Trondheim

Trondheim, formerly Trondhjem or Nidaros, is an old city in central Norway. It is a key city in Norway, its skyline dominated by the lovely cathedral and city life dominated by the university. Downtown Trondheim is beautifully located inside a large river bend where the river meets the wide Trondheimsfjord.

Understand

The elaborate west wall of Nidarosdomen Cathedral, Trondheim's landmark

Trondheim is the oldest of Norway's major cities, and its rich heritage can still be traced in and around the city centre. It's a scenic city, located on the southern shore of the Trondheimsfjord, which is the third longest in Norway, and so wide that it is almost like a small ocean. Even if the size is modest, there's a lot going on in Trondheim. Music, arts, culture, alternative politics, nightlife and student life — all combines into making Trondheim one of the most exciting city centres of Northern Europe.

The city centre is roughly the area inside the meandering Nidelva. The marvellous Nidaros Cathedral, the second-largest church of Northern Europe and the only real Gothic cathedral in Norway, towers over the city centre. Legend has that it was built over the grave of St Olav, Norway's patron saint and "eternal king". Regarded as a national treasure, it has been the site of coronation of Norway's kings. The cathedral has been under restoration since 1860 and as the only state church in Norway, obtains grants directly from the parliament through the state budget.

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is the main technical university of Norway and contributes greatly to the city's social profile and economy. Out of Trondheim's 160,000 inhabitants, 25,000 are students at the NTNU.

History

The city celebrated its 1000th anniversary in 1997 but contrary to popular belief Trondheim was not so much of a centre for the Vikings as it was founded at the end of the Viking Age. However, it was the religious centre of northern Europe during the Middle Ages and a vital hub for North Atlantic trade, giving it plenty of characteristic mansions and harbour houses. From 1152 until the Protestant reformation, Trondheim (or Nidaros as it was called) was the seat of the Archbishop of Norway (present-day Norway plus Iceland, Orkney and Shetland). The ancient name Nidaros reads "mouth of river Nid". For centuries, Trondheim was the northernmost mercantile city in Europe, giving it a special "edge-of-the-world" feeling. This also resulted in a more outgoing international culture than many other Scandinavian cities at the time. The inhabitants like to call their city the historical, religious, and technological capital of Norway.

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 1.4 1.5 4.0 9.0 13.4 16.6 19.4 18.6 14.5 8.6 4.6 1.8
Nightly lows (°C) -4.0 -4.1 -2.3 1.7 5.2 8.6 11.3 10.8 7.6 2.9 -0.6 -3.8
Precipitation (mm) 84 74 82 44 44 72 82 64 88 75 71 68

Comparable to Scotland, the climate is oceanic and Trondheim is warmed by the Gulf Stream in the winter. Therefore the winters are much milder than you would expect at 63° north — temperatures of over +10°C can be encountered well into October. There is snow in the winter, but the temperature is certainly more pleasant than, say, at the same latitude in Canada or even Finland. Don't expect Mediterranean temperatures in the summer, though. Being practically located at the Atlantic Ocean, strong winds are common; moreover, few days are free of rain, so it's a good idea to bring a jacket even in the summer.

Get in

By plane

  Trondheim Airport Værnes serves international and national flights. There are plenty of flights every day to Oslo, and several to places including Bergen, Stavanger, Kristiansand, Bodø and Tromsø, as well as the short-field airports of Mosjøen, Sandnessjøen, Brønnøysund, Namsos and Rørvik. International destinations include London Gatwick, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Riga. There are also flights to many destinations in the Mediterranean and on the Canary Islands, both charter and regular.

The following options are available for transfer to downtown Trondheim. All accept credit cards (Visa and MasterCard at least).

By train

The central railway station

Trondheim train station is fairly small, and includes a small grocery store. Free Wi-Fi (eduroam). Paid toilets. Lockers available, but may not be working.

There are four daily trains between Oslo and   Trondheim S (Trondheim Central Station) on the Dovre line. These are the quickest ground transport between the cities, and you may find cheap discount tickets on the NSB website.

There are no longer direct trains on the Røros line, but there are two daily connections with Oslo, with changes in Røros and Hamar.

Three daily trains make their way northwards on the Nordlandsbanen towards Mosjøen and Mo i Rana, with two of them continuing to Fauske and Bodø. Fauske is the main hub for buses northwards, for instance to Lofoten. Incidentally, the night service passes Hell station just before midnight...

Local trains between Trondheim and the airport, continuing to Steinkjer, depart every hour on weekdays, roughly every second hour on weekends. Trains for Oppdal and Røros depart a few times per day.

The Meråkerbanen (Nabotåget) service runs twice daily to the Swedish border at Storlien, continuing to the ski resort Åre and the city of Östersund. There are connections to Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö.

By car

The Lykkens Portal, located on Gamble Bybro

The Norwegian north-south highway E6 passes Trondheim. Alternatively from Oslo, the road number 3 can be used. It is shorter and faster than E6, and less affected by snowstorms in winter, but E6 is more beautiful from a touristic point of view. The coastal highway E39 has its terminus at Klett, 10 km south of Trondheim. The eastbound E14 forks off from E6 near the airport. If driving to the city along the highways, be aware that there are automatic toll cameras on the highways both from north and south.

Parking in the city centre is easy, but expensive. Useful parking spots include the central station, the garage under the main square, the garage in Fjordgata, the Central Park garage, the garage in Sandgata (there are always empty spots here).

By bus

From Oslo, Nor-way Bussekspress runs the Østerdalsekspressen via Elverum and Tynset. No prebooking needed. This bus is painfully much more slow than the train, but convenient if you are going to/from some of the destinations the train don't serve.

The Mørelinjen express, operated by Nor-Way, runs down the coast towards Kristiansund, Molde and Ålesund.

Other Nor-Way lines from Trondheim include the Namsos line, the Røros line and the useful Bergen line, passing the fjord areas of western Norway on the way and connecting these with Trondheim. All the way to Bergen, it takes a whopping 14h.

Also from Oslo, the Lavprisekspressen budget bus line runs along the E6 all the way. Tickets must be booked and prepaid on the internet site. They are infinitely cheaper than Nor-Way, and are the cheapest alternative if you get discount tickets. However, the train is more comfy and quicker, even if the buses are okay.

By boat

If you have the time and money, you should definitely take the   Coastal Steamer, Hurtigruten. It runs from Bergen to Trondheim, and on to Bodø, Tromsø, Hammerfest and finally Kirkenes, just on the Russian border. The trip from Bergen takes 36 hours and costs about NOK750 if you are a student (be sure to check for updated prices on their home page). This trip takes you through one of the most magnificent parts of coastal Norway, even popping by the famous Geiranger fjord during summer. Travelling north, Bodø is reached in 24h, while Tromsø takes 50h. All the way to Kirkenes takes another two days from Tromsø...

There is also a twice a day   catamaran passenger boat-service to Trondheim from Kristiansund.

Get around

Trondheim's light green public buses
The tram, Gråkallbanen

If you want to find locations in Trondheim, try the Yellow Pages website. The maps have more detail than popular map websites, and are very useful if you've heard the name of a place, but don't know where it is.

By bus

Trondheim has a well developed bus network, covering nearly all of the city. There are frequent departures during the day, less frequent during evenings. On weekend nights, a comprehensive night bus system runs from the terminus in Olav Tryggvasons gate, close to the action. Tickets are bought from the driver. Within the zone Stor-Trondheim it costs NOK50 for single tickets, NOK25 for under 16's, NOK90 for a day pass, and NOK150 for a 72h pass, while the night bus costs NOK80 (day pass not valid). You can buy prepaid tickets at some convenience stores (Narvesen, 7/Eleven and Deli de Luca) and selected parking meters. These tickets are cheaper than buying with cash from the driver. You can find online timetables, a map of the system and a map of the night service (remember, these only run nights after Friday and Saturday).

By rail

Gråkallbanen, the tram line operates from St. Olavs gate near the centre to Lian, up in the Bymarka forests. It's a quite scenic ride with good views of the city and surroundings both on the way up and down and well worth taking if you have an hour. It operates on the same fare schedule, so day passes are valid. The tram is the northernmost tram service in the world.

Trønderbanen, the local train can also be used within the city boundaries (between stations Rotvoll and Lerkendal/Heimdal). Sadly, these are no longer part of the common public transport fare system, so day passes are not valid. Buy single tickets from the station clerks or the conductor on the train.

By boat

The resort island of Munkholmen, can be reached by boat from Ravnkloa every day from May to September, hourly departures. Make sure you don't miss the last boat home in the evening! A return ticket costs NOK80 for adults, NOK45 for children and NOK45 for strollers. Cash only.

By foot or bike

Downtown is fairly compact and walkable. However many points of interest are several kilometers away and there are some steep hills in the south of the city. Unless you particularly enjoy walking, take some other means of transport there. Getting around by bicycle seems to be fairly popular. If want to get up to the fortress along the steep Brubakken by bike you can use the locally famous and allegedly only bicycle lift in the world, "Trampe".

By car

It is quite easy to find a parking spot downtown, but getting around by car itself can be frustrating with a lot of one-way streets and short green light periods for cars in the intersections.

See

Riverfront view in Trondheim.
Kristiansten Fortress
Castle ruins at Sverresborg Folk Museum
The bike lift

Architecture

Stay close to the   Nidelva if you want to see the real pearl of the city. The sunsets can be magnificent, especially in summer, and the city is so far north that the first hints of Arctic blue sky are seen. Summer days seem to last forever, although for a real midnight sun, you have to travel further north. The river is nicely experienced in the park   Marinen just behind the cathedral. There are a lot of wooden mansions in and around the city centre.   Stiftsgaarden, the King's local residence, is the biggest together with the Singsaker summer hotel, but the small, wooden houses in parts of the city like   Baklandet,   Hospitalsløkkan,   Ila and   Ilsvikøra are even more picturesque. Wooden harbour buildings can be seen along Kjøpmannsgata, Fjordgata and Sandgata. The best view is from the   Old Town Bridge across Nidelva river, leading from close to the cathedral to Bakklandet.

Museums

Other

Do

Lerkendal Stadion
Pirbadet

Swimming

Winter sports

Events

If you want to know what's up right now on the local culture scene, consult the city's official event calendar trdevents.

Learn

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim represents academic eminence in technology and the natural sciences as well as in other academic disciplines ranging from the social sciences, the arts, medicine, architecture to fine arts. Cross-disciplinary cooperation results in innovative breakthroughs and creative solutions with far-reaching social and economic impact.

Work

If you're looking for work check out the website of the governmental agency NAV. Tech industry boom; Yahoo's arrived & there's other start-ups. If you are truly impressive in this field they'll pay for your move and process your work visa. But you have to excel in your field; if there's a Norwegian that can do your job, they'll get him/her not you.

Buy

Shopping Streets

Malls

Trondheim Torg in the winter next to the central square which here has been turned into a skating rink

Eat

Studentersamfundet, the site of eating, drinking and events

Trondheim has food spots to suit every taste, though remember that eating out is generally very expensive, just like elsewhere in Norway.

Budget

  • SiT Kafe Rotvoll.
  • SiT Kafe DMMH (Sirkusshopping mall).
  • SiT Kafe Kalvskinnet, Gunnerusgate 1.
  • SiT Kafe Øya (near St. Olav's Hospital).
  • SiT Kafe Kjelhuset.
  • SiT Kafe Hangaren.
  • SiT Kafe Realfag.
  • SiT Kafe NTNU.
  • SiT Kafe Dragvoll.
  • Matbaren Dragvoll Idrettssenter.

Mid-range

Tyholt tower featuring a rotating restaurant

Splurge

Drink

Bakklandet, a good district for eating and drinking

Trondheim has a rocking nightlife. However, everything closes fairly early, meaning that there's a well developed culture for after-parties in homes. To find one, the area just outside Downtown and Harvey's in Nordre is the best bet, or befriend someone working at the Studentersamfundet, that can take you into the private quarters of the house. They are only allowed one guest each...

Learn the customs if you want a good time... essential words are "Vorspiel", referring to the pre-parties people have before they go out, and "Nachspiel", the after-parties. Vorspiels are necessitated by the very high prices in bars and clubs... the idea is generally to drink as much as you can before going out, spend as little as possible while in the venue, and drink more afterwards.

Also, beware of the stringent regulations governing the sale of alcohol! You can only get drinks of strength 4,7% or less from regular shops. So, only beer. Also, they stop selling beer at 20:00 sharp on weekdays, 18:00 sharp on Saturdays and they don't sell it at all on Sundays... a legacy from Christian Democracy. Beware of the alcohol-free beer too, there's lots of it, and many people drink it if they are driving — if you see beer that seems cheap(er than the rest), check the strength.

If you want wine or spirits, you'll need to find a Vinmonopolet, the state-run liquor stores. There are only a few in Trondheim, and they close early, 17:00 or 18:00 during the week and 15:00 on Saturdays. Sunday? Forget it. The most central one can be found in "Søndre gate", as well as in Byhaven mall, Solsiden mall, Valentinlyst mall, City Lade mall and CitySyd mall.

The cafe scene in Trondheim is the best developed in Norway, with tons of fine coffee-and-cake spots around. Most double as pubs during the night.

Mainly alcohol

Many bars and clubs are at Nordre gate, "North Street"

Mainly coffee


  Nedre Bakklandet 3
  Nordregate 2
  Olav Trygvassonsgate 14
  Nedre Bakklandet 77

Sleep

View of Trondheim

Budget

Camping

There are several managed camp sites, some with huts. If you want to go free-camping, get the tram to the terminus at Lian and walk into the forest from there. Some people camp rough in the area around the fortifications of Kristiansten festning: Do this at your own risk. (This is technically a park.) There is an unofficial law in Norway stating that nature is for everyone, you may camp out anywhere if you keep a distance of 300m from homes/structures. It underscores Norwegians' deep love of the outdoors and their trust in people using but not abusing this precious resource. If you want to camp close to the city, it's allowed to camp behind the Studentersamfundet, under the administration of Trondheim InterRail Centre, during the summer months for a low fee.

Hostels

Hotels

Mid-range

Olav Tryggvasons gate in the evening

Splurge

Stay safe

Nidelva in southern Trondheim

Generally considered to be the sort of city where little old ladies can walk safely in dark alleys. It is also not terribly uncommon that regular people will go to great strides to give you back your wallet if you drop it, with cash and credit cards intact.

The only "danger" you might encounter are the occasional youths stumbling around in large groups on Friday/Saturdays. The same goes for Trondheim as anywhere else; leave drunk people alone and it's a good chance they'll leave you alone as well.

There are some beggars and rough people. Norway has an extensive social welfare system, and everyone is guaranteed a place to live and a minimum hand out from the government (for single person approx. NOK5000 a month). Beggars are therefore usually people whose economical difficulties are related to excessive use of drugs or alcohol. In the summer, you might also encounter foreigners who have travelled to Norway on the purpose of begging for money. Begging is not illegal in Norway.

Connect

Internet cafes are scarce as most people are connected at home. You will however find a few PCs at some museums and public buildings, reserved for visitors, and more at the public library (may be waiting time). Your accommodation will likely offer free Wi-Fi.

Go next

Hell is just a short ride away

The two main areas for those who are fond of hiking are Estenstadmarka and Bymarka. To get to Estenstadmarka, take for example bus #5 to Dragvoll. Bymarka you can reach by the Trondheim's only tram line — Gråkallbanen. Be sure to put on a pair of good boots: the terrains of Trøndelag tend to be very wet.

Day trips

Further away

Hitch-hiking

Hitching a ride out of Trondheim can be difficult. The best spots require a bus ride at the start.

For south/south-westbound travel, the bus stop close to the Shell station at E6, just across the street from City Syd shopping mall, may be the best choice within city limits. Get bus 46 to City Syd and walk, or get the Orkanger/Fannrem-bound bus that stops right there. If you want to make it clear whether you are going the E6 (towards Oslo) or the E39 (towards Molde/Ålesund), you need to get the Orkanger/Fannrem-bound bus to Øysand (for E39) or the Støren-bound bus to Kvål (for E6). This may be sensible, as the traffic splits roughly in half at Klett/Leinstrand, where the two main roads meet. If you are lucky, a bus driver would drive you to the best available hiking spot free of charge (especially if you are from abroad).

For north/eastbound travel, get bus 7 or 36 to Travbanen stop. Sadly, there are no good hitching spots beyond the start of the highway. To avoid short runs, it may be wise to get a bus or train to Stjørdal (close to the airport), then hitch on the E6 or E14 depending on where you want to go. In Stjørdal, there are good spots at both roads close to the station.

Routes through Trondheim

Narvik Hell  N  S  Melhus Oslo
Trondheim airport  W  E  Åre Östersund
END  N  S  Molde Bergen


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