Ålesund has been listed as the most beautiful town in Norway and one of the most beautiful ports in world. Located in on the North-West coast of Norway it’s a beautiful town to admire and a gateway to so much more!
1. Admire Art and Art Nouveau Architecture
In 1904 a fire destroyed Ålesund but it was lovingly rebuilt in Art Nouveau style. The buildings are vibrant and colourful, with stone walls topped with fairy tale turrets giving the town a unique look that is both magical and captivating.
If you’re interested in local art there are several galleries and exhibitions in Ålesund, we were recommended the KHÅK Kunstahall, Kunstmuseet KUBE, Rod Bianco Ålesund, Devoldfabrikken, Studio Hugo Opdal Flø and Alnes Opplevelsessenter.
2. Take in the View
Take a car up to Fjellstua and viewpoint Aksla where there’s an outdoor restaurant affording a panoramic view over the archipelago, Alesund town centre and the Sunnmøre Alps.
I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s spectacular! And if you fancy walking down, it’s 418 steps!
3. Eat, Drink and Stay in Ålesund
The luxurious Storfjord Hotel is a forty minute drive from the centre of Ålesund and is a haven of hygge and the perfect place for relaxation.
For those wanting to stay in the centre of town there’s the four-star Brosundet Hotel which is modern yet cosy with a gorgeous interior design inspired by the history of Ålesund. Care has been taken to preserve the buildings, originally warehouses for the fisheries Ålesund.
We walked in for a sneak peak and loved the huge fireplace and big wooden beams. Staying at the Brosundet also gives the option of room 47, 150-year-old Molja Lighthouse. Yes you can actually stay in a lighthouse accessed at the end of a jetty, a five minute walk away from the hotel. Alternatively there’s the option to stay in the hotel’s guesthouse located on the scenic, remote island of Giske, a beautifully designed property equipped with modern facilities.
A bit more further afield is Hotel Union Øye in Norangsfjorden, about an hour and half by boat from Ålesund. This historic hotel is was built in 1891 and a stay there is like going in time and was a favourite of royalty and famous writers. All three hotels are managed by 62°Nord, an experience company who can put together bespoke itineraries for guests of the hotels.
Food-wise there are some great options in Ålesund and as the town is the fishing capital of Norway you can’t go wrong with some excellent fish dishes.
For a casual lunch Invit came highly recommended to me (thank you Hand Luggage Only guys!)! The comfortable industrial-chic Espresso bar is super stylish which is no surprise as it’s attached to an interior shop, and is located right on the water’s edge.
We absolutely loved the fish soup and paired that with a comforting smoked salmon bagel or a hearty salad and you have the perfect local lunch.
Don’t miss the coffee and cake / chocolate which is known to be the best in town. Other casual options that were recommended to me for lunch were Anno for pizza or Zuuma for sushi. For fine dining I was recommend Maki Brosundet at the Brosundet Hotel and XL Diner, Europe’s largest bacalao (salt cod) restaurant, and an expert in Clipfish. Both are only open for dinner. For drinks we were told MILK bar and lounge was the best in town and has a great location out on the quay.
Experience the Fjords and other Outdoor Adventure
Ålesund is the gateway to some of the most beautiful Fjords in Norway and some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery. You can do as we did and book a private boat trip through 62ºNord to experience UNESCO World Heritage site, Geiranger Fjord from Storfjord Hotel.
Or there’s an option to see Hjørundfjord, another majestic fjord. This option means taking the boat from Ålesund and arriving at Øye, the location of Hotel Union Øye. There are lots of other options for boat trips (including kayaking and getting close to nature on a high-speed rib) which you can find on the Visit Ålesund website.
If you’re into outdoor adventure (which I’m not!) there are lots of other activities that can enjoyed with Ålesund as your base such as hiking the Sunnmøre Alps, fishing in Borgundfjorden and skiing the Fjords.
Chasing the Northern Lights
You are less likely to see the Northern Lights in Ålesund than you are in Tromsø, known to be one of the best places in Norway to witness the phenomenon. Ålesund is too far south to see them regularly but they can be seen if the conditions are right. Unfortunately we didn’t get to experience them … but there’s also next time!
(Not quite the Northern lights but beautiful all the same! This picture looks like a sunset but I actually took it at 11am!)
Have you ever been to Ålesund? What you recommend doing there?
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