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Ålesund fans?

I am finally doing a trip I have wanted to for some time (thanks to the UK for treating French residents as “amber plus” and still requiring quarantine. . . I’ll not be spending my tourist euros in Scotland, but in Norway).

It’s been fun looking through the threads and seeing references to how much those who have been love Ålesund — I am wrapping up my trip there with four nights (early departure the final morning) and can’t wait to experience all the Art Nouveau architecture.

If anyone has any specific favorite coffee shops or restaurants or cafes etc, please let me know!

The itinerary for the trip (I am not renting a car):
Day 1: depart Paris for Bergen, direct flight on Air France. Stay in Bergen overnight.
Day 2: afternoon boat to Balestrand, stay at Kviknes Hotel.
Days 3,4,5: stay in Balestrand and walk, chill, do day trip to Vik, etc
Day 6: boat to Flam, check in at the Flam Camping hostel for one night, do the Flamsbana train up to Myrdal and back down.
Day 7: transit from Flam to Sogndal and on to Fjaerland to the Fjaerland Fjordstove Hotell.
Days 8,9: chill and walk and explore Book Town in Fjaerland.
Day 10: combo of buses to get to Ålesund.
Days 11,12, 13: stay in Ålesund and relax and enjoy the architecture, strolls, Jugendstil Center, cafes, etc.
Day 14: fly back to Paris via Oslo on SAS.

Posted by
18737 posts

Kim, if you discover any pearls or have logistical trips for a fellow user of public transportation, I hope you'll find time to post at some point after you return home. If the virus finally retreats, I'll be hitting Norway next year and will be moving through the fjord area without a car.

Obviously, I can't give you any personal recommendations, but in case I went farther back in the forum threads than you did, these are some possibilities from my notes for a visit to Alesund:

Sightseeing:
- Funicular up Mt. Aksla to Kniven and Rundskue overlooks: Commanding views of town, fjords and islands. Best with no cruise ship in port because they run buses up there. There are supposedly some nice shops on Kongens Gade, near the base of the funicular.
- Atlanterhavsparken aquarium: One of Europe’s best.
- Kongens Gade: Pedestrian street, heart of town.
- Some port info from the Hurtigruten website: https://www.hurtigruten.co.uk/ports/alesund/

Day-trips possibilities from Alesund (haven't verified all are doable without a car):
- Runde Island: Bird sanctuary. Can hike along dramatic cliffs with nesting seabirds (views) or take boat around island (2:00, about Kr 250 in 2018). Boat Aquila located at harbor of Runde (Runde havn). Must pre-purchase tickets before tour at office of camping site or at Runde Kafe. Small boat; won’t have toilet. Wear warm clothing and sunscreen.
- Bus tours to Geiranger via Trollsteigen.
- Hellesylt-Geiranger ferry on Geirangerfjord.
- Full-day Geirangerfjord cruise booked through tour company was 114 euros, including lunch, for 8 hours (2020). This is probably the Fjords to Trolls tour: https://www.norwayexcursions.com/en/tour/alesund-from-fjords-to-trolls/. Runs Mon-Sat. Starting times vary from 0730 to 1100.
- Andalsnes: Seems like an interesting place; feels more like a town in the mountains than the other fjord towns. Most tourists are hikers. Buses from Alesund take about 2 hours. Excellent strawberries grown in area.

Restaurants/Food in Alesund:
- Anno: On canal.
- Lyst, Kongens Gate: Fantastic (two posters, 2017)
- XL Diner: Bacalao specialties, including local version with bacon and peas. (2013)
- Rema 1000, Nedre Strandgate: Supermarket

Posted by
6384 posts

Acraven, thanks so much for sharing your research ! I will definitely look all into this. And will definitely share what ends up working — or not — for my bus and ferry routings. I admit there were two or three points in my planning where I just about gave up because I couldn’t figure out how to link pieces together. The toughest is definitely going to be getting from Fjærland to Alesund, but I think with a little help from my Fjaerland hotel host I will be able to understand what I need to do.

Thank you so much again for generously sharing what you came up with in your planning. I hope before too long, you’ll be getting to make your trip that has been deferred for too long!

Posted by
1027 posts

This trip looks wonderful to me - I know enough to know I want to see all these places but nothing about how to get there…..

Posted by
4681 posts

The U.K. isn’t just treating French residents as amber plus - this also applies to us returning from France!

Posted by
2080 posts

In short: Looks like a great plan and I don't have much to add. But when you are in Flåm, instead of taking the train to Myrdal and back, you can take the train to Myrdal and rent a bike there for the downhill trip. And if you plan to take a trip to Geiranger, check the cruise ship schedule and make you sure you go there on a day where there are no cruise ships there.

I can't see much reason to visit Åndalsnes though. It is the end of the railway line so naturally many people will pass through the town, but there is in my opinion not much to see there.

Posted by
6384 posts

Thanks Badger ! You can seee that for this time around I gave up on Åland — but I will still go there another year !

Thanks for the tip on biking down from Myrdal (if I can get a bike with good brakes!) and re checking cruise ship schedule for Geiranger (I already did for Flåm). I fear though I may be missing the last summer day trip to Geiranger by literally one day based on something I saw last night — will have to look more closely.

On my way to the library to see what I can find in terms of French guidebooks. I myself have an old RS Scandinavia, plus a Rough Guide.

Posted by
2080 posts

Åland or Ålesund, they both start with Å and end with d, so probably not that different :-) And if you are looking for other places to go, why not consider Ångermanland?

I think they check the brakes on the bikes frequently! But if they should fail, aim for the fjord for a soft landing :)

Posted by
153 posts

Thanks for this thread! My grandmother was from Alesund, so this is really helpful for planning that portion of our trip to Norway.

Posted by
55 posts

I can't speak to Ålesund, not having been there, but I am envious of your itinerary! A couple of minor notes about Balestrand and the Kviknes Hotel (if you haven't been there). I visited Balestrand a few years ago and stayed in the Kviknes original building. My room had a large private balcony. Nothing I enjoyed more than sitting on the balcony overlooking the fjord with a glass of wine and watching time go by after an active day. The friendly hotel staff upgraded me to that room - without my asking - as business was slow at the time. I enjoyed the ambience of the historic hotel and was happy in retrospect that I didn't stay in the annex. A couple of notes about the room: 4th floor, no elevator. And a shared bathroom, Jack-n-Jill style, with the room next door. Thankfully for me, no one stayed in the adjacent room while I was there so I had it to myself.

Additionally, and especially something to see in the event of inclement weather, the Norwegian Museum of Travel and Tourism is connected to the Kviknes with an interior hallway.

Posted by
6384 posts

Thanks Southern Lights ! I too have booked a room in the old wing — I have a feeling it will be a poky room without balcony up under the eaves since I booked a single, but I am hoping for a nice view !

Posted by
1755 posts

Hi Kim, we loved our trip to Norway in 2018! The highlight was taking the Flamsbana train from Flam to Myrdal and then we rented bikes at the train station and rode them, downhill, all the way back to Flam through some of the most jaw-dropping scenery of my life! Highly recommended!
Also agree with Southern Lights, we stayed one night in Balestrand in the historic part of Kviknes hotel and loved our large balcony overlooking the fjords with our wine in hand.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/RhHm7QfVd5vZ5Vn6A

Posted by
6384 posts

Tammy, thanks so much for sharing your photos!! It's soooo beautiful there.

Right now the weather is not looking great for my dates — a week from today I will be on my plane to Bergen — but there is still time for the meteorologists to change their minds, right?!! I really want some sunshine so I can see all those glorious vistas!!!

Oh well, it will be what it will be.

Posted by
6384 posts

Alas I left Ålesund on Saturday the 28th so didn’t get to do any excursions ! Will have to plan for next time (if there is an excursion; I didn’t have a rental car).