The range of things to do in Trondheim is bigger than you would expect for a city of this size. With a population of 180,000, Trondheim is not a big city on a European scale. However, it is the third largest in Norway. The wide range of things to do may in part be attributed to the city’s students, who number more than 30,000. The students leave their mark on the city by arranging many events, as well as attending the city’s other cultural offerings.
Trondheim has a number of sights that each year are among the most visited in Trøndelag. The Nidarosdomen Cathedral is an impressive sight, which is equally impressive as most of the churches Norwegians visit when travelling around Europe. The cathedral’s exciting history linked to King Olav II (better known as St. Olav) makes it one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in Europe. The Pilgrim Paths to Trondheim, St. Olav Ways, have the same European Cultural Route status as those leading to Rome and Santiago de Compostela.
The Ringve Music Museum and Sverresborg Trøndelag Folk Museum are also popular, especially in summer. Ringve exhibits rare musical instruments and showcases the development over several hundred years, while Sverresborg shows architectural traditions and ways of life throughout history. A museum that stands in stark contrast to these is Rockheim, Norway’s national museum of popular music. A permanent exhibition of musical eras over recent decades, along with changing exhibits on bands, artists and more, makes Rockheim popular among people of all ages.
Other museums with exciting exhibitions include the National Museum of Decorative Arts - Nordenfjeldske KIM, the Trondheim Museum of Art, the NTNU University Museum and the Archbishop’s Palace Museum, which features the Regalia of Norway, including the actual crown jewels.
If you enjoy being active while on holiday, Trondheim has much to offer. Just a short ride from the city centre on the world’s northernmost tram, Gråkallbanen, you will find Bymarka, an outdoor recreation area covering 80 km². Bymarka is ideal for walking and jogging. A network of marked trails criss-crosses the reserve, leading to viewpoints, rest areas, good places to fish or swim and cabins selling refreshments. In winter, the hiking trails become prepared cross-country ski trails, making Bymarka an ideal place for family ski trips.
The Lade Trail is a wide, slightly hilly path leading right round the Lade Peninsula from Ladehammerkaia to Ranheim. You can stop along the way for a swim or to buy a waffle as well as to enjoy the beautiful scenery. If you enjoy cycling, you can rent a City Bike from the Tourist Information Office and ride on the marked cycle routes to the city’s many suburbs or the route known as “Trondheim along the waterfront”, which leads round downtown Trondheim. Joggers will also find many excellent areas, perhaps the best suited of which is the stretch along the banks of the Nidelva river from historic Bakklandet to Trondheim Spektrum in the suburb of Øya.
The aforementioned Nidelva is also perfect for paddling, and Trondheim Kajakk runs daytime and evening kayaking trips on the river. Seeing the city from the water is a different experience, which has rapidly become one of the most popular activities in the city centre.
The intimate city centre combined with the exciting shops makes Trondheim a popular city for shopping. A lot of people appreciate the fact that there are many independent shops here selling clothes and accessories that you won’t find everywhere. Particularly in historic Bakklandet, you will find several shops that make the garments they sell from scratch or by adapting old garments.
Those who think it’s convenient to find everything in one place will like the fact that the shopping centres Trondheim Torg, Mercur and Byhaven are all located right in the city centre. Solsiden is another area that over the past 10-15 years has developed into one of the most popular parts of the city. You will find restaurants lined up here side by side right outside a shopping centre containing many well-known stores. If you would prefer to shop outside the city centre, you can head to Lade and Tiller. In addition to offering giant shopping centres, both places have a wide selection of specialty shops.
The cultural city of Trondheim is a story in itself. Few cities in Norway can match the cultural scene in Trondheim. Virtually every day you will find a selection of events to choose between, and they will be well attended too. Trøndelag Theatre has performances year-round, often several running at the same time, ranging from classics like The Sound of Music to lesser known plays by both known and unknown writers.
Trondheim also has many music venues, with the greatest activity at Byscenen, Dokkhuset, Blæst/Brukbar and Familien. These venues offer music in most genres with a mix of local, national and international artists. Trondheim’s large student population has already been mentioned. Events take place throughout the week at the students’ own venue, the distinctive red Samfundet, and other residents and visitors are also welcome.
Trondheim is also a very active festival city when it comes to festivals, with festivals held throughout the year I many genres, including jazz, blues, chamber music, world music and several rock festivals.