It’s impossible to walk swiftly in Ålesund—there is simply too much to see.

This is a city of color, shape and detail, and taking your time pays off in big ways. Spread across seven islands on the west coast of Norway, this little fishing town of 40,000 is perhaps the prettiest in the country.

In 1904, a fire burned through Ålesund (Ol-eh-suhnd), destroying 90% of the city and leaving many to believe that the town was gone for good. Miraculously, money and help came pouring in from around Europe, and over the next three years, a new Ålesund rose up from the ashes, this time built in stone.

The great renaissance of Ålesund is an inspiring story: 52 young Norwegian architects, some of them only recently graduated from university, arrived in the city and put to test their skills, art and vision. They carried with them the popular style of the time (Jugenstil) but given Norway’s new independence, they also invented their own national style.

As one of the young architects, Sigurd Lunde said: “We require a style that protects us against historical imitation but nevertheless allows us to realize and develop the possibilities inherent in our national character.”

Today, Ålesund is a delight to walk through, rich with architecture and design: so many doorknobs, wood panels, shaped windows and unconventional mailboxes that all carry some hidden flourish of art, a nod to a century ago when people built things to last and to look beautiful.

As such, it’s impossible to walk through the city of Ålesund and not take several thousand pictures. This gallery includes a few of my favorite captures in the few days I was lucky enough to visit Ålesund. It is not an endorsement of iPhone or any Apple products — only an endorsement of what is probably my favorite town in Norway.

Comments

  1. Erma J Loveland
    Texas USA
    June 7, 2012, 5:26 pm

    Enjoyed being introduced to Alesund! Looking forward to seeing and learning more as Andrew travels.

  2. Chip Scire
    Seattle, WA
    June 7, 2012, 7:50 pm

    Andrew – not sure if you see these posts, however…

    Were you on a RIB boat in Geirangerfjord on May 29 ? Our boat dropped off a couple who were hiking to the top of the fjord and I could swear it was you. Hope you enjoyed Norway!

    Thanks!
    Chip Scire
    Seattle, WA

    • Andrew Evans
      June 8, 2012, 6:26 am

      Yes, that was me! Thanks for saying hi. It was beautiful, wasn’t it?

  3. Harald Holmen
    Seattle, WA, USA
    June 8, 2012, 12:26 pm

    Thank you Mr. Evans.

    I was born and raised in Aalesund and left as a young man.

    Thank you very much for your kind words and beautiful pictures of my much loved hometown.

    Harald Holmen
    Seattle, WA, USA

  4. Ståle E. Huse
    Kristiansand
    June 11, 2012, 8:12 am

    We know we are fortunate and lives in an “ohio country”, but you have not seen half of it yet. Explore the coastline from Ålesund till Kirkenes, experience Molde, Husadvika, Atlanterhavsveien, the wonderful coastline from Kristiansund (Helgeland is maybe the most beautiful costal region in the world?) to Bodø, Saltstraumen, Lofoten, Trollfjord, Vesterålen with Senja, Tromsø with surrounding Islands, Lyngsalpan, Finnmark with both fjords and highlands, your fascination of Norway will become even greater!
    Still; there are so many places on this planet that are magnificent and worth mentioning, but I’ll keep it short: What a wonderful rock we are living on!

    • Andrew Evans
      June 11, 2012, 8:29 am

      Hey, tusen takk Ståle! Yes, I know that I only had a brief taste of Norway, but I wanted a nice strong introduction. I believe that travelers are never “done” with a country, but must return again and again to get a real sense of the place. Thanks for following and reading!

  5. [...] Explore the Jugendstil architecture of artsy Ålesund. [...]

  6. Trond Tornes
    Aalesund
    June 11, 2012, 3:49 pm

    Nice, if you would like to test out your snowshoes near Aalesund, try these peaks…..9 minutes by Helicopter….4 weeks by snowshoes:-)
    : http://vimeo.com/8736190

  7. Shetland by iPhone 5 – Digital Nomad
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    [...] tends of thousands of iPhone pics, including galleries of Niagara Falls, Quebec, Ålesund (Norway), and both Hiroshima and Tsukiji. I have shot with my phone from open door of a helicopter in flight [...]

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