Ålesund is beautifully situated on several islands on the coast of Sunnmøre, and is the gateway to some of the world's most famous fjords and natural attractions. The town has a strong and vibrant history, dating back to the Viking era, even though it wasn't granted municipal status until 1848.
The town was devastated in an enormous fire on January 23rd 1904, and as 850 houses burnt down, more than 10.000 people were left homeless.
In the years to follow, Ålesund was rebuilt in the Art Nouveau style that characterizes the town today with its many turrets, ornaments and colourful facades. A museum celebrating this architectural style saw the light of day the summer of 2003, when The Art Nouveau Centre (Jugendstilsenteret) opened its doors in the listed building The Swan Pharmacy.
The town mountain Aksla has got a spectacular panoramic view of the Sunnmøre Alps, the town centre, the ocean and the islands in the archipelago, so a walk up the mountain's 418 steps is worth the effort!
Today Ålesund is a modern and rapidly growing town, and with its 46 316 inhabitants it is the natural commercial and industrial capital of the Sunnmøre region. In Ålesund you can find a variety of exciting attractions, restaurants, shops and activities to dive into.
The town has got a strong tradition in the maritime industry, and is considered the fisheries capital of Norway. Ålesund is also one of the world's largest export harbours when it comes to "klippfisk", i.e dried and salted codfish. Enjoy a savoury meal made from this delicacy in one of Ålesund's many fine restaurants; it is a meal to remember!