Back from our cruise to Svalbard we make a road-trip to visit Norway. Our first stop is the city of Alesund.

Located on a peninsula, this coastal town occupies the islands of Aspøya, Nørvøya and Heissa, 140 miles north of Bergen. Alesund, is a fishing port, which formerly operated mainly in the cod fishery.

It is surrounded by the beautiful mountains of Sunnmøre. But it’s not just for its sumptuous natural environment that we have visited Alesund. This northern city owes its notoriety to its architecture: it is entirely built in Art Nouveau style.

In this post of our travel blog Heulys, we describe how to visit Alesund in one day and we describe the perfect itinerary to admire its notorious buildings.

Consult directly the Alesund’s map as you go along.

1. Alesund, capital of “Art Nouveau” Architecture

In 1904, after a fire that ravaged almost all the wooden houses of this fishing town, it was decided to rebuild it entirely in bricks and granite stones in the avant-garde style of the time: Art Nouveau. ” The architects, all Norwegians, adapted this artistic style while declining decorative “Vikings” and Medievals themes dear to Norway. It is this unique style called “Jugendstil” that can be discover in Alesund.

Alesund has to be visited on foot. So, let’s discover its treasures!

alesund alesundet hellebroa (2)

View from Hellebroa, over Alesundet

2. Guide to visit Alesund in one day

We recommend to stroll along the most emblematic streets of Alesund and then to conclude with the ascent of Mount Aksla, the highlight point of the day.

The starting point of the visit is the Tourist Office of Alesund located at Skateflukaia, the quay situated north of the island of Nørvøya. Take the Skaregata and turn right down Kongens Gate.

Kongens Gate and Notenesgata

Kongens Gate is certainly the busiest pedestrian shopping street in Alesund, completely rebuilt in a wide variety of Art Nouveau styles. Among the many remarkable buildings, here are the buildings that we have liked most:

Kongens Gate (21)
The architect used decorative features inspired by medieval “dragons style”, that belongs to the culture of Norway. A typical Jugendstil style sprocket tops the grey and yellow building.

alesund kongens gate 21

Kongens Gate (19)
This building was built in 1906-07 for the herring trader Henrik Hoff of Hyllestad. Currently, it is a residential office and retail building. The side facing the sea is still dedicated to fishing activities.

alesund kongens gate 19 b

Kongens Gate (18) Skippergården (Captain’s House)
This building built in Art Nouveau style after the fire was so dilapidated in the 1970s that it had to be demolished. To preserve the overall harmony of the street’s architecture, it was rebuilt identically.

alesund kongens gate 19

Kongens Gate (17)
We love the floral ornaments (thistle flowers) on the street facade. This building was built in 1905 for a master butcher.

alesund kongens gate 17
Kongens Gate (10 B)
This small stone building is the narrowest house in Alesund. It is part of the historical monuments of the city.

Notesnesgata (9) Rønneberg building

We cross St. Olavsplass, we face the impressive Rønneberg building, in grey granite. This water-front warehouse built in 1907 for the family company Rønneberg & Sons. Originally, the sea came right up to this building! The work carried out over the last 50 years made it possible to reclaim land from the sea.
In the background of the picture below, we see the path to Fjellstua panoramic viewpoint, on Mount Aksla.

alesund Ronneberg building

Saint Olavsplass with Rønneberg House on the left and Mount Aksla in the background.

Return to Alesund’s map and itinerary.

Hellebroa, Alesund and surroundings

We continue our visit of Alesund to the Alesundet canal that separates the islands Aspøya and Nørvøya. We engage in R. Rønnebergata. The view of the boats docked along the canal flanked by old pastel-colored fisheries, is truly charming.

alesund alesundet hellebroa

Continue on Lorkenesgata towards the bridge.

Lorkenesgaten (2) Arbeideren building

The architects K.Rivertz and H.Jürgensen designed this house in 1906. It was a trade union building called Arbeideren (the “worker” in Norwegian). It presents an original Art Nouveau facade with several of its windows in the form of keyholes.
Since then, it has become a place of cultural festivities much appreciated by the inhabitants of the city. The events which take place there have gained a great notoriety in Norway and attracts many Norvegians who take the opportunity to visit Alesund. The Arbeideren building belongs today to the city of Alesund and is part of its historical heritage.

alesund Arbeideren
Now we walk to the old swing bridge of Hellebroa which joins Aspøya and Nørvøya. This place is truly the heart of Alesund, nested between two islands. From there, the panorama on the Alesundet canal, flanked with houses built during a “romantic period”, is spectacular. To visit Alesund, take time to stroll along the harbor, from shore to shore to admire the buildings. Their colored facades glow when the sun passes through thick clouds.
On the pontoon, the statue of a young fisherman has been erected. It symbolizes the enthusiasm and hope of future generations of Norway.

alesund hellebroa norway

Striking view from the old bridge og Hellebroa on the Alesundet Canal.

Apotekergata

Apotekergaten (16) Svaneapoteket

This street owes its name to the old chemist’shop (Svaneapoteket).

alesund svaneapoteket jugendstil senteret

Jugendstil Senteret and Svaneapoteket – Pontoon on which the statue of a young fisher has been erected.

This residential and commercial building, inaugurated in 1907, was built for the chemist’s A.Øwre family. It is one of the oldest institutions of the city because as early as 1819, a chemist’shop already existed at this place. It was closed in 2001 when the Art Nouveau Center occupied this building. With its towers and gables, its Viking-inspired granite motifs carved on stone columns and doors, the Svaneapoteket is the symbol of Jugendstil architecture in Norway.

Go inside the officine: on the ground floor, the chemist’shop has kept its original furnishings. Upstairs, the Art Nouveau Center highlights the architectural heritage of Alesund and the various manifestations of Jugendstil (furnishing, advertising, jewelry, etc …).

Apotekergata (5) (The Berset fishery)
Most of the buildings along the canal were warehouses, or establishments dedicated to fishing activities. Today, no longer adapted, ‌tthey have been transformed into hotels, restaurants, offices and homes. This building is part of the Heritage Listed Buildings.

alesund berset house

Apotekergata (8)
At the intersection of Apotekergata and Bakkegata a blue house with a corner tower was built for the merchant Andreas Rasmussen. The windows are decorated with stucco motifs typical of the Art Nouveau style.

alesund Apotekergata 8

Looking up Bakkegata Street, there is an alignment of buildings with towers. This ensemble accentuates the hilly terrain topography surrounding Alesund. The rising towers are reminiscent of the ancient medieval architecture of Norway.

Return to Alesund’s map and itinerary.

Molovegen and the Mole

Continue the visit of Alesund straight ahead on Molovegen to Aksel Holms Plass. A beautiful white building faces the square. It’s Haughland House.

Brunholmgaten (10), House Haugland
The architect Harald Krohg Stabell built this impressive building in the 1905-1907 years for the master baker Johannes Haugland. Its massive facade with its two round towers and its oval openings recalls the silhouette of a castle. The facade carries an anchor which forms the text “1905 O. H.”, presumably the initials of Oscar Haugland, Johannes’ son. Today, the building houses the “Alesund Newspaper”.

alesund-aksel-plass-brunholmgata
Turn right onto Brunholmgata at the end of the wharf. This path in Alesund gives the opportunity to admire the magnificent panorama of the buildings that adjoin the east bank of the canal,
Return to Molovegen and continue along the North shore of Aspøya Island, to a small dike (the “Mole” built in 1954) and its red lighthouse on the right.

Fishing Museum
Just at the corner of the dike, an old white wooden building dates back from 1861, much before the fire in 1904! Indeed, it was part of the waterfront houses that had escaped from the disaster. These are the only wooden buildings remaining in Alesund. Today, it houses the Fisheries Museum.

alesund musee de la peche
On the heights of the hill, you can see Aspøy School (1921), an imposing yellow building overlooking the old port.
Do not miss to walk to the end of the Mole to have a magnificent view of the harbor and its distinctive facades.

Church of Alesund and its surroundings

Return to Alesund’s map and itinerary.

Retrace your steps to Øwregata, on the right, and go up this quiet street to reach the church of Alesund.

Church of Alesund

It was built in 1909 on the site of the old church that had burned. The architect rebuilt it and add a few modern features, such as wider windows to provide more light. Inside, frescoes and stained glass are worth the visit.
Go around the church and return via Kirkegata to the Hellebroa bridge.

alesund eglise

Kirkegata (9)
This small two-story house (our favorite) was built from 1906 to 1908 for the Bodø Brewery. The decorative features of the facade are particularly flowery and romantic. Today, the building is a residence.

alesund kirkegata 9
Lovenvoldgata (8)
This building is the Scandic Scandinavia hotel, the first to be built in Alesund in Art Nouveau style after the fire (this is the hotel where we have stayed)

alesund hotel scandic
Continue along Lovenvoldgata, then Parkgata, which leads to the town park, at the foot of Alska.

Return to Alesund’s map and itinerary.

The ascent of Fjellstua

Finally, after having discovered Alesund from below, it’s time to go upward on the Aksla’summit. Two viewpoints offer striking views of the city, the fjords of Sunnmøre and the archipelago of islands! This is the main attraction of Alesund not to be missed. Here is how to access to them:
• by tourist train
• by walking on the 418 steps winding around the hill:yes
– from Kongens Gate, then follow Lihauggata
– or from the town park
• by car via the Borgundveien / Fjelltunveien road up to the summit.

The climb up the stairs can seem fastidious but what a reward at the top! The panoramic view : we admire the old town of Alesund right at the heart of a magnificent environment.

View on alesund norway from Fjellstua viewpoint

Magnificent panorama on Alesund and its surroundings.

Before going back, indulge yourself with a hot drink in the Fjellstua cafe. The air is pretty cool on the heights of Fjellstua!
On our way back to the town park we stop in front of the Viking statue Gange Rolv (known as Rollon in France). After being banished from the Kingdom of Norway, he conquered other lands and … became the 1st Duke of Normandy in 911.

Conclusion

Alesund deserve its reputation as the most beautiful city in Norway. Rebuilt in Art Nouveau Style after the 1904 fire, it immerses the visitor in romantic times, in the heart of an exceptional environment.

Tomorrow we will be on our way to explore the famous Geirangerfjord, the most beautiful Norwegian fjord and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Tips for visiting Alesund?


3. Map of Alesund and itinerary to visit the city

Click on the map to enlarge:
itineraire visite alesund norvege


4. How to get to Alesund?

• Domestic flights to Norway from Bergen, Tromsø, Trondheim, Oslo
• Boat: Coastal Express Hurtigruten or the express boat along the coast to Måløy
• Bus: Local buses serve Andalsnes
The visit lasts between half a day to a whole day.


3. Weather in Alesund

Consult the weather forcast in Alesund


5. Hotels in Alesund?

We stayed at Scandic Scandinavia, a magnificent Art Nouveau hotel. It is ideally located in the heart of the city and the breakfast is excellent. Therefore we recommend this accommodation.


6. Restaurants in Alesund?

There are many restaurants in Alesund. We took the easy way out of dining at the EGON Restaurant, located near the Scandic Scandinavia Hotel. It was an excellent choice: a young and relaxed atmosphere, in a typical Norwegian setting. Look at the appetizing dinner we have:

gastronomie norvege

Norvegian food


7. What else to do in Alesund?

If you stay several days, enjoy the many outdoor activities in the area (hiking, kayaking, skiing, etc …).


8. Is it a trip for babyboomers?

Babyboomers will love to visit Alesund for its undeniable cultural wealth, easy walks and the surroundings’s beauty.

Check your ability to walk up to Fjellstua viewpoint.

 

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