Must see attractions in The Northern Fjords

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ålesund

    Jugendstil Senteret

    The city's unique architectural heritage is documented in a former pharmacy, the first listed Jugendstil monument in Ålesund. Apart from the building's own exquisite and almost entirely original interior, including a sinuous staircase and florid dining room, displays include textiles, ceramics, furniture, posters and other ephemera. Even if you're not a keen aesthete, a 'Time Machine' capsule is great fun, presenting 'From Ashes to Art Nouveau', a 14-minute multimedia story of the rebuilding of Ålesund after the great fire. The museum shop is inside the pharmacy and still has most of its furniture and fixtures in situ – it's a delight. Ticket price also covers entry to KUBE, next door.

  • Sights in Ålesund

    Kniven Viewpoint

    For the best view over Ålesund and its fishhook-shaped peninsula, as well as the mountains and islands beyond, head up the 418 steps to the summit of Aksla Hill and this panoramic viewing point. On a sunny day it's a cracking scene indeed, and it looks pretty special when the town lights start to twinkle at twilight, too. Follow Lihauggata from the pedestrian shopping street Kongensgata, pass the Rollon statue, and begin the 15-minute puff to the top of the hill. There's also a cheat's road to the crest; take Røysegata east from the centre, then follow the Fjellstua signposts up the hill.

  • Sights in Ålesund

    Sunnmøre Museum

    Ålesund's celebrated Sunnmøre Museum is 4km east of the centre. Here, at the site of the old Borgundkaupangen trading centre, active from the 11th to 16th centuries, over 50 traditional buildings have been relocated. Ship-lovers will savour the collection of around 40 historic boats, including replicas of Viking-era ships and a commercial trading vessel from around AD 1000. Should your visit coincide with its restricted opening hours, don't overlook – as many visitors often do – its Medieval Age Museum. Displayed around excavations of the old trading centre are well-documented artefacts discovered on-site and reproductions of medieval illustrations depicting the way of life of the west Norwegian coastal folk who inhabited this thriving community.

  • Sights in Ålesund

    Atlanterhavsparken

    At the peninsula's western extreme, 3km from the town centre, this aquarium can consume a whole day. Be introduced to the North Atlantic's teeming undersea world and the astonishing richness of coastal and fjord life. Children can dangle a line for crabs or feed the fish in the touch pool, while the enormous 4-million-litre aquarium appeals to everyone. The grounds offer superb coastal scenery and walking trails (look out for WWII bunkers and gun batteries). In summer, a special bus (adult/child 200/100kr, including admission) leaves from beside the town hall four times a day.

  • Sights in Ålesund

    Godøy

    The furthest offshore island from Ålesund, Godøy has a real off-the-map feeling, especially in the depths of winter. There are some great walks here, and the island's lighthouse at Alnes has served as an important sailors' mark for centuries. You can climb to the top for wonderful views across the island's coast. It's about 21km from Ålesund centre.

  • Sights in Ålesund

    Fishing Museum

    The 1861 Holmbua warehouse (one of the very few buildings to survive the 1904 fire) has exhibits on the development of fishing across the centuries and special sections on klippfisk (salted cod) production and the processing of cod-liver oil. Its entrance area recreates an old grocery shop, a delight in itself. Admission includes entry to the Aalesunds Museum.

  • Sights in Ålesund

    Alnes Lighthouse

    This picturesque 1853 lighthouse is in the fishing station of Alnes. For that end-of-the-world feeling, climb to the circular balcony via the five floors of this all-wood structure. Each displays the canvases of Norwegian artist and Godøy resident Ørnulf Opdahl. There's also a cafe and an exhibition space in the old lighthouse keeper's accommodation.

  • Sights in Ålesund

    KUBE

    Ålesund's primary contemporary art space highlights Norwegian artists, as well as hosting the occasional design- and architecture-focused show. The old Bank of Norway building's upstairs gallery has a wonderful view of the harbour. Ticket price also covers entry to Jugendstil Senteret, next door.

  • Sights in Ålesund

    Aalesunds Museum

    The town museum illustrates the history of sealing, fishing, shipping and industry in the Sunnmøre region, the fire of 1904 and the town's Jugendstil rebirth, and the German occupation during WWII. There's also a collection of boats and ships, including the Uræd lifeboat (piloted across the Atlantic in 1904 by an intrepid Ole Brude). The same ticket gets you into the Fisheries Museum on the same day.

  • Sights in Ålesund

    Valderøy

    On the island of Valderøy, the Skjonghellaren caves have revealed bones of Arctic fox, sea otter and ringed seal, plus evidence of human occupation at least 2000 years ago. In the northwest of the island, they're reached by a breezy 500m walk from the parking spot between cliff and shoreline, then a steep five-minute boulder scramble. It's about 11km by car from the centre.

  • Sights in Ålesund

    Giske

    There are two main reasons to visit Giske: its ornate 12th-century church, a lovely structure built largely of marble, and the Makkevika marshes, a prime spot for birdwatching. It's about 14km northwest of Ålesund. In late July it's also the venue for the Sommerfesten music festival.

  • Sights in Ålesund

    Ålesund Church

    Built of solid stone in 1909, Ålesund's parish church has a strikingly wide chancel, every square inch covered in frescoes over the wide sweep of its tunnel arch. Notable, too, are the stained-glass windows, especially those in the northern aisle with their appropriately nautical theme.

  • Sights in Ålesund

    Vigra

    About 20km north of the town centre, Vigra is home to Ålesund's airport as well as a long white-sand beach called Blindheimssanden (also called Blimsand).

  • Sights in Ålesund

    Rollon Statue

    Rollo the Viking founded Normandy in 911; William the Conqueror is his descendant.