What you should see and do in Ålesund

Proximity to sea and mountains, distinctive architecture and fishing from the hotel room – Ålesund is a treasure trove of experiences for both young and old alike! Here are our best tips for what you should experience in the beautiful Art Nouveau city.

From high mountains and beautiful fjords to fresh sea air, fresh fish – and nice people. There are many reasons to travel to Ålesund, says Silje Viken Skarlund, hotel director at the newly renovated Thon Hotel Ålesund.

"I’ve lived here for almost 47 years, and will never move. Ålesund is the most beautiful city in the world!

Thon Hotels has two hotels in Ålesund: Thon Hotel Ålesund, located in the city centre and Thon Partner Hotel Baronen, located in Spjelkavika, outside Ålesund.

"Thon Partner Hotel Baronen is a great starting point for the family holiday. We have large family rooms and great extra beds, if needed. This summer, all children receive a welcome package! We also lend out games and books to the children," says Kari Janne Myklebust, hotel director.

Below you will find tips on what to experience in and around the Art Nouveau city:

City walk

After the town broke down in 1904, it was rebuilt in splendid Art Nouveau style, with pointed towers, spires and imaginative ornaments on the house facades. So no matter where you turn, you will see something beautiful in Ålesund, and just walking and looking around the city is a sight in itself.

At the Sunnmøre Museum, on the other hand, you can see how the town looked in earlier times. The museum is home to a large collection of houses and boats that tell of old building standards and way of life in Sunnmøre from the 16th century to the present day. Ålesund has also become a very good cultural town, including the annual Art Nouveau festival with plenty of concerts and Ålesund Live, which has a concert stage in the centre. Another thing that is great about Ålesund is that it is close to everything, and so easy to get around. No matter which way you are headed, it is a maximum of fifteen minutes' walk.

The top of Aksla

A trip to the top of Ålesund’s town mountains, Aksla and Fjellstua, is a must and perhaps the most important attraction in the town! Here you get a beautiful panoramic view of the town, archipelago and the Sunnmøre Alps. The tour starts in Byparken, a short walk from the hotel, and winds its way up the mountainside via 418 steps. On the way, stop at the viewpoint "Byrampen" and enjoy the view, take a picture or just take a breath on the ascent. The hike to the top takes about ten minutes for a fit person, but is suitable for everyone. The newly renovated stairs are easy to use and it is well organised with benches all the way up. You can also drive all the way up by car or ride on the Bytoget. From the top, there are also excellent hiking opportunities onwards into Akslafjellet.

Brosundet

Brosundet, which divides Ålesund in two, there is life and bustle from morning to night. The fishing boats are lined up here where can you buy fresh fish, prawns and crabs. In Ålesund, the journey from fjord to table is short! A good tip is to do like us locals and buy a bag of shrimp, which are then enjoyed at the water’s edge while dangling with your legs from the dock. Whether you want to get the fish dinner yourself, there are good fishing opportunities all year round, or you can join the famous Borgundfjord fishing that takes place from February to April.

Atlanterhavsparken

Interested in marine life? Then head to the Atlanterhavsparken, one of Northern Europe’s largest and most unique saltwater aquariums. Almost all of the sea fauna around Ålesund and along the Norwegian coast is gathered in one place, and you can both touch and feed the fish, join in on crab fishing, meet penguins, seals and otters, and learn more about life underwater. Fun and educational for both young and old! The facility is located a short distance from both Thon Hotel Ålesund and Thon Partner Hotel Baronen.

Great for mountains

Ålesund is surrounded by mountains, so there are hiking opportunities for everyone, from easy hikes to demanding climbing. Sukkertoppen, with its 314 metres, is a popular and close option for both locals and tourists, and offers a fantastic 360 degree view of the town, mountains, sea and coast. The hike takes about half an hour and goes off-road. A hike to Godøyfjellet and Storhornet is also recommended. If you want to go on longer hikes, Jønshornet or Romsdalseggen are great options, both with a starting point around 1.5 hours away by car. The latter has previously been referred to as one of the world’s most beautiful mountain hikes by Lonely Planet! If you like to ski, Stranda Ski Resort is recommended – Norway’s powder paradise – with spectacular views of the mountains and fjords. Buses go here in the winter season, but you can also go here in the summer, take the gondola up and walk, or take to the many cycle paths.

Alnes Lighthouse

Half an hour’s drive from our hotels in Ålesund, you will find Alnes Lighthouse. A combination of beautiful nature and proximity to the sea has made Alnes lighthouse a tourist magnet. Visit the lighthouse’s art gallery or cafe – or let the children swim and play in the bay surrounded by beautiful beaches. 

Fun on the water

Ålesund also offers some crazy (water) fun! Through Uteguiden you can rent a kayak or SUP board and glide through calm waters of Brosundet. The perfect way to discover the city! Or the waves out by Alnes Lighthouse, about 20 minutes from Ålesund, are popular with surfers, and on the island of Giske you will find the kite surfers. You can also join a course if you want to try kite surfing yourself. If you prefer to swim like a fish, head to the lovely pools in Bybadet.

Moloveien

Moloveien, also known as the Old Town in Ålesund, is one of the few streets that did not burn down in the city fire. In addition to housing the Thon Hotel Ålesund, Moloveien these days offers several wine bars and small shops that are worth visiting. Charming Trankokeriet, an antique and second-hand store in a listed sea house, is packed with all sorts of curiosities, with a pleasant cafe at its midst. Also visit the Fisheries Museum, where you can learn more about the city’s fishing history, see exhibitions and buy locally produced products. In the evening, head to the Teaterfabrikken, where concerts, plays and music evenings are held, in a venue filled with retro furniture and a cosy atmosphere. Or how about joining the wild "Serveringsteateret" where you, as a guest, become a participant in the performance? Highly recommended!

Try your luck at fishing from the hotel room

Thon Hotel Ålesund has a beautiful location on the water’s edge, and has its own boat dock for those who want to arrive by water. We are also happy if you want to charter a fishing boat, book a skipper with a fishing boat or join a RIB trip out to the island of Runde in Herøy municipality to look for puffins or porpoises. Our technical manager at the hotel also likes to take guests out fishing, and we also have lobster traps that we put out from our dock. There aren't many places where you can catch huge cod a couple of minutes’ boat ride from the hotel room! Do you get seasick? Fear not – you can also have good fishing luck from the quay in Ålesund. The hotel has fishing rods, and we have had several guests who have caught fish from the hotel room!

Easy as pie

If you fancy a day of fun and games, the Sportsparken and the Barnas Lekeland are just the ticket. Sportsparken includes a trampoline park, climbing park and VR park – perfect for both young and old alike! If you are looking for a slightly calmer activity, we recommend Baronen Bowling, which is located at Thon Hotel Partner Baronen. The building has 12 bowling alleys and is the only bowling hall in Ålesund.

Our hotels in Ålesund

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