Trondheim is the third-largest city in Norway and lies in the breathtaking region of Trøndelag, where the Nidelva River empties into the Trondheimsfjord. Think pedestrianised streets and colourful wooden warehouses in a small and accessible city centre, surrounded by water and mountains.
It’s often referred to as the gastronomic capital of Norway and is fast emerging as one of the most interesting culinary destinations in Europe. Whether you are looking for Michelin-star restaurants, Nordic flavours or traditional and international experiences, there is something for everyone. Norway’s former capital also has a buzzing nightlife scene, due to its student population. Whether it’s history, culture or food, Trondheim has plenty to offer visitors. If you are short on time, this is how to spend 48 hours in one of Norway’s oldest cities.
Drink delicious coffee at one of Trondheim’s most popular bakeries
Start your weekend at Godt Brød, one of the city’s most popular bakeries; its Dronningens gate branch will position you nicely for the day ahead. Godt Brød opens early in the morning, so it’s the perfect place to get your caffeine fix, alongside one of its famous bakes. Simply walk across the road, and you can marvel at Stiftsgården, the official royal residence in Trondheim. It was built between 1774 and 1778 and is the largest wooden building in Scandinavia. It’s only possible to go inside on an official tour, which is available during the summer months.
Marvel at the world’s most northern Medieval cathedral
Next, walk past the statue of city founder Olav Tryggvason to Nidarosdomen, the city’s breathtaking Gothic cathedral. Buy a ticket for a guided tour of the world’s northernmost Medieval cathedral, or take in its glory from outside.
For a tasty lunch, head to Café Ni Muser, which is next to the Trondheim Art Museum. On a sunny day, you can sit and enjoy a drink on the large outdoor terrace. Head chef Geir Barstad proudly dishes up both local and international dishes inspired “from the French kitchen”.
Go on a hike 20 minutes away from the city centre
One of Trondheim’s finest features is the beautiful nature that surrounds the city centre. After lunch, go on a pleasant stroll just 20 minutes from the centre of town. It doesn’t have to take long to feel like you’ve travelled away from the bustling crowds. Gråkallbanen is the world’s northernmost tram line and will take you from the city centre to Lian in just 21 minutes, where you will find yourself in a popular hiking area high above the city. The easiest trail is around the lake, which gives you some lovely views and fresh air. Once you have explored the area, you can simply take the tram back down to the city centre.
Eat a traditional meal at one of Trondheim’s most famous restaurants
Head to the Archbishop’s Palace, between Nidarosdomen and the Nidelva River. Here, you’ll find one of Trondheim’s most exceptional restaurants, Vertshuset Grenaderen. Once used as an old forge, the building itself dates back to the 1700s. Most of the structure and its interior have been well preserved, creating a relaxed and cosy atmosphere. In terms of food, Grenaderen serves traditional Norwegian dishes, including reindeer, codfish and lamb. In the summer months, you can enjoy the food in its serene backyard.
Sip cocktails in one of Trondheim’s best cocktail bars
Trondheim has its large student population to thank for its vibrant nightlife. While the cocktail bar scene is still on the rise, Raus Bar is world-class with a roster of award-winning bartenders. Head bartender Jørgen Dons is one of the frontrunners on the Norwegian bar scene. Once you have sipped one of his inventive cocktails, you can check out one of his other recommendations. Jørgen recommends Bar Moskus, which is a small and intimate bar in the middle of the city centre. It has an impressive selection of spirits, beer and wine. When a live band isn’t performing, it plays a collection of old vinyl records.
When you’re ready to catch some sleep, check in to Scandic Nidelven, which was awarded Twinings Best Breakfast for the 13th time in 2019.
Try the best hot chocolate in Trondheim
Start your day in one of Trondheim’s most charming neighbourhoods, Bakklandet. Approach it from the eastern side of town and walk over the Old Town Bridge (Gamle Bybro), where you will see some of the most famous city views. In Bakklandet, you will find some of the area’s cosiest restaurants, cafés and shops, including the quirky and homely café Baklandet Skydsstation. Once used as a transport station, the building itself dates back to the 1700s. Now, it’s a place where you can enjoy food and drinks in a traditional setting. Try the owner’s home-made hot chocolate. It’s the best in town.
Go on an adventure to an island just 10 minutes away
If you’re up for something a bit more adventurous, hop on a boat to Munkholmen, otherwise known as the Monk’s islet, which is a short 10-minute trip from Trondheim. It’s a must-visit during the summer months when boats depart from Ravnkloa, by the fish market, every hour. The historical island was once an execution ground, monastery, prison, fortress and a World War II defence station. On the island, there is a small café that is perfect for lunch. Enjoy hot dishes, sandwiches, cakes, ice cream and more in beautiful surroundings.
Take in the views in a rotating restaurant 74 metres (243 feet) high
To experience Trondheim from yet another perspective, head to Egon at Tyholttårnet, a restaurant located in a tower 74 metres (243 feet) above ground. The structure was built in 1985 as a radio and telecommunications tower. In 1999, Egon moved in, becoming incredibly popular with Trondheim’s residents and visitors. The tables are set on a rotating floor that allows you to see the city from every angle imaginable. It takes an hour to sit through a whole rotation, meaning you shouldn’t get dizzy. Egon is a restaurant chain that serves everything from pasta to burgers, pizza, steaks and vegetarian dishes.
Sip cocktails while learning about Trondheim’s history in a five-star hotel
If you’re looking to combine culture with drinking, look no further than Britannia Bar, located in the middle of Britannia, a five-star hotel in the heart of the city centre. Øyvind Lindgjerdet and his team have created a menu that features signature cocktails based on local history. For example, the ‘Smoke’ cocktail was created to honour one of the city’s greatest fires in 1841. Raus bartender Jørgen also assures us that the bar serves classic cocktails of a very high standard.
Save yourself the journey outside and grab a room for the night. Britannia Hotel dates back to 1870 and is a five-minute walk from Trondheim Central Station.