Beautiful Alesund inspires artists and photographers

by | Norway

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.
iPad watercolor of the Brosundet canal in Alesund

The Norwegian fjord city of Alesund is a magical place anytime of the day or night, but it was especially so one afternoon as the winter sun drifted behind the distant mountains. This ink and watercolor is called “Sunset in Alesund.” My iPad art is painted and drawn using Procreate.


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.

Fjellstua viewpoint in beautiful Alesund looking over the old city.

View from the Fjellstua viewpoint above beautiful Alesund. If you look closely, you can see the building and canal below that inspired my watercolor above.

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.

Watercolor of a sailor's house in Alesund.

In the village of Alesund tucked among the wonderful fjords, we came upon this house as we walked up to Mount Aksla (to Fjellstua viewpoint) It overlooked the bay and docks below. I imagined it was the house of a sailor or ship captain. The art is called “A Sailor’s House.”

A print of my digital paintings on your wall is the next best thing to being there yourself…as well as a great gift for anyone in your life who appreciates artwork inspired by travel. Click on any image below to go directly to my online store to purchase prints, gift cards, coffee cups and more.

Where next? Other things to do in Norway

Norway is full of so many beautiful places such as Alesund. Like Trondheim, Bergen, Kirkenes and Roros for example. Be sure to read Eight reasons to visit Trondheim, Visit Roros, Norway: UNESCO World Heritage Town, Kirkenes Travel Tips: An Arctic frontier at road’s end, and Bergen travel essentials – what to do in Bergen.

If you didn’t arrive in Alesund on a Hurtigruten cruise up the coast of Norway, you might want to consider this adventure as it is one of the best ways to expore the Norwegian coastline. Be sure to read our entire Hurtigruten cruise advice series: Hurtigruten Cruises: Travel booking tipsPlanning Your Hurtigruten Cruise Excursions; Hurtigruten Cabins: Differences, Details; Food and Drink on Hurtigruten Cruises in Norway;and Hurtigruten Video Tour – Planning Your Next Trip.

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Heads up! This information on beautiful Alesund was accurate when we published it on HI Travel Tales, but, as we know, traveling is all about changes (and inflation, sadly). It is your sole responsibility to confirm prices, transportation schedules, hours of operation, safety and health considerations, and any other important details before your adventure.

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Michael Hodgson

Co-Conspirator at HI Travel Tales
Winner of a 2018 Silver Medal from the North American Travel Journalists Association for travel writing excellence, Michael has authored more than 16 books and penned many hundreds of feature articles over the years. His bylines have appeared in Backpacker, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Outside, The San Jose Mercury News, Portland Oregonian and more. His travels have taken him to all seven continents. He is a member in good standing of the North American Travel Journalists Association and the Professional Travel Bloggers Association.
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