Alesund Travel Guide
After a fire consumed the entire town in 1904, it would have been easy to abandon Alesund. Thankfully, the hardy souls of this northern Norwegian city opted to rebuild. Today, this tourist destination offers a taste of life in Western Norway.
From living history museums to institutions that recount the Alesund fire, you’ll find plenty to do here.
Come check out our Alesund travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Alesund, Norway.
Start your visit to Alesund by learning about its past at the Sunnmore Museum. This institution is an open-air living history museum that will show you how locals lived life a century ago. The dozens of house you’ll find here boast sod roofs, much as they did in Viking times.
In the main building, you’ll get a chance to check out various displays. These include artifacts dating from thousands of years ago, or reliefs that tell of local Nordic traditions. Perhaps this museum’s best holding: Its collection of Viking Ships. Each of these specimens is many centuries old. Given their well-preserved state, it makes them all the more impressive.
You can easily reach the Sunnmore Museum by hitching a ride on a hop-on-hop-off bus from Alesund. If you’re hungry while at this attraction, grab a bite at the on-site snack bar.
Fans of architecture and art will not want to miss Jugendstilsenteret on a visit to Alesund. This building was home to Swan Pharmacy after its completion in the early 20th century. Built in the Art Nouveau style by architect Hagbarth Martin Schytte-Berg, it is a stunning specimen.
These days, this spot no longer slings pills. Instead, it is one of the best places in town to scope out visual arts. During your visit, you’ll find paintings, illustrations, and other visual media from Norwegian artists on its walls. It also contains period furniture and other decor items from the early 1900s.
History lovers will also take something away from this attraction. This museum also contains a multimedia presentation which details the recovery of Alesund from its Great Fire. If you’re in the mood to linger in this beautiful space, grab a coffee in its small cafe.
If you’re an avid cathedral hunter, be sure to check out Alesund Church. Despite its stately and “old” appearance, this Lutheran church is young by European standards. Construction crews, following the plans of architect Sverre Knudsen, completed this Art Nouveau masterpiece in 1909.
The original church, which held its first Mass in 1855, was a victim of the Great Alesund Fire. Interior highlights include a model boat, a carved wooden entryway, and the mesmerizing background behind the altar.
Lovers of the outdoors will want to set aside a day to conquer Sukkertoppen. Known in English as “Sugar Top”, this mountain boasts unrivalled views over Alesund. Start by taking a bus to Hessa. Then, begin your trek up this massive ocean-facing promontory.
The trail grade is moderately difficult. As such, you’ll need some degree of fitness to get to the top. Bring lots of water, as well as clothes that will allow you to adjust to the weather. Conditions can go from clear to foggy to rainy in a matter of minutes, so be prepared.
As we mentioned above, Alesund suffered a terrible fire in the early 1900s. While virtually the entire town went up in smoke, a couple of houses escaped intact. The Waldehuset Museum was one of those structures.
Known locally as the “miracle house,” legend holds that an angel promised the owner it wouldn’t burn. Story aside, it is a charming peek at what houses looked like before the Alesund Fire. The current owners offer warm greetings to visitors, as well as fresh baked goods.
Alesund locals have made their living off the sea for countless generations. Learn about the animals they’ve encountered, up close and personal, at Atlantic Sea Park. This attraction first opened its doors to tourists in 1951. However, they opened a new and improved facility in 1998. Since then, it has become one of Scandinavia’s biggest saltwater aquariums.
In all, they have 11 aquariums. This count includes two touch pools, where you can interact with marine life. You’ll see stingrays, groundfish, shrimp, seals, otters, and many others. Another aquarium boasts cold-water animal from the opposite end of the Earth: Penguins! As such, this is an attraction you should visit if you are travelling with children.
If you love marine lights, make time in your schedule to check out Alnes Lighthouse. This red-and-white-striped attraction is the most visited lighthouse in all of Norway. Today, it is not an actively-manned light (for navigation purposes). However, the old keeper’s house is home to an art gallery and a cute cafe.
Want to get a killer view of Alesund, but don’t fancy huff-and-puffing your way up Sukkertoppen? Check out the Fjellstua Viewpoint before you leave town. From an easily-reachable parking lot (serviced by the hop-on-hop-off-bus), you’ll have a short walk to a fantastic vantage point.