Norway’s third largest city offers a wealth of cultural attractions and historic sites. Trondheim is one of the best places to discover Norway’s medieval history, having served as the capital of the Scandinavian country during the Viking Age until 1217. Today, the vibrant university town is home to a myriad of restaurants, bars, cafes and shops.
Why cruise Trondheim
Trondheim is one of the most popular fjordland cruise ports. The city is home to a plethora of historic sites and attractions, including the oldest wooden building in Northern Europe (the King of Norway’s official residence) and the oldest secular building in Scandinavia (the Archbishop’s Palace). If history isn’t you’re thing, then you can head to the 18th century Bakklandet waterfront district, home to a number of great restaurants and bars. If you prefer to forage for your food, Trondheim’s Stjørdalselva river is one of the most popular in Norway for salmon fishing. Cruise lines including P&O Cruises, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Cunard all stop off in Trondheim on their Norway cruise itineraries.
What to see and do
Nidaros Cathedral is regarded as one of the important cathedrals in Norway. Situated near Trondheim Kunstmuseum, the medieval cathedral was built over a 230-year period, from 1070 to 1300, but has been continuously renovated over the years and in 1708 was completely burnt down except for the stone walls. As a result, it features a mix of architectural styles. Nidaros is built over the burial site of King Olav II, who reigned between 1015 and 1028 and became the patron saint of the nation (his remains are said to be buried in an unknown location under the cathedral).
Kristiansten Festning (Kristiansten Fortress)
Situated on a hill, Trondheim’s fortress stands guard over the city to this day. Named after Christian V of Denmark-Norway, it was built following the city fire in 1681 to protect the city against attack from the east and fulfilled its purpose in 1718 when it saved the city from conquest by Sweden. The fortress was notably used by German forces during the World War II and the site where 23 Norwegian patriots were executed by the Nazis is situated inside the fortress. The dungeon and museum are also well-worth a visit, while outside there are spectacular views over Trondheim and its surroundings, the fjord and the mountains.
One for the whole family to enjoy, Stiklastadir Summer (situated inside Stiklestad National Cultural Centre) features a recreation of a medieval village farm, with everyone dressed like town dwellers from the 11th century. Kids can enjoy activities such as crafts, farm work, and games, or learn medieval skills such as fire-starting and archery. The Saint Olav Drama, a dramatisation of the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030 – one of the most famous battles in Norwegian history – is performed every year here at the end of July in the largest open-air theatre in Scandinavia.
Opened in 2010, Rockheim is the National Museum of Popular Music in Norway. Literally translated as the ‘Home of Rock’, the museum charts the country’s popular music from the 1950s to the present day through a series of exhibitions and interactive displays. Housed in a former grain warehouse, the building is an innovative blend of old and new, with a cantilevered glass box, adorned with reproductions of album covers and changeable LED lighting, having been placed on top of the pre-existing warehouse. The restaurant on the fifth floor offers great views of the city and the fjord.
The Archbishop’s Palace Museum
Located just south of the Nidaros Cathedral, the castle and palace was for centuries the seat, residence and administrative centre of the Archbishop of Nidaros. One of the largest stone structures in Scandinavia, its oldest walls likely date back to the 13th century. Today, it houses a museum displays original sculptures and archaeological finds from Nidaros Cathedral.
Another cultural site worth visiting is Norway’s national museum for music and musical instruments. Situated in the historic Ringve Farm, the childhood home of a Danish-Norwegian nobleman and his family, the collection includes more than 2,000 instruments from all over the world. Notable pieces include an 1870 harp piano by Dietz which was a type of piano favoured by Beethoven, and a card table and sofa that came from Chopin's Paris home. Don’t leave without paying a visit to the 32-acre Botanical Garden, home to several endangered species.
The official royal residence is situated on the city’s most important thoroughfare, Munkegaten. It is said to be the largest wooden building in Northern Europe, with 140 rooms spread across 4,000m², and it has been used by royalty and their guests since 1800. The palace is built in the Baroque style, but contains elements of Rococo and neoclassicism.
What to expect when travelling to Trondheim
Getting around in Trondheim
Trondheim’s modern cruise ship quay and passenger terminal are located a 15-minute walk from the city centre, where most of the city’s main sights can be found. If there’s more than one ship docked in port, you may be docked at the other side of the city, in which case a shuttle bus will be provided or you can walk. Shuttle buses are usually provided by most cruise lines, dropping off near Nidaros Cathedral. There’s also a bus and plenty of taxis available.
When to go to Trondheim
The summer months are the best time to visit Trondheim, with the least rain and warmest temperatures. The St Olav Festival, which is the most important festival in Trondheim, commemorating the death of St Olav at the Battle of Stiklestad, is held annually at the end of July. The peak season for salmon fishing runs from June to August.
Trondheim uses the Norwegian krone.
If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don't need a visa to enter Norway unless you're planning to stay longer than three months.
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