ÅLESUND – THE GATEWAY TO THE GEIRANGERFJORD AND HJØRUNDFJORD

Ålesund is known as one of the most beautiful cities in Norway. The city is also known as the gateway to two of the most beautiful fjords in Norway; the Geirangerfjord and the Hjørundfjord.

Ålesund is a great starting point for exploring the Sunnmøre region with the fjords, mountains and the beautiful coastline of islands and reefs. But most of all, it is well worth spending time to enjoy the great hotels, restaurants, activities and experiences in the city itself.

 

Season and Safety

Many of the activities and attractions mentioned on this website are open only in summer and are closed in winter. This also applies to many of the roads and accommodations mentioned. Season and opening time will vary. It depends on where it is and what activity, attraction, road and accommodation it is, it usually opens in the summer and closes in the autumn, depending on i.a. the amount of snow and the risk of avalanches in the area. Read more about season, important safety information and your own responsibility…

Visit Ålesund

Visit Ålesund is the official destination company for the Sunnmøre, Geirangerfjord,  Hjørundfjord and Ålesund area.

Ålesund – History

FJORDS NORWAY - Ålesund in the old days
Ålesund in the old days. Photo/Copyright: Normann Kunstforlag A.S.

In the 18th century, the area around Ålesundet, including Brunholmen, was home to a few merchants. Cod fishing in the Borgundfjord was one of the reasons why there was permanent settlement in the Ålesund area at that time.

Ole Andreas Devold established a textile factory Devold in the center of Ålesund in the 19th century. Parts of the business were moved from Ålesund to Langevåg in 1868, and the factory in Ålesund burned down during the Ålesund City Fire in 1904. Devold is now Norway’s largest and most well-known clothing manufacturer of woolen clothes.

The city center of Ålesund got its current shape after the big city fire in 1904. This was one of the largest fires in Norway, and more than 800 houses burned down. Around 12,000 people became homeless. After the fire, the inhabitants received help from all over Norway and also from abroad. The German Emperor Wilhelm II was one of those who gave extra help to the reconstruction of Ålesund. Before the fire, the city center consisted almost exclusively of wooden buildings. The city was rebuilt in just three years and now consists mainly of brick buildings in the distinctive Art Nouveau style.

Ålesund – What to see and do

There are so many things to see and do in Ålesund and the near by area. Here are some of the many great things that are worth exploring while you visit Ålesund.

The Stairways to the city-mountain Aksla in Ålesund

Mt Aksla is the city-mountain in Ålesund. From the viewpoint there is a fantasic view over Ålesund and the Atlantic Ocean with all the surrounding islands and skerries. You can walk the 418 steps in stones from the city to Aksla, or you can go there by car. At the top (189 masl) you have an outdoor restaurant, a café and a panoramic viewpoint.

FJORDS NORWAY - Ålesund seen from the stairs towards the city mountain Aksla
Ålesund and the coastline seen from the stairs towards the city mountain Aksla.

Guided Sea Kayaking from Brosundet in Ålesund

Join a Guided Sea Kayaking tour and see Ålesund from the sea. The kayak tours start from Brosundet in the centre of Ålesund. It is guaranteed that you will have a fun day exploring the city of Ålesund from a unique point of view.

Guided and combined Sea Kayaking and Hiking in Ålesund

This is a combined adventure with start at the centre of Ålesund. The kayak tour start from Brosundet, you then crossing over Aspevågen to Slinnings Point. The hike start from the shoreline and end at Mt Sukkertoppen with fantastic panoramic view of Ålesund with the Sunnmøre Alps as a backdrop.

Guided SUP-Board adventure in Brosundet in the centre of Ålesund

This is a short and fun and guided tour on SUP-Board (Stand-Up Paddleboard) in the Brosundet canal in the middle of Ålesund. SUP is a fun activity which is ideal for all.

Guided combined E-Bike-tour and Hike to Mt Sukkertoppen

First you will have an easy ride in an E-bike from the centre of Ålesund, then you will hike to Mt Sukkertoppen with fantastic panoramic view of Ålesund.

Fjord Cruise from Ålesund to the Geirangerfjord

Geiranger Fjordservice takes you on a boat trip into the Geirangerfjord where you can see the beautiful fjord landscape with the waterfalls Bridal Veil, The Suitor and The Seven Sisters. The Geirangerfjord is like a fairytale. It is unique and exceptionally beautiful. And the Geirangerfjord is included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Fjord Cruise on the Hjørundfjord

This is a Fjord Cruise between Ålesund and Øye at the innermost part of the Norangsfjord. You can jump on or off at Trandal and Urke. The crew need to be notified if the boat should stop at Trandal and Urke. Video by Norway´s best_.

Deep Sea Rafting in the ocean and to the fjords with 62°NORD

In the summer you can join 62°NORD on the daily RIB-Boat departures from Brosundet in Ålesund. You can also book a private tour all year round.

Fjord Cruise with 62°NORD

In the summer you can join 62°NORD in the daily boat departures from Brosundet in Ålesund to the fjords. Explore the Hjørundfjord and the UNESCO Protected Geirangerfjord by boat.

Fjord Fishing with 62°NORD

During winter you can join a fishing boat and fish your own dinner in the Borgundfjord which is situated south of Ålesund.

Atlanterhavsparken Aquarium

Atlanterhavsparken is Northern Europe’s largest Saltwater Aquarium and show you the life in the ocean along the Norwegian coast. The Aquarium is surrounded by beautiful coastal landscapes at the island of Hessa, 3.5 kilometer west of the center of Ålesund. Video by Atlanterhavsparken.

Bybadet Aquacamp

Bybadet is Ålesund’s new great water park. There you can experience, among other things, therapy bath, family bath, whirlpools, children’s pool, water slides and diving tower. There is also a cafe in conjunction to the water park. Bybadet is located in the center of Ålesund, close to Byparken. Video by Bybadet.

Alnes Lighthouse

Alnes and Alnes Lighthouse on the north side of the Godøya Island is a wonderful experience. There has been a lighthouse at Alnes since 1857. Alnes Lighthouse as it stands today was built in 1937 and is still in operation.  The lighthouse is 22.5 meters high and is made of wood and iron, it was automated in 1982.

In addition to the lighthouse, there is an art gallery and a café that are open for visitors. Season, see Alnes Lighthouse Website.

FJORDS NORWAY - Alnes Lighthouse on Godøya Island outside Ålesund
Alnes Lighthouse on Godøya Island outside Ålesund

Recommended places to Eat in Ålesund

RESTAURANT APOTEKERGATA No. 5 has a menu that is inspired by local and short-travelled food traditions from Sunnmøre combined with inspiration from the international cuisine. The restaurant is located in the old warehouse in Apotekergata No. 5  in conjunction to Hotel Brosundet in Ålesund.

BRO is a restaurant with focus on local food made of local produce from Sunnmøre. The restaurant is located in Notenesgata on the east side of Brosundet at the centre of Ålesund.

ANNO is located on Apotekertorget in the centre of Ålesund and serves delicious dishes that is inspired from both local and international cuisine. Their Pizza is baked in a stone oven. The a la carte menu varies with the different seasons.

XL DINER is a Bacalao restaurant located in Skaregata right in the heart of Ålesund. There you can enjoy great food and drink with a view towards Ålesundet and the sea. The restaurant is recognized as one of Europe’s best Bacalao and Dried-and-salted-Cod restaurants. They also offer other tasty dishes.

MARTIN WALDERHAUG BAKERI & KONDITORI is a family-run bakery and patisserie from 1893. They offer traditional cakes and pastries with real ingredients and handicrafts. The recipes have been passed down through generations. The patisserie is located on Skansekaia in the center of Ålesund.

Recommended places to Drink in Ålesund

ARKIVET BAR in Apotekergata No. 5  is also in conjunction to Hotel Brosundet in Ålesund. The local trader Peder Devold ran his fish oil business out of the old warehouse in Apotekergata, and he had his personal office and archives in the room which now has become Arkivet Bar.

VINO BAR in Apotekergata has a wine menu with more than 700 wines from wine districts all over the world. The menu includes beer, drinks and non-alcoholic drinks. They also serve planks with cheese, salami, ham and focaccia in addition to a separate snack menu.

Recommended places to stay in Ålesund

HOTEL BROSUNDET in Ålesund offers a different experience. It is a family owned hotel creating experiences satisfying all senses and paying attention to what is seen, heard, smelled, tasted and felt. From the delicate interior design, stunning artwork, antique beams to fresh local seafood, the passion is to preserve the buildings as they originally were warehouses and significant to the fishery in the small town of Ålesund. The outer walls of the hotel extend directly into the waters of Brosundet, the true city-center of Ålesund.

FJORDS NORWAY - Brosundet and Hotel Brosundet in Ålesund
From Brosundet in Ålesund. Hotel Brosundet to the left.

JERVELL GJESTEHUSMr and Mrs Jervell’s historic mansion, just a five – minute drive from Ålesund city center.

MOLJA LIGHTHOUSE at the breakwater pier in Ålesund. Room 47 at Hotel Brosundet is in the Molja Lighthouse at the breakwater pier at Molovegen, on the north side of Brosundet. If you stay at Molja Lighthouse, you have the whole lighthouse to yourself.

The Hjørundfjord – What to see and do

The innermost part of the 35-kilometer-long Hjørundfjord is surrounded by steep mountains, narrow valleys, waterfalls and glaciers. In between all this, there are small idyllic villages down by the fjord, all of which are great starting points for adventures in beautiful nature. Try the world’s most famous swing at Christian Gaard Bygdetun in Trandal. The mountains surrounding the Hjørundfjord are great for hikes and skiing with fjord view. Mt Slogen, Saksa and Urkeegga are the most popular mountains for hiking. Join a fjord cruise or a kayak trip on the Hjørundfjord. Experience beautiful Norangsdalen valley and dive into the ruins of an old mountain pasture in Lake Lyngstøylvatnet. Drink beer at Fjordpuben in Urke. Fish salmon in Bjørkeelva River at Bjørke. The fjord villages Øye and Sæbø are great starting points for exploring the wild and beautiful Hjørundfjord area. Maybe you get to meet the beautiful ghost Linda if you stay overnight in “The Blue Room” at Hotel Union Øye?

Geiranger and Geirangerfjord – What to See and Do

The Geirangerfjord is like a fairytale. It is unique and exceptionally beautiful. And the fjord is included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. You should take a fjord cruise or join a fjord safari. Visit Flydalsjuvet, Ørnesvingen and Dalsnibba and see the iconic views of Geiranger and the Geirangerfjord. Combine a boat trip on the fjord with a hike up to Skageflå, one of the many abandoned mountain farms above the Geirangerfjord. The Fosseråsa trail goes from the center of Geiranger via the Norwegian Fjord Centre and up to Vesterås which is a great starting point for mountain hikes in Geiranger. Take a Road Trip from Geiranger via Trollstigen to the Atlantic Road. The Geirangerfjord is located in the southwestern part of the county of Møre og Romsdal, north in Western Norway.

References

Wikipedia
Bybadet Aquacamp
Hotel Brosundet
Atlanterhavsparken Aquarium
62°NORD

Eat and Drink in Ålesund

Arkivet Bar
Apotekergata No. 5 Restaurant

Accommodation in Ålesund

Hotel Brosundet
Molja Lighthouse
Quality Hotel Ålesund
Hotel 1904 Ålesund
Hotel Noreg
Scandic Parken Hotel
Thon Hotel Ålesund
Jervell Gjestehus

FJORDS – Accommodation in Western Norway

Great Hotels in the Fjords of Norway
Bath and Spa Hotels in the Fjords of Norway
Fjords Living – Special Accommodation in the Fjords of Norway

FJORDS – Useful Links

Go Fjords – Big and Small Fjord Experiences
Visit Norway – Official page for Norway
Fjord Norway – Official page for Fjord Norway

Official Website for Ålesund and Sunnmøre – Visit Ålesund

Ålesund – Map Overview