Norway Roadtrip in Norway

24 hours in UNESCO-listed Røros

The old copper mining town of Røros in Norway was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. It is almost like an open air museum, but is in fact a lively small city well worth a 24-hour visit.

Visiting Røros has been a childhood dream and on my travel list for as long as I can remember. Why I postponed it until a pandemic made me explore my native country instead of international adventures? I honestly do not know. Luckily, our vintage motorhome was able to bring me there on our Norway roadtrip this summer.

A dog sitting in the historic Sleggveien in Røros looking into the camera.
My morning walk model posing in the cute Sleggveien street.

WHAT TO DO IN 24 HOURS IN RØROS

While in Røros, I did like I always do when exploring a new town. I set out on foot at times when few others did. Unlike when travelling solo, this time I was accompanied by my four-legged travel companion. Røros town centre is compact and walking is the best way of seeing it, and you are able to experience most of it in 24 hours.

You can join guided tours of the town, which I would highly recommend. Just make sure to book in advance. All tours were full when we arrived. Fortunately there are QR-codes on many of the old houses and sites explaining the story behind, making self-guided tours easier.

People walking up and down Kjerkgata in Røros.
Kjerkgata is the place for shopping, people watching and dining.

A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE

Røros is located on a mountain plateau in the eastern part of mid-Norway. Before the mid-17th century this harsh landscape was only inhabited by the Scandinavian indigenous Sami people. In 1644 copper ore was found here, and only a couple of years later the first melting hut was extracted on Malmplassen (the ore square).

Due to the rich ore mining, people from elsewhere in Norway and Europe moved here to work and a lively new town was built. When entering Røros, you immediately feel like you have travelled back in time. The large white and blue church from 1784 is towering above the town centre together with the mountains of slag from the ore melting. Colourful wooden houses of various sizes dominates the the rest of the old town.

Througout the times there have been more than 40 actice copper ore mines and 200 other mines around Røros. From the start in 1644 until the last mine closed in 1977, approx. 110 000 tons of clean copper was excavated. In 1980 Røros was enlisted on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

A dog sitting in a colourful street in Røros with the church's clock tower in the background.
“What are we doing out and about this early? And why are you photographing all the time?”

ATTRACTIONS NOT TO MISS IN RØROS

If you read this far, you have realised that mining has been essential to Røros, and at Smelthytta Museum you can learn all about the town’s history. It is built on the remains of the last smelter which burned in 1975. If you have not booked a guided tour, I would recommend to start here. Because of the dog, we unfortunately did not do a full tour of the museum.

Next to the museum you see the massive hills of black slag from the mines, called Slegghaugan. Slegghaugan is free to walk, and from here you get a great view of the old town centre. Coming here at sunset was nothing but beautiful!

From the black hills, continue down Sleggveien. A picturesque street of old small wooden houses, and belongs to Røros Museum. The street gives an insight into the social history of mining, as these houses belonged to workers that could not afford to keep kettle. We were not allowed inside, but there were QR-codes listed that gave explanations to most buildings.

Røros church and old town seen from the slag hills of the old mines.
The best view of Røros is from the slag hills, Slegghaugan

Do you want to dig deeper into the mining history, Olavsgruva mine is a must. This was something we really wanted to do, but due to covid there where limited tours and everything was fully booked when we knew when we would arrive Røros. It is located 13 km outside of the town centre, and you need to get there yourself.

Røros Church is another must see. Have you had a look at my images further up, you have probably noticed that it is hard to miss. Built in the prime time of Røros Copper Company of the late 18th century, it was built to stand out. With 1600 seats it is still one of the largest churches in the country.

A woman in down jacket and hat sitting with a dog beneath a bell tower with Røros church behind.
It is easy to believe that Røros is an open air museum, but people actually live in most of the houses.

Even though Røros is a small city of less than 6000 inhabitants, it has a thriving centre. Go to Kjerkgata and the parallell Bergmannsgata for shopping and people watching. These two streets are filled with individual design stores, cosy cafés and restaurants. Best tip: Røros Tweed makes fantastic wool blankets!

Make sure to stop by Trygstad Bakeri when in Kjerkgata. This bakery opened in 1906 and has almost become an institution of Røros. On my early morning walk with the dog, I treated myself with a coffee and a savoury and just sat outside the bakery and watched the street come to life.

A small river surrounded by colourful wooden houses in Røros.
Røros is a very walkable city.

ESSENTIALS TO VISITING RØROS

When is the best time to go, you may wonder. I visited in July, but believe Røros is just as pretty in all seasons. I definitely want to go back in December, as it is supposed to be a very “christmassy” town. Just bear in mind that the climate on this mountain plateu is harsh and it will be cold no matter the time of year, and especially during winter. During our 24 hours there the temperature did not go above 10 degrees celcius. Just bring layers, a hat and gloves and you will be fine!

There are several hotels in town, but as we came with a motorhome we stayed at the designated area at the sporst field just next to the town centre. Røros is also supposed to have some great restaurants, but again due to covid spaces were limited and pre-booking tables was out of the question. We ended up eating at Bergstaden Hotel’s main restaurant, which I cannot recommend. It was just not worth the money…

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