Røros is one of those places that make you travel back in time, a historical Norwegian mining town full of impeccable wooden buildings that for over 3 centuries was the center of copper mining in the country, before finally ceasing activity in 1977. It’s one of the oldest towns of wooden buildings in Europe, founded back in 1644, and a very picturesque destination to visit in Norway.
Since the mines closed, the town turned to tourism in a sustainable way without losing its authenticity and feeling, with people still working and living there. Due to its importance and current state of conservation, the town has since been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
We visited Røros on a day trip from Trondheim, where we were staying for a few days, and had a really good time despite the cold weather and the fact it was winter season and the 1st of May, a national holiday. Due to the celebrations, the town wasn’t busy and a few things were even closed, yet this didn’t ruin our experience.
The streets of Røros
Visiting Røros is like being in an open-air museum and the best and only way to experience the town and its history is to walk the few streets that make up its compact center. Everything is within walking distance and easy to visit, including many of the beautiful wooden buildings.
We didn’t have a pre-defined route so we just started on the main street and wandered around all day exploring the different parts of town, including the other side of the river and passing by the same places multiple times because we weren’t in a rush. And this is what we recommend doing.
Realistically, if you’re in a hurry you can get a good overview of the town in just a couple of hours.
Among the many and diverse wooden buildings in Røros, the main attractions are the former copper smelter (Smelthytta), which is now a museum, and the church. Rørosmuseet manages the sites related to the town’s historical past.
The church is probably the most imposing building in Røros and often named the pride of the town. Finished in 1784, this church is quite big for such a small town and worth a visit. Free entry.
We had to wait a bit before going in because there was a concert happening there that was being broadcasted on the Norwegian television.
For the best views in Røros and its wooden buildings, there’s no better place than across the river just opposite to the museum, where there are a few mounds that can easily be climbed. This is where you can admire the town and get a good picture of it.
Very close to this is Sleggveien street and some traditional houses that are also part of the museum and can be visited.
There was still time to stop by a farm and say hi to the horses.
Outside the town, there is an interesting place to visit that is also part of Røros history – Olav’s Mine, an actual copper mine that is now open for guided tours. Unfortunately, it was closed when we visited, but it must be a good way to find out more about copper mining.
Getting to Røros from Trondheim
Røros is perfect for a day trip from Trondheim because it’s not too far away, only 150km. Getting there takes about the same time by car or train, 2h30m, and it’s a very scenic journey.
There is also a daily bus available.
Getting to Røros from Oslo
Røros is quite far from Oslo and not suitable for a day trip. The 400 km that separate the two take 5h both by train or car. The quickest way is to fly and it takes just under 1h.
Trains in Norway are a great way to travel as they are very comfortable and have free wifi, but they tend to be expensive. For all the train options and online tickets check NSB, the Norwegian train company.