Monday 13 June 2016

The Sunnmøre Museum, Ålesund, Norway

The second port stop on our recent Norwegian cruise was Ålesund, and we spent a lovely few hours visiting the Sunnmøre Museum, located a few kilometres outside the town centre. The open air museum is spread over an area of 50 acres and contains more than 55 well preserved buildings which trace the history of the area from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century. The museum also has a large boat collection along with replicas of Viking ships.

A visit to the Sunnmore Museum, Alesund, Norway

We travelled to the museum by bus, which cost us NOK 105 each way for our family (two adults and two children) and took about ten minutes. The bus station is located just outside the cruise terminal and there are buses about every fifteen minutes, you need a number 618 or 624. It was quite straightforward to find the correct bus, and we asked the driver to let us know when we needed to get off. There are also plenty of taxis available from the cruise port, and from overhearing another family on the way back I believe that they cost around the same price.

On the day that we visited, the museum was hosting a private event organised by the Disney cruise and so it shut at 1pm. It's an infrequent occurrence but it's worth checking the website before you visit just in case! It was also a busy day with guided tour groups from both our cruise ship and another that was in port on the same day, but we managed to overtake, and as long as we kept out of their way we had plenty of room to explore!

Viking ships at the Sunnmore Museum

We followed the suggested route around the museum from the guidebook, which has plenty of information about the buildings you see. There was also often extra detailed information in English inside the buildings. We started our tour in the Boat Hall, a large building that houses a superb collection of original and replica boats.

Sunnmore Open Air Museum in Alesund

Elsewhere in the museum is a boat building workshop where you can see how the boat was constructed using a beam hung lengthways down the middle of the building in a design related to that of Viking era longhouses which was really interesting to see.

I really liked these small buildings called the Kyrkjebuder - Church Huts. They are little sheds, used for storage, and also for eating and changing in after travelling all day to get to church.

Sunnmore Open Air Museum in Alesund

Some of the buildings are placed around a little lake, like this Fjordmannstova - shelter for the men from the fjords that came to fish and couldn't return home every night. This hut was built in 1868 for two fishing crews.

Open air museum in Alesund

The Stabbur below was used for storing cereal, flatbread, salted and dried meat and fish and dates back to around 1600. The children were fascinated by the fact that it was raised above the ground and were desperate to crawl underneath, but I would only let them sit under it for a quick photo, it made me too nervous!

The Sunnmore Museum, Alesund

The children really enjoyed exploring all the different buildings at the museum, and there were plenty of steps and ladders for them to climb and open areas to run around in.

You can read more about what we did in Alesund and what we got up to in the other ports on our cruise here.

We received complimentary admission to the museum in exchange for a review. A family ticket costs NOK 170 (approx. £15 at time of writing).

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