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.
Visit Ålesund is the official destination company for the Sunnmøre, Geirangerfjord, Hjørundfjord and Ålesund area.
Ålesund – History
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.
Here you can see a 360 panorama from Ålesund. At the bottom of the panorama, you will find navigation buttons that allow you to “travel” around and focus on places you want to take a closer look at. Some panoramas allow you to “jump” to other locations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is a Fjord Cruise (on request) between Ålesund and Øye at the innermost part of the Norangsfjord. Departure from Ålesund, Sæbø, Trandal, Urke and Øye. Video by Norway´s best_.
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.
During winter you can join a fishing boat and fish your own dinner in the Borgundfjord which is situated south of Ålesund.
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 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 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.
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 Hotels and 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.
JERVELL GJESTEHUS – Mr 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 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.
The idyllic fjord village of Sæbø is a perfect starting point for activities and adventures in and around the Hjørundfjord. Sagafjord Hotel is located right down by the fjord at Sæbø. There you can enjoy the silence down by the fjord with the characteristic view towards the Hjørundfjord and Hustadneset with the mountains Slogen and Stålberghornet as a fantastic backdrop.
The mountains surrounding the Hjørundfjord are great for hikes with fjord view. Slogen, Saksa and Urkeegga are the most popular mountains for hiking. Uteguiden organizes guided mountain hikes to Mt Saksa and Slogen, they also offer tailor-made mountain hikes to the other mountain peaks in the area.
Drink beer at Fjordpuben in Urke. Fish salmon in Bjørkeelva River at Bjørke. Maybe you get to meet the beautiful ghost Linda if you stay overnight in “The Blue Room” at Hotel Union Øye? The Hjørundfjord is located in the southwestern part of the county of Møre og Romsdal, north in Western Norway.
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. The ferry between Geiranger and Hellesylt is a great way to see the Geirangerfjord and the spectacular nature with its many waterfalls and steep mountains. You will see the waterfalls The Seven Sisters, The Suitor and The Bridal Veil from the fjord.
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. The Fosseråsa trail ends at Storseterfossen Waterfall.
Visit the Flydalsjuvet, Ørnesvingen and Dalsnibba viewpoints 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.
Take a Road Trip from Geiranger via Trollstigen to the Atlantic Road. On this tour, you will experience two National Tourist Routes and one “construction of the twentieth century” in Norway. Geiranger and the Geirangerfjord is located in the southwestern part of the county of Møre og Romsdal, north in Western Norway.