Trondheim is a picturesque city in central Norway and the third largest in the country, after Oslo and Bergen. Known to most as a vibrant city with a large student population and a special focus on local food, Trondheim is known to me for being my mom’s hometown. Located in the geographical region known as Trøndelag, my mom is what you would call a Trønder, a person born and raised in Trondheim. Much of my mom’s side of the family still lives in Trondheim so we have visited many times before, but usually in the summertime and never for the purpose of sightseeing. This year, my mom and I flew from Oslo to Trondheim to visit my grandmother before Christmas, and I used the opportunity to capture the city’s winter charm.
Our Saturday excursion began at Tyholttårnet, Tyholt Tower, a 124-meter tall radio tower built in 1985. An observation deck and an Egon Restaurant sit at the 74-meter mark, offering panoramic views of both the city and Trondheimsfjorden, the Trondheim Fjord. We continued on to Bakklandet, Trondheim’s charming Old Town which lies on the east side of the Nidelva river. Wooden buildings in pastel shades line the neighborhood’s cobbled streets, housing a number of cozy shops, restaurants, and cafes. At the intersection where Nedre Bakklandet becomes Øvre Bakklandet, Lower Bakklandet and Upper Bakklandet, respectively, we stumbled upon Sykkelheisen Trampe, The Bicycle Lift. This lift is the first (and only) one of its kind in the world, a neat installation which carries thousands of bicyclists up Brubakken every year. Opposite the lift sits Gamle Bybro, Old Town Bridge, connecting Bakklandet to the rest of the city.
We crossed the pedestrian bridge to the west side of the Nidelva river and walked to Nidaros Domkirke, Nidaros Cathedral. Nidarosdomen is an important Gothic monument in Norway and the largest medieval building in Scandinavia, with nearly one-thousand years of history. Built over the tomb of Saint Olav, Norway’s king during the Viking Age, this site is known as the country’s national sanctuary. From the cathedral, we retreated to Kristiansten Festning, Kristiansten Fortress, which was built in the late-1600s following a city fire. Perched on top of a hill to the east of the city center, this fort offered protection from attackers. Once a strategic high ground, the landmark has since become a museum and still overlooks the city today.
We started our Sunday adventure at Trondheim’s traditional Christmas market, arranged in the city’s market square every December. At the heart of downtown, vendors set up shop in dozens of old-fashioned wooden stalls, offering everything from knitted socks and woven blankets to leather goods and handmade ceramics. Local farmers bring their produce to Bondens marked, the Farmer’s market, selling coffee beans, jams, grains, cheeses, vegetables, meats, fish, and more. In another section of the market, Christmas trees are sold in all varieties – Spruce, Pine, and Fir – as well as Christmas sheaves. As we took in the true Norwegian Christmas spirit all around us, I was reminded of my day trip to Røros earlier in the month, which you can read about here.
The afternoon flew by as we browsed the Christmas market and before we knew it, the daylight was dwindling. We rushed to the edge of the fjord to catch a glimpse of Munkholmen before the darkness completely set it. Munkholmen is an islet that was used for public executions during the Viking Age, as a military defense fort during the mid-1600s and World War II, and as a prison sometime in between. Today the small island is a recreational destination for locals and tourists alike, with boats driving passengers back and forth daily during the summer months. We reached the water’s edge just as “den blå timen”, the blue hour, arrived and cast a magical blue glow. With the night quickly moving in, we made one last stop at Solsiden, an old shipyard with a shopping center indoors and restaurants along the docks outside. A lively area in the summer but still beautiful in the winter, and the perfect end to our Trondheim weekend.
How would you spend a weekend in Trondheim?