Alesund is indeed a visually captivating Norwegian city. Known for perhaps the greatest concentration of art nouveau style buildings in all of Europe, beautiful Alesund is nestled into the classically rocky fjords of Norway with the Sunnmore Mountains serving as a spectacular backdrop.
Now a flourishing city of 45,000 people, Alesund was nearly destroyed by a fire in 1904 that left 10,000 residents homeless. Its rebuilding in the art nouveau style has given Alesund its unique calling card that attracts tourists from around the world.
We arrived in beautiful Alesund on Hurtigruten’s Midnatsol ship as we traveled up the coast of Norway from Bergen to Kirkenes. (click here to learn more about booking a Hurtigruten adventure and click here to learn about various Hurtigruten excursions, of which Alesund is one).
Quick tour of beautiful Alesund
The first thing any visitor to Alesund should do is head to the Alesund & Sunnmore Tourist Office. Once there, pick up the Alesund walking guide (more of a leaflet) that will ensure you do not miss any of the most important sites in the small, but lovely central old town area. You will discover that many of the most spectacular buildings are located around the Brosundet canal (a scene from that canal is pictured above in my iPad watercolor) and along Kongens Gate (close to the tourist office). Be sure to spend a bit of time exploring Apotekertorget (Pharmacy Square) and visit the Centre of Art Nouveau. Remember when walking around Alesund, keep looking up at buildings since that’s where you’ll often find so many of the art nouveau architectural features the town is so famous for.
Once you have wandered the town (allow about an hour), be sure to take time to climb up to the top of Mount Aksla (to Fjellstua viewpoint) located smack in the middle of town. This really is a must-do! There are 418 steps to the top, but once at the summit you will be rewarded by stunning and panoramic views of the distant mountains, surrounding fjords, and the town itself.
Plus, you walk through some cute neighborhoods and homes. Wander around a bit and you will also discover bunkers and remnants of the German occupation during World War II. And, if you need a bite to eat or a drink, there is a restaurant – but remember its there for the views, not the food quality, and it may be closed at certain off-season times. You can take a taxi or bus to the summit too if walking is not possible for you. Just ask at the tourist office.