Alesund, Norway

Location:

Enjoy the scenic cruise on the Geirangerfjord before you disembark in the picturesque coastal city of Alesund

Ships dock very close to the center of town.

Sightseeing:

The town of Ålesund is young at heart, but with an unusually dramatic story to tell. One stormy night a hundred years ago, the whole town center burned to the ground. Only a few houses remained, and ten thousand people were made homeless. A new town rose phoenix-like from the ashes – in the distinctive Art Nouveau style. Today, Ålesund is a modern, pulsating town with a varied cultural scene, exciting cafés and restaurants and a rich assortment of shops.

Walk up the stairs to Fjellstua from the city park for a breathtaking view of local fjords and mountains. This can really not be underlined enough. Even if you are not up to climbing all 400 or so stairs, even half way up the view is stunning. Alternatively, you can get a taxi to drive you up there for the view from the top. This is a must-see. At the top of the mountain there are walkways that allow you to walk around in natural surroundings while enjoying the view of the islands and mountains around you. There is also a restaurant at Fjellstua serving basic dishes.

Tours/Excursions/Transportation:

Most attractions are available within a short-medium walk (less than 20 minutes)

Nearby Places:

The Sunnmøre coast is an extraordinary experience. A string of picturesque small islands and fishing communities lie facing the Atlantic Ocean, just waiting for you to come and visit. Several historical plays staged in different parts of Sunnmøre tell the story of the Vikings and their unparalleled raiding and pillaging a thousand years ago. The salty tang of the ocean and fresh sea air are balm for body and soul!

You should also visit the Geirangerfjord, which is a world heritage site and arguably the most fabulous fjord experience there is. During the summer, catch the Hurtigruten to Geiranger and back. This leaves in the morning and returns you just in time for dinner, unless you want to enjoy it onboard, of course. At other times, take a bus to Hellesylt for a fjord cruise into Geiranger and catch a bus back to Ålesund from there.

About 18 miles to the west is Runde, Norway’s southern most major bird rock with 240 species breeding there. It is a habitat for around one million seabirds, including 100,000 puffins.

Shopping and Food:

There’s a variety of shops in the town center, particularly in Kremmergaarden near City hall and Aalesunds Storsenter near the town square.

Ålesund is also an important fishing harbor. A major export product is dried, salted cod – so-called Klippfisk (literally translated as Rock Fish).

Currency:

The Norwegian currency is the Norwegian crown (norske krone), abbreviated kr. A 1/100th krone is called øre. 1.00 EUR = about 8 NOK

ATMs in Norway are called Minibank.

Nearly all stores accept major credit cards such as Mastercard and Visa (Bring your passport/driver’s license, as you are required to identify yourself when using a credit card).

Communication:

Norwegian is the official language of Norway. The language is very close and mutually intelligible with the two other Scandinavian languages, English widely spoken.

Most Norwegian households are connected to the internet in some way (often broadband), making Cybercafés hard to find outside major cities, due to a relatively small market. Most public libraries have free public access to the internet. WiFi is in many spots (not free).

Opening Hours and Holidays:

Opening hours in Norway are better than they used to be, but many smaller stores still close early on Saturday (1 PM or 3 PM is typical) and nearly everything is closed on Sundays. You’ll often see opening hours written as “9-21 (9-18)” on doors, meaning 9 AM to 9 PM weekdays, 9 AM to 6 PM Saturday.

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Place Categories: Cruise Ports

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