Molde, the 'Town of Roses', is a city and municipality in Romsdal in Møre og Romsdal County, Norway. The municipality is located on the Romsdal Peninsula, surrounding the Fannefjord and Moldefjord. The city is located on the northern shore of the Romsdalsfjord. The city of Molde is the administrative centre of Møre og Romsdal County, administrative center of the municipality of Molde, commercial hub of the Romsdal region and seat of the Diocese of Møre. Molde proper consists of a 6.2-mile (10-kilometre) long and 0.62-1.24 mile (1-2-kilometre) wide strip of urban land running east-west along the north shore of the Moldefjord, an arm of the Romsdalsfjord, on the Romsdal Peninsula. The city is sheltered by Bolsøya and the Molde Archipelago, a chain of low-lying islands and islets, to the south and the wood-clad hills of Moldemarka to the north. The city centre is located just west of the River Moldeelva, which runs into the city from the north, originating in the Lake Moldevatnet and running through the Valley Moldedalen.
Molde is an old settlement that emerged as a trading post in the late-Middle Ages. Formal trading rights were introduced in 1614, the city was incorporated through a royal charter in 1742 and established as a municipality in 1838. In the 16th-17th centuries, Molde's harbour, proximity to the sea routes, vast timber resources and sawmills on the River Moldeeva expanded the city. It continued to grow during the 18th-19th centuries, becoming a centre for Norwegian textile and garment industry, as well as the administrative centre for the region. By the early-20th century, Molde consisted of luxurious hotels surrounding an idyllic township with quaint wooden houses, lush gardens and parks, and scenic esplanades and pavilions. As a result, it became a major tourist destination. The city centre survived a devastating fire in 1916, and heavy bombings during World War II. After the war, Molde experienced accelerated growth, merging with the Bolsøy Municipality and parts of the Veøy Municipality in 1964. Today, Molde encompasses most branches of employment, from farming and fisheries through industrial production, to banking, higher education, tourism, commerce, health care, and civil administration.
Although Molde is the vibrant heart of a region renowned for its friendly inhabitants and abundant resources, tourism has long been an important component to the city's local economy. Its proximity and easy access by land and sea makes Molde an ideal gateway for exploring the area's exquisite fjords, mountains, valleys, forests, rivers, lakes, gardens, parks, archipelagos, marine life, and flora and fauna. Among the many natural highlights to discover in Molde and its surrounds are the 222 partly snow-clad peaks of the Molde Panorama, Atlantic Ocean Road, Varden Viewpoint, Hjertøya Island, Green Corridor, Trollstigen Road, and the Molde and Håholmen Archipelagos.
Molde offers many opportunities to relive the culture and history of this beautiful region. The open-air Romsdal Museum, one of Norway's largest folk museums, was established in 1912. Buildings originating from all over the region have been moved here to form a typical cluster of farm buildings, including 'open hearth' houses, sheds, outhouses, smokehouses, and a small chapel. The 'town street' with Mali's Café shows typical Molde town houses from the pre-World War I period. The Fisheries Museum is an open-air museum located on the island of Hjertøya, 10 minutes from the centre of Molde. A small fishing village with authentic buildings, boats and fishing equipment, the museum shows local coastal culture from 1850 onwards. Other renowned cultural and historic sites include the Royal Birch and Peace Grove, Molde Cathedral, and fairytale world of Skaret.
The abundant natural splendour of Molde and its environs are ideally suited for a variety of popular outdoor excursion, including hiking, bicycling to Midsund Sandøy and Aukra, mountaineering and peak-climbing at Litlefjellet Sandøy, Aukra, Trollstigen, Trollveggen, Romsdal and other mountains, freshwater fishing in mountain lakes and rivers, Geirangerfjord, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Seven Sisters Waterfalls, hunting, horseback-riding, golfing at the picturesque Eikrem and Åndalsnes golf courses, skiing and snowboarding at Bjorli, Tusten Skiheiser or Rauma Skisenter, and base jumping at the mountains of the Romsdalen and Eikesdalen valleys. Molde's picturesque waterways can also be experienced through swimming and beachcombing at the beautiful beaches of Kringstabukta and Repirostranda, snorkelling and diving at Hustadvika Bay, surfing at Hustadvika, sea-rafting among numerous small islands and skerries, and kayaking, boating, sailing and fishing along Molde's many islands and fjords.
Going Ashore in Molde
The ship is scheduled to dock at Storkaia Pier. Molde's town centre can be reached via a short walk on-foot.
Several shops and art galleries in Molde's town centre sell knitted goods, jewellery, pewter, silverware, porcelain, art, goat and reindeer skins, furs, handicrafts, glass, crystal, pottery, postcards, souvenirs, and more. Many of the shops are located on Storgata Street. Here, you can find MoldeTorget, a shopping centre with 42 shops, and local handcrafted items in speciality shops. There is also a shopping mall in the town centre. Special or custom items can be purchased at select distributors, and on market days in the town centre. A short stroll from the town centre brings you to the town's biggest shopping centre, Amfi Roseby, with 50 shops. Shops are generally open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Malls are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. The local currency is the Norwegian krone.
Molde's cold, clean coastal waters and fertile land offer a wealth of sumptuous dining selections. Among the many local favourites are moose, reindeer, hare, fowl, salmon, cod, and shellfish, along with wild berries and Norwegian dishes. Popular restaurants in-and-around Molde include Molde Fjordstuer, Rød, Café MoldeTorget, China House, Hos Gyda, Egon, Fole Godt, Gimle, Kneipen, Milano, Molde Fjordstuer, Opus, Outzen, Peppes Pizza, Petrines Pizza, Rød, Vardestua, Vertshuset, and Syd.
Molde's city centre is easily accessible on-foot, and features historical buildings, charming boutiques, restaurants, renowned local landmarks. The city centre also offers picturesque vistas of surrounding mountains, fjords and offshore islands, as well as boats, yachts, cruise ships and fishing trawlers docking in the bustling harbour and heading out to sea.
Established in 1912, the Romsdal Museum is one of the largest and most comprehensive open-air folk museums in Norway. More than 50 old 18th- and 19th-century buildings originating from all over the region have been moved here to form typical country courtyards of farm buildings, including open hearth houses, sheds, outhouses, smokehouses, and a small chapel. The Town Street with Mali's Café shows typical Molde townhouses from the pre-war period. At Holmarka, the museum has a stable which houses the museum's horse, hens, sheep and rabbits. Folk dancing displays by the children's folk dance group, Leikarringen, coincide with 40-50 cruise ship visits every summer. During the Molde International Jazz Festival, the Romsdal Museum is used as an open-air stage for big outdoor concerts. The museum is located approximately one mile (1.6 kilometres) from the cruise port.
Royal Birch and Peace Grove
Royal Birch is the site where King Haakon VII and Crown Prince Olav sought shelter from German bombers in April 1940, when they were being hunted by the German occupying forces. After a photo was taken of them here, this birch tree became a national symbol and memorial to World War II. The original tree was ruined by vandals, but a new birch was planted by King Olav V in 1982. This was unfortunately destroyed and today's birch is the 3rd Royal Birch. The Peace Grove next to the Royal Birch was founded by Knut Ødegård, president of the Bjørnson Festival, in 1997. It symbolises the continuing struggle for freedom, peace and human dignity, both today and in the future.
Bud and the Atlantic Ocean Road
An hour's drive from Molde brings you to the idyllic fishing village of Bud, and the famous Atlantic Road. This masterpiece of a road replaced the ferries in 1989. The entire construction is approximately five miles (eight kilometres), and includes eight bridges with a total length of 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometres). The road zigzags across bridges and rock-fills from island-to-island right at the ocean's edge. You can park your car in one of the many lay-bys, and take a short stroll to the smooth coastal rocks and some excellent fishing spots. To the west, the shipping lane crosses the notorious waters of Hustadvika Bay, concealing innumerable wrecks. Many people take a trip out here when the autumn storms start to rage. It is quite a sight when the big waves break beside, and sometimes across, the road. In 2006, the Atlantic Ocean Road was voted the Norwegian Structure of the Century.
Located just 10 minutes by car or an hour's walk along the nature trail from the centre of Molde, the 1,335-foot (407-metre) high Varden Viewpoint offers superb vistas over Molde Town, the fjord, islands and famous Molde panorama, with its 222 partially snow-clad peaks. On clear days, you can see as far as the fishing village of Ona and the waters of Hustadvika. The Vardestua restaurant is at the top, and marked trails take you into the Moldemarka countryside.
Hjertøya Island Nature Trail
A short, 5-10-minute boat-ride takes you to Hjertøya Island. You can take a stroll along the trail through the woods, and marvel at splendid views of the fjords when you reach the top. The island features a small café and Fish Museum, along with swimming, diving, boating and fishing.
The Fisheries Museum is in the form of a small fishing village with old houses, a large collection of boats and maritime equipment, fishermen's shacks, cod-liver oil factory, an engineering workshop, and schoolroom. The museum also recounts the local coastal culture, working life and living conditions from around 1850.
Jazzgutten - The Jazz Boy
On the lower marketplace, with the fjord and mountains as a backdrop, is the bronze statue Jazzgutten, a young jazz player with his saxophone. The sculpture, created by Nina Due, was a gift from the people to commemorate the town's 250th anniversary in 1992.
The Green Corridor runs from the sea at Reknes to the Chateau, a Baroque villa, then continues through the Reknes Park up to the Pavilion at the Rekneshaugen Viewpoint. The nature trail then passes through the Romsdal Museum en route to the Varden Viewpoint, which offers superb vistas over Molde Town, the fjord, islands and famous Molde panorama, with its 222 partially snow-clad peaks.
Consecrated in 1957, the Gothic-style Molde Cathedral is a double-nave long church. A 164-foot (50-metre) high freestanding bell tower culminates in a copper-clad pyramid. The interior of the church contains some lovely stained glass, and is richly decorated with Christian symbols and signs. It is the third church to be built on the site. The first two burnt down, but an old wooden cross and Axel Ender's famous Easter Morning altarpiece were rescued from the flames.
Rosepiken - Rose Maiden and Town Hall
At the Town Hall Square stands the bronze statue, Rosepiken, surrounded by a dancing fountain. The Rose Maiden is young and beautiful, and her arms are full of roses. The sculpture was a gift to Molde in 1971 from Gotlib Moe. It was sculpted by Ragnhild Butenschøn. Molde's Town Hall was completed in 1966, and is the result of an architectural competition won by the architects Cappelen and Rodahl. The roof of the Town Hall boasts one of the town's most beautiful rose gardens.
One of Norway's most modern football stadiums, Aker Stadium seats 11,200. Situated on the waterfront to the west of the town centre, the stadium was designed by the Molde architect Kjell Kosberg, and has a granite and glass façade.
Molde Cruise Ship Harbour
Molde has long been a port of call for cruise ships, and the town was one of the main attractions when the first cruise ship with paying passengers visited Norway in 1882. Every summer, 40-50 cruise ships call at Molde Harbour.
Located just ten minutes by car from Molde on RV64, the fairytale world of Skaret is an excellent starting point to experience the nature, culture, flavours and handwork traditions of Norway. Explore old buildings, Norwegian food, handwork, a candle factory and a host of activities. Here, everything is served, from simple home fare to local specialities and abounding feast tables in romantic, rustic surroundings. Browse authentic, handcrafted items including rose-painted artefacts, ceramics, woven articles, clothing, knitted ware, silverware, and an incredible selection of decorative candles from Løiten Lys, Norway's largest producer of handmade candles. The candle-making workshop spans three floors; you can observe how candles are made, tinted and creatively decorated. At Skaret, you can visit horses, goats, wild sheep and rabbits throughout the summer. Pony-riding and horse-drawn carriage and sleigh rides can be booked all year. There is a children's playground, and an open-air pool which is open during the Norwegian school holiday. The area is also ideal for experiencing the countryside, including nature trails, walking trails, running trails and many fishing lakes.
Trollstigen, the 'Troll Ladder', is the most visited tourist road in Norway, and located approximately 40 miles (65 kilometres) outside of Molde. The road twists through 11 hairpin bends as it climbs the steep mountain sides up to the 2,814-foot (858-metre) high Stigrøra. In some places it is cut into the mountain, in others it is built on top of stone walls. An impressive bridge in natural stone carries it across the Stigfossen Waterfall. There are a few ways to experience this phenomenon; you may opt to stroll along the old Kløvstien path over Trollstigen, which has existed for several hundred years, or walk the route from Trollstigen over to the Trolltindene peaks. The road is closed during winter, and is usually reopened at the end of May.
Accessible via boat from nearby Geitøya, or 'Goat Island', the Håholmen Archipelago consists of approximately 20 beautiful small islands and islets.
Experience Molde's scenic inland splendour during outdoor activities such as hiking, bicycling, mountaineering and peak-climbing, freshwater fishing, hunting, horseback-riding, golfing, skiing and snowboarding, and base-jumping. Molde's picturesque waterways can also be experienced through swimming, beachcombing, snorkelling, diving, surfing, sea-rafting, kayaking, boating, sailing, and saltwater fishing.
Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Shore Concierge Office on board the ship.