Ålesund is renowned for its spectacular natural setting and wonderful art nouveau feel. It’s a popular tourist spot, but few tourists see the city in its winter coat.
Regular readers will know of my fondness for Ålesund. On a sunny day, there are few places I'd rather be in Norway than taking a stroll around the fascinating architecture of the town centre or climbing the steps to the famous Aksla viewpoint.
But despite several visits over the years, it was only this year that I finally got around to visiting Ålesund in the winter.
Even though the winter in Norway is a long season, Ålesund receives less snow than you might imagine. What snow does fall doesn't tend to settle for very long.
A winter trip to Ålesund
So imagine my surprise on my recent trip on the Fred Olsen Bolette when I awoke for the sail in to the city that was covered in fresh snowfall. It looked stunning.
I grabbed my camera and set about exploring the town in its gorgeous winter coat, with my local friend Elise, who I amused by insisting on taking tons of photos and videos:
During this cruise, I met fellow speaker Andy. He returned to Ålesund a few weeks later only to be greeted with similar weather.
Although such snowy weather isn't unusual, it definitely can't be guaranteed along this part of the Norwegian coastline. You'll pretty much always see snowy mountains in the background, but so much snow in the town itself is less common.
As we are both keen photographers, we took advantage of the snowy days in the only way we know how!
Downtown Ålesund in the snow
So, with thanks to Andy, here are our best images from Ålesund in the winter.
As you'll see from these images, our fellow cruise ship tourists didn't let the snow stop them from enjoying Ålesund. Some of them, at least!
I did feel sorry for some of the people who had booked excursions. The kayaking trip was cancelled and while the tour to the Hjørundfjord went ahead, the poor weather led to disappointment for many.
To the northwest, Molja lighthouse marks the entrance to the waterway that slices through central Ålesund.
Close to the lighthouse, the Fisheries Museum showcases coastal culture from the Sunnmøre region over the years.
Everyday winter life in Norway
Visiting Ålesund at this time of year was a good opportunity for those visiting the country for the first time to see how we deal with winter. Living in Norway in the winter requires getting on with things.
As we walked around the city, we bumped into people walking their dogs. Then a snowplough rounded the corner. In the winter, life goes on.
To warm up a little, we stepped inside the Hotel Brosundet. It had been a while since I'd paid the hotel a visit and I had forgotten just how koselig it is inside when it's snowing outside.
We weren't the only people to pop into the Brosundet that morning for coffee. It seems to be quite a popular thing for locals to do, and it's easy to see why.
As lovely as it was to explore Ålesund in the snow, it was certainly nice to get back to the warm of the ship!
Have you visited Ålesund in the winter? What are your memories from this charming coastal town? Let us know in the comments.