Museums in the coastal region give fascinating insights into how people lived on this rough coast, and the lives and traditions of the modern communities are also fascinating.
The roads, such as the breathtaking Atlantic Road, with its several bridges close to the open Atlantic ocean, show how these communities have used innovation to survive the rough climate and difficult geography.
Of course, the best way to get the Atlantic feeling is by boat, fishing, bird watching or sightseeing.
Bird watching and offshore activities
Where there are fish there also are sea birds. One of Europe’s largest colonies of sea birds is located on Runde island. Millions of birds nest here every spring. Later in the summer, as soon as the young ones can fly, most of them leave the coast.
Bird watching excursions are available from Ålesund and from Runde (see Runde Island pictures left by Knut Werner Alsen).
Boats and Coast
Norwegian history is closely connected to fishing. The west – and the northern Atlantic coast have very rich fish shoals like the Arctic Cod, which regularly returns to the coast for reproduction. From the Viking age we learnt how to preserve fish by drying and/or salting it. That way the Vikings had food to eat on their long journeys to the rest of Europe. Today there still are coastal fishermen using small boats, and we can easily arrange a fishing excursion. However, the fish changes behavior over time so some species of fish have left our coast over the past century. As a result, Norwegian fishermen have had to building larger fishing vessels and go after the fish further out in the Atlantic. Today there are several ship yards in the area.
The fastest and most exciting way to go sightseeing on the Atlantic coast is by RIB, but for the less adventurous larger boats may feel safer and are more comfortable.
In Ålesund, the Atlantic Park & Aquarium is the best way to get insight into life in the Atlantic. The feeding of the greedy fish (picture) is a very popular activity.
Hotel Håholmen Havstuer
To combine historic coastal culture with comfortable living the Håholmen hotel is the perfect place. This old fishing community has been transformed into a hotel, with rooms are in the small fishing chalets and the restaurant and pub in old storage rooms.
Håholmen was developed by the explorer Ragnar Thorset who was one of the first to cross the Atlantic ocean from Norway to New York in the US in a Viking ship replica. The hotel features an exhibition and short film on this journey and his other excursions. They even use a Viking ship replica (with an engine) to transport their guests from the mainland (close to the Atlantic Road) to the island.
Angvik Hotel and Spa is a member of the Classic Norway hotel group and is a high-quality hotel beautifully situated in scenic surroundings close to the fjord.
In the Spa you will find a Turkish steam bath and thermal spa and a variety of spa treatments are offered.
Hotel Brosundet - Sleep in a Lighthouse
Brosundet hotel in Ålesund is located in a remodelled former storage building close to the canal. All rooms highlight the town’s unique history of fishing and trade.
If you want to be even closer to the ocean, you can stay even stay in the lighthouse, which is a part of the hotel.
The Brosundet hotel restaurant is also one of the best and most popular restaurants in Ålesund.