"Picturesque City by the Sea" Ålesund by longsanborn
Ålesund Travel Guide: 170 reviews and 544 photos
A Summer Weekend in Ålesund*
I was in Norway for a short summer holiday at end-August 2007, and I visited the picturesque city of Ålesund to catch a ferry to see the famous Norwegian fiords, and to see a Food Festival.
Ålesund city is set on two islands, Nørvøya and Aspøy, which are connected by a bridge. The city is located on the north-west coast of Norway between Bergen and Trondheim. It is a beautiful city surrounded by high mountains and deep fjords, in fact you can visit several spectacular places like Trollveggen, Trollstigen, Geiranger and Runde with this city as your base. They are all only a couple of hours travel from Ålesund city.
Ålesund has one of the largest modern export harbors in the world for "klippfisk" (split, dried and salted cod) and herrings. Around 80% of Norway's "klippfisk" exports are done in Ålesund.
Ålesund town was totally destroyed in a devastating fire in 1904. The strong winds helped spread the fire, resulting in a town left in ruin and ashes and ten thousand people left homeless overnight. The city immediately received help from all over Europe, including Germany's Emperor William II himself.
History says that after the fire, the Emperor William II sent 4 ships with food and construction materials to build temporary shelters and barracks.
After a period of planning, the town was rebuilt in stone, brick and mortar in Jugendstil (Art Nouveau), the architectural style of the time. The structures were designed by approximately 20 master builders and 30 Norwegian architects, most of them educated in Trondheim and Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany.
The town was built from materials from all over Europe and it has an unusually consistent architecture since most of the buildings were built between 1904 and 1907. "Jugendstilsenteret" is a national center where visitors can learn more about the town fire, the rebuilding of the town and the Art Nouveau style. The city was built with building materials from all over Europe, especially from Germany. Hence, the city is now considered to be one of very few Art Nouveau cities in the world.
Ålesund is a good place to explore some of Norway's most famous natural attractions. You can do a day excursion to go sight-seeing to see the majestic fiords of Norway. You board a ferry boat in the morning, and spend the day cruising along the fiords until the ferry makes a round trip back to the city again. You can buy the ticket on board the ferry and just enjoy the trip.
I visited the famous Geirangerfjord.
Geiranger fjord is a fiord in the Sunnmøre region, located in the southernmost part of the county Møre og Romsdal in Norway. It is a 15km long branch of the Storfjord (Great Fjord). At the head in the fjord lies the small village of Geiranger. The fjord is one of Norway's most visited tourist sites and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
The Geiranger fjord is under the constant threat from the mountain Åkerneset which could erode into the fjord any time. A collapse would create a tsunami immediately, hitting several nearby towns including Geiranger and Hellesylt.
Along the fjord's sides, there a number of now abandoned farms. Some restoration has been made by the 'Storfjordens venner' association. The most commonly visited among these are Skageflå, Knivsflå, and Blomberg. Skageflå may also be reached on foot from Geiranger, while the others require a boat excursion.
The Geirangerfjord is also host to several impressive waterfalls. The two most notable waterfalls in the Geirangerfjord are the Seven Sisters and the Suitor (also called 'the Wooer'). The two falls face one another across the fjord, and the Suitor is said to be trying to woo the sisters opposite.
The Bride's Veil is another waterfall in the fjord, so named because it falls delicately over one rocky edge, and when seen back lit by the Sun, it has the appearance of a thin veil over the rocks.
- Pros:Picturesque city; Friendly local; High-quality seafood.
- Cons:Almost everything is expensive;
- In a nutshell:More than just a fishing sea port, it's gateway to the fiords
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