Licensed Guide and Norway Tour Planner

Ålesund City Guide

Ålesund is a charming coastal city on the western coast of Norway, renowned for its natural beauty and unique architectural style.

Located in the Sunnmøre region, Ålesund is often referred to as the "Art Nouveau City" due to its picturesque buildings adorned with intricate and colorful Jugendstil designs, which were the result of a fire that devastated the city in 1904.

It’s a city with a thriving cultural scene, rich maritime history and it is surrounded by the beautiful Sunnmøre Alps, offering a breathtaking backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts.

When to visit Ålesund

Ålesund experiences a temperate maritime climate with relatively mild temperatures and a lot of precipitation throughout the year. The city's weather is influenced by its coastal location and the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, which help to moderate temperature extremes.

Keep in mind that Ålesund can experience rapidly changing weather conditions throughout the year, so it's advisable to check the forecast before your trip and pack accordingly.

Blog: See my packing list for Norway.

Spring (March to May): Spring in Ålesund is a time of awakening. The temperatures start to rise, and the days get longer. Average daytime temperatures range from 4°C (39°F) in March to 11°C (52°F) in May. Rainfall is common, so it's a good idea to pack waterproof clothing.

Summer (June to August): The summer months are the most popular time to visit Ålesund. Daylight hours are long, with the famous "white nights" (when the sun stays up for most of the day) occurring in June and July. Average daytime temperatures range from 14°C (57°F) in June to 17°C (63°F) in August. It's the driest season, making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the coastal beauty.

Autumn (September to November): As autumn progresses, the city's landscape transforms from green to colorful. Average daytime temperatures range from 15°C (59°F) in September to 8°C (46°F) in November. Rainfall increases, so be prepared for wet weather.

Winter (December to February): Winters in Ålesund are relatively mild compared to many other parts of Norway, thanks to the coastal influence. Average daytime temperatures range from 4°C (39°F) in December to 3°C (37°F) in February. Snowfall is not as heavy as in inland regions, but it does occur, making it a picturesque time to visit.

Getting into Ålesund

Ålesund Airport (Vigra)

To get to/from the airport I would recommend the Vy Airport Bus, which takes about 30 min from the airport (Ålesund Airport, Vigra) to downtown (stop: Skateflukaia), and costs about 115 NOK.

Another good option if you are 3 or more travelers is to share a cab. It’ll take about 15-20 minutes to get downtown.

Two reliable taxi companies are: Norges Taxi and Ålesund Taxi (they are parked outside the terminal).

Viking ship carving detail in the water

Places to stay in Ålesund

In Ålesund, you have several options for finding accommodation, but I would recommend finding a hotel close to the downtown waterfront to fully enjoy the sea. The city offers a range of options, from boutique hotels to larger chains.

High End

High-end/luxury hotels are sparse in Ålesund, but here are two pretty good ones that I like:

Hotel Brosundet
An upscale hotel with rustic-chic rooms located right on the waterfront in an old warehouse art nouveau-style. Also find a high-end seafood restaurant and a modern bar + relaxation area.

Hotel 1904
A boutique hotel located in an art nouveau building from the same year as the name. Seventy-four rooms all with their own unique design, just a couple of minutes walk from the bay.

Mid-Range

Quality Hotel Ålesund has a nice location next to the sea, and you’ll find a lobby bar with a terrace. Rooms are basic but comfortable, and the breakfast table is plentiful.

Thon Hotel Ålesund is similar, also with a great location right on the waterfront.

Budget

Ålesund City Apartments have economy double rooms, but also fully furnished apartments which are a good deal if you are a family traveling together.

Note that prices for hotels highly fluctuate throughout the year, and if you book early you can sometimes find good deals! The high season in Norway goes from June to August.

Places to eat in Ålesund

The food scene in Oslo offers a blend of traditional Norwegian flavors, international influences, and modern culinary trends. Whether you’re a fan of seafood, international cuisine, or innovative gastronomy, Oslo has something to satisfy every palate.

Here’s a few of my favorite food and drink spots in Ålesund:

RESTAURANTS & CAFéS

Zuuma is a cool and modern Japan-inspired restaurant with some excellent sushi and a few fusion dishes.

The Fisketorget (fish market) Restaurant (great for lunch) also has sushi, but in addition to that you’ll find king crab, fish of the day and a delicious creamy fish soup.

Another modern spot with tasty food from the region is Bro Kystgastronomi where you’ll find dishes such as Nordic Halibut Taco, hand dived Scallop and Monkfish sea spaghetti.

For a cozy and rustic experience head to Apotekergata No. 5. Located right on water you can pop in for a coffee or sit down for a full 3 or 5 course meal.
Or perhaps you are just looking for a craft beer and a burger? Then head to Molo Brew.

On top of the Aksla Mountain (see how to get there below) you find the Fjellstua Café/Restaurant with excellent views. Expect to find cakes, salads, soups and traditional Norwegian dishes.

Bars

Oslo has a ton of good options when it comes to grabbing a drink. Be it a cocktail, a glass of wine, a beer or some aquavit (local liquor), you’ll be sure to find a place.

For a good craft beer I recommend Schouskjelleren Micro Brewery located downstairs in a cozy brick cellar with an open fireplace.

Crow Bar & Brewery has good beer and serves kebab and suckling pig on the second floor.

The award winning bar Himkok specializes in cocktails and has their own gin and aquavit distillery.

Fyret Food & Drinks (mentioned above) has good beers and a wide selection of aquavit.

Things to do in Ålesund

Ålesund is a city that seamlessly combines activities in nature with architectural and historical marvels.

Here are some of my top recommendations:

MUSEUMS

Perhaps what Ålesund is most known for is its Art Nouveau architecture, so if you want to learn more about that then head to the Art Nouveau Center. Another museum for learning about the history of Ålesund is the Fisheries Museum, which helps you understand how fishing technology and culture developed over the centuries.

Tip: many of the museums in Ålesund offer combo-tickets where you can visit two or more museums at a reduced price.

One of my favorite museums in Ålesund, located to the east of the city center, is the Sunnmøre Open Air Museum where you can find 56 old and distinct houses. They also got a large boat collection, including replicas of Viking ships.

With more time check out:

Ålesund Aquarium
Great for kids and families

Sea FJORD & Hiking ACTIVITIES

Sitting on the edge of the sea with nature both inside and outside the city, you can easily find plenty of outdoor activities.

For a couple of nice and easily accessible hikes in the city , I’d recommend climbing up to the Aksla Viewpoint on top of the Aksla mountain. You’ve probably seen the iconic pictures of Ålesund from above, well those are taken from that viewpoint. To get there you climb 418 steps from the city center, or take a winding road to reach the Fjellstua Restaurant (buses go there), which offers breathtaking panoramic views of Ålesund, the surrounding islands, and the ocean.

Another nice hike is to Sukkertoppen (Sugar Top), located on the island of Hessa just west of the city center. With its distinct cone-shaped peak this is a popular hike with the locals. The trail is moderately challenging and you’ll get fantastic views of Ålesund, the archipelago, and the Sunnmøre Alps. To start, take the bus 6 minutes (or walk) to Hessa Skole, and find the trail from there.

Find fjord cruises for Ålesund at GetYourGuide or Fjord Tours. The majestic Geirangerfjord and Hjørundfjord are not far away.

Another way to get out on the water is to join a kayaking tour.

Other Things To Do

  • For some deep valley and mountain thrills, check out this day trip tour to Trollstigen (the troll’s ladder).
  • Stroll the streets of charming Ålesund and take in all the art Nouveau Architecture and maritime vibe.
wooden boats in the harbor

How to get around in Ålesund

Public transportation

Ålesund has a pretty good bus service, and you can find routes and schedule on the Frammr website (app also available).

wooden boats in the harbor

Ålesund Travel Connections

Ålesund is pretty well connected with daily direct flights from Oslo.

Getting there with public transportation might be a bit more tricky, but it’s definitely worth it!

TO Oslo

If you have time, take the Vy Bus from Ålesund to Åndalsnes, and then the next day a train to Dombås (Rauma Line). From Dombås change for the train to Oslo (Dovre Line) both operated by Vy. With limited time rent a car, or hop on a flight.

TO TROMSØ, LOFOTEN & BODØ

These destinations are far up north, and unless you have ample time and consider traveling by train and/or bus. For most travelers I would recommend to find a flight and fly up north.

To Bergen

To get there in one long day take a direct Vy Bus, rent a car, or hop on a flight.

TO KRISTIANSAND & STAVANGER

Further to the south, these two destinations can be reached with a flight, but you’ll have to make a stopover in either Bergen or Oslo. Consider taking the Vy Bus to Bergen, and then the Nor-Way bus from there.

Cruises

Check out Hurtigruten or Havila for their coastal cruises along the west coast of Norway. They both offer the classic cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes up north, which makes a stop in Ålesund.

TO TRONDHEIM

There are no direct bus or train lines between Ålesund and Trondheim, so to get there in one day I would either rent a car (6 hours), or head to Åndalsnes the day before (with bus), and then next day take a train to Dombås and change to the train to Trondheim. These are scenic train rides on the Rauma and Dovre line. Buy tickets on the Vy website.

TO STOCKHOLM & COPENHAGEN

There are many flights between Ålesund and Stockholm/Copenhagen. Even though you might find a direct flight, most of them have a layover in Oslo.

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