127km (79 miles) W of Åndalsnes; 131km (81 miles) -- plus 2 ferry rides -- SW of Kristiansund N; 59km (37 miles) -- plus 1 ferry ride -- SW of Molde

In our humble opinion, this small town on a fishhook-shaped peninsula is even more beautiful than Bergen because it is smaller and more architecturally unified, and its builders had a romance with the past. Ålesund is at the top of the fjord country, spread over three islands in an archipelago, with the snowcapped Sunnmøre Alps in the background. After a fire destroyed the town in 1904, Ålesund was rebuilt in the style of the times, Art Nouveau. To help rebuild, Kaiser Wilhelm II ordered that ship after ship of building materials and provisions be sent north to his favorite vacationland. Towers, turrets, and medieval romantic facades are pure Art Nouveau, and the Ålesund version includes elements from Nordic mythology.