Port Review: Alesund, Norway

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Located 236 kilometres from Bergen, Alesund has been dubbed “the adventure capital of the fjords” in Norway for good reason. And it’s a haven for cruise passengers.


Alesund enjoys a spectacular setting across several islands, and is situated at the entrance to the stunning World Heritage listed Geirangerfjord and near Hjorundfjord. The town has a lovely, curvaceous Art Nouveau architectural style, making it unusual in this part of the world, thanks to the entire town centre burning to the ground around in 1904 and rising from the ashes with a new look and vibe. As a result, today Alesund is a modern town with a deep history, and is well known for a vibrant cultural scene and a cafe culture. It’s also home to a huge cod fishing fleet, and a popular jumping off point for travellers visiting popular places including Geiranger, Trollstigen, Hjorundfjord and Runde Bird Sanctuary. The Alesund town centre sits on the islands of Aspoy and Norvoy, with the other islands comprising the town being mostly residential. 

The Facts

Location: In the heart of the Alesund region of Norway’s western coastline.

Language: Norwegian, although English is well spoken.

Currency: Norwegian crown. 

Docking/Anchoring: Ships dock at the Stornespiren/Prestebrygga cruise pier in the centre of town.

Transport: The town is easy to explore on foot, however hop on/hop off buses are usually available when ships are in port. Most sightseeing is within a 20 minute walk.

Don’t Miss

The Atlantic Sea Park is one of Scandinavia’s largest aquariums, just three kilometres from the town centre, and it can take an entire day to see everything. What’s on offer is an introduction to the North Atlantic’s undersea world, as well as the richness of coastal and fjord life.

Jugendstil Sintered is also a top pick for many first time visitors as it documents the city’s unique architectural heritage. Located in a former pharmacy, it’s a monument with an exquisite exterior, and displays of textiles, ceramics, posters and more. 

Sunnmore Museum is located around four kilometres from the city centre, this museum has around 40 historic boats including replicas of Viking-era vessels, and a Medieval Age Museum complete with artefacts and an insight into the day-to-day life of the west Norwegian coastal people.

The Rose Church doubles up as a lovely photo op as well as a place of worship which dates back to 1789, and was constructed on the site of an earlier stave church retaining some elements.

Best Photo Op

One of the best views can be enjoyed from Aksla hill at the Kniver viewpoint, which is accessed via 418 steps or by taxi. The view includes the expansive local fjords and dramatic mountain ranges. At the top there are walkways which offer more views and for you to drink in the breathtaking natural surroundings, and if you need a pit-stop there’s a restaurant serving drinks and basic food.


There are plenty of shops of all kinds in the centre of town, particularly in Kremmergaaden near City Hall, and Aalesunds Storsenter near the town square. Unusual stores for local souvenirs include Trankorkereit Antikk, an antique shop, the small glass studio called Celsius, and for arts and crafts try Ingrids Glassverkested.

Food and Drink

Alesund is teeming with outdoor cafes, where you can pick up a coffee and enjoy some people watching. The town is also an important fishing harbour, so other local delicacies to try include cod, or klippfisk, particularly the dried and salted variety. If you’re a coffee lover, try to make time to visit the Jacu Coffee Roastery headquarters, and drop by for an espresso, breakfast pastry or for a light lunch.

Pick of the Excursions

A city tour will take in most of Alesund’s major sights and may include a drive along the Sunnmore coast, which is dotted with tiny islands and quaint fishing communities.

Geirangerfjord is a world heritage site and one of the best fjord experiences you can enjoy; it can be visited in a day on a local cruise.

Joanna Hall


  • 3
    Great Place, Rotten Weather

    Posted by Barbra on 8th Oct 2018

    We went there last year on a fiords cruise.....horrible weather almost the entire time so I wouldn't recommend it unless you like rain and fog! But Alesund was a lovely town in spite of it all.