After two years in Norway I finally made it to Ålesund, and enjoyed it every bit as much as I’d hoped I would.
So join me now as I take you on an image-intensive tour of charming Ålesund. Because it’s impossible to visit this town without taking a whole bunch of photographs 🙂
Getting “that” photo
There’s one photo every visitor to Ålesund wants. To get it, you have to climb over 400 rocky steps!
But it’s oh-so-worth it:
It’s a really gorgeous spot. Thankfully you have plenty of time take it all in when you reach the top, because, well, after climbing 400+ steps you don’t really have any other choice but to sit down and rest! There’s a handily place cafe which is okay to grab a quick snack and a drink.
You can of course drive up too, but where’s the fun in that? 😉
Ålesund is famous for its art nouveau architecture.
The story of how it came to be is a fascinating one. Briefly, a massive fire engulfed the mainly wooden town in 1904, killing just one person but leaving only a handful of houses standing. The town was rebuilt in a Jugendstil (art nouveau) style.
The Jugendstil museum housed in a former pharmacy (you’ll see as soon as you walk in!) is worth a visit if you’re interested in architecture. It tells the story of the fire through its “time machine” exhibit really well.
But don’t worry if you don’t have time for the museum. It’s really not necessary, because to enjoy what Ålesund has to offer, you simply wander around the town centre. It’s one big museum!
I walked and walked and walked. I must’ve walked up and down every street in the town and by the end of the day my neck was sore from looking UP so much!
A coastal town
Ålesund sits snugly on the west coast of Norway and this means two things dominate – the port, and fish! Cruise ships stop regularly along with daily visits from the Hurtigruten coastal express.
While in town I had the pleasure of trying not one but two new foods! Both Norwegian specialities. First up was klippfisk, dried and salted cod, which I tried as bacalao, a popular stew including tomatoes, onion, potato, and absolutely tons of klippfisk. It was… interesting. Nothing like as bad as I’d feared, but not something I’d order again if other things were on the menu.
Next up, and this will be controversial for many of my readers… whale.
It’s illegal to import and sell whale meat in any EU country, but as Norway lies outside the political union, whale meat is freely available in restaurants and even the freezer section in supermarkets. At the end of the day, I stayed in Norway to learn more about Norwegian life, so trying whale meat is just one part of that.
And I have to say… it’s really quite nice. It has the look and texture of a steak but with a gamey taste – not at all like fish.
Charmed by Ålesund
Getting back to the town – no complaints at all. I’d recommend it to anyone, along with the lovely First Hotel Atlantica. To any readers based in London, take advantage of Norwegian’s direct flights from Gatwick Airport and come visit!
Last but not least, a big TUSEN TAKK to my Twitter buddy Elise, who I finally got to meet and who gave me a wonderful little tour of the town centre!