With its beautiful fjords, farmland and a focus on small artisans, there are many reasons to visit Trondelag in central Norway
Norway's fjords and rugged nature are famous for beckoning travellers from all over the world to brave jaw-dropping ledges and balancing-act hikes. Yet the middle of the country hides a hidden gem – the region of Trondelag. Home to Norway’s third-largest city of Trondheim (itself an overlooked destination for a city break weekend away), the surrounding countryside is an idyllic destination for travellers looking to embrace the Nordic concept of 'kos', which quite literally means having a good time. A good time is certainly to be had in Trondelag. Life is a little slower, a little sweeter here – from the smell of the air rushing from fjords to forest, to long, luxurious tasting menus crafted from the highest quality local ingredients.
Trondelag was named a European Region of Gastronomy for 2022 for this very reason. The farmland, drawing on uniquely fertile ground from the fjords and coastal weather patterns, gives farmers and the region's wealth of talented craftspeople ample supplies to create perfection. And travellers can easily partake in the magic, with trains running from nearby Trondheim.
Here are four reasons to visit the region of Trondelag, from breathtaking sights to mouthwatering eats.
1. For the scenery
Unlike the rocky cliffs with staggering heights of southern Norway, Trondelag’s pastoral green hills, fjords and mountains draw you in with the promise of lush forests and brilliant blue water.
The Vangshylla hiking route passes swimmable beaches, for the moments when the weather reaches its warmest summer peak. And for those looking to venture upwards, the climb to Storknuken and its ultimate summit views make the trek worthwhile. But there are nearly endless walks to choose from, whether you take a simple stroll along the fjord or tackle a proper hillwalk to the top of one of the looming mountains.
2. To tour the Golden Road
The product of several decades of hard work by local craftspeople, the Golden Road strings together 22 small makers to create a culinary and cultural tour of the small peninsula of Inderøy. Locals call this route the "golden detour" because the circular itinerary is located just off Norway’s main highway that connects the north and south of the country. So it’s easy to take a few hours – or days – to explore the area.
Gangstad Gårdsysteri dairy farm offers platters of its award-winning cheeses, Gulburet serves up freshly baked bread and pastries, Inderøy gårdsbryggeri brews local craft beers and, for a taste of local liquid gold, try Inderøy Distilleryt’s aquavit. The traditional Scandinavian spirit made from caraway holds a special accolade here, as its Golden Aquavit only uses raw ingredients grown in Norway.
To work up the appetite to keep sampling the local specialties, you can rent bicycles (or e-bikes, to help with the hills) and take yourself on a tour of as many of the 22 shops and sites as you like. There are also guided cycling tours available, taking in 20 miles (32 kms) of beautiful Trondelag scenery and treats in two days.
3. For the food
As the Golden Road highlights, what makes Trondelag stand out is the access to exceptional ingredients from small brewers, farmers and craftspeople. But the talent of the region doesn’t end there. Local chefs showcase the best of what the land has to offer through incredible fine dining.
Drive just far enough into the heartland of Trondelag and you'll find Experience Restaurant, housed in a brilliant red barn on a working farm. The chef at the helm here is Kim Sjøbakk, formerly of Gordon Ramsay's Maze and The Dorchester in London. But he returned to his homeland when he realised many of the ingredients served at his London restaurants came from Trondelag. Now, he creates whimsical and delicious plates for diners ready to be taken on a foodie ride. Sjøbakk’s tasting menu is 16 courses, paired with wines selected to complement each dish. The courses range from beetroot and goats cheese foam, to delicate miso fish, elk tartare and the most mouthwatering blueberry soufflé you can imagine.
4. To bed down in unique lodgings
No need to worry about accomodation in Trondelag – whether you’re a camper or enjoy a little luxury, there's a cosy spot with your name on it.
For those wishing to truly immerse in the forest, the glamping yurts at Vilnis farm are a little piece of home in nature. The canvas tents are equipped with full-sized beds – no sleeping on the floor here – and wood-burning stoves to keep warm on chilly Norwegian nights. The brave can book a winter visit, with the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights shining over the yurt.
If you prefer an indoor viewing place, Oyna Cultural Landscape Hotel’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows are the perfect fit. The hotel is built directly into the hillside overlooking Trondheim Fjord, sometimes compared to a hobbit hole for its cosy meld into the countryside. But the comparisons stop there. The rooms are simple, beautifully styled in minimalist Scandinavian black and grey concrete, and with a clear showstopper: the view of the fjord below.
The hotel's restaurant, like the others in the area, uses local ingredients for its dishes, with breakfast served as a platter of artisan cheeses, meats and smoked fish from the Golden Road. And as you sip your coffee – sourced from a local roaster, of course – you can simply watch the clouds roll over the fjords, blending everything to love about the region into one perfect moment.
Be the first to comment
Do you want to comment on this article? You need to be signed in for this feature