The world’s tallest man-built bonfire – all muscles, no machines.
“The tallest bonfire is 47.39 m (155 ft 5.9 in) and was achieved by Slinningsbålet (Norway) in Ålesund, Norway, on 25 June 2016. It took 3 months to build the bonfire and it burnt for two days.” -Guinness World Records
Video: Norway’s Midsummer Bonfire
Watch our video featuring exclusive coverage of Alesund’s Midsummer Festival, which features the world’s largest man-made bonfire! We interviewed the builders of this amazing structure to learn their secrets!WATCH VIDEO
Alesund Slinningsbalet Bonfire
Fire has long been an elemental part of Viking traditions. All around Scandinavia, Midsummer is celebrated with the lighting of bonfires but no where in the world is there a bigger man-built bonfire than in Alesund.
Every year, for about 2 months, a small team of young men heroically stack wooden pellets by hand until their tower reaches the sky. On the Saturday night closest to June 23, which is Midsummer Eve, the tower is set ablaze and fireworks join the bonfire in illuminating the sky. Cheers and laughter fill the air as loved ones enjoy the spectacle with barbeques and beers.
Don’t Miss an Event
- Cars: Organizers of the event do not recommend driving to the event as traffic and parking can be crazy. If you want to park near the event, it is free but limited (you should aim to arrive hours before the actual lighting of the bonfire). Note that rental and fuel costs are high, as with all things in Norway.
- From Alesund city center, there are public buses that you can take to get a shuttle bus transfer to the event.
- Hotels and AirBNB opportunities are aplenty in Alesund, a major tourist destination in Norway.
- Many cruise ships stop in Alesund, but finding a ship that stops long enough during Midsummer may be difficult.
Search below for hotels, hostels or homestays in & near the festival. This is a one-stop search engine that allows you to compare all accommodation options across many sites, including those on Agoda, Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and Hotels.com. Starting your search here helps support our site–at no additional cost to you–so we can continue bringing you Eventful Events!
Alesund World’s Largest Man-made Bonfire
Midsummer Festival in Alesund has been on my bucket list for awhile, and it was so great to watch and participate in such a unique and fun celebration! If you like bonfires or fireworks, you’ll love this experience!
We were pleased to find that accommodations weren’t any more expensive than the standard summer rates in Alesund, and we didn’t have any problems making it out to the festival site or back on the big day (although we did have major issues with the public bus the day prior).
One word of caution is that coastal Norway has notoriously unpredictable weather. As a result, we spent plenty of time huddling away from the rain and wind. Be sure to pack some rain gear.
If you want to get to this event before the crowds and tourists do, go soon. When we attended in 2019, there were only about a thousand spectators, and most of them were locals. Shhh…Some Norwegians don’t even know that they have the biggest man-built bonfire in their backyard. Hurry, before this event gets too hot!
I was deeply moved by the unique sight of teenage boys bravely risking their lives, and tirelessly doing back-breaking work long into the night, even under the pouring rain, in order to build the yearly Slinningsbalet bonfire using traditional methods.
I felt the crowd’s anticipation as we waited with bated breath while the boys climbed to the peak to light the bonfire before scurrying down, all the while encouraged by cheers from the adoring crowd and their faithful comrades.
Soon after the bonfire is lit, cheers erupted, sparks flew and fireworks filled the sky. The breathtaking spectacle lasted long into the night and we joined the locals in partying under the midnight sun. In those magical moments while the bonfire burned bright, the long wait in the cold rain felt worthwhile and I understood the community’s pride in having the tallest man-built bonfire in the world. For as long as it burned, I felt like I was part of something epic that celebrates man’s courage, unity and strength.
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