The Ålesund and Sunnmøre region is an eldorado for those who seek intense experiences in natural surroundings, whether on the water or on land. There is a good chance of a big catch in a sea rich in fish and every year hundreds of thousands of nesting sea birds invade the island of Runde, one of the world's best spots for bird-watching. Come close to nature in a kayak, find new energy behind the handlebars of a bicycle or challenge yourself on a high-speed safari at sea.
Hiking in the Sunnmøre Alps
The Sunnmøre Alps are a veritable eldorado for mountain lovers. Majestic peaks and fertile valleys distinguish the Sunnmøre Alps, or Sunnmørsalpene as they are known as in Norwegian, from other mountain areas in Norway. Choose your favourite place as a base for your hiking holiday, and stay comfortably in a cabin or enjoy the luxury of a hotel.
If you want to hike in more challenging terrain, or wish to learn more about the landscape that surrounds you, you should join a guided tour. Some of these have fixed departure times, whilst others are on request and must be booked in advance.
Many will not be satisfied with a day trip. In Sunnmøre you can extend the hiking adventure by finding shelter in the cabins owned by The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT). There are more than 300 kilometres of marked tracks in the area, and many thousands more of unmarked paths.
Sightseeing trips and attractions
Exploring Ålesund and Sunnmøre from the water is a refreshing experience, and the fjords and the coastal area are a paradise for fishing, sightseeing and scuba diving trips.
Children can enjoy a unique indoor activity centre and play area at Barnas Lekeland, as well as discovering life underneath the waves at the Atlantic Sea Park.
The Town Train takes you on a guided round trip of central Ålesund and gives you a chance to see the beautiful Art Nouveau town close at hand.
Enjoy an panoramic view of the town, the ocean and the surrounding mountains from the Aksla Viewpoint. At Hakallestranda in Vanylven, just by the idyllic Sandviksanden, is the workshop and gallery of artists Aina and Marit Moldskred, also surrounded by wonderful nature.
Several regional companies offer boat hire or charter trips, and can help you plan trips including fishing and diving. Some suggestions include fjord experience, wildlife sea safari, coach and ferry trips, cruise on the Hjørundfjord, boat trip to Alnes, sea fishing and guided walks in Ålesund.
An island hopping cycle tour on some of the many islands will take you past impressive lighthouses and ancient monuments, as well as majestic mountains and naked expanses of rock dotted with rare flowers.
On a sightseeing trip around the bird island of Runde, you will pass caves and lagoons and discover the many species of birds as their nesting colonies come into view.
The Sunnmøre Alps provide the backdrop for unique skiing adventures, with endless areas of powder snow for off-piste skiing and stunning fjord views - a combination to be found hardly anywhere else in the world. And snow is pretty much guaranteed here in season - the region figures at the top end of the European snow statistics every year.
Ålesund is an excellent starting point for your skiing holiday. Distances between the ski centres are short and a joint lift-pass, Alpepass, allows you to choose the skiing experience that suits you best. A ski bus takes you efficiently from Ålesund to Stranda, voted Norway's best ski centre for off-piste skiers.
Do you dream of virgin downhill runs on snow-clad mountainsides? Local guides can take you to little known mountain areas along the fjord where the only means of access is by boat. In the last few years Ski & Sail in the Sunnmøre Alps and the Hjørundfjord, where you sail from place to place and explore different summits every day, has become increasingly popular.
The many venues of Ålesund and Sunnmøre host a wide spectrum of events such as concerts, theatre and shows - providing entertainment all year round. You can also enjoy a movie at the cinema, visit art exhibitions or taste your way at a number of cafés and restaurants.
Annual festivals include the Ålesund Theatre Festival, the Festival of New Norwegian Literature, Art and Music, the Ålesund Boat Festival and the Norwegian Food Festival. Several historical plays staged in different parts of Sunnmøre also tell the story of the Vikings and recount the raiding and pillaging that made them famous the world over.