The beauty of Norway is something that always captures my attention  – the stunning fjords, dramatic coastline and beautiful towns make this a country that truly deserves the hype.

Things To See In Alesund in Norway (6)

After spending an incredible time in Flam last year (where we got to ride one of the prettiest train routes in all the world), I was itching to get myself back and this time, the west coast was calling… specifically, the picturesque town of Alesund!

Towns in Norway to visit on west coast around fjords

2 hours after jetting out of London, we touched down in the town and boy, did the arrival not disappoint – it was one of those landings where your face stays pressed against the window for fear of missing the sights – we saw everything from Fjords, inlets, cute little Nordic villages and Alesund itself.

The only thing missing was seeing some food, which I was determined to remedy straight away!

Oslo Is Amazing But It Isn't The Real Reason You Need To Visit Norway, This Is Why! (27)

1.) Discover Godøya Island & Svele eating

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With my tummy a-rumbling, my over-zealous appetite decided our first pit stop for us would be the Alnes Lighthouse that is on the tiny island of Godøya (easily reached from the airport by a few undersea tunnels and bridges via the cute island of Giske).

The delicious smell of warm cake and coffee hit my nostrils as soon as we stepped in – anyone who’s anyone who’s ever smelt freshly baked cakes can relate to how I was feeling at this moment – especially with how hungry I was… (did I forget to have breakfast that day or something? *scratches head*)

Thankfully, I composed myself enough not to dive right into the cake (which was still being decorated by the friendly cafe lady) and decided to go for a traditional Norwegian Svele that filled my plate, very similar to a French crepe.

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After our quick fill-me-up, we took a little walk around and even went to the top of the old lighthouse itself, which now features some of the very best art from the region. The stairs are also quite steep here – if you start running careless down them, there’ll be no stopping yourself all the way down (which I learnt the hard way 🙂 ).

2.) Climb Fjellstua Viewpoint

With my tummy satisfied, we headed to the city to see the city from above at Fjellstua Viewpoint. Perched on top of the hills surrounding the city, we made the decision to drive up and walk down the hundreds and hundreds of steps… I’m blaming a tummy filled with Svele for that rather lazy decision (and Yaya for enabling it)… 😉

…Take a look at the view, below.

Oslo Is Amazing But It Isn't The Real Reason You Need To Visit Norway, This Is Why! (8)

Norway June 2016-15

3.) Visit the historic harbour

Once we checked into our hotel on the waterfront, we headed straight out to explore the city.

We’d heard that there was an original timber-framed boat being built within the harbour, which was still in the processes of being finished. After a little courage, we asked politely if we could take a closer look. If this happened in London, I’m pretty sure we’d get told off for bothering them in their workplace but these guys were only too eager to have us on board – Norwegian hospitality right there! 🙂

The whole boat still had that fresh woody smell and was still being constructed and sanded even as we left. Also, on talking to the crew, we soon found out that one of them was one of the artists in the lighthouse we’d visited earlier – small world, eh?

We even spotted a few baby gulls close by, all fluffy and cute – and not one stole my ice-cream! Obviously, much better behaved than the seagulls in England… 🙂

4.) Search for local antiques

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After our impromptu nosey around the harbour, we spotted a local antique/thrift store that was filled to the brim with goodies! I have a real big soft spot for these types of stores (more than the average, I’d say), especially when I have spare time to dally around and really look for something that takes my fancy. Constant source of frustration for my friends when we travel together cos I spend ages in them but a constant source of joy for me! 🙂

Shopping for antiques and vintage items is almost like looking for hidden treasure, which Yaya found with his purchase of a vintage Columbia gramophone (still in working condition – yay!).

He quickly grabbed it and worried about how to get this on our flight back to London at the end of our trip! 😉 (‘Buy now, worry later‘ is pretty much Yaya’s souvenir buying motto).

5.) Watch glassblowers in action 

Before leaving the historic harbour area (gramophone-in-hand), we decided to make a little port-of-call at a local glassblowers, which was brought to our attention by a friendly little cat that seemed to make this gallery home! He seemed pretty adept at manoeuvring between the delicate artistic pieces before settling down right in the centre of the gallery! (FYI, this is NOT  a friendly cat so don’t try to stroke it – one day you might get purrs, the other, a scratch and a nip).

6.) Devour a pudding at Invit

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By now, I’d worked up an incredulous appetite fit for the greediest of person … after all, I’d ONLY had a plate full of svele all day! 😉 Time for a little bite to eat at Invit, a local espresso bar that is run by a local architect that has a thing for MASSIVE chocolate cakes! My dreams had come true and like the greedy love-child of Augustus Gloop and Verucca Salt (a-la Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), I didn’t care how I could finish all of that chocolate cake, I wanted it ALL and I wanted it NOW… (after my healthy salad of-course)! 🙂

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7.) Discover the rugged west coast

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Before our evening was done with, we decided to try to spot some of the elusive Puffins that we’ve been trying to spot in Iceland, the Faroe Islands and the Scilly Isles, to no avail…

…thankfully, this time was different!

Norway June 2016-26

We decided to head out on a rib boat tour, you know – one of those super fast boats that slice through the sea! With our thermals, gloves, hats and waterproof on, we hopped on board and headed straight out into the open ocean… boy, was it fast!

As we zoomed along towards the island of Runde, my grip got ever tighter on the handle (those boats jump and land with a butt-throbbing thud) and before long, we were in the open ocean, heading of in for what would be my very first sighting of these cute clowns of the sea – puffins! (They deserve that name too – those birds are clumsy fliers, as it turns out, they’re much better swimmer than they are fliers which is why they spend quite a lot of time out at sea).

8.) Find some hidden treasure

Things To See In Alesund in Norway (1)

On the way, our guide mentioned about a 16th century ship wreck that was just below our feet at a deep, watery depth! Many people had searched the ship for its treasure of gold and silver that I’d had been transporting, with some people finding many, many pieces… including these ones that were actually found by our instructor himself! Almost 500 years old, these coins were in immaculate, obviously preserved pretty well by the sea! 🙂

Nowadays, people still search the seabed whilst scuba diving in search of these precious pieces!

9.) Spot some puffins 

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After spending about 30 minutes riding the waves, we finally made it to the steep cliff faces of Runde island where literally thousands of birds lived.

We were fortunate enough to spot the 2nd largest eagle in the world (trust me when I say that photos don’t do its size justice) and eventually, after a good scour of the cliffs and sea, we spotted our first puffins!

As if by magic, not just one, two, three… but hundreds of puffins came out to play – they are so adorably cute, even if there clumsy flying leaves a lot to be desired! Flapping away and catching some grub, this hungry bunch was having a whale of a time on the shores!

It made our evening and we were so thankful we got to see some of the world’s prettiest little birds in the wild!

10.) Experience the midnight sun! 

Oslo Is Amazing But It Isn't The Real Reason You Need To Visit Norway, This Is Why! (2)

(Okay, so technically not the Midnight Sun as in the Arctic Circle… but the sun shone brightly at midnight – a pretty special experience nonetheless)

By the time midnight came along, the sun was still shining bright – in fact, it stayed bright all night! Little did I realise that we’d landed during the time of the almost 24 hours daylight, where nighttime never actually comes around! It was a truly surreal experience!

Every time I visit Norway, I always find that it feels new and exciting – and not just because we visit new places each time. Norway has so many different facets to it and so much to explore and its safe to say, I went to bed that evening looking forward to the plans we had for the next few days in Norway!

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  • I’m gonna risk sounding like a know-it-all here but technically, the Midnight Sun can only be seen north of the Arctic Circle but since the sun sets so late and rises so early in the rest of Norway, nights are never really dark there anyway 😉 I haven’t been to Ålesund yet but it’s definitely on my Norway bucket list – as is puffin watching! So great that you got to see them! 🙂

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You’re most definitely right about the Midnight Sun 🙂

      We’d love to actually see the sun high in the sky… it’s was so surreal with the sun not setting in Alesund – we’d never experienced it before.

      The puffins were ADORABLE! You should definitely head out on a trip to see them… and you’d love Alesund, it’s such a pretty town.

      big hugs,
      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Arghhhhhhhhh. This looks AMAZING. Especially Fjellstua Viewpoint!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It really was, Emmie… though, we feel totally guilty for not climbing the hundreds of steps! Walking down never counts… Haha! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

      • Haha! I prefer going up to down, up feels like an achievement while down bothers my knees… I’ve just ticked hiking in the Atlas Mountains off my bucket list and down was definitely harder than up!

        • HandLuggageOnly

          Good point… totally taking your advice for our hiking in Peru soon. Now we just need to find someone to carry us down, haha! 😉

          Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • so beautiful! and there’s cake:) not cheese this time:)

    • HandLuggageOnly

      We always find time for cake Tanja! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • DJ Nekkid

    Hey there!
    As someone alraedy corrected you, unfortuneatly we dont have midnight sun in Ålesund, but in the summer its kinda close! And from about 1st of june to 1st of august its only barely below the horizon, and its sort-of dim from about 1am to 2:30 am or so…

    When I walk home from a gig at 0330 its as bright as daylight outside 🙂

    And the lighthouse you visited are on Godøya (“The Good Island (øy=island)), while Giske is that flat pancake of an island after the bridge and before the undersea tunnel to Godøya 🙂

    Also, im not sure if a Svele is like a Crepe ? Isn’t it more like an american pancake?

    Otherwise, great piece on our beloved city and region, and awesome pics!

    Cheers – DJ

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You’re totally right about the Midnight Sun.. even though it wasn’t a midnight sun as in the Arctic, it felt so incredible to see… as Londoners, we never get the joy of seeing it stay light all night! 🙂

      A gig until 330am then shining sunshine is amazing to us! We need to go to some gigs in Norway now! 🙂 Ha, Godøya is the island – just made sure to pop that in too! Giske was such a lovely little island and we popped over to Godøya for the incredible Svele too!

      So glad you liked it – thank you so much for your kind words and letting us know about Godøya too… we can’t wait to visit it again soon! 🙂

      Have a great weekend!

      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂

  • Okay I just visited Norway and this post makes me want to go back! The puffins definitely seal the deal! I’m planning a trip back to Norway asap! 🙂 I was in Bodø where the nature was just as beautiful minus the puffins. I also flew into Norway from London! Omg we have so much in common!!! 🙂

    • HandLuggageOnly

      No way! Haha, we definitely do have lots in common – did you fly Norwegian? The puffins were so incredibly cute… we can’t wait to go back either – it really is an amazing country to explore.

      So glad you liked it too, Cindy!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

      • Haha yeah I also flew Norwegian to Norway!!😂😂

  • Told you that view was worth the climb (I did it in the car, too!)

    Also, how did you find that lighthouse, did a PR tell you about it? That is where I went for my (incredible) pancake and mousse filled cake fix, too!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You did indeed! You’re so right! 🙂

      We found it when we drove from the airport (as we wanted to visit some of the small islands) totally LOVED the place – it’s so special isn’t it! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Karin

    It’s so great to see that someone else had this great experience with this lovely town. My mum used to live next to Alesund, so I was lucky tho visit it a view times; but only in winter. Thanks for showing your summer view on that lovely place!
    B.R. Karin

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Yay! So glad you LOVE the town too Karin! It really is a special place – we loved every second!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Kelly | A Pair of Passports

    I’ve been dying to get up to the Northern part of Europe, and you’ve just sealed the deal for me! This looks like an incredible place to spend a weekend 🙂

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You’ll both LOVE it! It really is a special place to visit, Kelly!

      Let us know if you plan a trip and need any info – happy to help in any way we can! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • ‘Love reading about Norway as it’s such a marvellous little country! And goodness, look at that light. Midnight sun or not lol! And getting to see wild eagles and cute puffins. Lots of ’em!
    What not to like?

    p.s. Lovely seeing you and Yaya in Luxembourg. ‘Hope to meet you guys proper one of these days! Toot! Toot!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Right! It’s such an incredible country isn’t it!

      I know… can you believe it! about 30 seconds after you passed I said to Yaya that I’m sure I just spotted you but wasn’t sure! Such a coincidence!

      We will definitely see each other again soon… we’ve no doubt! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • What an incredible place! Hunting for treasure sounds like a blast! We’re visiting Norway later this year, but unfortunately, only have time for Oslo. Will have to remember this one for the future!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It really was! No way… you’re going to LOVE Oslo, it’s such an amazing city! Can’t wait to hear all about it! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

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