One of Scandinavia's oldest cities, Trondheim was the first capital of Norway, from AD 997 to 1380. Founded in 997 by Viking king Olav Tryggvason, it was first named Nidaros (still the name of the cathedral), a composite word referring to the city's location at the mouth of the Nidelva River. Today, it's Central Norway's largest (and Norway's third largest) city, with a population of 150,000. The wide streets of the historic city center remain lined with brightly painted wood houses and striking warehouses. But it's no historic relic: it's also the home to NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) and is Norway's technological capital.
Olavskvartalet is the center of much of the city's nightlife, with dance clubs, live music, bars, and cafés.
Housed in what was once a 1739 tavern in downtown Trondheim, this restaurant is now part of the Sverresborg folk museum. The traditional menu includes homemade fish cakes and meatballs; rømmegrøt (sour-cream porridge); creamed fish soup and spekemat (cured meat). On weekends, the restaurant opens at 2 pm.
The long-running "Mermaid" is Trondheim's foremost and most stylish fish restaurant. Taking its cues from France, the restaurant excels at bouillabaisse as well as many other fish dishes, which change seasonally. The warm decor uses orange, greens, and reds accented by wood. The wine list includes a wide range of whites, highlighting dry French varieties.
Founded in 1770, this is Northern Europe's oldest goldsmith. It sells versions of the Trondheim Rose, the city symbol since the 1700s.
Sweaters by Dale of Norway and other designers are available here.
Trondheim's branch of the popular handicraft store.
Jens Hoff Garn & Ide
For knitted clothes and blankets, try this shop.
The Tiffany windows are magnificent at this museum of decorative arts, which houses an impressive collection of furniture, silver, and textiles. The Scandinavian Design section features a room interior designed by the Danish architect Finn Juhl in 1952. The 1690 bridal crown by Adrian Bogarth is also memorable. "Three Women–Three Artists" features tapestries by Hannah Ryggen and Synnøve Anker Aurdal, and glass creations by Benny Motzfeldt.
Built in the 1770s, Stiftsgården is now the official royal residence in Trondheim; Princess Märtha Louise held her wedding reception here in 2002. The architecture and interior are late baroque and highly representative of 18th-century high society's taste. Tours offer insight into the festivities marking the coronations and blessings of the kings in the cathedral.
Trondheim's cathedral was built on the grave of King Olav, who formulated a Christian religious code for Norway in 1024. The town quickly became a pilgrimage site for Christians from all over Northern Europe, and Olav was canonized in 1164. Construction of Nidarosdomen began in 1070, but the oldest existing parts of the cathedral date from around 1150. It has been ravaged on several occasions by fire and rebuilt each time, generally in a Gothic style. Since the Middle Ages, Norway's kings have been crowned and blessed in the cathedral. The crown jewels are on display here. Forty-five-minute guided tours are offered in English from mid-June to mid-August.
Sverresborg, Trøndelag Folkemuseum
Near the ruins of King Sverre's medieval castle is this open-air historical museum that depicts everyday life in Trøndelag during the 18th and 19th centuries. The stave church here, built in the 1170s, is the northernmost preserved church of its type in Norway. In the Old Town you can visit a 1900s dentist's office and an old-fashioned grocery store that sells sweets. In the summer there are farm animals on-site, and a range of activities for children.
Erkebispegården is the oldest secular building in Scandinavia, dating from around 1160. It was the residence of the archbishop until the Reformation in 1537. The Archbishop's Palace Museum has original sculptures from Nidaros Cathedral and archaeological pieces from throughout its history. Within Erkebispegården's inner palace is the Rustkammeret/Resistance Museum, which traces military development from Viking times to the present through displays of uniforms, swords, and daggers. The dramatic events of World War II get a special emphasis. Opening times for the various museums and wings in the Erkebispegården and for the cathedral vary greatly by season.
The town's art museum houses some 4,000 works of art, including many by regional artists.
Built by J. C. Cicignon after the great fire of 1681, the Kristiansten Fort saved the city from conquest by Sweden in 1718. During World War II, the German occupying forces executed members of the Norwegian Resistance here; there's a plaque in their honor. The fort has spectacular views of the city, the fjord, and the mountains.