The Norwegian city of Ålesund and the surrounding countryside are among the most visited tourist destinations in Norway. The city with 66.000 inhabitants is located 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

The port city of Ålesund is 62 ° north and 6 ° east on Norway's west coast. 235 kilometers as the crow flies separate them from Bergen, , Norway's second largest city. Ålesund is picturesquely surrounded by fjords and mountain landscapes on several islands on the Atlantic Ocean.

Ålesund - offshore island Heissa

Ålesund - offshore island Heissa

Ålesund historically

Ålesund developed from a trading base founded by Bergen merchants in the first half of the 15th century. The port and customs rights were granted to Ålesund in 1793. In 1848 the city rights followed. Thanks to fishing, Ålesund has become the largest port for the export of stockfish. 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 - Apotekergata - Monument to a fisher boy

Ålesund - Apotekergata - Monument to a fisher boy

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

Ålesund - economy, culture and education

Ålesund has the most important fishing port in the country. The VARD shipyard group is based 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 has a lot to offer to many. Alpine 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 famous Art Nouveau architecture in Ålesund city center.

Examples of Art Nouveau architecture in Ålesund

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


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


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 the general art scene of that time. Using a “time machine”, visitors to the exhibition can immerse themselves in that time. The museum organizes regularly changing art exhibitions. The Art Nouveau Center is our highlight in Ålesund.

Location: Apotekergata16

Ålesundet - view of Art Nouveau Center & KUBE
Art Nouveau Center & KUBE
Art Nouveau Centeret
Art nouveau center - checkout area


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 Kirke on Prestegta
Ålesund Kirke - the nave
The altar of Ålesund Kirke
The organ and the Kaiser Wilhelm window in Ålesund Church


Monument De Falne til minne

In front of the church, the fallen soldiers of World War II are commemorated in the Grimmergården park.

Ålesund - De Falne til minne monument

Ålesund - De Falne til minne monument

Fjellstua viewpoint 

From Aksla Hill, more precisely the Fjellstua lookout point, visitors can enjoy views of the city, the surrounding islands and the Sunnmørsalpene, the mountain range in the Sunnmøre region, towering behind them. In addition to a viewing platform, Fjellstua has an outside cafeteria.

How to get there?

418 steps lead from the city park to the Aksla hill. There is an easier way: The bright red double-decker buses from City Sightseeing Norway keep you up to date.

Ålesund - Fjellstua viewpoint
View of Ålesund


Sights outside Ålesund

Sunnmore Museum

The Sunnmøre Open Air Museum, four kilometers from the center of Ålesund, is dedicated to the country's coastal culture on a 120 hectare area. The collection includes 50 residential and farm buildings, huts, barns, boat houses and cottages from several centuries. There is also an exhibition of typical boats from the region.

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 dock near the city center at Prestebrygga and Stornespiren berths. The Hurtigruten ships, which operate according to the timetable, dock at Skansekaia at the entrance to the inner harbor.

The old Mein Schiff 2 is in the center of Ålesund

The old Mein Schiff 2 is in the center of Ålesund

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.

City Sightseeing Norway's red buses are also ideal for exploring the city. They offer city tours with eight stops. The tour buses stop at the cruise terminal. In 2020 the bus trips will be offered at prices from 33 euros.

Update June 2020

Further articles

Shore Excursions Ålesund

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