Can you believe my introduction to Norway was during the winter?! I know, me neither. However, I had a super fun few weeks exploring with my friends, Silvia and Sher, and it all started with a little Trondheim winter welcome.
Silvia says she likes to have new visitors to Norway fly into Oslo and then fly or train up to Trondheim. Oslo isn’t exactly a pretty city, so Trondheim is a much more fun introduction! We were welcomed with one of our few days of blue skies and sunshine, and Silvia joked that spring had come early to Norway as she donned ripped jeans while Sher and I pulled on fleece leggings and heavy winter coats.
She was right, of course! Trondheim was a great first stop on our Norwegian trip. The city sits right along the River Nidelva and is part of the Trøndelag county. Its founding goes all the way back to 997, when it was called Kaupangen, and it even served as the capital of Norway during the Viking Age under the name, Niadros. There’s a ton of history in this one place and the views aren’t too shabby either.
We’d go on to see her hometown of Mosjøen, do a lot of driving around the Helgeland coast, and then see the picturesque Lofoten before our trip came to an end, and Trondheim fit perfectly in the beginning.
I think if it would’ve come at the end, it would have seemed like a let down compared to the incredible islands in Helgeland and the jaw-dropping mountains of Lofoten. After all, Trondheim is a city, and while Bakklandet is cute and colorful, most people aren’t traveling all the way to Norway for cities, are they? No, it definitely works best right on arrival.
Here’s what we got up to with our 2 nights of winter travel in Trondheim!
For more on Northern Norway, check out my friend’s guidebook
How to Visit Trondheim in the Winter
We were there in early January, and you know what, it really wasn’t that bad! Whenever I looked at my weather app, the temperatures were always pretty similar to Philly and NYC, minus NYC’s wind tunnels.
The only thing that I’d say is a little different is that often random pathways and roads can be quite icy to walk on whereas I feel like whenever there’s snow or icy conditions in Philly, the sidewalks and roads are salted to death.
What to Wear/Pack
Since Trondheim was the furthest south we were and I run pretty hot, I didn’t need to layer up a ton. However, here are some things I’d recommend bringing:
A Warm Jacket
I had an old down jacket from UNIQLO, and had it unzipped most of the time as we walked around the city!
I didn’t know about how cruel down can be when I got my coat, so if you need to purchase a winter jacket new, I’d look at brands that use recycled down, like Everlane’s ReDown puffy puffer or Patagonia’s recycled down collection.
Trondheim and other places in Norway can be a bit breezy even if it’s not quite freezing, so fleece leggings come in handy regardless. I had a few pairs I picked up at Goodwill, but if you’re not near one, you can always get some on Amazon or from UNIQLO’s Heattech collection.
I like the SmartWool socks from REI! I have a bunch with me on this trip and, again, they go a long way in keeping your feet warm.
I don’t think you necessarily need heavy duty snow gloves for Trondheim, just something to keep your hands warm. I have some thin gloves my mom gave me for Christmas, and I barely wore them (mostly because I don’t like wearing gloves/hats/earmuffs in general).
Now here’s one thing I WISH I had and should have packed when I read Silvia’s Norway packing list for the winter. Spikes or crampons, which you just put on your shoes. The little spikes at the bottom can cut through ice and make it a lot easier walking.
Like I said, Norway’s not big on salting. Quite a few times, I was gripping the side of a wall or railing in fear. When Silvia lent me her spikes later in Mosjøen, I was shocked by what a different the actually made. You don’t even need fancy ones, this cheap pair from Amazon should do the trick. If you forget them, you can always get a pair at the grocery stores here.
And my last recommendation are the heattech tanks from UNIQLO that I swear by. I don’t really like the long sleeve one I have because it gets too toasty, but the tanks are perfect to layer under a wool sweater or turtleneck for a bit of extra warmth!
Tips for Trondheim
Tours in Trondheim
I mean, we were kind of lucky because Silvia used to live in Trondheim, so we got our own little local tour two days in a row. Something tells me, she’s not going to hop 5 hours on the train to repeat this tour over and over again, so you might be better off with some tours below to get to know Trondheim better:
- A Guided City Tour of Trondheim
- Trondheim Like a Local
- Alternative Trondheim Walking tour
- Private Tour with a Driver
Getting to Trondheim
Sher and I flew into Trondheim from Oslo and it took a little under 2 hours. I will say, the turbulence was a bit scary for me getting ready to land, but the pilot didn’t seem too worried, and I’d assume Norwegian airlines are pretty used to less than stellar weather!
You can book a train via Norway’s national train service, Vy, and it’ll take around 7 hours from Oslo.
The easiest way to get in is to figure out where you’re staying and take the Vaernes Ekspressen into town. Tell the bus driver your stop so he knows when to let you off. Since we were staying at Brittania Hotel, we were dropped off right in front! Silvia told us if you buy online it’s cheaper than buying at the bus.
You could also book a private transfer ahead of time if you’re with a lot of people or have a lot of luggage.
You can get a SIM card at the 7-Elevens. There wasn’t a place in the Trondheim airport to get one, and our hotel told us to go to Telenor at first, but then the Telenor guy told us to go to 7-Eleven. Luckily he told us to ask for either Lyca or MyCall because when I went, this was how my conversation went:
- Me: Hi, do you have tourist SIM cards?
- Cashier: Yes, which one do you want?
- Me: Um, lyca?
- Cashier: We don’t have that, sorry.
- *Awkward pause*
- Me: How about MyCall?
- Cashier: Ah, yes, we have that. *goes to ring it out*
- Me: *Looking at box* so how much data would you say this has?”
- Cashier: It doesn’t have any.
- Me:… Can I add some?
- Cashier: Sure, how much?
- Me: What’s the max?
- Cashier: 6GB
Good thing the Telenor guy gave me names to ask and Silvia was there to help because otherwise I would’ve just walked out assuming the 7 Eleven didn’t have tourist SIMs!
We walked everywhere. Trondheim is super walkable and none of the major sites are so far away you’d need a bus or taxi to get to them. It’s actually quite nice walking around in the winter air so long as you’re dress appropriately!
Where to Stay in Trondheim
Like I said above, we stayed as guests of the stunning Britannia Hotel in junior suites. It was amazing. My room was two stories, and it was so luxurious, aka the perfect way to arrive after the looong transfer between from my house through Philly and NYC and then Oslo and Trondheim.
I have a whole hotel review here so I go into more details. Let’s just say the room was incredible, my views were stunning, and the breakfast buffet was *chefs kiss*.
If Britannia is booked up or a little out of your price range, these are also great picks:
|Scandic Bakklandet $$
|Clarion Collection Hotel Grand Olav $$
|Thon Hotel Nidaros $$
Places to Vist in Trondheim
With Silvia, we did a few different loops to sightsee around Trondheim as we all caught up with each other! You can read her giant things to do in Trondheim post for even more tips, but here are some of the areas we passed by or enjoyed!
Vår Frue Church
Also known as Our Lady’s Church, this was just the first stop along our way around as it’s in the downtown area of Trondheim. It dates all the way back to the 1100s, though much of it is restored after fires through the years.
This massive cathedral is quite stunning! Especially as we approached it from the side before Silvia took us to see the incredible Gothic facade right above. Unsurprisingly, it took 230 years to build, between 1070 and 1300, and was built onto of King Olav II’s burial site.
If you cross over the Nidelva River, you’ll come into Bakklandet, which is the old neighborhood of Trondheim. Cross over the Old Town Bridge (Gamle Bybro) for the iconic colorful Trondheim view! The whole area is full of these pretty, wooden houses and makes for a nice stroll to take them all in. Silvia even took us to her old apartment, and I spotted a friendly cat outside!
For a really nice overlook of the city, continue walking through Bakklandet up to the Kristiansten Fortress (hard to miss). It’s really not a tough hike up, and the views are so pretty! I think it’d be nice at night too when all the suburbs up on the hills around Trondheim are lit up.
Solsiden Shopping Center
One one of our loops, we came around the Solsiden shopping center, which is full of restaurants and whatnot. It’s right on the harbor, so I imagine in the summer it’s nice to sit at one of the restaurants and enjoy the eternal sun. We also walked by an ice rink here.
Where to Eat in Trondheim
If you’re staying at the Brittania, do not miss out on their delicious breakfast buffet! So, so good. It basically filled us up through lunch during our time in Trondheim! It was my first realization that, you know, Norway produces a lot of salmon, which means there were all sorts of salmon at every breakfast we had. I was in heaven!
Just a warning, the dining area is quite swanky, so don’t trudge down in your PJs or workout clothes. You’ll feel more than a bit awkward about it.
Note: Now that I’ve been back to Norway a bunch of times, I can confirm that most Norwegian hotels have incredible breakfasts you won’t want to miss.
Egon is kind of a franchise through Norway and a good place for just any sort of food (I think mine was steak and carbonara pasta). We came here after we landed in Trondheim because we waited a while to eat, and by the time we went out most places were closed! There’s also one in the Solsiden center.
This super cute cafe is right across the Old Town bridge! We rewarded ourselves with drinks after we walked back down from the fortress. Our hotel recommended it for the chili coffee, which Sher said was good! I think I just got hot chocolate. We sat inside, but there are sheepskin rugs to put on the chairs outside if you want to have your drinks on their porch!
Another easy, good place to grab a bite to eat at the end of the day! As you can see, we just grabbed burgers, and enjoyed the cozy, candlelit setting (very hygge).
You’ve gotta try the cinnamon bun here! They make it quite differently than you might be used it, and I thought it made it so much tastier and less sugary than normal! I also got a pumpkin spice latte because, why not?
Obviously, we didn’t do huge foodie things here besides the cafes. Silvia has more restaurants in her post, which I linked above, if you want a more Norwegian food experience, like Kalas & Canasta or Troll!
More Trondheim Photos
I took so many pretty photos in Trondheim, so here are a bunch more to inspire you to make it one your stops ;)
Have you been to Trondheim in the winter? I thought it was such a nice introduction to Norway!
For more Norwegian travel, read these next:
- What to Expect Hiking to Blåvatnet in Northern Norway
- Wonderful Things to Do in Tromsø in Winter
- Visiting Vega, Norway
- Lovund, Norway: A Charming Island Escape
- Fantastic Things to Do in Bergen
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We were guests of the Britannia Hotel. All opinions are, of course, my own.
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