The Norwegian city of Ålesund and the surrounding countryside is one of Norway's most visited tourist destinations. The city of 67.000 inhabitants (estimate 2023) is located north of Bergen in the province of Møre og Romsdal. It is the starting point for boat trips to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Geirangerfjord, to the bird protection island Runde or to the Sunnmørsalpene.

Ålesund - the location

Alesund and Bergen, Norway's second largest city, is 235 kilometers apart as the crow flies. Fjords and mountain landscapes surround the city, which is picturesquely situated on several islands on the Atlantic Ocean.

Ålesund - the old port

Ålesund - the old port

Ålesund historically

Ålesund grew out of a trading post founded by Bergen merchants in the first half of the 15th century. Port and customs rights were granted to Ålesund in 1793. City rights followed in 1848. Thanks to fishing, Ålesund then developed into the largest port for the export of cod. In January 1904, a devastating fire destroyed 850 wooden houses in the city center. More than 10.000 residents lost their homes as a result of the fire.

Ålesund - an example of Art Nouveau architecture

Ålesund - an example of Art Nouveau architecture

After the catastrophic fire, the city was rebuilt within seven years in stone construction and Art Nouveau architecture. Help for the reconstruction came from Germany, among others. Kaiser Wilhelm II and the shipping companies HAPAG and Norddeutsche Lloyd actively supported the restoration of Ålesund financially. 

Ålesund - economy, culture and education

Ålesund has Norway's most important fishing port. The VARD shipyard group has its headquarters in Ålesund. Several companies in the furniture industry and tourism are also of economic importance.

Ålesundet - the old port

Ålesundet - the old port

Ålesund has several museums and a small campus of the Norwegian University of Applied Sciences (NTNU). The university has around 1.500 students. Visual arts are taught at Ålesund Kunstskole. - Once a year the city presents itself with the national Norwegian Food Festival. And then there is the Slinningsbålet, the tallest midsummer fire in the world. Daring youngsters spend months of labor stacking discarded fish industry pallets to form a tower more than 40 meters high. It is lit with kerosene on the day of the solstice. The sensational event has become an institution and a travel destination in itself.

Ålesund - Midsummer fire - building up the pile of wood required for this

Ålesund - Midsummer fire - building up the pile of wood required for this

Ålesund - sights

Ålesund offers many things. Alpine skiers and cross-country skiers use the diverse mountain landscapes of the surrounding area for skiing between February and June. In summer, holidaymakers are drawn to the fish-rich fjords, lakes and rivers of the Sunnmøre region. There is also the much-vaunted Art Nouveau architecture in Ålesund city centre.

Examples of Art Nouveau architecture in Ålesund:

Ålesund - Hotels and commercial buildings in Art Nouveau style
The Art Nouveau building of the Salvation Army
Art Nouveau buildings
Art Nouveau house in Øwregata
Art Nouveau building in the Apotekergata
Art Nouveau buildings on Apotekergata
Art Nouveau ornamentation
Art Nouveau ornamentation


The city overwhelms its visitors with the abundance of Art Nouveau buildings created in just a few years. The houses, richly decorated with turrets, gargoyles and decorations, are a treasure trove for architecture connoisseurs and lovers on a city tour. But not only friends of architecture get their money's worth. Ålesund has more to offer.

Excursions Ålesund - GetYourGuide



Art Nouveau Center & KUBE

The Art Nouveau Center is located in a representative stone building in the heart of Ålesund. The museum and exhibition center provides insights into the city fire of 1904, the reconstruction of the city and conveys feelings about the general art scene of that time. Using a “time machine”, visitors to the exhibition can immerse themselves in that time. The museum regularly organizes changing art exhibitions. The Jugendstilsenteret is our personal highlight in Ålesund.

Location: Apotekergata16

Ålesund - Art Nouveau center
Ålesund - Jugendstilsenteret - Reception area
Ålesund - Café in the Art Nouveau center
Ålesund - Art Nouveau center


Alesund Church

The Art Nouveau Center and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ålesund are around 400 meters apart. The previous church was destroyed in the city fire. The newly built church was consecrated in 1909. The stone church has a beautiful, wooden altarpiece. The church windows are also worth seeing. The window behind the organ was donated by the German Kaiser Wilhelm II. It symbolizes the emperor's support in rebuilding the city he treasured.

Location: Aspegata 9

Ålesund Church
Ålesund Kirke - the nave
The altar of Ålesund Kirke
Ålesund Kirke - the pulpit and one of the church windows


Monument De Falne til minne

In front of the church, in Grimmergården's green space, there is a poignant stone monument to those who died in World War II.

Ålesund - stone monument De Falne til minne

Ålesund - stone monument De Falne til minne

Ålesund - stone monument De Falne til minne

Ålesund - stone monument De Falne til minne 

Fjellstua viewpoint 

From Aksla Hill, more precisely Fjellstua viewpoint, visitors can enjoy fantastic views of the city, the surrounding islands and the Sunnmørsalpene, the mountain range in the Sunnmøre region, rising behind. In addition to a viewing platform, Fjellstua has an outdoor cafeteria.

How to get there?
From the city park 418 steps lead to Aksla hill. There's an easier way: City Sightseeing Norway's bright red double-decker buses stop by, as does the tranquil-looking Ålesund City Train.

Ålesund - Fjellstua Viewpoint
Ålesund - center
Ålesund - Sunnmøre Alps
Ålesund - Godøya island

Molja - the oldest breakwater in Norway

Molja, Norway's oldest breakwater, was built in 1854. At the shore end of the breakwater is Ålesund Fisheries Museum. At the end of the pier rises the Molja fyr, the red beacon. Today, the building is often used as a XNUMX-square-metre room for honeymooners at Hotel Brosundet in Ålesund. The Hurtigruten terminal is opposite the tower.

Ålesund - Fisheries Museum
Ålesund - Molja with the Molja fyr
Ålesund - Molja fyr
Ålesund - Mole with the lighthouse

Sights outside Ålesund

Sunnmore Museum

Sunnmøre Open Air Museum, four kilometers from the center of Ålesund, is dedicated to the country's coastal culture on a 120-hectare site. The collection includes 55 residential and farm buildings, huts, barns, boathouses and cottages from several centuries. There is also an exhibition of typical boats from the region. Even replicas of Viking boats can be admired.

Location: Museumsvegen 1, Ålesund

Atlanterhavsparken - the Ålesund Aquarium

With the Atlanterhavsparken, the city has one of the largest saltwater aquariums in Northern Europe. The main attraction is the salt water basin: home to cod, katfish, conger eels and halibut. Seals and penguins are shown in an outdoor area.

Location: Heissa Island; Tuenesvegen, 6006 Ålesund

Ålesund for cruise passengers

Cruise ships are located in the city center at the Prestebrygga/Stornespiren berths. Scheduled Hurtigruten ships dock at Skansekaia at the entrance to the inner harbor.

Ålesund - cruise ship MS Nieuw Statendam in front of Prestebrygga

Ålesund - cruise ship MS Nieuw Statendam in front of Prestebrygga

Ålesund is one of those cities that cruise ship passengers can easily discover on their own. They are supported by Ålesund's Tourist Office. It maintains a branch office at the cruise terminal.

The red buses from City Sightseeing Norway are also ideal for getting to know the city. They offer sightseeing tours with eight stops on cruise ship call days. Stops include Ålesund Aquarium and Sunnmøre Museum. The tour buses stop at the cruise terminal. In 2023, the bus rides will be offered at prices starting at NOK 450, equivalent to EUR 38,35.

An alternative to the hop-on hop-off buses is the aforementioned City Train. The city tour with the "Bimmelbahn" lasts 70 minutes. The miniature train stops for 15 minutes at the main landmark, Fjellstua Viewpoint. Enough time to enjoy the unique panorama in good weather. In 2023, the trip will add NOK 290 to the travel budget, equivalent to EUR 24,70. The City Train also stops in front of the cruise terminal.

June 2023

My Shore Excursions Ålesund