Nidaros: Mouth of the river Nid
Back into Norway, just few months since we repeat a trip to its capital, Oslo. But with such a large, and long country, the amount of great places to go are quite endless to us for now. While we’ve been already to many places, those are all still towards the quarter part south of the country, never anything farther north. With Trondheim we can say we move a little bit north, but when you see this point on a map of the country then you realise how enormously long the country is and how much farther north is still to be seen!. Unfortunately for now and unless a good offer comes out by any airline, I do not believe we will be returning anymore to Norway for this year. Tromso, Alta and Nordkapp will have to wait for the near future.
Our plan for this trip would not only be visiting just Trondheim, but also for driving through the ever beautiful landscapes of fjords, mountains and lakes south towards Kristiansund, and farther beyond in order to pass by the more and more famous and visited Atlantic Ocean Road. Once a very quiet and remote road that since being featured on TV, travel sites, best roads to drive and so on, it is becoming a worldwide attraction! And I see the clear reason anyway. You have to be there to experience it, truly exciting and beautiful. This is what we did the day right after our arrival in Trondheim, sparing Sunday for sightseeing the beautiful city itself.
Visiting the city is matter of few hours. Although the 3rd largest in the country, it is indeed small to the standards we are used to. Norway, after all, is a very underpopulated country, with majority of its inhabitants living south in Oslo and nearby metropolitan region. As more north you go, the less people. That’s why when planning a trip here, make sure you also come with other ideas, like the road trip we did the day before (guide here if you want to know more). Spending the entire weekend in the city alone could be too boring.
Something no one can deny is how beautiful it is! And how many historical wooden warehouses along the Nidelva River are. Even the old town bridge, a great example with its wooden head at one end. The many marinas and all so perfectly restored and revamped.
As for an awkward fact though, this was beginning of June, almost the peak of the year at the summer solstice, so if you’ve never experience a day without a night this is your chance. And farther north you go the “worst” that it gets. It is 24 hours daylight. Sunset was minutes after midnight, but sunrise was around 1.30am! It switched our heads and was hard to sleep. We felt it was weird to sleep being that bright and we could have easily gone out sightseeing the city at 2.00am, but then again, everything was closed and no one on the streets.
Coming to food and where to eat, well, you are in one of the most expensive countries in the world, so unfortunately I cannot recommend you anything apart of McDonalds and Burger King, unless you are willing to pay £30 for a simple pizza! Yes you hear me right. And gladly it is £30 and not £40 and more as it was in Bergen. Crazy and nonsense. Fast food and supermarkets are your best friends over here.
For more information about Trondheim check Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. Norway’s currency is the Norwegian Krone (NOK). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Trondheim
- Nidelva Riverside The river creates a peninsula where the historic city centre is built, and it is a great and beautiful walk all along the riverside with plenty of wooden houses and old warehouses on its way.
-Wooden Harbour buildings Along Kjøpmannsgata, Fjordgata and Sandgata. The best view is from the Old Town Bridge across the Nidelva river for the picture perfect of Kjøpmannsgata area.
- Old Town Very charming and characteristic from the Northern European cities, with many beautiful wooden buildings, and other in stone after the many fires that have destroyed the city in the past. In order from north to south:
-Sandgata-Fjordgata The main street in the northern edge of the old town with plenty of coffees, restaurants and bars, and thriving nightlife; many of which in converted warehouses. Ravnkloa is the small square at the centre of this street and from where the major thoroughfare Munkegata starts and crosses the entire old town north to south directly to the Cathedral.
-Stiftsgaarden The Royal Residence was built in 1778 for Cecilie Christine Schøller, in mostly Baroque style, and it is the largest wooden building in Northern Europe. Right behind it there is a nice park.
-Torget Is the major square in the centre of the old town, where both north-south/east-west axis meet. There is a statue of Olav Trygvason in the middle. At one of the sides, on the larger wooden house is the tourist information.
-Kongens Gate Is the main west-east avenue through the city, meeting at Torget with the Sandgata Avenue.
-Church of Our Lady Behind the tourist information, east of Torget.
-Hospital Church All the way to the west, this was the first octagonal timber church to be built in Norway and Sweden.
-Nidaros Cathedral Continuing south along the Sandgata. The pearl of the city has some important facts: It is the biggest church of Northern Europe, only major Gothic cathedral in Norway and the northernmost medieval cathedral in the world. Built from 1070 to memorialize the burial place of Olav II of Norway, the king who was killed in 1030 in the Battle of Stiklestad; becoming ever since pilgrimage site with the route from Oslo to Trondheim on what is known the Saint Olav’s Way. It costs 100 NOK to enter (50 for students and seniors), or you can get a combo ticket for 200 NOK (100 for students) including the Archbishop’s Palace and Crown Jewels.
-Archbishop’s Palace Nowadays housing the Archaeological Museum, which includes an excavated Mint workshop for the minting of coins.
-Rustkammeret Translates as the Armoury, is at Erkebispegården, same compounds of the Cathedral. It holds a great collection of weapons and uniforms dating back from the middle ages to modern day, free entrance.
-Old Town Bridge To the east of the Cathedral, on Kjøpmannsgata. As explained above, from the other side of the river you will get the most picturesque view of the old harbour wooden warehouses.
-Trampe at Bakklandet The world’s first bike lift, just across the Old Town Bridge. Just a curiosity to see.
- Across the Nidelva river There is no much to be seen when you cross the river from the old town as it is mostly residential areas; but the university is a nice sight.
-Hogskoleparken To the south of the old town, across the Nidelva river, is where the university of Trondheim is, with the beautiful large main building at the garden’s head.
- Hell Station Fancy doing something off the path? Something you though it was actually a made up of words? Well it is not, you can get a train ticket to Hell, or simply drive there to get the pictures. It is next door to Trondheim Airport, the station before. Who said hell would be an ugly or bad place? It clearly is not 🙂
Værnes International Airport is 35 kilometres to the east of the city centre, and despite being far, the combination of buses and trains make it very well and frequently connected with a journey time of around 35 minutes, either if by train or if by bus. The most frequent option is the well known Flybussen (same company operating at any of the Norwegian airports), with a ticket cost of 120NOK for a single, or 220NOK for a return, (student pay 90/150 NOK). A second bus company Værnes-Ekspressen operates pretty much the same route with the same fare but less frequently. Lastly, the train, which is the cheapest option but the less frequent of them all, 71 NOK, (53 NOK for students). We found our tickets with Norwegian from/to London Gatwick.
Travelling by train within the country is reasonably efficient and not much time consuming. Trains are very comfortably and of great standards, and Trondheim lies in the trunk line Oslo-Bodo, linking south with the north. Trains to other destinations is possible but might involve a change in between.
Long distance buses criss-cross the country north to south, east-west, but expect a lengthily journey. In the other hand overland transportation is extremely scenic, and should you have the time, nothing beats the landscapes you will see than seeing nothing if flying instead.
Although the city is of reduced size, there is a good public transportation network of buses, and a tram line, all very easy to understand. The tram line, as a remark here, is the northernmost tramway system in the world. Nothing to worry anyway since you will not need to take any bus or taxi, unless your hotel or accommodation is far from the historic city centre. Distances are very reduced and it is definitely best explored on foot.
Like anywhere in Norway, and pretty much any Northern Europe countries, the price for a hotel per night are some of the highest across the 50 countries that form Europe as a continent. Getting a good deal is hard, high or low season, so you are left with what it is, hence when considering planning a trip to Trondheim, also consider the extra cost for your hotel. Sometimes a great deal on a flight will not mean the over all cost of the trip is going to be low, as you need to add up accommodation and food costs which pile quickly up.
As usual, a good point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred hotel search engine websites such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, LateRooms or Ebookers. We chose airb&b this time and worked perfectly. We were not in the city centre but we did not really need it since we had a car to go everywhere. Still, it came to over £80 considering no breakfast, just a room with a bed.