Interesting facts and ideas for your own excursion in the Norwegian port city
- Regular berth: Storneskaia
- Regular berth: Prestebrygga
- Regular berth: Skansekaia Nord
- Port shuttle: not available/necessary
- Taxis: limited availability in the port area
- Buses: well developed bus line network, up to the surrounding area
- Car rental*: Sixt, at the airport
- Car rental*: Hertz, Lerstadvegen 510
- Car rental*: Avis, Nedre Strandgate 50
- Car rental*: Europcar, at the airport
- Car rental*: Budget, Nedre Strandgate 50
- Post office: Rasmus Rønnebergs gate 6
- Tourist-Info: at the cruise terminal/bus station and Skateflukaia
- Banks and ATMs: scattered around the city centre
- Berths of the cruise liners
The small harbour town of Ålesund stretches over three islands, belongs to the province of Møre og Romsdal and is situated a little north of the entrance to the Geirangerfjord. After the receipt of the municipal law in the 19th century, Alesund rapidly developed to one of the most important fishing ports of Norway. In the year 1904, the place was hit by a big fire that destroyed most of the wooden buildings. Thereupon, the reconstruction was done in massive construction method and made Ålesund later famous due to the art nouveau arquitecture that was intensively used at that time. Arriving cruise ships normally dock close to the city and shuttle buses are therefore not available. The most common landing stages are Storneskaia and Prestebrygga to the south. The two berths are close together and the Cruise Terminal at Storneskaia has a small tourist information office where, for example, city maps and helpful information are available. Another, but not so frequently used berth is located in the north of Ålesund. There, the cruise ships moor at the pier Skansekaia Nord, which is also close to the city.
In the harbour area there are usually not many taxis. When using the vehicles, you should be aware that a taxi ride in Ålesund can quickly become an expensive pleasure. The prices here are comparatively quite high and are for example for a transfer between the airport and the cruise port 17 kilometres away about 50 euros. There is also a surcharge at night and on weekends. Some taxi companies also offer round trips and sightseeing tours, which are usually charged by the hour. A vehicle with up to four passengers is around 80 euros per hour.
- Sightseeing tour
During the warm season in spring and summer, and as soon as a cruise ship has moored in the harbour, the quite famous red Hop On Hop Off buses from City Sightseeing make their rounds in Ålesund. Already at the harbour exit, the buses wait for their guests from 09:00-16:00 o'clock and start their round trip every 30 minutes. A complete tour takes about 60 minutes and currently includes 8 stops where you can get off and on as often as you like. Explanations can be received via headphones in German and English, among other languages. From the age of 16, the fare is 38 euros per person and children aged 4 to 15 years pay 19 euros each.
- Tourist train
Another way to explore the village is to take a ride on the small tourist trains. Normally they can be found from April to September and after the arrival of a cruise ship also at the port exit. Departure is every half hour. A complete round trip takes about 70 minutes and includes a detour to the local mountain Aksla, from where you have a great view over Ålesund and the charming surroundings. For this, a 10-minute stop is made at the local viewpoint Fjellstua. During the trip, the electronic audio guide explains the individual sights in several languages, including Norwegian, English, and German. The fare is NOK 200 for persons aged 16 and over. Children pay half price and families pay 500 Norwegian kroner for two adults and two children.
- Centre of Ålesund, shopping and city park
Almost directly at the berths of the cruise ships borders the city centre of Alesund. During a stroll through the centre of the city that was built in the art nouveau style, one already finds some shopping possibilities not far from the landing stages. Most of the shops, boutiques, restaurants, and cafés can be found in the streets Storgata, Kongens gate (pedestrian zone) and the adjacent side streets. East of the Storgata is the local city park, which invites you to take a leisurely stroll and has a playground. In the park, a 7-meter-high obelisk was erected in honor of Kaiser Wilhelm II. It is meant to commemorate the German support for the reconstruction of the city after the fire of 1904. Nearby, the rather steep ascent to the viewpoint of the local mountain Aksla begins.
- Local mountain Aksla
A popular destination for land excursions on your own is the viewpoint Fjellstua, which is located on the 189 meter high local mountain Aksla. From there, you have a fantastic view of Ålesund with its cruise harbour, the adjacent sea with the offshore islands and the mighty Sunnmørs Alps in the background. In the local restaurant one can relax after the exhausting ascent and have a little refreshment. Those who do not arrive by rental car* or the small train usually come on foot and have therefore overcome a considerable ascent, which was also provided with 418 stairs and starts in the city park close to the centre. A little further to the northeast and not far from Fjellstua is Kniven, another viewpoint that got its name from the wind vane installed there. The bunkers on the mountain date from the times of the 2nd World War, when Norway was under German occupation.
- Swan Pharmacy and Art Nouveau Centre
After almost the whole town burned down in 1904, a stone building worth seeing was erected in Apotekergata 16 and the Swan Pharmacy (Svaneapotek) was opened in 1908. Much later, when the pharmacy was closed down, the building was converted into the Art Nouveau Centre (Jugendstilsenteret). Parts of the original furnishings were preserved in their original state. The exhibition is spread over two floors and provides information about the devastating fire and documents the successful reconstruction of Ålesund. The premises also house the KUBE art museum. It is open daily from 10:00-17:00. In October and until the end of April is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00-16:00. Every Thursday, however, there are extended opening hours until 20:00 and Mondays are closed during the winter months. The adjacent café is only accessible during the high season from May and until September from 12:00-16:00. Children under 18 years of age are admitted free of charge and adults are charged NOK 85 each.
- Ålesund Church
In the middle of the city, not far from the Art Nouveau centre and surrounded by the streets Aspegata, Kirkegata and Prestegata, there is a handsome church building. Originally there was a wooden predecessor building on the same site, which was consecrated in 1855 and burned down in 1904. By this way, in the year 1906, the foundation stone was again laid for the Church of Ålesund (Ålesund kirke), that could be finished three years later in a massive construction method. The intended orientation of the building is unusual. If the entrance area of churches is mostly in the west, it was placed here on the other, opposite side. Thus, storms and winds should cause less damage. An eye-catcher in the interior are the detailed interior design and the beautifully decorated glass windows, such as those over the main entrance. These three windows were a gift from Kaiser Wilhelm II and show St. Olav, the coat of arms of Ålesund and the German imperial eagle. Unfortunately, there is a charge of NOK 30 per person for a tour of the interior.
- Fishery Museum
In the northern part of the town, on the Molovegen 10 road, there is a not uninteresting fishing museum (Fiskerimuseet). It tells the history of the original fishing village of Ålesund and the development of the various fishing and processing techniques. There is also information about codfish and cod liver oil production, cooperage, block making and deep sea fishing. The exhibition has been housed in the former and restored granary called Holmbua, which itself dates from 1861 and was not affected by the great fire. The Fishing Museum is open daily during the summer months from May to September. On Monday and until Friday from 10:00-16:00 and on weekends from 12:00-16:00. During the rest of the year, in the winter months, it is only possible to book guided tours of the premises in advance. The entrance fee for adults is NOK 60 each, children pay half and families of four pay 150 Norwegian kroner.
- Aalesund Museum
Another exhibition worth seeing, spread over several floors, is housed in a rather smaller building on Rasmus Rønnebergs gate 16. The Aalesunds Museum there gives a good insight into the history of the town, from its origins and development as a seafaring town to important events such as the town fire and the German occupation. Various souvenirs can be purchased in the integrated museum shop. The Aalesunds Museum is open daily during the summer months from May to September. On monday and up to friday from 10:00-16:00 o'clock and on weekends from 12:00-16:00 o'clock. During the rest of the year access is by appointment only. For admission adults pay NOK 60 each, children half and families of four pay NOK 150.
- Sunnmøre Museum and Borgundknarren
To the east and about 5.2 kilometres from the moorings there is an open-air museum with an extensive collection of old houses and boats. Sunnmøre Museum, founded in 1931, now houses over 55 well-preserved buildings from bygone times and gives an insight into the lives of the inhabitants from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century. There is also an interesting medieval museum and a large collection of old boats, with replicas of Viking ships. Among them is the 16-metre long, ready to sail Borgundknarren, the replica of a typical merchant ship from the 10th century. From mid-June to mid-August, this boat is on 60-minute round trips, starting at the cruise port at 09:30, 11:00, 12:30 and 14:00. In the main building of Sunnmøre Museum, there are changing special exhibitions, a museum shop and a café. Sunnmøre Museum is open Monday to Friday from 10:00-16:00, Sunday from 12:00-16:00 and on July Saturdays from 10:00-16:00. The entrance fee for adults is NOK 80 each, children pay half and families of four pay 170 Norwegian kroner. By rental car* or taxi the extensive grounds can be reached in about 10 minutes.
- Atlantic Park
On the island of Hessa and about 3.7 kilometers west of the cruise moorings is one of the largest saltwater aquariums in northern Europe. The Atlantic Park (Atlanterhavsparken - Ålesund Aquarium) houses a variety of different aquariums on an area of about 4000 square metres, mainly inhabited by typical marine life from the Norwegian coastline. The main attraction is a four million litre saltwater tank, in which you can watch through large glass panes and daily at 13:00 hours, how the partly mighty fish are fed by a diver. The extensive outdoor area also extends over 6000 square metres and accommodates, among other things, a penguin enclosure where public feeding is carried out daily at 2:30 pm. A café and a small souvenir shop were also included in the design of the facility. It is open Monday to Saturday from 11:00-16:00 and Sundays from 11:00-18:00. During the summer months of June to August there are extended opening hours. Then access is possible Sunday to Friday from 10:00-18:00 and Saturday from 10:00-16:00. Children from 3 to 15 years pay NOK 90 for a visit. From the age of 16, NOK 195 per person is charged. The Atlantic Park is barrier-free and a visit can take a good 1.5 to 2 hours.
- Transfer to the Atlantic Park
Besides using a taxi (costs about 200 Norwegian kroner from the mooring) or a rental car*, you can also use the buses of the lines 601 and 604 to get to the aquarium. Get off at the Skarbøvika bus stop. From there, however, there is still a footpath of about 900 metres to the destination. From the month of May and during the summer season there is an additional bus line 634 every day except Sundays. These buses stop directly at the park entrance and depart from the city centre at the town hall at 11:30, 12:30, 13:30 and 14:30. In the time from 25.06.-19.08. also at 10:30 and 15:30. The return trips start 20 minutes later, i.e. at 10:50, 11:50, 12:50, 13:50, 14:50 and 15:50. A single ticket currently costs NOK 37 and must be purchased per trip. The journey between the city centre and the Aquarium takes between 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the direction.
- Sugar loaf from Ålesund
At a few hundred metres at the south of the Atlantic Park, another mountain close to the city rises that, viewed from the west, reminds in its optical appearance on the famous Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio. Without further ado, it was also named and thus, today, the Sugar Loaf (Sukkertoppen) of Ålesund is a popular destination for the excursion of the cruise guests. The top rises 314 metres above sea level and offers a wonderful panoramic view. The trail to the top is a good two kilometres long and starts in the south-east of the land elevation, near the local school on the Sukkertoppvegen road. There are signposts to help you find your way. Depending on your physical condition, you can plan on 40 to 50 minutes for the ascent. Sturdy shoes are recommended. Especially when it is wet, some parts can become muddy and even slippery. The access to the ascent is about 4.5 kilometres from the moorings. For this you need 60 to 70 minutes each direction during a leisurely walk. By taxi or rental car* it is only a short drive of not even 10 minutes or you can use a bus of the line 604, which is a little longer on this route.
- Isle of Runde
Southwest of Ålesund, the bird protection island Runde spreads over an area of about 6.4 square kilometres. The island's 100 inhabitants, who live in the two small towns of Runde and Goksøyr, are home to about 500,000 birds in spring and summer. The steep coast on the western side of the island offers perfect breeding conditions and is therefore popular with seabirds of various species. The most common are puffins and kittiwakes, but rare species such as sea eagles are also found there. The west coast can be reached from the land side only by hiking trails, which can be a bit challenging, however, with altitude differences of up to 300 metres. In addition, access can be severely restricted during the breeding season from March to August. Alternatively, sightseeing tours by boat are then offered. From the beginning of May to the end of August, a daily excursion boat is on the way to the bird cliffs. It departs from the local harbour on round trips at 11:00, 13:00 and 16:00. A round trip takes a good two hours and costs NOK 100 each for children up to 14 years. Older people pay 250 Norwegian kroner. The island is about 80 kilometres by road from the cruise ship docks in Ålesund, for which you should allow 2 hours' travel time in each direction by rental car*.
- Lighthouse of Alnes
West of Ålesund lies the island Godøya with the small village Alnes. The contemplative and former fishing village with its Lighthouse Alnes Fyr is today a popular destination for excursions. Alnes is just 22 kilometres by road from the cruise terminal in Ålesund. This route takes 20 to 25 minutes by rental car*. A first beacon was operated there as early as 1852 and was abandoned after 9 years due to lack of funding. Later a new start was made and in 1872 the first wooden lighthouse was put into operation. Only four years later a lighthouse keeper took up his work and moved with his family into the newly built house. The original Alnes Fyr lighthouse soon became too small and was replaced by a 22.5 metre high steel tower in 1937. Today a listed building, the angular structure offers its visitors a small art gallery and a great view of land and sea. In the former home of the lighthouse keeper an exhibition informs about the history of the place and its quite famous tower. In the café belonging to it, one gets daily homemade cake and next door also some souvenirs. The Alnes Fyr can be visited daily from 12:00-17:00. On Thursday, Saturday and Sunday it is also open one hour longer. For admission, adults pay 25 Norwegian kroner each and children 10 NOK each per person.
- Excursion portals and excursion providers
Through the tour and excursion providers GetYourGuide*, Meine Landausflüge*, rent-a-guide* and Viator*, you can book various excursions, activities, tours, tickets and admission tickets in Alesund, which are often offered at much lower prices than comparable excursions offered by the shipping companies. So, if you book in time you can realize a lot of excursions on your own.
A small preselection of independent excursion offers
for, in and around Alesund,
we have compiled for you here.
- Cruises and special offers
If you have not yet booked a Northern Europe cruise, but would like to get to know Alesund personally and go on excursions on your own, you will find great offers from the major cruise operators in the German-speaking world. Aida*, Costa* and Tui Cruises* offer attractive routes with their modern cruise ships, together with other interesting destinations. Book your next dream holiday directly with your favourite shipping company at fair conditions.
All ocean and river cruises can also be booked conveniently and inexpensively online with the sea travel specialist Kreuzfahrten-Zentrale Astoria*. This means that you can choose from a wide range of up-to-date offers from various shipping companies. These include AIDA Cruises, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and TUI Cruises. Also attractive are the popular special offers, with which one can travel at a particularly low price and possibly also get a great bargain.
- Opening hours of the post office: Monday to Friday from 07:00-18:00, Saturday from 08:00-16:00
- Opening hours of the banks: Monday to Friday from 10:00-15:00
- Opening hours of the tourist information office: Monday to Sunday from 08:30-18:00.
- Opening hours of the shops: Monday to Friday from 10:00-20:00. Saturday from 10:00-18:00.
- Country code: +47
- Taxi Alesund: Tel. +47 70 10 30 00 (Ålesund Taxi AS)
- Police: Tel. 112
- Emergency doctor: Tel. 113
- Fire department: Tel. 110
- Recommended vaccination: Tropical Institute Norway
- Safety information: Federal Foreign Office Norway
- Public Transport: Fram
- Climatic table: Ålesund climate
- Port occupancy: Cruise ships in Ålesund
- Port occupancy: Registered berths
- Official language: Norwegian
- National currency: Norwegian krone, NOK 1 = 100 öre