Cruise Port: Alesund, Norway

Alesund was our first glimpse of Norway. We arrived on a cruise travelling from Iceland on the MS Koningsdam in August 2016. Alesund is a city of 45,000 people.

A unique feature of Alesund is its unusually consistent architecture. On the night of 23 January 1904, the almost the entire town was destroyed by fire, although only one person was killed. As a result, most of the buildings having been built between 1904 and 1907. Many of the buildings are in the art deco style which was fashionable at the time.

The pier is almost at the heart of the town so it is easy to explore on your own. As soon as you get off the ship there are tour operators offering their services including a Hop-on Hop-off bus and a small tourist train that offers 70 minute circuit.

We chose the tourist train and were very happy. An excellent commentary is provided in multiple languages with headphones for passengers. The operators did a “straw poll” of our carriage before we started and quickly chose English to broadcast over the speakers so we didn’t even need to where headphones.

The tourist train winds in an out of very narrow streets and hairpin curves. Eventually it arrives at the lookout that can also be reached by climbing 418 steps from the city square. At the lookout the train stops for 15 minutes giving plenty of time to take photos and admire the nearly 360° views of Alesund and the surrounding waters.

For lunch we only wanted something simple, so we chose kebabs. They were very tasty but at more than AUD 40 for the two of us we should have taken that as a warning for future Norwegian ports! Nevertheless, Alesund is an interesting cruise port stopover and we felt that we had made the right choice to do our own exploring rather than booking a tour.