The Geirangerfjord is merely an arm of a greater fjord system that starts south of Ålesund, narrowing as it winds its way inland between mountains rising ever higher. Along the way, you pass waterfalls such as the Seven Sisters and abandoned farms perched on mountain ledges. In days of old, young men and women supposedly courted by calling out to each other across the fjord; that is a far cry from being able to whisper sweet things in the ear of your beloved!
No county in Norway has more impressive mountains, with the Sunnmøre Alps and the Romsdal mountain range at the top of the scenic list. Trollveggen is known to every rock climber in the world. In 1967, a team of French climbers used 20 days on an excruciating direct ascent. However, the locals would be more than happy to show you an easier route to the top.
The valley of Innerdalen is considered one of the most beautiful in the country. Grøvudalen near the Dovre national park is a close second.
If you’re a bird lover, a spectacle not to be missed is a bird rock where a 100 000 puffin nest each year. This amazing avian metropolis also harbours 240 species‘, For divers, the nearby waters are far more tempting. The wreck of the Akerendam has yielded the greatest sunken treasure in northern Europe. But the variety of life below the surface is the true treasure.
Three remarkable towns
Each of the three towns in the county are special, for very different reasons. After large parts of Ålesund were destroyed by fire in 1904, the town was rebuilt with characteristic spires, towers and ornamentation. Today, Ålesund is the world’s Art Nouveau town par excellence.
You could write a credible history of modern jazz by limiting yourself to musicians that have played at Molde International Jazz Festival since 1961. The town is also known for its panorama which counts 222 peaks. If you’re sceptical, pick up the pamphlet listing them.
Perhaps the best way to travel from Molde to Kristiansund is to drive the Atlantic Road, which skips from island to island — times you may feel as though you were driving on the sea itself. Norway’s first opera was established in Kristiansund, not Oslo. The annual opera week is celebrated by the entire town. Yet some of your finest moments in Møre & Romsdal may be in one of the many cafés, savouring memories or planning new adventures.
Attractions in Møre & Romsdal
You can get a real bargain on one of the world’s best cruises by taking the ferry from Geiranger to Hellesylt on the Geirangerfjord. UNESCO recently added the Geirangerfjord to its World Heritage List.You can experience the fantastic scenic drive Golden Route from Geiranger to Åndalsnes, trunk road RV63, past the jutting viewpoint rock of Dalsnibba, up to the Eagle’s View (Ørnesvingen), over the mountain pass to Valldal, down the hairpin bends of Trollstigen, passing the impressive mountain wall of Trollveggen. From Åndalsnes, innermost on the Romsdalsfjord, you can take a veteran train on the Rauma railway.
One of the most dramatic stretches of road is the Atlantic Road between Molde and Kristiansund, the former town known for its Molde Jazz Festival. On an 15 km west of Kristiansund, stands Grip stave church. The county of Møre & Romsdal has more than its share of fine museums and a fabulous aquarium called the Atlantic Park. Ålesund is unique not only for its harmonious Art Nouveau architecture, but for is beautiful ocean-side setting. The bird rock of Runde is required for any self-respecting bird lover or ornithologist.