Expensive beer, extremely nice but introvert people, sometimes really cold weather despite the early-spring period, northern lights from the window, amazing landscape, colourful architecture that gives soul to the city and unique adventure of dog sledding…those are just some challenges and great things you’ll rarely find in any other (European) country than in Norway.
Already heard about Trondheim?
Although Trondheim is actually the third largest city in Norway known by its important role as a harbour and also an university city with a great part of student population, I admit I’ve never heard about it before I actually applied for my 6-week internship at their University. Did you? But it is definitely a place to visit when you plan your trip to Norway!
Personally I was amazed by its typical Scandinavian architecture with colourful wooden small houses settled by the river Nidelva that is flowing trough the city.
Despite the architecture that gives you the sensation of cuteness and simplicity the whole city is actually not that big. It can barely take you half an hour to walk trough one part of the city to another. Nevertheless public transport is good, frequent and not complicated.
Let’s make a city tour
As I already mentioned the city is not that big, perfect to make a walking tour and not get really lost. Once there the “must visit” places are definitely the main square – Market square with the statue of viking Olav Tryggvason who founded the city and the University building of the old campus on a hill from where you can enjoy the view. There is also Tyholt tower from where you can have an overview to whole Trondheim and don’t forget to take a walk trough the Old town bridge with typical structure at the end that leads to Bakklandet and of course it’s barely impossible not noticing Studentersamfundet, the red and round building at the end of the bridge from downtown that represents the centre of student culture where different social events and concerts are being organised by volunteering students.
One of the most breath-taking and mysterious buildings in Trondheim for sure. It was built in 11th century by king Olav II of Norway who became Saint Olav a year after his death. It’s settled in city centre area but because of its magnificence is visible also from the other side of the river. Besides as a pilgrimage rout for northern pilgrims it’s known as the northernmost medieval cathedral in the world.
This old town area known by paved narrow streets and small wooden houses is probably the most known place in Trondheim to visit as a tourist. Personally it is my favourite spot with some special relaxing vibe, so really worth to spend some time there.
It is connected with Old town bridge, easy to reach from main square and lies next to the river. Typical architecture represents houses where people used to live and have different workshops. Nowadays there are many cute souvenir shops, coffee shops, particular bars and restaurants with traditional local food.
Coffee and beer lovers
After huge amounts of coffee Norwegians drink during the day, they would always invite you to go for a beer. Even though they usually hang out with their friends at home, meeting for a beer is something that can last hours. But it doesn’t really mean you’ll get drunk because you might stick with only one or two beers – how come? It’s because of the prices! Alcohol in Norway is expensive and so even if you get student price you’ll still pay around 60 NOK for a pint, much more than in your own country, i guess.
Best place to spoil yourself with traditional sweets (try typical custard filled bun “school bread” or Skolebrød) and different types of coffee or just chill with typical large cup of it can be found in Bakklandet where you can also find awesome typical traditional or more alternative places to eat and taste enormous types of beer meanwhile enjoying the ambient and live concerts. Another area, known as former industrial buildings covered in shops, bars and restaurants with also local food, is Solsiden. Going there on a sunny day only increases your chilling mood.
Lucky enough to see Northern lights
I believe experiencing northern lights is something many travellers would wish for when passing by Scandinavia and you need to be at least a little bit lucky to be in the right place at the right time. Anyhow, Norway by itself is pretty known by the phenomenon of northern lights, specially on north of the country – Tromsø is really known area, where the arctic wildness offers you the best conditions to see and be part of aurora borealis.
This magical and mysterious colours flashing trough the sky by making different shapes and changing their intensity are absolutely worth of some patience and extreme cold you might experience while waiting for or observing it. Statistically it should be more frequent at the beginning of winter – from October until December and at the end of winter – from February until April, so if you plan to experience northern lights at least once in a lifetime I recommend visiting northern Norway in those periods.
My experience happened on a calm and quite cold March evening when suddenly a friend of mine, also a huge fan of northern lights, called me. She had this exciting voice hurrying telling me that if I’m home I should go outside immediately because there are northern lights in the sky and they’re visible even from the city centre of Trondheim – it’s a quite rare thing to see it in the cities specially because of the city lights! I couldn’t believe what she was telling me because that would mean my wish is just about to come true and I’m about to see northern lights just a week from my departure. I ran out and there it was. Right above me the green coloured magic was happening, looking like painted clouds moving faster and crating interesting shapes. I was just standing there, with my head turned up to the sky, admiring the beauty while feeling really thankful and lucky.
If you are curious about new adventures and you’re not scared of dogs, dog-sledding is something I would totally recommend. This is an amazing thing to experience but you would need to go about 2 hours out of Trondheim in Røros direction with train. One of the provider of such an experience can be found on http://www.huskytour.no/ where they offer whole- or half-day trips or even trips during the night.
Half-day trip could be enough and it’s well organised when and where they pick you up if you’re coming with train from Trondheim direction. Once you get there after few minutes of driving into the wildness you get to the place.
Changing into warm clothes, boots and gloves is required and than you meet about 50 friendly dogs, barking all around. The adventure is about to begin after the owner explains it all and teaches you how to harness and control 4 or 5 of your dogs. It’s really simple and the dogs are obedient…until they get a little off road, you fall from sleds and they continue running like nothing happened while you try to run after them screaming in different languages to make them stop.
The 16km journey includes some really amazing views while driving Alaskan huskies trough arctic wildness where everything is covered in snow. Nothing’s around you, just pure nature, silence and it is something special to feel the connection and admire the beauty.
So if you at least checked on the map where Trondheim is (in a case you didn’t know about it) after reading this article and now you got a little bit curious about this city, add it to your bucket list when visiting Norway and experience different rare things.