To Hell and Back
Trondheim’s airport, Værnes, is beautifully-located on the Trondheim Fjord, and lies 37km from the city centre. It’s easiest reached or departed from by dedicated coaches, which cost 150 NOK pp. Buses leave every ten minutes, and stop at many city-wide locations. Airport trains are slightly quicker and cheaper but serve only Trondheim Sentral station. All in all, reckon on the best part of an hour to complete your entire airport transfer, which travels through the chilly suburb of Hell along its route.
Munkholmen island, located 2 km away from the city centre in the middle of the Trondheim Fjord, makes for a cost-effective and scenic boat trip, with great views of both cityscape and undulating coastline. The island itself is tiny, but is a popular recreation spot for gentle walks and picnics: it started life as an execution site, then became a dwelling place for a monk community, and in later years served as a Nazi prison. From Ravnkloa quay in downtown Trondheim, the ferry to Munkholmen leaves every hour throughout the daytime, takes approximately ten minutes, and return tickets cost 80 NOK.
It may be an obvious choice, but any trip to Trondheim ought to feature a visit to the centrepiece cathedral, Nidarosdomen. It’s the most northerly medieval cathedral in the world, the second largest church in Scandinavia, and built on the burial site of Norway’s patron saint, St Olav. It’s both Gothic and Romanesque, imposing and overwhelming, and features an art gallery, historic side chapels, and an impressive museum adjacent, housing Norway’s crown jewels. For unbeatable city views, a tower tour is highly recommended.
Fish is at the centre of the traditional West-Norwegian diet, and when in Trondheim this tradition is promoted in abundance in the drawing-room atmosphere of Baklandet Skydsstation. This iconic cafe and restaurant can safely be described as an essential experience for anyone wanting quintessentially Norwegian dining: herring-buffets (served in all the time-honoured traditions), carrot cake, hearty coffees and, according to Lonely Planet, the best fish soup in Norway.
Bryggen without Bergen
When in Bergen, a visit to the impossibly-iconic merchant city of Bryggen is essential, but does mean being almost-literally swamped by the hordes of tourists (particularly cruise passengers) also investigating the high, wooden, richly-coloured terraced houses of the Hanseatic-era. Trondheim’s own Bryggen, of similar origin, looks as if it could have been a replica: and yet without the mass tourism of Bergen, this slice of Norwegian mercantile history is highly recommended, and can be wandered around in relative peace and quiet.