The Quaint Mining Town of Røros, Norway

Røros Town

Norway is very much a country known for its coast and with good reason. One word – fjords. When I was planning my trip to Norway back in 2014, I realised that every single place I had planned was on the country’s coast. Adamant that I should try to see what the country’s interior was like, I did some research and somehow came across the town of Røros.

Lying close to the border with Sweden and south of Trondheim, Røros is very much a small and rural town. Historically a copper mining town, it was founded in 1644 and became a crucial player in the country’s industry. Mining no longer takes place in Røros, but tourism has definitely taken up the slack.

This is because the town has managed to skilfully preserve its historic wooden buildings and mining town layout. As such, UNESCO has recognised its character and value, including it on their world heritage list.

Traditional Houses Røros

Visiting in late March, the town was blanketed in soft clean snow, a clear reminder of how far north the town still is. As I walked down into town, I saw mounds of plowed snow rising up in front of house windows, indicating spring hadn’t quite come yet. The end of winter may not have been the best time to visit, as the photos I’ve seen of Røros in summer paint it in a far more cheery, vital way.

A great place to start when visiting town is Kjerkgata, what feels like the main street in town. Along its slight incline you’ll find the very nordic houses you come to expect from Norway, as well as shops, restaurants and the like. At the top of the street you’ll find the town’s church, its tower rising far above the low town rooftops.

Main Street Røros

Across the small, frozen river you’ll find the old traditional timber houses that Røros is recognised for. This neighbourhood is called Flanderborg and is far quieter than the centre of town. As you walk through its simple streets you can admire the wooden facades and grass roofs of these historic houses. From the look of the timber and their slight angles, you can immediately tell that these houses are very old.

Mining Street Røros

Back opposite the beautiful old houses and across the several rickety wooden bridges on the stream, is the Smelthytta Museum. Housed upon the remains of the old town smelter, here you can learn about the town’s mining history and understand its mining operations. There’s also a section dedicated to period clothes from the 1800’s. The great big wooden building and surrounding fences and bridges contribute greatly to Røros’ frontier atmosphere.

Mining Museum Røros

By the traditional houses of Flanderborg, you will find immense hills made up of slag known as Slegghaugan. These manmade mounds were created by the dumping of slag, a byproduct of the mine’s smelting process. The heaps themselves aren’t particularly attractive, but if you climb to the top you’re able to get some unparalleled views out over Røros.

Røros Rooftops

To me what is quite remarkable about Røros is that the former copper mining town is now a nationally certified sustainable destination. Part of the certification includes demonstrating their intent to minimise the adverse impacts of tourism, which must be hard for somewhere so dependent on tourism. Røros really is remarkable in that regard. Local activities that seem to support that notion include dog-sledding, reindeer-sledding and cycling.

Wooden Mining House Røros

One of the quirks of visiting Røros during low season was that I ended up having a large two-storey hostel (Fjellheimen Pension) to myself for my first night. Even on the second night a second person came to stay, but it felt just as deserted then too. The camping area just up the hill did not look too inviting in March either.

 

Tips:

  • The easiest way to get there it seems is by train, taking 2.5 hours from the nearest city of Trondheim;
  • Given how small Røros is, you can understand there aren’t a plethora of accommodation choices, but there are some;
  • If you want to see the town at its most picturesque, I do think summer is the way to go.

 


Head of this little old town before? What about Røros most appeals to you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Hidden away from the coast of Norway, the UNESCO recognised historic mining town of Røros has a remarkable frontier feel and charm all its own. via @travelsewhere Hidden away from the coast of Norway, the UNESCO recognised historic mining town of Røros has a remarkable frontier feel and charm all its own. via @travelsewhere


This post is part of Wanderful Wednesday at SnowinTromso and The Weekly Postcard over at Caliglobetrotter. Please head on over for more great posts.

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9 Comment

  1. I really liked the town when visiting a few years ago. Really picturesque, but sadly everything was closed during our visit. We had almost forgotten that it was December 26th also in Norway. 😛

  2. What an interesting town. And you’re right – quite a feat going from mining town to sustainable tourism town, when the main industry is tourism. Should be a model for many other towns I can think of! Would love to see it in summer – now you’ve piqued our curiosity!

  3. Wherejogoes says:

    What a pretty little town – it looks quintessential Norwegian with the red houses and the snow. The wooden buildings do have a frontier mining town air to them -and you had the hostel to yourself – Result!
    #WanderfulWednesday

  4. Røros has been on my bucket list for ages and I definitely want to visit in winter when I go, maybe around Christmas time? I heard it’s magical there then!!!

    1. David says:

      Oh cool, I found a place in Scandinavia you haven’t been to yet 🙂 Jesper commented that he was there around that time and said it was picturesque, I sadly missed the Yuletide atmosphere but can imagine its indeed magical!

  5. Sarah says:

    Quaint is the perfect way to describe it! I’ve only ever been to Norway’s coasts as well, would love to explore inland when I next visit 🙂

  6. Ruth says:

    You really go to very interesting places! Agree it is interesting to see “another side” of a country, not only the areas that are located in popular locations. I love mining towns and it would be interesting to visit some outside the United States (where we have tons of interesting ones). #TheWeeklyPostcard

  7. Tanja says:

    very interesting #theweeklypostcard

  8. Vlad says:

    Such a beautiful town! This is exactly how I imagined Reykjavik to be, but it wasn’t the case since they don’t have any wood. Would love to visit it. #TheWeeklyPostcard

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