The island of Giske is the reputed birthplace of the great Viking Rollon, who laid siege to Paris and founded the Duchy of Normandy. William the Conqueror was his grandson.
In 1904, a massive fire destroyed 800 buildings in this fishing port. Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II responded with immediate aid, and Ålesund was reborn. Not surprisingly, the town was rebuilt in the then-popular Art Nouveau style known as Jugendstil. The result is one of the prettiest ports in Norway. Buildings with elegant turrets and spires can be seen lining the streets of the city center. Today, the city is one of Norway's most important fishing harbors and the world's largest supplier of Klipfish - dried cod. Alesund's major attractions are the surrounding fjords and the stunning Sunnmøre Alps.