Normally the words “Norway” and “budget” don’t play very well together. Norway is well known to be on the the most expensive countries in the world.
With a little leg work, we spent an entire day in Alesund, Norway on our cruise this summer without spending a dime!
We were very excited to take our first steps on Norwegeian soil today. The ship glided gracefully up to the pier in Alesund Norway at 10:00am this morning.
Now that we are on a longer cruise than we had originally planned for, we are budgeting our money for doing things on shore very carefully. We decided to see what we could do in Alesund Norway for one day without paying to go on a tour.
We started out at a slight disadvantage as we were visiting on a Sunday. Shops and restaurants were closed and public transportation options were minimal. Still, with a little legwork, we occupied ourselves for the day without spending any money.
Your first stop should be at the tourist information office in Alesund. They can get you some maps and if you ask specifically for places that you can hike or take public transport to, they will be happy to help.
From what I have seen of the weather so far in Norway, it often seems to be sunny and nice during the morning hours and the clouds increase as the day wears into afternoon. Start your day with a trip up to the top of Mount Aksla and the Fjellstua viewing point for a postcard worthy view of the town and the surrounding Fjords.
You can either walk up the 418 steps or take the tourist train up there (the train also includes a 1 hour sight seeing tour of the town center). As of August, 2012 the cost for the train is 150 KR for adults, 70 KR for children or 400 KR for a family of up to 3.
Once you have taken your photos, you can either head back down into town or continue along the top of the ridge, following the trails marked on the maps at the overlook.
The views from the south side of the ridge were definitely more captivating than those on the north side, so there is really no need to make the whole loop unless you want to (we walked the whole loop and estimated the entire thing to be about 5 miles).
If you don’t want to walk very far or are traveling with kids, you could easily walk a little ways down the south side of the ridge to see the view at the spot below with the picnic table and walk back!
After coming back down into town and stopping back on the ship for lunch, we continued our exploration of town in the other direction. Head towards the Sukkertoppen and the Atlantic Sea Park for some hiking trails along the coast that will give you a different viewpoint from the one that you had at the top of Mount Aska.
Rugged cliffs and bountiful wildflowers abound along the path that starts from the Atlantic Sea Park and continues around the point.
Between the morning hike and the afternoon one, our day was full, and we didn’t spend a penny!
View Alesund, Norway on a Budget in a larger map
If you are looking for something else to do that doesn’t involve hiking and you have a little money to spend, you could expand your activity options in Alesund with these (relatively) budget friendly options:
- Take a local bus to the islands of Giske and Godoy. We learned that these islands are connected to Alesund via a long, undersea tunnel, so the journey itself might be worthwhile. Visiting the islands will give you a idea about what life is like in a small fishing village in Norway. The tourist information office in Alesund will happily give you directions about which bus to take and where to catch it.
- Hike to the top of Sukkertoppen: This viewpoint is closer to the Atlantic Sea Park, so they could be combined as an alternative to hiking up to Fjellstua and along the ridge that I talked about above. The lady at the tourist information office said that the view from up here was fantastic, and it is a little further off the beaten path and is not a place that most of the folks from the cruise ship will be.
- A visit to the aquarium/Atlantic Sea Park (and a hike along the trails nearby) is definitely a cheaper option for a family than taking a tour. For 200 NOK/person you can take a shuttle bus directly to and from the cruise terminal and get admission to the aquarium.
- Sunmore Museum: “Open air museum with cultural history exhibits and a collection of old buildings and boats.” You could walk here from the cruise terminal, but because of the distance, unless you are a hardy soul, you might want to consider a taxi (ask at the tourist information office…it is possible that there might be a bus that goes there, as well).
Did you enjoy these Norway travel tips? Check out these other great pieces about our visit to Norway:
- One Perfect Day in Geirangerfjord Norway
- So Long and Thanks for All The Fish: The Market in Bergen Norway
- Norway Travel Blog Roundup: The Scoop About Going to Norway