A relatively small region in size, made up of only two counties (South and North Trøndelag), Central Norway nonetheless packs in a lot for visitors. Here you will find, among other highlights, the charming mining town of Røros, a UNESCO world heritage site, and Trondheim, Norway’s third largest city. Nidaros Cathedral, the country’s oldest and largest religious building, has been drawing pilgrims for centuries, right since the Middle Ages. And they keep coming, although today’s holidaymakers are just as likely to come to fish in some of Norway’s best salmon rivers, take in a pop concert at the new Rockheim Museum, or travel by car, to drive the famous Atlantic Road. Whether learning about Viking heritage at Stiklestad, sleeping surrounded by bears and wolves at Namsskogen Family Park, or hiking in Børgefjell National Park, visitors will be kept busy in Central Norway.
Highlights of the region
- Trondheim and Nidaros Cathedral
- Røros UNESCO World Heritage Site
- St Olav’s heritage
- The Atlantic Road
- Salmon rivers
Salmon fishing: The Salmon Lords who arrived from the British Isles and Europe in the 19th century were the first sports fishermen to discover the Namsen River – and the fantastic salmon fishing opportunities it offered. Many others have since then followed in their footsteps and travelled to Trøndelag in search of that big catch, although today the Orkla and Gaula rivers are just as sought after – fish weighing more than 20 kilos are caught here every year.
Trøndelag for music lovers: Check out Rockheim, the centre for Norwegian rock and pop, opened in 2010 and housed in a striking building in Trondheim’s harbor area. Take in also Rock City in Namsos and Norway’s largest collection of musical instruments at Ringve - the museum houses 2,000 (including many traditional Norwegian instruments), as well as 25,000 sheets music, 11,000 photographs, and an extensive sound archive. Trondheim is also home to a popular chamber music festival every year in September.
Diving: Divers and marine biologists from around the world travel to the Trondheimfjord, a very unique area with rare deep-sea life such as rabbit fish, sharks and a coral reef at a depth of only 35 metres. The Trondheimsfjord also contains a number of plane wrecks from World War II. Kvennvær is another popular diving spot, as are Hitra and Frøya islands. The latter are known for their crystal clear waters and their huge diversity of marine species. Diving for scallops is extremely popular here.
Deep sea fishing: Deep-sea fishing along the coast of Trøndelag has been drawing visitors from far and wide, not least because big fish is often caught here. There are several deep-sea fishing festivals in the region, and organised deep-sea fishing trips with professional fishermen are popular.
Driving the Atlantic Road: Running from Kårvåg to Bud over a distance of 36 kilometres between the towns of Kristiansund and Molde, the Atlantic Road skips nimbly from island to island across seven bridges. Stop along the road to enjoy unrivalled views of the Atlantic Ocean, take in the rich bird life and even spot seals. Or cast a line – many spots along the road are popular with anglers.
Wildlife spotting of Hitra and Frøya: Herds of seals, sea otters and several bird species, including sea eagles, can all be spotted on the small skerries around the islands of Hitra and Frøya. The islands are also popular for hiking and paddling.
Hiking: Nidaros was the greatest pilgrimage destination in Northern Europe in the Middle Ages, and wandering along the old pilgrims routes through Central Norway to Trondheim (known as St Olav’s Ways) is a great way to discover the region. Another good hiking area is Sylan, on the border between South Trøndelag and Jämtland in Sweden.
St. Olav’s story: The St. Olav Drama is an epic play depicting the battle at Stiklestad where St. Olav engaged the king's army in the year 1030. A key moment in Norwegian history, it is considered to be the point at which Christianity first took a solid foothold in Norway. Performed in Norway's largest and oldest open-air theatre at Stiklestad, this is an impressive show. Stiklestad National Cultural Centre also has an outdoor museum with exhibitions and guided tours in summer, as well as a special activity programme for children.
Røros: Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980, Røros is famed for its unique wooden architecture. The quaint mining town has retained much of its original character, including a street pattern laid out in the 1600s, and wooden buildings dating from the 1700s and 1800s.
Cross-country skiing: Several of Norway’s top cross-country skiers, including Marit Bjørgen and Petter Northug, come from Trøndelag, and the county is home to one of the leading schools for cross-country skiing. The region is particularly suitable for cross-country skiing, with tracks just outside most towns, and offers varied terrain, from flat or gentle slopes for beginners around Namsskogan to steeper mountain areas like Sylan (see “Hiking” above) to challenge the more advanced.
Places to visit
• Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim
A selection of festivals and events
Rørosmartan, fair (Røros, Feb)
St Olav Festival (Olavsfestdagene celebrates Norway's historical and religious heritage, as well as its patron saint, St Olav (Trondheim, late Jul-early Aug)
Trøndersk Matfestival, local food festival (Trondheim, Aug)
Trondheim Chamber Music Festival (Trondheim, Sep)
Cabins and rorbuer (fishermen’s cabins) can be found in many places along the coast. Or for a really unique experience why not stay at Kjeungskjær Lighthouse, which is located on a tiny islet? Here you will truly be surrounded by the sea on all sides. Vingleia Lighthouse in Frøya, South Trøndelag, is another lighthouse offering accommodation. Stokkøya Campsite is a great choice for design conscious travellers. The campsite and its colorful beach bar and subterranean rooms have been featured in a number of travel and design magazines. For old world grandeur, stay at the Britannia Hotel in Trondheim, or at Bårdshaug Manor in Orkdal - both are members of De Historiske, a consortium of unique properties throughout Norway. So is Vertshuset in Røros. Other good addresses in the old mining town include Erzscheidergården Hotell and the tiny Froyas guest house.
How to get there
The main airport in Central Norway is Trondheim Airport in Værnes. The train serves both Røros and Trondheim, and buses link all towns in the region. The Hurtigruten plies the coast of Norway and stops in Trondheim among other destinations. It is a good way to see the region from the sea. The ships offer a number of shore excursions on the way.
Visit Norway/Central Norway
Did you know?
Trøndelag comprises the counties of North- and South-Trøndelag, and is often referred to as Mid-Norway because of its central geographical location. Trøndelag has a population of around 420,000, spread over an area of 41,263 square kilometres. The largest city in the region is Trondheim (population 170,000), which was also Norway’s first capital (1030–1217).
The village of Hell (population 1,418) is located in Nord-Trøndelag. It has become a minor attraction because of its name, and the station sign is one of the most photographed in Norway.
It was a 16-year-old Selbu girl, Marit Guldsetbrua Emstad, who some 150 years ago kick started the trend for the popular Selbu mitten. Like most other girls at the time, she learned to knit early. While herding cattle, she one day started knitting with two strands of different color. The result was a pair of fine white mittens with a black star pattern, which was an instant success in the village… and the beginning of a long tradition. The Selburose (Selbu rose) was born. Today some 300 different patterns are registered, mainly used in winter clothing.
Destination Røros, a champion of sustainable tourism, won the prestigious “Tourism for Tomorrow” Award at the World Travel & Tourism Councils (WTTC) Awards in 2012.
With a land area of 571.5 square kilometres, Hitra is the seventh largest island in Norway (excluding Svalbard), and the largest south of the Lofoten Islands. Hitra is home to Northern Europe's largest red deer herd. Active hunting is practised here for red deer and roe deer, as well as for seals and grouse. A deer head features on the island’s coat of arms.