Trondheim is a city of contrasts. Founded by Viking King Olav Tryggvason in AD 997, it is deeply historical and firmly rooted in its Viking, mercantile and religious past. Today it maintains a reputation as a historical city and a youthful tech hub thanks to the 30,000 strong student population, many of whom attend the University of Science and Technology and which feed the emerging tech and engineering start up culture in the city.
Despite being the third largest city in Norway, and attracting 80,000 cruise ship visitors a year, Trondheim feels intimate and local. It has a relaxed vibe, plenty of open space and some very good shopping. If you plan to spend a relaxed weekend in Trondhiem and want to focus on walking, shopping and eating, here are some highlights.
It was a North Atlantic trade hub for centuries and its mercantile past can be seen in the iconic, colourful wooden houses lining each bank of the Nidelva River before it opens up to the former dockyards which today have been converted into shopping centres and contemporary glass fronted apartment buildings.
Sukker, Nedre Bakklandet 9
Sukker is in the heart of Bakklandet, Trondheim’s oldest quarter that is instantly recognisable by its iconic colourful wooden buildings that line the cobbled streets. Originally houses for seamen, fishermen and labourers, they have been converted into independent cafes and niche shops. Sukker is a collective of designers and crafts people selling a range of hand made products from jewellery and ceramics to graphics and glassware.
Husfliden Olav Tryggvasons gt. 18, Trondheim
Established in 1887, Husfliden specialises in Norwegian design and craft traditions and includes costume items from the Trøndelag region. As the name suggests, Husfliden stocks everything you need for the home. Highlights include Norwegian arts and crafts including a range of beautiful Roros Tweed blankets, Marius jumpers and products from local emerging designers.
Vintage and second hand
Tante Isabel, Fjordgata 52
Founded 21 years ago by Anne Isabel Udbye, this store sells everything from vintage eveningwear, kitchenware, furniture and even bicycles. It’s a treasure trove and you’ll need to roll up your sleeves to rummage through the clothes rails and weave your way through the tiniest of gaps as every surface is piled high with treasure that spills out of the shop and on to the pavement. Great for vintage jelly moulds.
Brukthandleriet Sirkulus, Kjøpmannsgata 33
Set up to provide jobs and internships for the long term unemployed, Sirkulus is a second hand shop with a range of clothing, kitchenware, LPs and books. It’s housed in one of the old timber buildings that line the river Nidelven on the west side of the river. Good for eighties ceramics.
Fretex Møllenberg, Rosenborg Gate 9b
There are a few Fretex Salvation Army shops in Trondheim. For me the best one is on Rosenborg Gate around the corner from the Rosenborg Bakeri; the branch on Fjordgata always seems full of tourists from the cruise ships. This one is big, quiet and you can find some really good vintage dinner and tea sets.
The Bryggerekka Bruktmarked – Fleamarket, Kjøpmannsgata 25
The Bryggerekka Bruktmarked takes place on Sunday mornings during the summer, in a little square by the river. This is a small, but friendly fleamarket and there are a good range of stalls and some decent clothes.
Founded in 1902 by champion baker Magnus Helgesen, the Rosenborg was my inauguration to Norwegian baked goods. I arrived late Saturday night and woke in my little studio on Sunday morning in need of coffee and sustenance. A couple of cinnamon rolls and a large latte later and I was ready to tramp the streets of Trondheim. The Rosenborg sells beautiful cakes to order and has an indulgent range of buns, cakes and baked goods. Be warned! There is also a small take away shop in Trondheim Torg shopping centre on Kongens Gate.
Mathall Trondheim, Kongens gate 30
The relatively recently opened Trondheim Mathall is a chic deli come restaurant. The menu features take away sandwiches, fishcakes and meat and a contemporary, changing fine dining menu based on seasonal and local produce. The Mathall places its focus on high quality local food and works with local producers and suppliers to offer a range of high end products with a provenance predominantly from Trøndelag and the neighbouring counties. This is a great place to buy Brunost, Norway’s iconic and (in)famous brown cheese.
Baklandet Skydsstation, Øvre Bakklandet 33
From its egg yolk yellow timber exterior to its mismatched furniture and walls covered in paintings and tapestries, Baklandet, Skydsstation is a warm and welcoming place to eat in the heart of Blaklandet. The building has an interesting story to tell with its varied incarnations as a milliners, carpenters workshop, a dairy and a laundrette. The menu is fish centred with herring plates, fish soup and bacalao featuring heavily. It’s a good place to have an early dinner before heading to Trondheim Kino on Prinsens Gate. It’s a lovely walk along the river to Elgeseter bridge which joins Prinsens Gate.