Alesund Tourist Attractions
Situation and characteristicsThe busy port and commercial town of Ålesund in western Norway lies on the islands of Nørvøy, Aspøy and Hessa, far out in the coastal fringe of skerries. It is Norway's principal fishing port, with fish-processing plants, as well as shipyards and clothing factories. After a great fire in 1904 which destroyed almost all the town's old timber houses it was rebuilt in stone, and has many Art Nouveau house-fronts dating from that period.The numerous houses built in Jugendstil architectural style were completed between 1904 and 1907 by 20 master builders and 30 Norwegian architects.The city of Alesund joined the Art nouveau network, designed to safeguard the architectural style.
The two main islands on which the town of Ålesund is built, Aspøy and Nørvøy, are linked by a bridge. Features of interest on Aspøy are the church (1909; fine frescoes and stained glass) and an aquarium. On Nørvøy is the town center, with hotels, the Post Office and the Municipal Museum.
The harbor of Ålesund lies between two islands, facing north and sheltered by the Skansen peninsula which projects from Nørvøy. On Skansenkai is the landing-stage used by vessels of the Hurtigrute (fast coastal service).
On the east side of the town of Ålesund in a beautiful park is a 7m/23ft high standing stone carved with a likeness of Kaiser Wilhelm II - commemorating the help given by Germany after the 1904 fire. Also in the park is a statue of Rollo (Rolf the Ganger), the conqueror of Normandy, who came from the Ålesund area; the statue was presented by the city of Rouen in 1911.
To the east of Åelsund's park is Aksla, a hill 189m/620ft high with a steep path running up to the top. On the nearer summit is a fjellstue (mountain inn) from which there are fine views of the town, the sea, the islands and the hills of Sunnmøre to the southeast. The fjellstue can also be reached on a road which branches off Borgundvei.
There are numerous motor vessels sailing to the outer islands and the small fjords to the south of Ålesund. The islands of Ellingsøy and Valderøy (with the Vigra airstrip) are reached by a long tunnel under the sea.
Valderøy - Skjonghelleren Cave
On the west side of Valderøy (10min.) is Skjonghelleren cave (130m/140yd long), which was inhabited in Neolithic times.
On the island of Giske (20min.) stands a chapel, partly built of white marble, which is thought to date from the 12th century.
It is worth taking the ferry across the Storfjord from Solevågen to Festøy (Road 1) for the sake of the magnificent view into the Hjørundfjord.
On a peninsula 4km/2.5mi east of Ålesund town center lies the village of Borgund, with an 11th century church rebuilt in its original form after its destruction in the 1904 fire. The church is a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic, with carvings in Baroque style. Also of interest is the open-air Sunnmøre Museum, with old houses and boats and a section devoted to the fishing industry.