Ålesund - my favorite town

Alesund, Norway

This is my favorite town in Norway, and actually Alesund has been awarded the title of "The most beautiful town in Norway" by the Norwegian people.

It is located at the western Norwegian coast, in Møre and Romsdal County, and this is an experience you must not miss. The unique Art nouveu style and the many canals dividing the city is amazing, and you will love walking around the streets of Ålesund.

Alesund has a lot to show you when you come:

  • the viewpoint at mount Aksla
  • the Jugend museum
  • Ålesund Aquarium
  • Sunnmøre Museum
  • City Sightseeing
  • Nearby attractions

The architecture makes Ålesund different from any other Norwegian city.  In 1904, a huge city-fire totally destroyed about 850 buildings in the city centre.

After a relatively short time, Ålesund raised from the ashes, to become (in my opinion) the most beautiful town in Norway, in an amazing Jugendstyle architecture.

Nearby attraction: Alnes Lighthouse

Alnes Lighthouse, Norway

Just 20 minutes by car from the city centre in Ålesund you find Alnes Fyr (Lighthouse). It was build in 1876, and is a typical image on Norwegian coastal culture. The cafeteria in the lighthouse sells homemade cakes and coffee, and we recommend the trip to Godøy and Alnes.

This is worth a visit!

Sunnmøre Museum

Photo: Sunnmøre Museum / P.O. Dybvik

If you ever are in Ålesund I will recommend you take the time to visit Sunnmøre Museum and it's amazing exhibitions. Only a few minutes drive from the city centre you find this open-air museum, with a large collection of old houses, and a great collection of old boats and houses.

It's beautifully located, and you can walk around in the quiet surroundings and see how people in coastal Norway lived hundreds of years ago.

More than 55 well preserved buildings, a great collection of old boats and fishing equipment, and even replicas of beautiful viking ships.

The Medieval Age Museum is also located here, so be prepared to spend some exciting hours here.

How to get there: 

Bus route 618 has a stop just outside the entrance, or you can take a taxi the short distance from the city centre.

Fjellstua, Mount Aksla and the city streets

Alesund Fjellstua restaurant

Another "must" in Ålesund, is the amazing view point at Fjellstua, just above the city centre.

The Fjellstua Restaurant on Mount Aksla is offering a spectaculare view from the coffe tables, making you want to sit there for hours.

It's quite a steep and narrow road up in the hills, but the bus from the buss station in the city take you there in no time. Part of the tour the forest hides most of the view, but then, like all of a sudden, it all opens up like a widescreen picture, showing an amazing view over the town and the surrounding islands.

- "Art nouveau architecture. A Norwegian food festival and a historic harbor. Fjords and mountains. Ålesund could be the backdrop for a Nordic fairy tale—with a modern plot twist".

Quote from National Geographic

From the city park there are stairs leading up to the viewpoint, and many tourists takes this walk. The stairs are now beautifully restored.

You can also go by sightseeingbus from the bus station, or taking the small, city train.

Click to see full size Street in Alesund, Norway

Just outside the inner, city centre, the streets are getting steep and narrow. That in combination with the many beautiful buildings is adding a charming impression, which again is giving the town it's unique identity.

The climate in Alesund is relatively mild, but from time to time, during the winter, snow and ice makes driving and parking of cars quite a problem in these streets. Most people find them charming, and the streets ands the architecture of the buildings are no doubt adding personality to the city.

    Hotels and accomodation at your service when you need it

Ålesund Norway Photo: Sverre Hjørnevik/Fjord Norge AS

A city like this has of course lots of hotels and other accomodations, many of them beautiful situated by the water, or almost in the water actually. If you are looking for cheaper alternatives, like hostels, these are also available.

As you can see from the photos, the city centre is divided by canals. In one of them we find "Brosundet", where the buildings makes the waterfront. Quite unique in Norway, and it's easy to understand why the inhabitants of Alesund are very proud of their town.

Brosundet actually IS the city centre. No other Norwegian city can offer you the environment and cityview you find at this exact spot.

From Brosundet you are at walking distance from the many attractions excellent hotels, fine restaurants, pubs, and much more that you find in Alesund.

Some Alesund recommendations

Building in Art Noveau style

From June 15. to August 15. you can attend guided walks in the city, learning about the history of the city, and about the amazing architecture.

City Train Ålesund Photo: Arne Ringvold

From June 10. to Aug. 21. you can take the City Train on a guided roundtrip in the city, also including Mount Aksla and Restaurant Fjellstua.

Citysightseeing Bus

From May to September you can buy tickets to "hop-on hop-off" trips with citysightseeing buses. Guided tours that takes you to all the main attractions like Sunnmøre Museum, The Atlantic Park, Ålesund Church and more.

Fred Jonny/Møre og Romsdal fylkeskommune   RIB boat

If you want something spectacular you can go on a Wildlife Sea Safari in an open high speed RIB boat.

See the city from the seaside, bird island Runde and a lot more. Bring your camera and have lifetime memories.

The Jugend Style Architecture

jugend style architecture

This is the Jugendstyle Centre where you can learn more about the Art Noveau history. You find it in the center of the town, close to the bus station and the cruise ship harbour.

These buildings has many beautiful ornaments, and are mostly in very good and authentic condition. This building is in the typical Jugend architecture.

Over the years, many of the old Art Noveau style houses has been demolished, and have given place for modern buildings in glass and concrete.

The Atlantic Park Aquarium

Fish in Aquarium Photo: Andre Pedersen Atlanterhavsparken

This is one of the largest saltwater aquariums in Northern Europe, and a very popular attraction in Ålesund.

See the fishes beeing fed by divers, and the penguins getting their food by staff members dressed in tails.

The entrance fee is NOK 140 (adults) and NOK 65 for children 3-15 years.

See more ....

How to get to Alesund

Norwegian Hurtigruten ship

Ålesund is accessable in many ways, by bus, boat, airplane and more.

Every day, all year through, the Coastal Express, Hurtigruten is calling Ålesund, on it's journey between Bergen in the south to Kirkenes in the north. In the summertime, the North bound ship arrives the town around 11, and then departures for Geiranger, before it returns to Ålesund some hours later.

In the winter time, the northbound Hurtigruten goes directly to Molde after docking in Ålesund. From the 2013 season the Hurtigruten has been cruising Hjørundfjorden in  September and October, after the Geiranger season is over.

Ålesund Airport: Photo by Avinor

Ålesund Airport Vigra is an important hub for the region, with connections to several destinations, both domestic and international. 
To get to and from the city airport, you will have to travel a subsea tunnel, as the airport is situated on Vigra, a small island just outside Alesund.

The airport has direct flights to these destinations: Alicante, Antalya, Bergen, Chania, Copenhagen, Las Palmas, Oslo, Riga, Sharm el Sheik, Split, Stavanger and Trondheim.

Read about Norwegian Airlines

You can get here by express bus from Bergen and Trondheim. You can also go by train to Åndalsnes, and by bus from Åndalsnes to Ålesund.

Like many other coastal towns and places, Ålesund has it's origin in the fisherys.  Read about the Fishery Museum in our Attractions in Ålesund page.

For hundreds of years, the town has been a trading centre for the region, and still is. Ålesund has also become an important centre for the maritime cluster of shipping, maritime industry and nautical education.

Sister Cities

Ålesund has "sister-town" relations to

  • Randers in Denmark since 1947,
  • Vesteras in Sweden since 1947,
  • Lahti in Finland since 1947,
  • Akureyri in Iceland since 1949,
  • Borgo a Mozzano in Italy since 1979,
  • Tacoma in USA since 1986,
  • Peterhead in Scotland since 1967
  • Münster in Germany since 2003

Norwegian Christmas

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The Old Norwegian Glass Fishing Floats

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Ålesund Coat of Arms

ålesund coat of arms

The Coat of Arms has been in use since 1898, and symbolizes the importance of fishery.
In 1838 Ålesund was established as a municipality, and received it's City Rights in 1848.

Cruise season

In 2016 more than 100 cruiseships with 192.000 passengers visited Ålesund.  This year (2017) 128 ships are expected, bringing more than 230 000 passengers.

Møre and Trøndelag Guideservice

Looking for guideservice in Ålesund? Take a look!

Old nautical shop in Ålesund

Click to see full size: Brosundet in Alesund, Norway, and the photo is taken in May 2013.

Click to see full size image: small fishingboat in Ålesund harbour

Click to see full size image: Jugend style architecture in Ålesund

Click to see full size photo: Aalesund overview from the harbour

ålesund norway

Click to see full size Fjellstua in Ålesund