Gamle Bybro at Trondheim, Sør-Trøndelag County, at central part of Norway. In English: Old Town Bridge was built in 1681.Getty

Norway’s third largest city isn’t normally on the radar of many international visitors who often prefer the allure of the fjords or the Scandi-cool of Sweden or Denmark. Yet Trondheim has a whole heap going for it, not least the contrast of young and old.

A quick walk through the city’s compact central district is all it takes to appreciate these charms. Trondheim’s NTNU University attracts the brightest minds in science and technology, giving the city a dynamic vibe set amid the historical context of medieval churches and narrow, cobblestone alleys.

It doesn’t take long to orient yourself as the city is almost encircled by the Nidelva river. Following the river is a good starting point as it brings you past the city’s chief attractions, including Nidaros Cathedral and the Bakklandet district.

See

A true icon of the city, Nidaros Cathedral draws people in huge numbers from all over the world. Despite its status as the world’s northernmost medieval cathedral, there’s plenty to see and do here regardless of your faith.

Originally a simple wooden chapel built over the grave of Saint Olav – the Viking king who played a major role in Norway’s adoption of Christianity and who would go on to become the patron saint of Norway – the cathedral is now in its best ever condition after decades of refurbishment.

The eye-catching West Front is a must-see. A team of sculptors spent 75 years restoring the historic and religious figures that sit alongside stone angels, gargoyles, and animals.

Learn more of the story behind the history and restoration in the adjacent Archbishop’s Palace museum. A multi-access ticket also grants entry to the sparkling crown regalia.

A short walk from the cathedral grounds is the Old Town Bridge, a photogenic construction in itself that provides a wonderful view of the colorful warehouses that line the river. It’s also the way to Bakklandet, a cobbled street of wooden houses that harks back to an era long forgotten.

Play

Trondheim’s student-heavy population means there’s plenty of places to have some fun. Work-Work has firmly established itself as the city’s fun house. The gaming-themed cafe offers shuffleboard, pinball, and board games to enjoy over a craft beer or bottomless coffee. If that sounds like your thing, don’t miss the newly expanded Outland store, packed to the rafters with board games, manga, and everything in between.

Although it doesn’t have much in the way of an international reputation, Trondheim is well known in Norwegian music circles. Experience the country’s contemporary music history for yourself by interacting with the entertaining exhibits at Rockheim, housed in a former grain warehouse.

Choosing Trondheim over Bergen or the fjords doesn’t mean you have to miss out on experiencing the Norwegian love of the outdoors. A short tram ride from the city centre to Lian brings you into the Bymarka forest, home to lakes and hiking trails galore.

Eat and Drink

At first glance it can be hard to find authentic Scandinavian food in Trondheim given the plethora of burger and pizza joints, but they are there!

For a more modern take on Nordic cuisine, the Folk og Fe bistro just a few steps away serves up fixed menus based on seasonal meat, fish and root vegetables. Book in advance to secure a table.

Hagen has led the sustainable eating trend that has swept Trondheim in recent years, but you don’t need to be vegan to enjoy a meal here. Their ‘market garden’ concept offers vegetarian burgers, soups, and baked vegetable dishes to eat in or take out at some of the best value prices in the city.

Stay

Until the long-awaited reopening of the historic Britannia Hotel later in 2019, the Scandic Nidelven remains the top choice in town. For more than a decade, the smart business hotel has secured the title of ‘Norway’s best breakfast’, and with good reason. The kitchen maintains a network of local food suppliers for its seasonal menus.

If you’re just after a bed for the night, Pensjonat Jarlen is in a quiet spot despite being just a few minutes’ walk away from the central square. Rooms are small with basic furnishings, but all come with a private bathroom and free Wi-Fi.

With direct flights arriving from London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and airports all over Norway, a weekend in Trondheim is a great option for a Scandinavian city break with a difference.

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Gamle Bybro at Trondheim, Sør-Trøndelag County, at central part of Norway. In English: Old Town Bridge was built in 1681.Getty

Norway’s third largest city isn’t normally on the radar of many international visitors who often prefer the allure of the fjords or the Scandi-cool of Sweden or Denmark. Yet Trondheim has a whole heap going for it, not least the contrast of young and old.

A quick walk through the city’s compact central district is all it takes to appreciate these charms. Trondheim’s NTNU University attracts the brightest minds in science and technology, giving the city a dynamic vibe set amid the historical context of medieval churches and narrow, cobblestone alleys.

It doesn’t take long to orient yourself as the city is almost encircled by the Nidelva river. Following the river is a good starting point as it brings you past the city’s chief attractions, including Nidaros Cathedral and the Bakklandet district.

See

A true icon of the city, Nidaros Cathedral draws people in huge numbers from all over the world. Despite its status as the world’s northernmost medieval cathedral, there’s plenty to see and do here regardless of your faith.

Originally a simple wooden chapel built over the grave of Saint Olav – the Viking king who played a major role in Norway’s adoption of Christianity and who would go on to become the patron saint of Norway – the cathedral is now in its best ever condition after decades of refurbishment.

The eye-catching West Front is a must-see. A team of sculptors spent 75 years restoring the historic and religious figures that sit alongside stone angels, gargoyles, and animals.

Learn more of the story behind the history and restoration in the adjacent Archbishop’s Palace museum. A multi-access ticket also grants entry to the sparkling crown regalia.

A short walk from the cathedral grounds is the Old Town Bridge, a photogenic construction in itself that provides a wonderful view of the colorful warehouses that line the river. It’s also the way to Bakklandet, a cobbled street of wooden houses that harks back to an era long forgotten.

Play

Trondheim’s student-heavy population means there’s plenty of places to have some fun. Work-Work has firmly established itself as the city’s fun house. The gaming-themed cafe offers shuffleboard, pinball, and board games to enjoy over a craft beer or bottomless coffee. If that sounds like your thing, don’t miss the newly expanded Outland store, packed to the rafters with board games, manga, and everything in between.

Although it doesn’t have much in the way of an international reputation, Trondheim is well known in Norwegian music circles. Experience the country’s contemporary music history for yourself by interacting with the entertaining exhibits at Rockheim, housed in a former grain warehouse.

Choosing Trondheim over Bergen or the fjords doesn’t mean you have to miss out on experiencing the Norwegian love of the outdoors. A short tram ride from the city centre to Lian brings you into the Bymarka forest, home to lakes and hiking trails galore.

Eat and Drink

At first glance it can be hard to find authentic Scandinavian food in Trondheim given the plethora of burger and pizza joints, but they are there!

For a more modern take on Nordic cuisine, the Folk og Fe bistro just a few steps away serves up fixed menus based on seasonal meat, fish and root vegetables. Book in advance to secure a table.

Hagen has led the sustainable eating trend that has swept Trondheim in recent years, but you don’t need to be vegan to enjoy a meal here. Their ‘market garden’ concept offers vegetarian burgers, soups, and baked vegetable dishes to eat in or take out at some of the best value prices in the city.

Stay

Until the long-awaited reopening of the historic Britannia Hotel later in 2019, the Scandic Nidelven remains the top choice in town. For more than a decade, the smart business hotel has secured the title of ‘Norway’s best breakfast’, and with good reason. The kitchen maintains a network of local food suppliers for its seasonal menus.

If you’re just after a bed for the night, Pensjonat Jarlen is in a quiet spot despite being just a few minutes’ walk away from the central square. Rooms are small with basic furnishings, but all come with a private bathroom and free Wi-Fi.

With direct flights arriving from London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and airports all over Norway, a weekend in Trondheim is a great option for a Scandinavian city break with a difference.

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