Trondheim is where the cool kids are heading for a city break this month. Sitting on the south shore of Norway's sparkling Trondheim Fjord, at the mouth of the River Nidelva, the leader in farm-to-fork dining was recently honoured with the title of European Region of Gastronomy 2022. The abundance of award-winning local menus (we'll get onto them in a bit) can, in part, be put down to the region's unique landscape - all dramatic mountain peaks, fertile soil and an incredible array of wildlife. But feasting is not all this place is good for. A thriving creative scene exists here, too: think independent art houses showcasing emerging talent, cutting-edge design studios and the sort of street art that makes touring on foot a welcome prospect. Plus, in true Scandi style, a slew of saltwater baths and lake-facing saunas make Trondheim a wellness-first destination.
Take time to visit the Trondheim Kunstmuseum, where contemporary art and design collections make for a culture-rich afternoon. Elsewhere, art centre Kunsthall Trondheim hosts an ever-changing line-up of exhibitions and events. Then, there's the International Student Festival, on 3-18 February, with a roster of panel discussions, immersive performances and live DJ gigs all set to take place.
Trondheim's pastel-coloured facades, left, and a fine selection of flaky pastries. | Photo credit: Kristen Drew / Unsplash.com
Where to stay?
Stay at the city's 1870-built grande dame hotel, Britannia. We love its central location, stellar spa facilities and seriously snug bedrooms.
Where to go for dinner?
There's no dish you won't be able to find. For a farm-to-fork feast, head to Credo, helmed by renowned Norwegian chef Heidi Bjerkan. The industrial-inspired set-up sees raw and repurposed materials employed in the sort of design you'd expect to find in The World of Interiors - all black metal beams, blonde wooden benches and walls plastered in colourful graffiti murals. The food? Multi-course magic that's won the restaurant a Michelin star. Vegans should make a beeline for new plant-based kitchen Erlings, which dishes up Mediterranean mezzes and wood-fired pizzas. The taco pizza is a strong order, topped with vegan cheese sauce, jalapeños and nachos. The edgy food court Lager 11 offers a relaxed vibe, with Indian, French, Korean, Mexican and Chinese flavours spread across eight different food stalls. Don't miss the fluffy cakes and flaky pastries at Streif Bakeri & Café.
And for a drink…
Try the ØX Tap Room, where they brew their own beer and have an impressive menu of ales. Housed in a renovated 300-year-old cellar, the characterful space has clay plastered walls, vaulted ceilings and warm pendant lights. Try your hand at the short beer-tasting course: a 45-minute session will see you tasting four different types of beer. For cocktails and light bites, there's Cowsea, and for a little groove? Lokal Bar is your best bet.
A snapshot of the Trondheim Fjord. | Photo credit: Evan / Shutterstock.com
Who to take with you?
That mate who's always game for an outdoor adventure. There are plenty of beautiful wild swimming spots dotted around the city. Those brave enough to plunge into the chilly waters should make a beeline for Sjøbadet - a saltwater sea bath offering sweeping views of the islet of Munkholmen and the Fosen Alps. Post-sesh, reward yourself with a stint in the toasty sauna. But be warned: it's only open to the public on Sundays during the winter months. Venture a little further afield to find Bymarka's freshwater Lian Lake, where sprawling grassy plains are a hotspot hangout for locals.
Essentials to pack
We're stuffing the Dr Barbara Sturm Winter Kit in our carry-on. Specially crafted to protect the skin against harsh temperature, this ultimate beauty bundle includes a nourishing lip balm, anti-ageing face cream, plant-based serum, rich and creamy face mask and a cleanser designed to target dead skin cells and nasty pollutants. The best bit? All sizes are less than 100ml.
How to get there
Take a direct flight from London Gatwick to Trondheim Airport, from where the city centre is just a 32-minute drive away.