I was sure I’d love Ålesund as soon as I saw the vivid architecture. Buildings details and colorful ornaments draw a lot of attention. Actually, this is how Alesund is known: the Art Nouveau town, which was destroyed by a fire in 1904.
We reached Norway through Ålesund and this is a good starting point to see the Sunnmøre area and Geirangerfjord, the Unesco site. The town can be seen in a day on fast forward, but it’s a small enchanting area that could be your home throughout your stay in Norway. Enjoy a long walk through the Art Nouveau district, buy a coffee in one of the Scandinavian coffee shops and take 418 steps for a panoramic view.
To indulge more, here’s what to visit in this small fjord town:
Atlantic Sea Park
I’d say this aquarium is a must see. Sea lions are literally in the Atlantic Sea, and the outside area also includes otters and penguins’ parks.
The program makes it a great experience, so block about 2hrs and a half. While the staff is feeding the animals, you’ll get the chance to learn some stuff about these lovely animals. Kids were extremely happy at the diving show and in the activity room, where everyone was fishing crabs.
This is a must go! You need to make the effort of taking 418 stairs, but you will be rewarded with an amazing panoramic view over Ålesund and surroundings. Ok, fine, there’s another way to go out there, by car, and I’ve seen groups of tourists with organized tours.
On your way to the top, you have other viewpoints and places where you can rest or take some pictures. If you’re up to more walk, take the several marked routes, you’ll meet mostly locals jogging or walking their dogs.
The art nouveau center Jugendstilsenteret & the art museum Kube
Jugendstilsenteret, the Art Nouveau museum is hosted in an old pharmacy building, with various pieces of art and info, from cards, furniture details, and informative clips. The highlight here is the Time Machine, an experience which tries to recreate the atmosphere after the 1904 fire and all the work involved. The art museum is the building next door.
If you’re not an architecture or art lover, maybe you should pick the Ålesund museum. Here you’ll have a bit of everything about the town, including the fishing heritage and marine life, the fire, the Art Nouveau bits, and life back in the XIX century etc. My favorite part: the egg-shaped lifeboat, called Uræd, that crossed the Atlantic to prove its effectiveness. You’ll see the interior on the last floor.
The museum is on a hill, so make sure you explore the outside area, especially for the view. The stairs to Akla viewpoint and the harbor can be easily seen from here.
This church is one of the last restored buildings in the town after the fire. This stone church is just 10, 15 minutes walk from the town’s center, and the walk is worth to discover more.