As the largest town in the county of More og Romsdal, Alesund is known as the Art Nouveau town. It is only a short distance from the world heritage area of Geirangerford. With fjords, valleys and mountain ranges carved out from the changing direction of glaciers, majestic mountains and alpine rock formations epitomize this area. The many ski slopes in the region offer fantastic skiing with a 1,500-meter drop between the peaks and fjords!
There is an abundance of cultural activities, a rich fishing history and many exciting opportunities to connect with nature. Whether you enjoy fishing, boating, skiing, hiking, cycling, birdwatching or diving, you can do it all at Alesund!
As the largest city in Sunnmore, this region is famed for fishing, maritime technology and furniture production. The area’s main export and primary source of economic growth from the mid-19th century is dried fish. Becoming a city in 1848, Alesund had a flourishing fishing industry and was doing exceptionally well until a devastating fire in 1904 left more than 10,000 of its inhabitants homeless and destitute. After the fire, the city was rebuilt in the Art Nouveau or Jugendstul architectural style you can still see today.
With other public transport options limited, many people arrive in Alesund on a cruise ship. Reaching Alesund from Trondheim takes up to six hours in a car. If you’re driving from Oslo, it can take you many more hours. However, if you do plan to travel there by car, you won’t be disappointed by the spectacular scenery. The advantage when you drive is that you can stop off and admire the view whenever you wish.
With flights from Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim available from SAS, and a route to and from the capital with Norwegian, you can fly into Alesund if you want to. Some advance deals are available if you book your flight at least a week before you plan to fly. When you arrive at Alesund’s airport, a shuttle bus will take you to the city center.
Few people come into Alesund on a bus. But once you’re there, the city’s reliable local bus service can get you from point A to B if you don’t want to walk or are not able to. That said, while many attractions are accessible on foot, buses can be helpful to reach a few of the sites outside of the city center.
If you’re only in Alesund for a few hours, a short walk around the waterfront will give you the opportunity to admire the unique architecture that is often said to set Alesund apart from other Norwegian towns.
Organized tours are certainly possible within the city. But for those who prefer to simply stroll around on their own, once you start following the waterfront, you’ll find plenty of things to see and do whichever way you look.
Retelling the tale of the city’s fire and its subsequent reconstruction, the Jugendstilsenteret is an informative and engaging museum. The Alesunds Museum has photographs and paintings from the reconstruction, World War II and other important periods in both the country’s and the city’s history.
Alesund’s aquarium is one of the best known in the whole of Norway. While it’s a firm favorite among lovers of all things aquatic, it can be especially engaging for children. It is definitely a child-friendly trip to consider on any family outing in the city. It’s known as the Atlantic Sea Park in English and Atlanterhavsparken in Norwegian.
While Mount Aksla is a small mountain by many standards, climbing up its steps is a must-do activity while in Alesund. You’ll be rewarded with truly breathtaking views from its summit. Bear in mind that there are more than 400 steps though. If you’re not reasonably fit or having a bit of an off day, give this hike a miss and take a drive up to the summit through the town’s suburbs instead.
There are plenty of other hiking options on the nearby Giske archipelago. The 3 km long “culture trail” on Valderoy Island is popular with visitors and locals alike. If you’re all about the rewards at the end of a hike, then climbing Storhornet on Godoya Island is the one for you, as you’ll get a marvelous view at the summit.
Brimming with restaurants, Alesund can feed even the fussiest of eaters. For budget-friendly options or those who prefer the classic flavors of pizza, kebabs and burgers, there are plenty of fast-food-style restaurants around the city center.
For more seafood options and culinary delights, you can choose from restaurants such as Hummer og Kanari (Kongens gate) and XL Diner (skateflukaia), the largest clip fish/bacalao restaurant in all of Northern Europe.
If you’re looking for a more upmarket option, you can try Siobua, where every dish is freshly prepared from the local fishermen’s catch of the day. The fish are kept in tanks inside the restaurant for ultimate freshness.
As Alesund is the center of fish exports in Norway, it would be sacrilegious to come here and not try the local seafood dishes and taste their unique, traditional cuisine. Clip fish (or klippfisk) is a local specialty along with a dish called bacalao made with salted cod. It’s delicious and not easy to find in other parts of the world.
You might also stumble across a popular and delicious Norwegian pancake called svele during your stay in Alesund. These can be eaten cold and are served with a variety of toppings or dunked into a steaming hot cup of coffee!
With such a compact city center, hotel rooms are at a premium. You’ll need to book well in advance to secure yourself a bed for the duration of your trip. However, there are plenty of charming and functional hotels to choose from and your can stay can be comfortable, clean and convenient. If you’re on a budget, a downtown hostel is perfect. Further out of the city there are other budget accommodation options and some good campsites, too.
If you’re heading to Norway and are seeking an adventure a little off the beaten tourist track, Alesund is an ideal location. It can give you an experience that no other place in Norway can offer you. A seafood lovers paradise, when coupled with the dazzling array of outdoor activities, Alesund makes for an invigorating and tasty town full of touristy treats!