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 Michael’s 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.
What to do in Norway
In the map below, pins mark the location of all the sites mentioned in our articles on Norway. Zoom in or out on the map using the controls. Switch easily from map to satellite view. Click on each pin to pull up a tooltip with the name and any additional information. For more detailed planning help, refer to our What to do in Oslo and What to do in Bergen travel guides.
Oslo Main Train Station
Bergen Main Train Station - Bergen
Myrdal Train Station
Flam Train Station
Gudvangen Ferry Terminal
Roros Visitors Center
Sleggveien - Roros
Idrettsparken Hotel - Roros
National Museum of Decorative Arts - Trondheim
Ringve Music Museum - Trondheim
Trondheim Museum of Art
Old Town Bakklandet - Trondheim
Nidaros Cathedral - Trondheim
Archbishop's Palace and Museum - Trondheim
Old Town Bridge - Trondheim
Kristiansten Fort - Trondheim
Sverresborg - Trondelag Folk Museum - Trondheim
Stiffsgarden Royal Residence - Trondheim
Medieval Church Ruins in the Library - Trondheim
Alesund and Sunnmore Tourist Office
Centre of Art Nouveau - Alesund
Fjellstua Viewpoint - Alesund
Theta Museum - Bergen
Theta Museum — It was a secret room then and, for many, it still remains a secret museum and hidden room today. It is the itty-bitty Theta Museum, a minute 170-square-foot (16 square meters) low-ceiling room hidden away on an upper floor of the Bryggen wharf area in Bergen. The museum was the headquarters of the Theta Group, an important part of the Norwegian Resistance during WWII. Its hours are quite limited to plan around them to not miss this gem! Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Bergen Maritime Museum - Bergen
Bergen Maritime Museum — The Bergen Maritime Museum presents the history of shipping, its development and importance to Bergen and Norway. We loved the museum’s vast collection of ship models – including Viking ships. Getting There: The museum is situated 150 meters from Johanneskirken (the red church), in the middle of the University campus.. Admission is NOK 50 or free with a valid Bergen Card. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
University Museum of Bergen
University Museum of Bergen — Although the Natural History Museum is undergoing restoration and will not reopen until 2018, the History Museum is well worth a look, containing some of the largest cultural collections in Norway. Since it is adjacent to the Maritime Museum, time your visit to enjoy both on the same day. Admission is NOK 50, or free with a valid Bergen Card. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Bryggen - Bergen
Bryggen — This is what you likely think of when you think of Bergen. In 1360 the Hansas – a German guild of merchants – set up one of their import/export offices on Bryggen and dominated world trade for the next 400 years. Though destroyed many times by fire, each time it has been faithfully rebuilt, on top of foundations that were created in the 11th century. Now on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, Bryggen is made for wandering, slowly. Meander through narrow passageways and enjoy the myriad of tiny shops, offices and artist studios. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Fløibanen Funicular - Bergen
Fløibanen Funicular — Do not miss the breathtaking view from atop Mt. Floyen, 320 meters (1,050) feet above sea level). Certainly one of Norway’s most-often mentioned attractions, the Funicular runs every 15 minutes from early morning until 11 p.m. The journey lasts approximately 8 minutes up or down. We watched for Northern Lights from the summit one evening during a recent visit, though swirling mist obscured a view of the sky, but not the twinkling lights below. Admission is NOK 85 round trip or NOK 43 one-way. Bergen Card is valid for a 50% discount May 1 through September 30 and gives you a free ride the rest of the year. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Bergenhus Festning - Bergen
Bergenhus Festning – A bit further up the road from Bryggen Historic District, take the time to visit the historic fort, Bergenhus. Here you will see the Rosenkrantz Tower, considered one of the most important renaissance monuments in Norway and, when open, offering an impressive view of Bergen. Plus, there is Hakon’s Hall, built by King Håkon Håkonsson as a royal residence and banqueting hall in the 12th century – granted you won’t need a lot of time there. Bergenhus Festning, 5003 Bergen. Admission to each is NOK 70 or free with a valid Bergen Card. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Hanseatic Museum - Bergen
Hanseatic Museum — One of the best-preserved buildings in Bergen, the Hanseatic Museum shows how the German merchants from The Hanseatic League lived and worked. From 1350 to 1750 these merchants traded stockfish (chewy, dried fish) and grains from their office in Bergen. It is the only house on Bryggen that has kept its original interior. In summer, there are daily guided tours in Norwegian, German, French and English. Admission NOK 90. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Bergen Aquarium - Bergen
Bergen Aquarium – The Bergen Aquarium claims to house one of the largest collections of North Sea fish and invertebrates in Europe. The aquarium features indoor 60 tanks, a shark viewing tube, and two outdoor pools with seals and penguins. Cost – From March 1 to October 31, entrance runs NOK 200. A Bergen Card discounts that by 25%. The rest of the year, entrance is NOK 150 or free with a Bergen Card. Since the aquarium website is only offered in Norwegian, click here to find aquarium information on the official Tourist Information website, thankfully in English. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Det Lille Kaffekompaniet - Bergen
Bergen is made to get lost in on foot because it’s so compact and so walkable, albeit hilly. Explore narrow side streets, particularly those around the base of the funicular’s lower terminal off Lille Øvergaten. Just follow your nose. Take the time to sit and enjoy a coffee and delectable in one of the many small cafes you will encounter … we loved Det Lille Kaffekompaniet in the Lille Overgaten. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Skottegaten - Bergen
Bergen is made to get lost in on foot because it’s so compact and so walkable, albeit hilly. Explore narrow side streets, particularly those around the base of the funicular’s lower terminal off Lille Øvergaten. Just follow your nose. Also worth exploring is the hilly area all around Skottegaten just west of the main part of the old town and between there and the Hurtigruten terminal. Your nose and your feet will be your guides. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Bergen Visitors Center - Bergen
Hurtigruten Terminal - Bergen
Shipping and ferry services are Bergen’s connection to the outside world as well as much of Norway. You will arrive or depart from here by ferry for part of the Norway in a Nutshell tour, if you choose that version. And this is also where the well-known Hurtigruten (the Coastal Express) ferry tours depart daily for trips up to Kirkenes in the far north (stopping in numerous Norwegian coastal towns and villages along the way). Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Hurtigruten Terminal - Kirkenes
Hurtigruten Terminal - Trondheim
Vigeland Park - Oslo
Royal Palace - Oslo
Take the time to wander down Karl Johans Gate, starting at the Central Station. Karl Johans Gate is the main street in central Oslo and features a tree-lined promenade bordered by restaurants, cafes and upscale stores. There is, naturally, great people watching and at the end of the walk you will find yourself at the Royal Palace, home of the Norwegian royal family. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.
Old Aker Church - Oslo
Oslo Domkirke - Oslo
Edward Munch Museum - Oslo
Edward Munch Museum — Edvard Munch – probably best known for modern painting known as “The Scream” — has a unique position among Nordic painters and is considered a pioneer in expressionism. The Munch Museum’s collection, left to the city of Oslo by the artist, consists of paintings, graphical prints and drawings. By constantly changing the exhibitions, the museum presents the variety in his life. Be sure to visit the museum website prior to planning your trip as the museum does close for short spans due to exhibition changes. Admission: NOK 100. Free with valid Oslo Pass. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.
Norwegian Museum of Cultural History - Oslo
Norwegian Museum of Cultural History — Located on Bydgoy next to the Viking Ship Museum the Museum of Cultural History is a large open-air museum that is full of wonderful replicas of traditional Norwegian buildings throughout Norwegian history. The most famous building is the intricately carved stave church – which is truly stunning. Admission is NOK 80 or free with a valid Oslo Pass. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.
The Viking Ship Museum - Oslo
The Viking Ship Museum — The Viking Ship Museum presents historic Viking ship discoveries discovered during excavations at Gokstad, Oseberg and Tune as well as other finds from Viking tombs around the Oslo Fjord. Most significant are the displays of the world’s two best-preserved wooden Viking ships, built in the 9th century. Admission is NOK 80 or free with a valid Oslo Pass. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.
Akershus Fortress - Oslo
Akershus Fortress — Akershus Fortress, located in the city centre overlooking the Oslo fjord, is a great place to take in wonderful views of Oslo as well as the surrounding fjord. The building of Akershus Castle and the fortress began in 1299 under King Håkon V. The medieval castle, which was completed in the 1300s, was strategically located at the end of the headlands overlooking the fjord. King Christian IV (1588-1648) modernized the castle and had it converted to a royal residence. Admission is free. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.
Resistance Museum - Oslo
Norway’s Resistance Museum — The Resistance Museum is located in a 17th century building on the grounds of Akershus Fortress, right adjacent to the memorial for Norwegian patriots executed during the war. It is a fantastic museum – plan on a couple of hours (or more depending on your passion) to view the displays covering five years of occupation recreated with pictures, documents, posters, objects, models, original copies of newspapers and recordings. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.