Self-powered adventures in beautiful Ålesund
Visit western Norway’s treasured Ålesund and you will meet plenty of people telling you which fjords to see, what mountains to climb and where to go outside the town of Ålesund. But Jonathan Bendiksen, founder of Kayak More Tomorrow, does not disagree with them. He is convinced that there is no need to leave at all, as the best adventures start right in the heart of the town.
You may say that Bendiksen is biased, as he runs a highly successful outdoors centre in central Ålesund, but the Canadaborn Kayak More Tomorrow founder has an incredible background in kayaking and definitely knows what he is talking about. “When I first travelled to Norway, I set up a kayaking centre in the Lofoten Islands, and later by the Geirangerfjord, but they were nowhere near as highly visited as our outdoors centre in Ålesund,” he says. Now based in beautiful Ålesund in the northern part of western Norway, he specialises in tailored outdoors adventures on the famous Bridge Sound and the ocean as well as kayaking holidays on famous fjords, beautiful coastlines and the Lofoten Islands.
Tailored outdoors adventures The Kayak More Tomorrow outdoors centre is located in the heart of the town by the famous Bridge Sound, with quick access to the nearby islands and the beautiful coastline. Though you can rent kayaks, hybrid and EL bikes and stand-up paddleboards for self-guided trips, you will appreciate Kayak More Tomorrow’s menu of tailored packages to ensure you get the most out of your trip. “You may choose to simply rent the essentials and go, or you can book a guided tour or take part in our outfitting programme,” says Bendiksen. The popular outfitting programme always includes all equipment, route planning, local knowledge and necessary information – but the rest is up to you. Choose between different paddling routes and decide whether you want to book one of the guides to come along. You may also tweak the package to include transport and airport transfers, among other things. “We also do private tours that include hotel stays, so in general we are more than happy to tailor to whatever needs and wishes guests might have,” Bendiksen adds.
The outdoors centre stays open throughout the day and until 11pm, except in the early autumn days of August and September when the centre closes at sundown. “If you want an evening kayak trip slightly out of the ordinary, we would recommend booking a Wine & Cheese Paddle, where we paddle out to an island, then walk around and share a bottle of wine before paddling back as we watch the setting sun,” says Bendiksen, painting a dreamy picture of what a kayak adventure can be. If you are instead keen on being as active as possible when you travel, why not join one of Kayak More Tomorrow’s combination tours – like the aptly named Kayak & Hike, one of their signature tours? “With this one, we paddle out to the local Sugar Summit, have lunch and walk up to the top, where you have an incredible view of the town, the nearby islands and the sea,” says Bendiksen. “You can also book shorter tours of under three hours, depending on how much time you’ve got available and what you would like to see.” Regardless of your pick, you can expect views of picturesque islands, impressive mountains and relaxing waves – and return home with a feeling of having been both active and relaxed.
If you are the type of traveller who shrugs at the idea of exploring a town through café-hopping and town strolling, you could take a closer look at Ålesund from a stand-up paddleboard and have a guide tell you all about the architecture and its quaint streets. “Another great way of exploring Ålesund is by renting EL bikes and cycling around,” Bendiksen suggests. “That way, you can rest your legs when needed – yet get to see everything the Ålesund archipelago has to offer.” Kayak More Tomorrow also offers daily walking tours through historic cobblestone streets, past famous landmarks and up to the must-see lookout on town mountain, Aksla. Kayak More Tomorrow is located less than 20 kilometres from the nearest airport, Ålesund Vigra, which is easily reached via Oslo and other international airports. The unique archipelago of Ålesund is well worth a visit for many reasons, known among other things for its high concentration of Art Nouveau architecture. The town is also home to the annual Norwegian Food Festival in August.