The coastal town of Ålesund is the commercial capital of the Møre og Romsdal district. But more important, it is noted for its characteristic Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) buildings, which some claim make Ålesund one of the most beautiful towns in Norway.
This Art Nouveau style emerged when the town was completely rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1904 destroyed nearly 800 buildings and left 10,000 residents homeless. It is said that the fire started by a tipped oil lamp. Rebuilding was carried out with the help of many young, foreign architects who added their own flourishes to the architectural blend of German Jugendstil and Viking roots.
Today, narrow streets are crammed with buildings topped with turrets, spires and gables that bear decorations of dragonheads and curlicues. As one of the few remaining Art Nouveau towns in the world, in 1998 Ålesund was awarded the coveted Houens National Memorial Prize for the preservation of its unique architecture.
The town centre is crowded onto a narrow fishhook-shaped peninsula. Without space to expand farther, most of the approximate 38,000 residents live scattered across surrounding islands and peninsulas. In addition to a picturesque fishing port along the old harbour "Brosundet," Ålesund boasts one of the largest facilities in Norway for the export of dried and fresh fish.
Come ashore and enjoy this delightful place with its whimsically decorated buildings that give Ålesund its unique ambiance and distinctive character valued by residents and visitors alike
Going Ashore in Ålesund
The ship is scheduled to dock at Storneskaien/Prestebrygga pier. The town centre is within easy walking distance. Metered taxis are generally available at the pier.
Enjoy browsing for Norwegian handicrafts and knitwear with the distinct Norway design. Shops along the pedestrian street and in the shopping mall are no more than 500 yards from the pier. Opening hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (shopping malls are open until 8:00pm. Saturday 1000 am to 2:00 pm and malls to 6.00 pm). The local currency is the krone.
For lunch ashore, there are a number of good restaurants. The obvious choice is fresh fish and seafood. A mixed fish and shellfish platter is popular at the typical fish restaurants.
Atlantic Sea Park
Located about two miles west of Ålesund, this unique Sea Park is built into a large stretch of coastal area with fishing stands, hiking trails, bathing sites and outstanding diving venues. It features large aquariums teeming with ocean life from up and down the Atlantic. Fish feeding daily at 1:00 p.m.
The exhibits at this museum concentrate on the history of seal hunting, fishing, shipping, the fire of 1904, the German occupation during World War II and the town's distinctive Jugendstil architecture. The museum opens at 11:00 a.m.
The church was built in 1909 in Norman style. It boasts splendid frescoes and beautiful stained-glass windows. The gable windows behind the organ were an inauguration gift from the German Emperor Wilhelm II.
Locally known as Byparken, it features a statue of Rollo, which was presented to the people of Ålesund from the city of Rouen in 1911. The park also has a monument dedicated to Kaiser Wilhelm II who made major contributions to the rebuilding of Ålesund after the Great Fire in 1904.
Private car arrangements for independent sightseeing are not possible in this port.