There’s nothing quite like experiencing the Christmas season in Trondheim. The twinkling lights, the crisp winter air, and the cosy warmth of bustling cafés, markets, and cute little shops.
We’ve gathered a small selection of what we love about Christmas in Trondheim to help you out. However, don’t be surprised if you discover even more wonderful surprises while enjoying the city’s unique festive atmosphere.
1. Free ice skating
At Solsiden from Nov. 26
The ice skating rink at Solsiden is the perfect blend of a refreshing outdoor activity and a cosy city outing. This new tradition sees the pond outside of the shopping centre turned into an ice skating rink for anyone to enjoy, free of charge! You can bring your own skates, or rent a pair when you arrive, to show off your elegant twirls.
If you prefer leaving twirling to others, however, you can also sip hot chocolate at one of the many restaurants facing the skating rink. Many of them offer heat lamps and blankets on their outdoor terraces, so you can bundle up and enjoy the scenery and watch people having fun on ice skates.
2. The wondrous Christmas market
At Torvet (Trondheim’s main square), Dec. 1st-18th
This year will be the 20th anniversary of Trondheim’s most cherished tradition, the Christmas market. There’s something so unique about it that it’s beloved by everyone, from diehard Christmas lovers to the worst of Grinches. Perhaps it’s the wide selection of locally produced food and crafts spread across 80 booths, or the magical Ferris wheel with its twinkling lights. The market is also home to Trondheim’s tallest Christmas tree and a pop-up tavern!
The Lavvoen is an atmospheric tent with more than 500 seats for people to enjoy seasonal drinks, live music, and delicious dishes like Portuguese bacalao and Trønder reindeer burgers. The market is open every day from 11:00-19:00 while the Lavvoen is open until 20:00, and longer on Wednesdays and Fridays, until 22:00.
3. The Gingerbread City returns!
At Munkegata 70, Dec. 1st-18th
Making gingerbread houses is an honoured tradition in Trondheim and this year you’ll once again have the opportunity to witness the culinary architectural feats of the locals. Schools, baking enthusiasts, and all sorts of organisations send in their gingerbread creations to be displayed at Trondheim Pepperkakeby (Trondheim Gingerbread City), held in the old premises of Ravnkloa Fisk & Skalldyr from Dec. 1st to the 18th.
We definitely recommend visiting as it’s quite a sight to see and a great way to support a good cause. Tickets are only 75 NOK for adults and 50 NOK for students and children under 16 get in for free. All proceeds will go to supporting mental health initiatives for young people in Trondheim.
4. Beautiful Christmas strolls
Bakklandet and the city centre
A big part of the holiday season in Trondheim is to simply take in the incredibly festive atmosphere. Walking along the icy Nidelva river or passing through the happy hustle and bustle in the city centre, while being surrounded by beautiful Christmas lights, will immediately fill your heart with fuzzy warmth.
Bakklandet is also a particularly wonderful place for a leisurely stroll among cute little cafés, old wooden houses, and beautiful artisanal shops full of local crafts. The wonderful thing about Trondheim is you can walk between all the major spots, whether it’s shops, markets, or restaurants, so make the most of it!
5. Go out for dinner on Christmas Eve
At Britannia Hotel, Dec. 24th & 25th
Almost everything is closed during the height of the holidays in Norway, but there are still unique experiences to be had. Britannia is a historic hotel located in the centre of Trondheim and offers a wide variety of events and packages in December, including a Grand Buffet in the glamorous Palmehaven restaurant from 18:00 on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. The buffet costs 965 NOK (525 NOK for children) and is open to everyone.
You’ll be able to enjoy a large selection of classic Christmas dishes, alongside the best the sea has to offer for the season, and a whole host of delicacies made from locally-produced ingredients. Britannia is a wonderful place to spend Christmas as the interiors are absolutely stunning, and it’s easy to understand why so many rock stars, royalty, and other distinguished guests have passed through its doors during its rich 150-year history.
Bonus tip: Weird Christmas TV
In Norway, the holiday celebration reaches its peak on Christmas Eve. Around 17:00 on Dec. 24th, you’ll hear the church towers of the city ring in Christmas and that’s when most families sit down for the traditional Christmas dinner. Many serve turkey, pinnekjøtt, which are dry-cured ribs of lamb, or ribbe (pork ribs).
You can of course make these dishes yourself, but if you want to experience the entire process without getting any of the culinewards, you can tune into NRK's legendary Ribba - grad for grad, a 7-hour broadcast of a Christmas roast in the oven.
Then there’s Tre nøtter til Askepott (Three Wishes for Cinderella), a Czechoslovak/East German fairy-tale film from 1973. For some mysterious reason, everyone in Norway watches this movie before Christmas. The entire movie is dubbed in Norwegian by one man, which makes for bizarrely fun viewing.