At the heart of Norway’s UNESCO-listed west fjords, Alesund boasts one of the country’s most jaw-dropping natural settings, framed by the glacial valleys and peaks of the Sunnmøre Alps and almost completely encircled by water.
Alesund’s dramatic scenery is manmade too – the coastal city is renowned for its colorful Art Nouveau buildings, which sprung up in 1904 after a great fire swept across the peninsula. With a large percentage of the city’s buildings devastated, local architects soon seized the opportunity to flex their creativity, transforming Alesund into one of the Europe’s most architecturally unique towns. The eccentric jumble of architectural styles are largely inspired by the German Jugendstil style, featuring pastel-painted facades, ornamental turrets and fanciful embellishments, which look all the more striking set against the shimmering waters of the city’s canals.
Alesund is located in the Sunnmøre district on Norway’s west coast, about 215 miles (350 km) up the coast from Bergen.