Norway’s art nouveau capital

We arrived in Ålesund a little after 4 pm, and drove up the hill on charming cobblestone streets to our hotel. Skome of my fellow travelers had been in Ålesund before and suggested we walk up to Aksla (“the shoulder”) before dinner and a shower because it would make us sweat.

So we panted, heaved and sweated up 418 crooked steps, to the look-out point and restaurant for cooling beers and ice cream. What can I say? Any view over a typical Norwegian coastline is going to be gorgeous. What struck me were the gray roofs. In Bergen, they are red.

After a shower and dinner, we wandered around the small city center. What Ålesund is best know for (besides getting more rain than Bergen), is the fire that totally destroyed the city in 1904 – and then the rebuilding of the city in fireproof art nouveau brick and stone. Wandering around the city was like being in a Disney movie about Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty.

The gray building with the green spire is the Norwegian Art Nouveau Center

The harbor mimics an earlier building style, but is also in brick and stone

Ålesund was far more charming than I thought. I love looking at buildings. We have some art nouveau in Bergen, but they seem lost and neglected amid the older wooden houses Bergen is better known for. In Ålesund, people obviously make sure to maintain their gift from the kaiser of Germany, as seen by the fresh look of the fancy decorations on the façades.

It was, again, a lovely summer’s evening. We wandered around and found what turned out to be an inexpensive watering hole, because NOK 50 for a glass of wine is cheap these days. We stared at the sign for “Latin School street” as we gabbed. When we finally decided to head back to the hotel, a mottled sky and gorgeous sunset was in progress.

Time stamp on camera: 22:53, July 30.

By Keera Ann Fox

I am a bi-lingual American who has lived most of my life in Norway.
Jeg er en tospråklig amerikaner som har bodd mesteparten av mitt liv i Norge.

6 replies on “Norway’s art nouveau capital”

Disney indeed! That blue house definitely looks like it came out of some fairy tale.Let me put Ålesund down on my \”Places I need to visit\” list…


Alice, I thought you would. You and Lora should definitely visit. I\’d love to revisit myself.Chanpheng, I did have a lovely trip, short as it was, and Ålesund – as our last stop – was a very pleasant surprise.


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