Trondheim – Viking capital by the sea

I spent a lot of time in Trondheim earlier this year, as most of my family has moved to the city formerly known as Nidaros, Norway’s Viking capital by the sea. The photos below span several months, from December last year to April this year. I wanted to share them sooner, but the day after I returned from my last trip, I was told I had to move out of my lovely little loft flat, so I have been slightly preoccupied with finding a new home. (I am all settled in a new place now, but that’s a story for another time!)

Trondheim - Viking capital by the sea
Nidaros Cathedral with the Nidelven river in front.
And that stuff at the top of the picture isn’t just sky, some of it is sea. Promise.

Trondheim was founded in 997 and was Norway’s capital during the Viking Age, until 1217. Back then, the city was known as Nidaros, which means the mouth of the river Nidar.


Nidaros Cathedral

Work on the beautiful Nidaros Cathedral started in 1070 and took 230 years to complete. Hardly surprising when you see how detailed it is, particularly the west front. The cathedral is built on the burial site of St. Olaf, a Norwegian Viking king who died in battle at nearby Stiklestad in 1030.

Trondheim - Viking capital by the sea
The west front of Nidaros Cathedral
Trondheim - Viking capital by the sea
View across the cathedral yard towards the medieval Archbishop’s Palace
Trondheim - Viking capital by the sea
Close-up of the west front

The cathedral is equally beautiful on the inside, but there is a photography ban in place, so you’ll have to visit Trondheim if you want to see more. (Or just click on the link in the paragraph above). The first time I visited was during a choir trip when I was about 12 years old, and I still remember vividly how vast and impressive the cathedral seemed.

The cathedral is located right in the middle of the city.
It is definitely worth a visit!


The Archbishop’s Palace

The Archbishop’s Palace is one of the largest medieval stone structures in Scandinavia and was the Archbishop’s home until the protestant reformation in 1537. These days it mainly functions as a museum – among other things, the Crown Jewels of Norway are on permanent display here.

Trondheim - Viking capital by the sea
The passage between the Cathedral and the Archbishop’s Palace.
The wall probably dates back to the late 13th century.
Trondheim - Viking capital by the sea
View from the Archbishop’s Palace towards the Cathedral.
The property measures exactly 100 x 100 metres.

Anyway, enough cathedraling and palacing – it is time to head towards Bybroa bridge aka Lykkens portal, which means The Portal of Happiness! Who could possibly resist the opportunity pass through it?

First, we pass this stunningly beautiful silversmith’s shop. I have to be honest – I’m not remotely interested in the gold and silver they sell, I want to buy the actual shop!

Trondheim - Viking capital by the sea

Bybroa – Lykkens portal
Trondheim - Viking capital by the sea
The beautiful Bybroa bridge links Trondheim city centre to Bakklandet,
which has got to be the most picturesque area of Trondheim.
Trondheim - Viking capital by the sea
The river is lined with old, wooden warehouses in pretty colours.
Trondheim - Viking capital by the sea
The view is absolutely spectacular.
Trondheim - Viking capital by the sea
And passing through the Portal of Happiness can only be a good thing, right?


The city centre

I spent parts of December, January, March and April in Trondheim, and the weather varied a lot during that time – snow, rain, hail, sunshine – at one point I think we experienced all four seasons in the space of one week.

Trondheim - Viking capital by the sea
December on the left, January on the right.
Trondheim - Viking capital by the sea
This is the same area (Vår Frue kirke aka The church of Our Lady) just before Christmas.
Isn’t this the prettiest Christmas Tree market you ever saw?
This was taken through a bus shelter – the snow flakes are beautiful, but brrrr!
Trondheim - Viking capital by the sea
At times it was so cold, even the buildings looked like they were shivering.
Underground heating in Trondheim
And as you can see, the weather can change very suddenly! Not very inviting, is it? Fortunately, the clever people in Trondheim have underground heating in the city centre, so it is not very icy.
Trondheim - Viking capital by the sea
It is undeniably pretty, though. Is this Norway or Narnia?

Anyway, I digress. We were crossing The Portal of Happiness – which takes us to beautiful Bakklandet!



This area is sooo gorgeous, full of tiny wooden houses that all seem to be owned by expert interior (and exterior!) decorators, quaint little shops and super cute little cafés.

Cute café at Bakklandet
This charming café is in a listed house that dates back to 1791 – that’s quite impressive for a wooden building!
Quaint bicycle repair shop at Bakklandet
Did you ever see a lovelier bicycle repair shop in your life?
A sheaf of grain for the birds.
Hanging out a sheaf of grain for the birds in winter is a lovely Norwegian tradition.
Trondheim - Viking capital by the sea
… and that sort of takes us full circle back to the cathedral, although we are now on the other side of the river! Bakklandet has the best view of the cathedral, in my opinion.

So there you have it: 7 weeks in Trondheim – Viking capital by the sea, reduced to a short stroll from the cathedral to Bakklandet in just 25 pictures. With some minor detours, of course. Sorry about all the Christmas feels in July, but better late than never, right? Somehow I always seem to visit Norway in winter, but I’ve given my family strict instructions to move their birthdays to the summertime next year. I haven’t been to Norway during the summer for 12 years, so I guess that will be one of my goals for 2020!

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little walk through historic Trondheim – Viking capital by the sea.

Love, Neens xx

PS: If you’re planning a visit to Norway, be sure to check out these 12 facts you need to know about Norwegians before you go!

4 comments Add yours
  1. A very interesting post, I love the last shot and the January one with the street lamp casting a golden glow on the buildings 🙂

  2. Your description and accompanying photos are vivid. My mother’s side of the family immigrated to the U.S. from Norway and both she and her mother graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota. Reading this post has renewed my desire desire to visit Norway, which a number of my relatives already have done.

    1. Thank you very much, Sara, how lovely to hear. I have some distant family in Minnesota; descendants of my great grandfather’s brother (my great grandfather also went to the US, but returned to Norway). I have never been there, but my relatives have visited Norway several times, and now we keep in touch via Facebook. 🙂

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