Ålesund and All Its Charm

Built upon a sliver of land in Norway’s western fjords, Ålesund appears to rise up out of the ocean like a pastel colored Nordic Atlantis. Equal parts magical and eccentric, this is one of the most unique towns I’ve ever visited in Europe.

With a backdrop of several fairy tale islands stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean, the heart of this area lies in the center of town. After a devastating fire ravaged Ålesund in 1904, many of the buildings were re-built in the popular style of the time, Art Nouveau.

Today, Ålesund maintains these heritage buildings and contains one of the most concentrated collections of Art Nouveau style architecture in the world, making it easy to while away an afternoon, or even a whole day, marveling at the colorful and detailed buildings in this lively Norwegian town.

Here are some of my favorite photos from Ålesund!

Fjellstua Viewpoint

The view from the top of Mount Aksla is not to be missed. Walk the 418 steps up from the town park, go by car, or take the city train up to Fjellstua Viewpoint where you'll have a panoramic view of Ålesund and its surroundings. If you have time, there’s a cafe at the top where you can grab a coffee while you enjoy the view.

A wall with some character

A wall with some character in the city center.

Alesund city center

Early in the morning you'll find quiet streets, where you can take the time to admire the pops of color found throughout Ålesund.

Alesund and Mount Aksla

A sailboat comes in to dock in the harbor. Mount Aksla and the winding stairs leading up to Fjellstua Viewpoint can be seen in the background.

Alesund cinema

The town of Ålesund has a number of really neat things, including Løvenvold cinema built in 1923, which is still in full operation today. This is one of the doors to the theater. I'd love to see a movie here, how about you?

Alesund

There are numerous paths you can take to descend from the top of Mount Aksla. This is a view of one path leading back into the town.

Fiskergutten, or Fisher Boy

Fiskergutten, or the fisher boy, is a statue located at Apotekertorget, the pharmacy square. This statue is meant to symbolize the bliss of youth and expectation of the future.

Unfortunately, the birds had other ideas.

Art Nouveau architecture in Alesund

Ålesund has unusually consistent architecture with the majority of the buildings having been built between 1904 and 1907.

Norwegian cat

Just like in Bergen, I ran into some friendly alley cats in Ålesund, who I stopped to play with and pet for some time before continuing on with sightseeing.

Alesund

Looking more like a European castle, the yellow building seen in the distance is actually an elementary school ranging from grades one through seven.

Løvenvold cinema

Another view of Løvenvold cinema, which can seat a total of 310 people. Although the theater was built in 1923, today Løvenvold is fully equipped with digital sound and projection systems. Cinemas in Norway usually show films in their original language, with Norwegian subtitles.

Vintage baby stroller

An old baby stroller with a new purpose in one of the residential areas of Ålesund.

Pastel colors in Alesund

Honey yellows, baby blues, and sea foam greens - Ålesund is a haven of pastel colored buildings.

Art Nouveau Center, or Jugendstilsenteret

The building seen to the left is the Art Nouveau Center, or Jugendstilsenteret, where visitors can learn more about the fire, the rebuilding of the town, and Art Nouveau style architecture. Ålesund is a partner in the Art Nouveau Network, a European network created in 1999 for the study, safeguard, and development of Art Nouveau.

Statue dedicated to those who fell in WWII

This statue found beside Ålesund Church is dedicated to those who fell in World War II. During the Nazi Germany occupation of Norway, the term "Little London" was often applied to Ålesund because of the resistance that took place there.

Ålesund mountain range in Norway

A view of the rugged mountain range and fjords that lie just outside of Ålesund as seen from Fjellstua Viewpoint. The mountains outside of the town are popular among hikers and skiers. 

Ålesund is spread over seven different islands in Norway’s Møre og Romsdal region and most are connected via underwater tunnels.

Ålesund

Many Norwegians and visitors consider Ålesund the most beautiful town in Norway and call it “the Norwegian Venice” because of the brightly colored buildings situated on the canal that runs through the town. 

Unique doorway in Ålesund

The details found on the residential buildings in town are unique each in their own right. This was one of my favorite doorways.

Ålesund

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Ålesund and All Its Charm