On this guided tour, you can spend an afternoon cycling around Ålesund to admire the town’s many remarkable examples of Jugendstil and learn about this singular artistic movement. You’ll ride on a comfortable e-bike, which means the cycling is easy thanks to the added power of the quiet motor, allowing you to spend more time exploring the city.
Jugendstil is a specifically Norwegian variation on the Art Nouveau movement that swept Europe around the turn of the 20th century, and Ålesund is the most architecturally coherent example. Your guide will point out the most remarkable examples of the style as you pedal across two of the islands that make up Ålesund, explaining the history of the city and how it came to be the exemplar of that particular artistic movement.
You’ll meet your guide and small group at a central location for an introduction to the e-bikes and to the city. Then you’ll set off down Ålesund’s wide, quiet streets, which extend over several islands. Your tour will focus on Nørvøy and Aspøy, which contain the greatest concentration of Jugendstil buildings.
As you go, your guide will tell you more about the 1904 fire that devastated the wooden structures that made up the city at the time. The area was the preferred holiday destination of Kaiser Wilhelm II, and he made special efforts to see that it was rebuilt quickly, ordering a stream of ships to drop off building materials at the coastal city.
The restoration, in stone, happened at a time when Art Nouveau was blossoming. Local architects and artisans incorporated a fanciful reimagining of Norse mythology into the romantic style, adding a specifically Norwegian slant. The result is a city that’s filled with towers, turrets, and façades that nod to regional stories of gods and monsters.