Food & Drink
What you can experience in Ålesund
The top of the town
From the top of Mount Aksla you can really see how playful and elegant Ålesund spreads out in the sea. Climb the 417 steps from the town park to the top of the mountain for a view of Ålesund you will remember for many years to come. At the top is Fjellstua, with a café and a restaurant.
Sisters Wenche Smoor Fjørtoft and Turid Smoor dreamed of establishing a restaurant where they could serve good organic food to the people of Ålesund. They found a place in Kongens gate in the town center and opened their Søstrene Fryd eatery in what was previously a Mexican restaurant.
“We tore out the walls and ceilings,” Smoor says. “Then we decorated it again ourselves from scratch. The counter is made using slabs from a nearby farm. My brother-in-law made the shelves for the plates.”
The backdrop of bare red-brick walls gives the large restaurant a certain warmth and charm. It is also divided into separate dining areas, with a more formal section as well as an informal area where you can simply enjoy a coffee. They serve lunch, dinner, light meals, and fabulous cakes.
“We serve organic food,” Fjørtoft says. “A lot of people have gluten intolerance and allergies, and we want to make food that everyone can eat. So none of our food contains gluten. It doesn’t cost us any extra to be able to include everyone,” she says.
Even the beer is organic. It comes from the Grim & Gryt brewery on the island of Hareidlandet, which is just a short boat ride from Ålesund. The walls are adorned with an ever-changing display of art, and you can even buy a painting to take home with you.
Kongens gate 28
Søstrene Fryd på Facebook
When you wake up in the morning at Brosund and pull back the drapes, you have a view right out across the sea and the boats. The simple yet sophisticated and comfortable interiors are designed by the Snøhetta firm of architects, which is also behind prestige projects such as the 9/11 Memorial Museum Pavilion and the opera house in Oslo. Not only does it look attractive, there is also an emphasis on the little things that many hotels overlook, such as a hair dryer and good lighting. You should also be aware that room 47 is a five-minute walk from the magnificent main building. The hotel also houses a restaurant and a nice bar. Prices from NKr 1,530 per night.
At 2:15 am on the night of January 23, 1904, fire took hold in Ålesund. Only on the following afternoon was it extinguished. All 850 houses burned to the ground. Rebuilding began quickly, and just three years later 300 houses, all made from stone and brick, were ready for occupation. Most were built in the popular architectural style of the time: Art Nouveau, or Jugendstil. Many of the buildings are decorated with long curved lines. Jugendstilsenteret provides an introduction to this style and is home to some beautiful examples of it. It also houses temporary exhibitions and right now you can see the exhibition “Norwegian Japonism”, which examines the link between Japanese art and European Art Nouveau.
Get a bird’s-eye view
Ålesund sure is a beautiful town, nestling in an idyllic spot between the wild mountains. But my, what an experience it is to fly over the town and between the mountains in a helicopter. Nordhelikopter takes you on tour of the Sunnmøre Alps, with peaks that stretch magnificently to the heavens. In the helicopter you come so close to the peaks that you could almost reach out and grab a handful of snow, before sweeping out across the fjord. Even the pilots are impressed.
“I am not so easily impressed by nature elsewhere. I’m so used to these mountains,” says Gunnar Iversen, a pilot with Nordhelikopter.
That’s not hard to believe. The price is NKr7,500 plus VAT for half an hour. The helicopter has room for five people. You can even choose the route yourself. It will take your breath away!
If you are looking for a shopping experience a little out of the ordinary, you should head out to Moloveien. Here the kittiwakes call out to one another and rows of houses stand right next to the sea. Edel Rakvåg has converted one of the old warehouses into an antiques shop and café. Inside the shop you will find silverware, porcelain, bread boards, old magazines, postcards, and maritime effects. If you are overwhelmed by the choice, you can relax with a cup of coffee and a waffle and enjoy the sea view while you think about whether you really have room in your suitcase for that fragile piece of second-hand porcelain.
Moloveien 16 b
Every day there is a fire in the furnace at the glass workshop in Moloveien, which was built up by glassblowing artist Ingrid Cecilie Ulla. Every day she and the other artists who work here create glasses, vases, and other items that you won’t find anywhere else. Guests are welcomed into the open workshop and the gallery, and you can also try your hand at glass art yourself. Ulla trained at the Glasskolan Kosta Boda in Sweden and has held several exhibitions all over Norway.
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The Atlantic Ocean Road
This road was originally an 8,274-meter-long section of County Road 64 between Eida and Averøy. The route crosses eight bridges over the skerries and islets, and today it is considered one of the country’s finest stretches of road. Along the way you can go scuba diving or watch the bird life, and you can catch your lunch by fishing straight from the bridge. Perhaps it will be cod today? The Atlantic Ocean Road is located about 130km from Ålesund.
Text: Inga Ragnhild Holst
Find the places in Ålesund with this interactive map
Published: August 16, 2017