top of page
Image by Steinar Engeland

The saga of the Viking island Giske

The archipelago on the Norwegian coast

Giske municipality consists of 4 islands; Giske, Godøy, Vigra and Valderøy, which were the center of power during the Viking Age and the Middle Ages and also the seat of earls, local kings and Viking chieftains. 



Valderøya is the most inhabited island in the municipality. The municipal centre, doctor's office, shops and bus station are located here. Ytterland apartments are located in the heart of Valderøya right next to the bus station, grocery store and a short distance to various activities. 7 km from Ålesund airport Vigra and 5 km from Ålesund city centre. Free parking for cars.



Saga island Giske is located right by Valderøya and is connected by a bridge.

A nice excursion in the local area is to walk, cycle or drive over the Giske bridge to the saga island of Giske, the birthplace of the Viking chieftain Arnungane. The municipality was named after this small island because of its historical importance.

The island of Giske has approximately 800 inhabitants and was connected to the mainland in 1987 when the Giskebroa to Valderøya was completed. The highest point on Giske is Ørnebakken 26m above sea level and here there are many beautiful sandy beaches,

wetland areas and a protected bird area.


Saga island Giske was the seat of several powerful families; the family of Ragnvald Mørejarl, the Arnunge family from the 9th century onwards, and the Giske family further up in the Middle Ages. Giske Church was built in the middle of

12th century. and is today the only one in Norway built in marble, and which is still in full use. The church was built as a private chapel for the powerful Arnugane noble family, who were among the richest in the country.  Other

every year the historic "Guessing Game" is held. The game is about how members of the Giske family would come to have an impact on important events in Norwegian history. (sources Wikipedia)

Recommend a trip to photograph the exterior of the charming 12th century white marble Giske Church. Next to it is also the playground for Giske spelet. The action in the game takes place in the Viking Age and tells about the meeting between the powerful Giske family Arnungane and Olav Haraldson.



Furthermore, a short trip through a tunnel will take you to the island of Godøy and the picturesque fishing village of Alnes. Recommend a stop at Alnes lighthouse and experience center to visit the lighthouse, the art gallery and buy homemade cake and coffee in the cafeteria. The Norwegian Coastal Agency has a unique exhibition, as well as films from Norwegian coastal culture. Enjoy the view of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding islands.



Vigra is the largest island in terms of area and Ålesund Airport is located there, which is the main airport in Møre & Romsdal. According to legend, a Viking chieftain was also born on the island of Vigra. Gange-Rolv (Göngu-Hrólfr) was a Norwegian Viking chief and saga figure whose real name was Hrólfr Rögnvaldsson (ca. 860-932) and was the son of Ragnvald Mørejarl, known as the earl who cut Harald Hårfagre's hair after Norway had been united into one kingdom.

However, Rollo's origins are debated. According to tradition, Gange-Rolv should be from the island of Vigra near Ålesund. He was the leader of large forces of Norwegians and probably also Danes who conquered an area at the mouth of the river Seine in France which was later called Normandy.

bottom of page