number of designated wheelchair seats in both halls. Be sure to reserve these spaces when booking tickets.
Munkholmen, otherwise known as Monk Island, was Trondheim’s execution ground during the Viking Age. Although there’s limited wheelchair access here, it’s not entirely impossible for wheelchair users to visit. Located in the Trondheim Harbour area, the island can be reached by boat from the Ravnkloa harbour. Kristian tells Culture Trip, “Munkholmen has floating docks on both sides, but access to the boat is difficult with an electric wheelchair. At Munkholmen, there is a relatively steep hill with cobbles, which makes it challenging but definitely not impossible [to visit with limited mobility] with forward planning”.
Winner of The Best Hotel Breakfast in Norway accolade 13 times in a row, Scandic Nidelven is a great pick for all foodies. Located in the heart of Trondheim next to the Nidelva River and Solsiden, it is perfect for those looking for a centrally located hotel, as it’s adjacent to the most popular area in the city for shopping, restaurants and bars. The hotel has 18 stylish and disability-friendly rooms, which offer smart solutions for those with limited mobility.
Dating back to 1870, this elegant hotel is situated only a five-minute walk from Trondheim’s Central Station, and a stone’s throw from Nidaros Cathedral. This four-star hotel has fantastic spa facilities and upscale dining options including a Michelin-star restaurant, a wine bar and a cocktail lounge. For early-risers, the hotel offers breakfast in the historic Palmehaven dining hall, which dates back to 1918. With newly renovated facilities, the hotel has a number of luxurious, wheelchair-accessible rooms.
Located at the top of a radio and TV tower in the Risvollan area of the city, Egon is Trondheim’s only rotating restaurant. Serving an extensive menu that includes pizza, pasta, burgers and vegetarian dishes, this sky-high restaurant is easily accessible for wheelchair users and offers panoramic views of the city.
Boasting an impressive menu with dishes inspired by Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Korean cuisine, this restaurant is perfect for a casual lunch or dinner. Located in the Solsiden area, it’s a perfect spot to unwind after a long day of sightseeing. KŌNĀ Solsiden has easy access for wheelchair users, and an outdoor seating area overlooking the Nidelva River for al fresco dining.