Ålesund, Norway, has a well-deserved reputation for being one of Norway’s most adorable towns. Want to feel like you’ve stepped into the movie Frozen? Probably not, if you’ve had to watch it as many times as I have, but still…a fantasyland is always a great place to visit. Even if your kids don’t really appreciate Art Nouveau architecture, you’ll still find plenty of fun things to do in Alesund.
See Ålesund from Aksla Viewpoint
From Aksla Viewpoint, you get a panoramic view of the surrounding archipelago and the Sunnmøre Alps. It’s a great place for kids to just climb around, too.
We drove up there (it is well marked), but hardier families can climb the 418 steps that lead from the Town Park in downtown Alesund to the top.
Conveniently, at Aksla Viewpoint you’ll also find Fjellstua, a nice little cafe/restaurant with great views. If you happen to be here in cold weather (most of the year in Alesund), you’ll be grateful for that!
Ok, this isn’t usually on my list of things to do pretty much anywhere. But Ålesund is rich in souvenir shops, and if you are dying for a classic Dale of Norway wool sweater — which I was — they even have a Dale of Norway outlet shop.
The windy, cobblestoned streets of Ålesund are reminiscent of other parts of Europe and adorable to stroll. If you can get your spouse to take the kids to the aquarium, you can take your time!
If not, my one kid who enjoys gift shops to no end had a great time perusing the goods and finally deciding what to buy with his souvenir money.
Visit Sunnmøre Museum
This open-air museum has an amazing collection of historical homes and boats from the Sunnmøre region. Want to see Stone Age tools, real Viking ships, and ancient homes? This is the place.
My family LOVED this museum. Kids can run in and out of the excellent recreated village of historical homes and imagine sleeping and learning as kids did hundreds of years ago.
I wish we had spent more time here. We could have spent an hour just looking at the vast collection of Viking ships. In the summer, you can take a short cruise around Alesund in a Viking ship, which is definitely on our list for next time.
Visit Ålesund’s Aquarium
Atlanterhavsparken is Ålesund’s famed aquarium. If you are fish fans, it must be seen, and if you’re not, it’s still a great place to take kids. It’s uniquely located right on the ocean, and features tanks that allow you to watch sea life in their natural habitat.
If that’s not enough for you, they also have a program where your little ones can “donate” their pacifiers to the fish when they are ready to give them up. I mean, what kind of place thinks of that?!
Make sure to visit the gift shop, where my husband purchased what must be the world’s largest stuffed Atlantic salmon. My four-year-old named it “Swimmy Swim” and carried it around the rest of Europe. I think your kid DEFINITELY needs a giant stuffed salmon. (Warning: no, it does not fit well in backpacks. Or overhead bins.)
Admire the Art Nouveau Architecture
Just kidding. Your kids won’t care. But Ålesund was almost completely destroyed in a fire in 1904, and rebuilt in the Art Nouveau style. I know basically nothing about Art Nouveau except to tell you that this means the buildings in Ålesund are GORGEOUS, so just buy your kids an ice cream to keep them quiet as you walk the cobblestone streets and drink it all in.