Planning to visit Alesund, Norway, and you’re curious about the town’s tourist attractions? This detailed guide to the top things to do in Alesund will tell you all about the city’s top sights!
Famous landmarks, exquisite natural attractions, and popular day trips from Alesund are all covered in this detailed guide. Whether you want to tour the museums, have a picnic at the city park, or explore the best hiking trails in the region, you’ll find plenty of options in this guide on all the best attractions in Alesund, one of Norway’s best places to live!
The Aksla viewpoint is situated at Mount Aksla and it’s easily accessible from the Alesund town center. You can take a bus, ride the hop on hop off bus, or you can climb 418 steps from Town Park to get to the viewpoint. The ascent is a bit tiring, but the stairs are pretty wide, so you can go at your own pace without disturbing others.
How you get to the viewpoint is not as important – what matters is that you get there and experience one of the most incredible panoramic views in southern Norway. The viewpoint offers spectacular views of Alesund, the ocean, and the smaller islands. You’ll also find a cafe and a restaurant at the top, as well as a restroom.
It’s worth noting that there are actually two viewpoints on Mount Aksla – Kniven and Fjellstua. You reach the Fjellstua viewpoint first after climbing the stairs; the Kniven viewpoint is a bit further up the mountain, so a short hike from the restaurant at the lower viewpoint.
The Sunnmøre Museum is an open-air museum featuring period boats and historic houses. This museum actually has one of the largest boat collections in Norway, and it includes replicas of various Viking ships.
Visitors can also see the 56 different historic houses on the museum premises, as well as visit the Medieval Age Museum. If you’re all interested in the history of the region, this is an excellent museum to visit. It’s also just a great way to kill a couple of hours – the attractions are all remarkably interesting, plus you’re spending your time in spectacular Norweigan nature.
Go for a quick walk around the Alesund town center and you’ll notice that most buildings are very similar. That’s because most were built between 1904 and 1907 in the Art Nouveau architecture style, and it’s a little weird just how uniform all the buildings are.
Most of the town was destroyed in the great town fire of 1904, and all the Art Nouveau buildings were constructed during the reconstruction of Alesund town. But not by accident – it was Kaiser Wilhelm, the last German emperor, who sent four warships full of materials to help rebuild Alesund’s old town. In his honor, the town named one of its busiest streets after Wilhelm.
Atlantic Sea Park is a giant aquarium in Alesund that showcases Norway’s diverse marine life. It’s a great place for both kids and adults, so an absolute must in case you’re visiting Ålesund with your family.
The cold-water aquarium is home to fish species that are native to the region. Visitors can also see puffins and seals – plan a trip to the aquarium during feeding time, for the absolute best experience.
It’s worth noting that Atlantic Sea Park is absolutely huge, and it will take you a few hours if you want to explore every single corner. There’s even an activity room for the youngest visitors, as well as a restaurant for adults who just want to get some rest and grab a bite to eat.
Alesund town has always had a long-standing tradition of fishing and you can learn more about it at the Fisheries Museum. See the various vessels that were used to capture fish at sea, as well as all the different gear used by experienced fishermen.
The museum’s exhibits detail the history of fishing and fish processing in Alesund, as well as their importance to the town. But the boats parked in the harbor in front of the museum are by far the most interesting, especially since you can actually climb into them! The staff at the museum is very helpful and friendly, and they’ll gladly help you get the most out of your trip to the Fisheries Museum.
Situated southwest of the town center on the island of Hessa, Sukkertoppen is a small mountain and a popular hiking area close to Alesund. If you want to experience incredible views of the town, the fjord, and the mountains behind Alesund, this is a great place to visit.
The hike to the top of Sugar Top Mountain is moderately challenging, depending on the weather conditions. This is a small mountain with a total height of a little more than 300 meters above sea level, so it’s not like you’re in for a challenging ascent. It’s more that the path can be wet and dirty if it rained recently, which will certainly slow you down during the ascent.
It takes less than two hours to hike to the top of the mountain, where you can experience some enchanting scenic views of Nørvøya Island’s coast. It makes the entire hike worth it, so don’t give up just because there’s a little mud on the ground!
Sea kayaking is one of the most popular water activities in Alesund and a great way to spend your time if you’re adventurous. You can just rent kayaks and set out on your own, or you could join one of the many different sea kayaking tours that will take you to some of Alesund’s best-known attractions.
Hike and kayak tours are also pretty popular here, and they usually take 5-6 hours. If you need ideas on how to spend an entire afternoon in Alesund and you want to do something fun and exciting, exploring the town from the water is certainly a great way to kill some time.
Sea kayaking without guides is recommended only for experienced kayakers since the sea currents are no joke. Travelers who aren’t very experienced in kayaks but want to see the charming Alesund old town from the water are best off joining a guided tour. Not only is everything taken care of, but you’ll also get to learn more about the town’s history from your guide.
While kayaking might be enough to get your heart rate up if you’re not extremely adventurous, travelers looking for a proper adrenaline rush will be left wanting more. Consider joining a RIB boat tour instead, especially if you’re looking to do something utterly exhilarating.
RIB boats are high-speed, so just sitting in one speeding across the waters of the ocean is incredibly exciting. There are a few different companies that arrange RIB boat tours to nearby attractions, and this includes Runde Island. However, it’s important to note that you might just be taken to see the island and then immediately head back to Alesund, depending on what your arrangement with the skipper is.
So, if you’re considering going on a RIB boat tour to Runde Island to see the puffins, just make sure that you and your skipper have an understanding. It’s worth noting that most companies offer various wildlife safari tours and rides to fjords, so you can choose a tour that is entirely suited to your wants.
Alesund town has a rather rich history and the Alesund Museum will tell you all about it. The museum’s collection focuses on the history of the city from the early 19th century onwards, with detailed exhibits on all the most important events in the history of this town.
There’s an entire exhibit dedicated to the great fire of 1904 and the reconstruction of Alesund that followed. Another exhibit focuses solely on the town’s history during World War II when Alesund was under Nazi occupation. There’s also an exhibit on Uræd, which was the first enclosed lifeboat that managed to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
The museum often hosts temporary exhibits as well, so there’s a chance you’ll get to see something new and unique at the museum.
Slogen is a tall mountain peak in the Sunnmore Alps, south of Alesund. If you’ve got several days in the town and you’re okay taking an entire day to experience the most magical view of Norwegian fjords, definitely consider hiking to Slogen.
The Patchellhytta cabin lies at the foot of mount Slogen, and it’s a popular starting point for ascents on the peak. The hiking season is between June and September – it’s not recommended to attempt the hike during the other months, mostly because the terrain is largely inaccessible due to large amounts of snow.
The hiking trail is quite challenging due to difficult terrain and a large elevation gain. It’s also exactly what experienced hikers might be looking for since it will give them the adrenaline rush and reward them with mesmerizing fjord views.
Avoid going through snow fields on your way down, unless you’ve got an ice axe and you’re comfortable using it. Also, it’s worth noting that you will need to either join an organized group tour or drive to the trailhead on your own since Alesund is at least two hours away from Mount Slogen.
Saksa is another fabulous mountain peak south of Alesund that offers some of the most enchanting views you’ll ever experience. It’s accessible by both car and public transport (bus and ferry), and it takes about 2-3 hours to get to the trailhead from Alesund, depending on how you’re traveling.
This hike can be completed in about 2-3 hours, and it should only be attempted between June and October. That’s when there’s the least amount of snow on the ground and the trail is in good condition. Mount Saksa offers stunning views of the fjords and nearby mountains, and it’s one of the most rewarding hikes in this part of Norway.
The trail isn’t too challenging, and as long as you’ve got appropriate footwear and gear you should be able to complete it. The southern peak of Mount Aksa offers the best views, so that’s the final destination for most people who set out on this hiking trip. If you’re looking for a challenge, consider hiking from the southern peak to the middle peak.
This part of the trail descends through a narrow gorge and it includes some moderate rock climbing, so it’s suitable only for experienced hikers and climbers.
Alesund Church is another great example of the Art Nouveau architecture style that’s so dominant in this Norweigan city. The stone church was designed as a long church, and it was constructed in 1909 according to the design of Sverre Knudsen.
The exterior of the church is a bit underwhelming, especially when compared to the ornate interior. It’s worth it to go inside the church if you want to see the beautiful artworks and detailed frescoes, but keep in mind that there is an entrance fee.
Alnes Lighthouse is situated on Godøya Island, just a 30-minute drive from Alesund. The lighthouse dates back to 1876, and it’s a fabulous testament to the Norwegian coastal culture. Not only does the Alnes lighthouse offer spectacular scenic views, but it also boasts some historical exhibitions, as well as a shop where you can buy souvenirs and local handicrafts.
It’s possible to drive from Alesund to the lighthouse and there’s even a parking lot nearby. There’s also a cafe close to the lighthouse, where you can stop for a little break and admire the pretty views of the island’s nature. Everything is surreally green, the ocean stretches as far as the eye can see, and the view of the Alnes lighthouse is just the cherry on top of the cake.
Alesund has a long fishing tradition and it’s actually the fishing capital of this entire region. It’s been that way for centuries, so it should come as no surprise that fish is dominant in the cuisine of this Norweigan town.
Seafood restaurants are everywhere in Alesund, and most are excellent. Head to Alesund old town for the best selection of restaurants where you can taste the freshest fish – your options range from cozy fast food establishments to classy and expensive restaurants
However, it’s worth noting that the freshest fish is always found at one of Alesund’s many seafood markets. If you enjoy cooking and would like to try and prepare the Norwegian staple dishes yourself, head to one of the markets for the freshest selection of local fish.
Geiranger Fjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site approximately 100 kilometers south of Alesund. It’s a magical place, with some of the prettiest scenery one can experience in all of Norway. Hiking trails, stunning waterfalls, and panoramic views all await at the Geiranger Fjord, but you won’t necessarily get to see all of those if you visit on a cruise.
It mostly depends on which cruise company you opt for. Some cruisers let their passengers out at the fjord and give them a certain amount of time to explore the area. You also have the option of traveling on a car ferry – the route is just as scenic no matter which boat you’re on, so this isn’t a bad option if you’d rather not go on a traditional cruise.
If you’re interested in the fjord and its significance, visit the Norwegian Fjord Center. The museum offers exhibits on the history and significance of the fjords, but they’re not quite as interesting as the walk up to the center is. You’re walking along a path next to spectacular waterfalls, which are certainly much more impressive than any museum.
Runde Island is also known as Bird Island, and it’s one of the most popular places in Europe to go for bird watching. The island is home to many rare bird species, but it’s by far best known for the huge presence of puffins.
Most of the island is a conservation area, so it truly is the definition of unspoiled nature. Hiking around Runde Island is extremely popular, especially if you want to reach the more secluded parts of the island, where you can see all sorts of rare bird species.
Runde Island is about two and a half hours away from Alesund by car. It’s possible to reach the island via public transport (buses and ferries), as well as by boat charters. Driving is generally the best way to travel from Alesund to Runde – the route is extremely scenic, plus your time on the island isn’t limited by public transport timetables.
If you enjoy fishing, Alesund is the perfect destination in northern Norway for you. The city is a very important fishing center for the region, and many of its attractions are centered around fish. So, if you want to explore some of the best fishing spots in this part of Norway, sign up for a fishing boat tour.
There are loads of different fishing tours from Alesund, but we like the Havila Voyage as the most complete experience. They will provide thermal suits and all the fishing gear that’s necessary for the trip, plus the staff will help you filet any fish you catch. There’s also a chef on the ship that will help you prepare your catch of the day, which is why this is the best bait-to-table experience.
The only downside is they operate between November and May, so there aren’t any tours available in the summer.
The Sunnmøre Alps are situated just about an hour away from Alesund, and they’re the perfect playground for all outdoor adventurers. Featuring a plethora of hiking and climbing opportunities in the warmer months and even more exciting ski trails in the winter months, this is a fabulous destination worth visiting any time of the year.
You can even join sail to ski expeditions, which depart from the Alesund harbor. Sail around Norway for a short time until you reach the fantastic mountains, and enjoy a taste of the best the local cuisine has to offer. Then you’ll arrive at the Sunnmore Alps, where you can enjoy all the ski touring you want.
The ideal ski touring season is between February and early May, and the activity is recommended only for experienced skiers. The ascent up the mountain is steep and challenging, which is why this route isn’t recommended for beginners.
The Stranda Ski resort is a great alternative to the Sunnmore Alps, for those with less experience or in case of bad weather. It’s got more than 30 kilometers of ski tracks, with a dedicated children’s area and excellent off-piste opportunities.
Molladalen is a nature preserve south of Alesund and the perfect destination for anyone who decided to visit Norway to do some premium hiking. This nature preserve boasts a plethora of challenging hiking trails, making it a great place for all avid hikers who are looking for something that will make them sweat.
The trails are hard but worth the effort. Molladalen boasts lakes, mountain peaks, and spectacular views all around. It’s a stunning place perfect for adventurers who want to explore Norway’s mesmerizing nature, and one of the best destinations for day trips from Alesund.
Also, it’s worth noting that hiking tours aren’t the only way to explore Molladalen. The nature preserve also boasts steep cliff faces that are ideal for climbers, as well as lots of easier paths for those who just want to go on easy walks and admire scenic views.
Situated in an old Art Nouveau pharmacy building, the Art Nouveau Center is a great place to visit if you’re interested in learning more about the uniformed architecture of Alesund. The museum’s exhibit covers in detail the great fire that destroyed most of the old buildings, as well as the process of rebuilding them with this architectural style.
KUBE Art Museum is connected to the Art Nouveau Center with a tunnel, so you can easily explore both attractions in one visit. Tickets cover the admission to both museums as well as the Fishing Museum, so you can easily spend an entire afternoon exploring Alesund’s museums with a single ticket.
KUBE is an art museum with the aim of promoting all sorts of artworks from the region. The focus is mainly on local artists and the artworks in the museum are anything but ordinary.
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