Traveling to Trondheim, Norway, but you’re not sure what there is to do in town? Then you’re definitely in the right place because this detailed guide to the top things to do in Trondheim will tell you all about the city’s best-known attractions!
The city boasts excellent museums, the world’s northernmost gothic cathedral, and an opportunity to see the Northern Lights if you visit at just the right time. Attractions in Trondheim vary from stunning examples of medieval architecture to amazing modern Norwegian art, so there’s certainly lots to keep you occupied, regardless of what you’re most interested in.
So, read on to see all the best attractions that are an absolute must for all travelers who want to thoroughly explore Trondheim!
Bakklandet is a charming Trondheim neighborhood best known for its colorful pastel houses and trendy waterfront restaurants. Gamle Bybro is the famous Old Town Bridge that must be crossed to reach Bakklandet from the city center.
The bridge itself is iconic and one of the most famous landmarks in this Norweigan city. It’s best known for the red portals, which look absolutely amazing both in person and in photographs. Gamle Bybro is also a great place to get some great photos of the Bakklandet’s pastel houses, as well as to just enjoy some scenic views.
It’s worth noting that there aren’t any fees to cross the bridge or anything. This popular Trondheim attraction is completely free to discover, so a must for all travelers on a tighter budget in northern Norway.
The Ringve Music Museum is Norway’s national museum dedicated to music and musical instruments. It’s situated on a farm outside of downtown Trondheim, and the collection is divided into two buildings – the manor and the barn houses.
The Manor House is the larger of the two buildings, so it houses more exhibits. Every room is dedicated to a certain famous musician and features the instruments that artists favored. The rooms in the Manor House are named after Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and Adelina Patti, among others.
The Barn is divided into just two parts. One part houses instruments relating to western classical and pop music, while the other holds various folk instruments from countries all over the planet.
Right next to the museum is the Ringve Botanical Garden. It’s definitely worth a quick visit if you’re already in the area since it’s a free attraction. It boasts many beautiful plants and flowers, which are best experienced in the summer when everything is in full bloom. You’ll also see quite a few interesting wooden carvings, as well as lots of ducks around the pond in the garden.
The Sverresborg Trøndelag Folk Museum is an open-air heritage museum. It’s one of a few museums in this style in Norway, and it’s certainly an attraction worth visiting if you want to see some stunning old buildings.
This Trondheim museum boasts more than 80 buildings, some of which were constructed as early as the 12th century. It beautifully illustrates the way of life in Trondheim from a different era, and it’s perfect if you want to learn more about the history of this Norwegian city.
Opt for a guided tour, and you’ll be told all sorts of stories about the old ways of Trondheim. There’s even a town square at this folk museum, as well as buildings that were set up as replicas of ancient businesses and offices. You can visit an old dentist’s office, go inside an apothecary store, and even an old hat shop.
Some exhibits at the museum are organized by the different phases in one’s life, so there are sections dedicated to children, teenagers, young adults, etc. It’s certainly one of the most interesting museums in the city, especially for people who are genuinely interested in learning more about the history and culture of Trondheim.
Nidaros Cathedral is one of Trondheim’s most famous attractions. The medieval cathedral is not just a famous landmark in the town of Trondheim, but it’s also the destination of Norway’s best-known long-distance hikes. Pilgrimage on the St. Olav Ways is a series of nine long-distance hikes, all of which lead to the Nidaros Cathedral.
The famous cathedral dates back to the 11th century and it boasts a Gothic architectural style. It was constructed on the burial site of St. Olav, which is why so many pilgrimage paths lead pilgrims right to the cathedral. Also, it’s worth noting that this is the world’s northernmost medieval cathedral, which is pretty cool.
It took more than 200 years to build the Nidaros Cathedral – construction started in the mid-11th century, but it wasn’t finished until the early 14th century. Other work was done on the Trondheim cathedral in the following years, with the most recent reconstructions finishing in 2001.
The facade of this church is certainly impressive, but the interior is equally astounding. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to go inside the cathedral and see the ornamented interior – plan a visit during an organ concert if at all possible, to truly be amazed.
The National Museum of Decorative Arts is situated in the heart of Trondheim and it’s one of the most popular museums in the city. It boasts permanent and temporary collections that showcase decorative and industrial artworks from Norway and all over the world.
The objects at the museum date from the 15th century to the modern day, and the collection is truly varied. There’s everything from a Japanese samurai armor that dates back to the Edo period, to an entire room filled with objects that were staples in the fifties. The museum is absolutely fascinating, and if you really get into the exhibits, it can take you quite a while to explore every corner of the museum’s three floors.
It’s worth noting that this museum features 4-5 temporary exhibits every year. If you happen to visit Trondheim during a time when there’s a temporary exhibit at the National Museum of Decorative Arts, definitely don’t skip this famous attraction!
Tyholttårnet is a radio tower in Trondheim. It’s 124 meters tall, which officially makes it the tallest structure in the entire country. The radio tower boasts a restaurant and an observation deck, both of which are worth visiting if you want to experience some epic panoramic views.
The vistas from the radio tower stretch over downtown Trondheim, all the way to the spectacular Trondheim fjord. The restaurant at the radio tower is revolving, and it manages to complete a single revolution in one hour. Grab lunch and some drinks, and you’ll get to enjoy fabulous 360° views of the city of Trondheim and the stunning nature that surrounds it.
It’s worth noting that the famous radio tower is situated outside the Trondheim city center, but you can easily reach it by public transport. The same goes for any attractions that are not within walking distance of the city center – Trondheim is well connected with busses, so you shouldn’t have any problems reaching the tourist attractions that are a bit further away.
Kristiansten Fortress is one of the most famous tourist attractions in town and is usually one of the first stops on a sightseeing tour for most people who visited Trondheim. It’s situated in the eastern part of the town, overlooking downtown Trondheim and offering some spectacular panoramic views.
The fortress has a rich history – it was built after the great fire of 1861, and it helped save the city of Trondheim from Swedish conquest in 1718. With that, the Kristiansten Fortress pretty much fulfilled its purpose, and in 1816 it was decommissioned by the then king Charles XIV John.
The Nazi forces used it during the second world war, and they executed no less than 23 Norweigan patriots inside the fortress. In the late 20th century, Kristiansten Fortress was turned into a museum and its gates were opened to the public. Entrance into the fortress is free and the gates are open every day of the year, so you can visit at any time that is convenient for you.
Situated just south of the iconic Nidaros Cathedral, a 13th-century stone castle houses the Archbishop’s Palace & Museum. For several centuries this castle served as the official residence of the Archbishop of Nidaros, but nowadays it’s a popular tourist attraction with an impressive museum.
Two palace buildings burned down in the 1980s, which ultimately lead to some of the largest excavations in Norway, in the 1990s. The foundations of more than 100 buildings were uncovered, as well as 160,000 other archeological finds. Many of those finds can be seen at the palace museums, but by far the most impressive finding on these grounds was the presence of three mints atop one another.
There are three museums on the grounds of the Archbishop’s Palace, and they’re all worth exploring. The most interesting attraction in all three museums is definitely the King’s Crown. It’s displayed in the west wing, along with other Norwegian royal regalia.
Also, it’s worth noting that you can get a combined ticket that covers entrance into the Nidaros Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace, and the royal regalia exhibit. This is cheaper than buying individual tickets for the attractions, so it’s best to just tour all the attractions at Kongsgårdsgata on the same visit.
Husfliden is a store in the center of Trondheim famous for selling Bunad. That’s the Norweigan umbrella term for both folk costumes and traditional rural clothes that date from the 18th-20th century. The store is a great place to shop for souvenirs, especially if you’d like to buy high-quality traditional Norweigan clothing.
They have an amazing selection of woolen sweaters and an even better selection of yarns, making the store an absolute must for anyone who’s into knitting and crochet. Also, in case you packed a bit too light for Trondheim and you’re in need of some warmer clothes, this is by far the best store to visit.
It’s worth noting that the Husfliden store is a bit pricey, but the top-notch quality of the garments undoubtedly justifies the higher prices.
Rockheim is a heritage museum dedicated to Norweigan music, and it’s an absolute must for all music lovers. The exhibits at the museum are separated by decade and genre, and although the main focus of the museum is Norwegian music, you can appreciate the exhibits even without knowing too much about the country’s most popular artists.
Some highlights of the Rockheim museum include the exhibits dedicated to rock and the metal room. Also, it’s worth noting that the exhibits include various instruments and even old technology that was popular in music once upon a time. You’ll see a jukebox and a cassette player, in addition to some newer technologies.
How long you need to explore this museum largely depends on just how interested you are in the exhibits. You can probably do a quick tour in less than an hour, but if you really get into the different exhibits, it could easily take you more than 3-4 hours to see every corner of the six floors of this museum.
Stiftsgarden is the royal residence in the heart of Trondheim, and an attraction you can’t miss if you just go on a walk around the city center. What’s fascinating about this building is that it’s made from wood, and it’s one of the largest wooden buildings in Northern Europe.
It’s important to note that the palace halls are open to the public only in the summer unless there is a royal visit. Guided tours of the palace are available, and they’re great for getting to know more about this fascinating building and its incredible history.
You won’t see much period furniture inside the royal residence. There are only two Roccoco-style stoves from the mid-18th century, and most other furniture in the building dates to the 19th century. Most of the furniture was acquired in anticipation of the coronation of King Haakon VII and Queen Maud in the early 20th century.
Located east of the Trondheim city center, Solsiden is a popular neighborhood best known for the post-industrial spirit embedded with a dash of contemporary architectural accents. Solsiden is Norwegian for “the sunny side”, which is an apt description for this popular Trondheim neighborhood.
The busy neighborhood was built on the grounds of a former shipyard, which used to be one of the largest shipbuilding companies in all of Norway. There are still some boats in the harbor nowadays, and an afternoon walk along the waterfront promenade will allow you to bask in the elusive Norwegian sun while admiring the remnants of Solsiden’s ship-building history.
The popular neighborhood also boasts a variety of restaurants and cafes with outdoor terraces, where you can enjoy the pretty harbor views while tasting the local delicacies.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!