Inhabitants and area
The population in the region of Sunnmøre is around 140,000.
Ålesund is situated at the peak of the fjords in Sunnmøre and consists of the islands Hessa (4 square kilometres) in the west, Aspøya (0,5 square kilometres) and Nørvøya (7 square kilometres) in the middle and half of the island Oksnøya (Ålesund's share 58 square kilometres) in the east. In the north you will find the long-stretched Ellingsøya (22 square kilometres) separated by the first mentioned islands by the Ellingsøyfjord. There are subsea tunnel connections to/from the city centre.
The area of Ålesund municipality is approximately 98 square kilometres, 8 of them agricultural area.
The municipalities in the Sunnmøre area are the following:
Archeological findings show that there have been settlements within the area for about 9,000 years. The settlements are brought to light in writing through the Viking Sagas of Snorre. The Middle Age "kaupang" of Borgund was the first "town" in Sunnmøre.
The Black Death and the Hanseatic merchants have been blamed for the area's loss of position as an economic centre during the 15th century, and Bergen got control of the Sunnmøre trade.
The production of klipfish/split cod (dried, salted cod) in Sunnmøre started around 1750, and this became the most important export product of the area, as well as a major source of the economic growth in Ålesund during the middle of the 19th century. Fisheries expanded, Ålesund became a town in 1848 and grew steadily.
The catastrophic fire on 23 January 1904 made more than 10,000 people homeless. Within 24 hours, 800 houses burned to the ground, but only one person lost her life. Incredibly as it may seem, during 1907, 600 houses were rebuilt in the centre of Ålesund. The new town was erected in the new architectural style Art Nouveau or Jugendstil.
Sunnmøre and the Sunnmøre Alps
The bedrock at Sunnmøre was formed at the beginning of time. Since then, through millions of years, the shifting glaciers have dug out fjords and valleys and left behind a magnificent area of peaks and summits. It is the interaction between the Hjørundfjord Glacier and the many flank glaciers that hav formed the Sunnmøre Alps, or Sunnmørsalpene as they are known as in Norway.
Majestic peaks and alpine mountain formations set the Sunnmøre Alps apart from other mountainous areas. The mountains rise straight from the sea to a height of 1,500 - 1,700 metres.
With their numerous skiing tracks, the mountains surrounding the Hjørundfjord offer fantastic skiing experiences with differences in height of 1,500 metres between the summit and the fjord. Here you can choose between sedate fishing trips in an alpine landscape or steep downhill runs. Between February and May, these mountains are perfect for skiing and winter activities.
The temperature in the summer is pleasant, normally ranging from 12°C to 24°C. The winter climate is Nordic, but with local variations with temperatures from 4°C to -4°C.