ÅLESUND – AN OASIS BY THE FJORD
Ålesund instantly captivates visitors’ attention with its unspoilt island setting on the Norwegian fjords and its marvellous Art Deco architecture. The luxury Radisson Blu Hotel commands a stunning city centre location overlooking the fjord adjacent to the Hurtigruten coastal liner quay. Explore the fascinating buildings and lively urban scene on the hotel’s doorstep, or experience history brought to life at the nearby Sunnmøre Museum.
Ålesund is probably one of Norway's prettiest towns and is built on the islands that guard an important approach to several western fjords, including the amazing Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From nearby Mount Aksla, you can look out over the town and surrounding areas and really appreciate the incredible beauty and phenomenal views - the mountains, the sea, the fjords and islands.
Ålesund's arresting Art Nouveau architecture is known far and wide for its myriad of turrets, spires and beautiful ornamentation. The town was rebuilt in its distinctive style following the catastrophic town fire in 1904. It has some fascinating museums, a lively theatre and music environment, as well as some excellent and innovative restaurants. A stroll through the city centre not only reveals fascinating architecture, but also a lively city atmosphere with cosy cafés and shops and the picturesque Brosundet, bordered by the converted wharf building, which is still visited by working fishing boats, together with yachts and high speed ferries. The town has 40,000 inhabitants and is the region's administrative and cultural centre, as well as an important hub for the local business community.
Ålesund's arresting Art Nouveau architecture is known far and wide for its myriad of turrets, spires and beautiful ornamentation. The architecture is a prominent feature of the cityscape and looks as though it is straight out of a fairytale book. A myriad of fjords, fishing villages, island gems and majestic mountains are waiting to charm you!
The town also has the highest ratio of shops to residents compared with any other in Norway, with a shopping centre - Moa - 10 km to the south and a couple of shopping arcades in the town centre itself. These make good places to visit in inclement weather. Moa attracts shoppers from far and wide. It is one of Norway's biggest shopping centres and the biggest between Bergen and Trondheim, while Kremmergaarden in Ålesund centre has a number of different shops and cafés including a government-run liquor store. In addition to its large shopping centres, Ålesund also boasts several exciting niche boutiques. Ingrid's glass workshop in Moloveien is a glass-blowing workshop in a charming location. The Fretex shop in Ålesund is definitely worth a visit too. A great place for vintage shopping. If you are looking for Norwegian handicrafts, then Husfliden should be your next stop. Jewellery designer Bjørg's stunning jewellery can be found in the Klondyke shop in Ålesund Storsenter. Here you will also find the usual retail chains as well as smaller, independent stores.
The shopping streets in Ålesund lie mainly around Kipervika, Skansen and Aspøya. Each area is unique in its own way. At Aspøya you will find traditional shops that sell hardware alongside specialist boutiques for design and interiors. Ålesunds pedestrian precinct is Kongens Gate, just around the corner from the Radisson Blu Hotel, Ålesund. Here you will find several cosy cafés and restaurants where you can enjoy a well-earned rest from your shopping exertions. Kipervika also has a selection of arts and crafts shops. Kiperviktorget, which sells flowers, fruit and different novelties is in the same area.
The idea is that you take something unique back home with you from Ålesund. Design,fashion, local arts and crafts in different materials; thre is something for every taste.
Ask for a tourist brochure at the tourist information desk, to make sure you don't miss any of the important destinations. In 1904, the entire town burnt down and was rebuilt in Art Nouveau style in the years that followed. Some of the most spectacular buildings are in the area around Brosundet, in the pedestrian precinct Kongens Gate, at Brunholmen and in Kirkegata. You could easily walk the cobbled streets from one end to the other in less than 20 minutes.
The Atlantic sea park is one of the largest and most distinctive salt water aquariums in Northern Europe, and in 2013 was voted the "Best Aquarium in Scandinavia" by www.barnsemester.se. The aquarium has been built into the spectacular coastal landscape at Tueneset, west of Ålesund, and the large natural tanks display the marine life along the Norwegian coast in the Atlantic and the deep Norwegian fjords.
You will be astounded by the activity in the largest of the tanks when the diver comes to feed the fish by hand during his diver show every day at 1 pm. At week-ends you can take part in feeding time in the open pools at 3 pm, and children can go crab fishing in the activity pool several times a day, all year round. There is a penguin park in the stunning outside area. The penguins are fed daily at 2:30 pm.
The Art Nouveau Centre in Ålesund documents the town's unique architectural history of the emergence of Art Nouveau after the fire in 1904. Watch the exciting and engaging story presented for you through a time machine that shows the town before and after the fire. Take a stroll through the many rooms in the listed building known as "Swan Pharmacy" and be mesmerised by the beautiful and authentic interior.
The many stages in Ålesund and Sunnmøre offer a wide range of entertainment, such as concerts, theatre and shows all year round. Enjoy a film at the cinema, visit an art exhibition or taste your way around the range of available cafés and restaurants. Discover the annual festivals such as the Ålesund Teaterfestival, Dei Nynorske Festspela, Ålesund Båtfestival, Midtsommerjazz, Jugendfest or Den Norske Matfestivalen.
A few hours away is Geiranger, the jewel of the natural wonders in Fjord Norway, with its majestic snow-capped mountain tops, wild and wonderful waterfalls, verdant mountains and deep blue fjord - yes, it really is like a fairy tale. Go on a fjord sightseeing tour to really experience it. Or follow the paths that climb straight through the many hairpin bends, up to Dalsnibba, Flydalsjuvet and Ørnesvingen. From here you get a fabulous view of one of the most beautiful destinations in the world.
Ålesund and its surrounding areas give you stunning nature and exciting activities for all ages and interests.
Once you have seen as much of Ålesund as you can and you have regained your appetite, try out the Lyst restaurant in Kongens gate and eat a bowl of their fantastic fish soup. Alternatively try the Let’s Eat deli at Kiperviktorget, where they serve delicious sandwiches and salads. If you're at the Art Nouveau centre and the KUBE museum, why not enjoy a delicious cake and coffee in the café. Tante Bruun at the Ålesund Storsenter is another great alternative. The excellent food and cosy interior make you forget the slightly dull location. Lyspunktet is another popular destination. It serves light snacks, coffee and cakes. Note the fascinating lamp here.
If you're a regular coffee drinker, have your fill at Chocolatte in the Ålesund Storsenter or Invit in Apotekergata. Invit is also an interior design boutique and has a superb courtyard, which stays open all summer.
Ålesund boasts numerous exciting eateries if you want to treat yourself to a great dinner out. Radisson Blu Hotel's own restaurant Bulls Brygge serves a mix of food from the North Sea and the Mediterranean. Scandinavian viridity goes perfectly with the sun and aromas from the more southern climes and produces delicious dishes and an exquisite dining experience. Here, our excellent chefs stand out by using the freshest local seafood as well as dried and clip fish, game and vegetables, combining them with ingredients and flavours from the south to create an exciting and distinctive menu. The restaurant is on the first floor next to the beach terrace with a spectacular view of the islands and mountains and has an elegant, yet informal atmosphere.
The XL Diner is located in the heart of Ålesund, with a breathtaking view of Ålesundet, Molja and the sea beyond. The XL Diner places great emphasis on its a la carte restaurant, which enjoys an excellent reputation among visitors and local guests alike. Both local and national media have praised the XL Diner. This is one of the most coveted clipfish restaurants in Europe and attracts talented chefs to its kitchen. The chefs are mainly competition chefs from all over Europe. Good food is born out of inspiration. Much of this inspiration that you as a guest will see and taste, comes from spells as guest chefs from some of the best-known restaurants in Europe. Good food also comes from hard work and experience. The XL Diner is one of the city's most traditional eateries, having operated as a café since the 1960s. It is well worth a visit. The seafood restaurant Maki can be found in an old fishing village by the water and gets fresh seafood from the North Sea. Just like it did 100 years ago. The circle is complete. The fish however are no longer sent on to another place, but are now transformed into the most heavenly dishes by Maki's talented chefs. Maki takes pride in using the region's fish and seafood in new ways. Talented chefs dedicated to their craft create food to be enjoyed. The menu changes fortnightly.