After the beautiful drive along Trollstigen, we spent the night in Ålesund and explored this unique port town at the entrance of the famous Geirangerfjord. Often referred to as the most beautiful in all of Norway, the town is built across a string of islands into the Atlantic Ocean. It is most known for its concentration of Art Nouveau style architecture in the old city centre.
In 1904 a devastating fire ravaged Ålesund, which at the time (like most communities in Norway) was built largely of wood. The fire practically destroyed the entire town, and 10,000 residents were forced to flee overnight; miraculously, only one person died during the disaster. With the help of Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and other parts of the world, the town was rebuilt from the ground up, this time in brick and mortar, in the Art Nouveau manner that was popular at the time.
Because most of the reconstruction was done over the following years, the current town centre has a remarkably consistent architectural style. Typical of Art Nouveau, the brightly coloured buildings are ornately decorated with plant and animal motifs, and adorned with a multitude of towers, turrets, and spires. It’s like walking through a fairy tale!