Located on a beautiful fjord, Trondheim was founded in the 10th century by King Olaf I. The city served as Norway’s capital until the beginning of the 13th century. Today, it’s a vibrant university town and the 3rd largest city in Norway. Trondheim hotels are the best in northern Norway.
The city boasts several well-preserved examples of medieval architecture, and many timbered buildings. The historic center of the city lies on a small island reached by bridges.
Dating from 1070, the Cathedral of Trondheim (Nidaros Domkirke) is by far the most impressive church in Scandinavia. And it has an interesting history. For centuries, pilgrims have come here to worship. And the Norwegian kings were buried here in medieval times. The coronation of Haakon VII here in 1905 marked the birth of modern Norway.
Despite having burned several times, the church retains many 11th-century features. After each fire, it was rebuilt in the original Gothic style. The highlight is the west façade which is decorated with carved saints and royals. See it at night when it’s lit by floodlights. Inside, huge columns support the arches dividing the chancel from the nave and there’s a beautiful stained-glass rose window. Don’t miss the jewel-encrusted tomb of Saint Olaf.
Design and history buffs will enjoy the National Museum of Decorative Arts (Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum). The collections here cover arts and crafts from the 16th through the 20th centuries. They include Scandinavian jewelry and silverwork, furniture, textiles, ceramics, and fine art.
There’s a nice collection of British Arts and Crafts, including pieces from William Morris and his school. And nice examples of French Art Nouveau, most of which came from the 1900 Paris World’s Fair. The museum provides an excellent overview of Scandinavian design through the ages.
Those who are musically inclined should visit the Ringve Museum on the Lade Peninsula. Located in a 1740 manor house and adjoining barn, it displays a good collection of antique and folk instruments, including clavichords, harpsichords, and stringed instruments.
The Sverresborg Trondelag Folk Museum has objects from just about every part of Norwegian life. You’ll see coaches, carriages, cottages, churches, and 200-year-old, sod-roof barns – more than 60 historic buildings in all. The ski museum that’s also on the property is included in the price of admission.
The Britannia isn’t just the oldest hotel in Trondheim, it’s also the grandest. Opened in 1897, it’s easily recognized by its slate-covered dome and Victorian-style tower. The Art Nouveau Palm Garden is a lovely spot for tea year ‘round. And guests can choose from four restaurants and two bars. The 247 rooms vary quite a bit in size, but most have been thoughtfully updated. Many have four-poster beds and each has a writing desk and free WiFi Internet access. The Britannia leads the pack in facilities, and travelers who want to stay in shape will appreciate the fitness room, mineral pools, sauna, indoor swimming pool, and full-service spa. It’s the best in town. A buffet breakfast is included in the rate.
Architectural design, state-of-the-art amenities, and sheer style make the Radisson SAS Royal Garden the best Trondheim hotel. Built on the mirror-like Nid River waterfront in 1984, the Royal Garden, like the warehouses it replaced, is built on stilts. The interior of the hotel has stone floors, glass skylights, and soaring ceilings. The mood is Scandinavian through and through. Most of the 298 light, airy rooms have parquet floors and many have balconies. There are two restaurants, a bar, and a health club with indoor pool. The Royal Garden hosted royals from all over Europe for the 2002 wedding of Norway’s Princess Martha-Louise.
As the name implies, the Best Western Chesterfield has a British feel about it. Its leather sofas and pub-like lobby lounge would be equally at home in Chester. Although it opened as a hotel in 1992, it was fully renovated following a fire in 2006. Now, it has 43 spacious rooms with high ceilings, nice furnishing, and modern bathrooms. Some of the corner rooms have nice views of the city. Breakfast is the only meal served, but it’s a good one. And the Chesterifield is walking distance to shops, restaurants, museums, and transportation hubs. The airport shuttle stops out front.
The Hotel Bakeriet is one of two Clarion Collection hotels in Trondheim. The 1863 building was Norway’s largest bakery for a century, so it’s got more ambience than most hotels. And all the accoutrements of baking are used to decorate the public areas. Rooms are large and comfortable with overstuffed chairs, wainscoting, and large bathrooms. Breakfast and a light evening meal in the café are included each day. The hotel is centrally located. And there’s a fitness center with exercise equipment, a Turkish bath, and a sauna.
The other Clarion hotel, the Grand Olav, is modern all the way. Opened in 1989, it was redesigned as a boutique design hotel in 2006. The Grand Olav is part of a multi-use complex that has up-scale shops, restaurants, and Trondheim’s concert hall. The common areas are done in black, grey, and red with mid-century inspired furniture. The 106 rooms are bright and contemporary with amenities like DVD players – DVDs are available at reception – modern art, and flat-panel TVs. Like the Bakeriet, Grand Olav includes two meals in the rate.
Another victim of Trondheim’s fires, Thon Hotel Gildevangen first opened as an office building in 1910. But it was extensively rebuilt in 2006 after suffering water damage from a fire. The original chiseled-stone, Gothic entrance remains. But the rooms are now simple and comfortable with large windows, high ceilings, and tile bathrooms. It’s convenient to most of Trondheim’s attractions. And two meals are included on weekdays.
Find our recommended Stavanger hotels here.