Perhaps Norway’s most beautiful city, Ålesund has a population of just over 40,000 and is known for its distinctive Art Nouveau architecture. It was rebuilt in that style, with lovely pastel structures, after being almost entirely destroyed by fire in 1904. A perfect base for exploring the fjords, the city also boasts local attractions worth touring for at least a day.
Get a caffeine fix before hiking the 418 steps to the top of Aksla Mountain, which offers beautiful panoramic views of Norway’s Ålesund. Then rent a kayak to tour the town by water and take in the scenic surrounding countryside.
Stop for lunch at Molo Brew, a hip microbrewery and restaurant that serves inventive burgers and has a lounge area with shuffleboard tables. Afterward, learn about Ålesund’s historic fire at the Art Nouveau Centre (don’t miss the noteworthy gift shop), and embark on a sea safari to see puffins, seals and eagles.
Dine at MAKI, known for its upscale fjord-to-table cuisine, including fish soup and crab cakes with foam dill mayonnaise. Those not tired out from a day of adventure should swing by the trendy MILK Bar & Lounge for a nightcap.