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Kristiansand, Norway

Kristiansand is the capital of Vest-Agder County, Norway. By population, it is the fifth largest city of Norway.

Kristiansand is the largest city located in South Norway between Oslo and Stavanger.

Kristiansand is located on Norway’s southern coast and has long been a favorite summer holidays spot amongst Norwegians. The sea (Skagerrak) and surrounding fjords are perfect for recreational activities like fishing and sailing. Kristiansand is the business and cultural capital of Southern Norway. Nicknamed “the coolest riviera” by the media, it is a modern city with a cosmopolitan history.

The city is also nicknamed "Norway's flower town" because of the many planted flowers that characterize downtown.

The name

The city was named after its founder, King... Read more

Kristiansand, Norway

Destination:
Kristiansand is the capital of Vest-Agder County, Norway. By population, it is the fifth largest city of Norway.

Kristiansand is the largest city located in South Norway between Oslo and Stavanger.

Kristiansand is located on Norway’s southern coast and has long been a favorite summer holidays spot amongst Norwegians. The sea (Skagerrak) and surrounding fjords are perfect for recreational activities like fishing and sailing. Kristiansand is the business and cultural capital of Southern Norway. Nicknamed “the coolest riviera” by the media, it is a modern city with a cosmopolitan history.

The city is also nicknamed "Norway's flower town" because of the many planted flowers that characterize downtown.

The name

The city was named after its founder, King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway in 1641.

The name was written "Christian(s)sand" (for "Christians sand" - meaning en: (King) "Christian's Sand") until 1877. Then, the ch was changed to k, the form was changed to "Kristianssand". The name was again changed to its present form Kristiansand in 1889. The city is sometimes called Kristiansand S, where S stands for South, to distinguish it from Kristiansund in western Norway, a name introduced by the postal service.

Orientation

For convenience, the city can be divided into six larger districts:

  • Vågsbygd which includes Flekkerøya, west of downtown.
  • Kvaderaturen (a rectangular network of streets) including downtown and Posebyen.
  • Torridal north of downtown on both riverbanks of Otra which includes the areas Grim, Dalane, Strai, Mosby, Sødal and Haus.
  • Lund between the river Otra and Topdalsfjorden (E18 Varoddbrua bridges).
  • Tveit, northeast of downtown which includes Kristiansand Airport, Hamresanden and Ryen.
  • Randesund, east of Topdalsfjorden, which includes Sørlandsparken, Hånes, Søm and Tømmerstø.

Climate

Kristiansand's climate is characterized by differences in temperature and precipitation at the Four Seasons, but climate is fairly temperate thanks to warm air being wafted across the Atlantic from the Gulf Stream. Kristiansand usually has a lot of summer sunshine compared to most of Norway. The weather in summer makes Kristiansand to an important seaside resort for Norwegians from other locations in Norway. From June to August, the sea temperature is at levels which makes outdoor swimming comfortable. There may be heavy snowfall in winter with south-southeasterly winds (snow record at Kristiansand Airport, Kjevik is 170 cm), but the snow rarely stays long at the coast of Skagerrak.

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Kristiansand, Norway: Port Information


The port has a lot of cruise ship arrivals in the summer and is one of the biggest cruise ship ports in Norway. From the cruise ship port, is a walking distance to the city center and the boardwalk, the bus terminal, the ferry terminal, and the railway station.
 

Get around Kristiansand, Norway


On foot

The town's center is quite compact, which means that everything is within walking distance. Suburbs are spread over quite a large area.

By bus

Nettbuss Sør operates the blue city buses. Eastbound buses depart from the Henrik Wergeland street, while westbound buses depart from the Tollbod street or the bus terminal, but not both. Northbound buses (to Vennesla) leave from the bus terminal. The main lines going from west to east is called the Metro bus. You can expect a bus every 5 minutes on weekdays. Service elsewhere is quite frequent during daylight hours, but the frequency drops significantly in the evenings and on weekends.

By car

Most roads except the highway are just one lane each way - thus rush hour should be avoided.

Parking might be difficult in the city center, try the parking houses. There's a toll booth on all roads leading to town.

By taxi

Taxis are expensive. In Kristiansand, there are two major Taxi Companies:

  • Agder Taxi ☎ +47 38 00 20 00
  • Taxi Sør (The yellow cabs) ☎ +47 38 02 80 00

By bicycle

Kristiansand is a pioneer town for a network of separate paths for cyclists. There are dedicated bike lanes along most of the main roads in the city and paths along the major roads. Kristiansand is connected to the North Sea Cycle Route (Route 1) like the neighboring coastal towns.

By small boats

Good moorings if you have your own boat and a nice guest marina with many facilities for visitors (Gjestehavna).

There are also several sightseeing boats for tourists in the summer if you want to go to sea without your own boat.​

What to see in Kristiansand, Norway


  • Fiskebrygga 

    (The Fish Quay/The Fish Market) (Southwestern part of the town center Kvadraturen.). There is still a fish market here, but there are also several, mostly maritime, restaurants around the central waterfront. During summer, locals arrive in their boats and anchor up here. Lovely place for ice cream.
  • Kristiansand Dyrepark 

    (Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement Park) (East of the town). Has a wide selection of animals in, for the most part, natural habitats. The main attractions are lions, tigers, wolves, red pandas, and a reptile house. Other activities here include a log run, a large play area, and a pirate castle with Norway's favorite pirate, Kaptein Sabeltann (Captain Sabretooth). During the summer, there are pirate shows late at night. There's also a kind of toy town called Kardemomme by (Cardamom town) which is based on a book by Norwegian children's writer Thorbjørn Egner. Once inside, all activities are free.
  • Posebyen is what's left of Kristiansand's old town. It still occupies several blocks on the eastern part of the town center. Here you can still see small, white, single-story, wooden houses occupy a whole block. Very peaceful just a few minutes' walk from the busy shopping streets.
  • Christiansholm Fortress

    (at the Boardwalk). This small fortress was completed in 1672 and was for two centuries used for military purposes, as protection of the eastern port. It has only been in war once, in 1807 when the city was attacked by British Royal Navy ships. It is today used for many purposes and various events, exhibitions, concerts, and conferences.
  • Odderøya Museumshavn, Nodeviga Marina at Odderøya, ☎ +47 38 12 03 50, e-mail: mailto:post@vestagdermuseet.no. The maritime museum and port at Odderøya opens in July 2015 and marks the long traditions of Kristiansand as a seafaring city. On the hill behind are some ocher and red buildings that have a history as a fortress and as a plague hospital.
  • Vest-Agder Museum Kristiansand, is an open-air-museum that consists of a main building and about 40 other buildings, collected from the counties of Vest-Agder and Aust-Agder and Kvaderaturen, Kristiansand`s old town. In the museum, you will also find miniature models of Kristiansand from the late 19th century and a cafè.
  • Kristiansand Cannon Museum (Batterie VaraVaraVara) (MøvigMøvigMøvig, 8km west of the town center), ☎ +47 38 08 50 90, e-mail: Post@kanonmuseet.no. 3 Feb-11 May: Su: Noon-4 PM, 18 May-11 Jun: M-W: 11 AM-3 PM, Th-Su: 11 AM-5 PM, 12 Jun-17 Aug: Daily: 11 AM-6 PM, 18 Aug-28 Sep: M-W:11 AM-3 PM, Th-Su: 11 AM-5 PM, 5 Oct-30 Nov: Su: Noon-4 PM. Here you will find the world's second largest cannon ever to be mounted on land. Mounted by the occupying German forces in 1940 to guard the shipping lanes of the Skagerrak.
  • Agder Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden, and Gimle Gård are two museums, located at Gimle, east of river Otra. In the natural history museum and botanical garden, you will find a collection of flora, examples of the fauna and minerals of South Norway in very lifelike exhibitions and rich minerals deposits. Gimle gård is a former mansion, now a museum.
  • Kristiansand Cathedral (Kristiansand domkirkedomkirke). in the Neo-Gothic style, by the square in the very center of town is one of the largest cathedrals in Norway. Beautiful inside and worth visiting.
  • Sørlandet's Art Museum (2 minutes walk from the cathedral), Skippergata 24 B, ☎ +47 38074900. Is the art gallery with permanent and changing exhibitions. 
  • Oddernes Church (east of river Otra). The oldest church in the area was built in the 11th century. Runestone from when the church was built is moved into this beautiful, old church. 

Parks

  • The Boardwalk (Strandpromenaden). The boardwalk alongside the seafront in the town center leads you through beautiful parks and passes Norway's second-largest fountain park (Otterdalsparken, also known as the Nupen Park), Christiansholm fortress from the 17th century, playground for children and a public beach - Bystranda, the Town Beach. The boardwalk continues along the western river bank of the river Otra.
  • Myren Mansion (Myren Gård), Myrbakken 5 (2km west of the city center). A former mansion with houses in the best Swiss style, now a public park in English style, known for plants and trees from the more southern parts of the world, especially for the large rhododendron collection. View of the western port.
  • Ravnedalen (Ravens' Valley) is a lovely park just outside the city center. It is surrounded with steep cliffs and presents the visitor with lush flower gardens and manicured laws perfect for picnics. If you forgot your picnic basket, there's also a café here. There are sometimes music performances in the summer.

What to do in Kristiansand, Norway


  • Forests: In Kristiansand, there are many forests, never more than a short walk away. Near the town center are the areas (perfect for walking recreation or winter activities at winter time):
    •   Jegersberg (East of the river Otra) A wooded area with picturesque marked trails and small, idyllic lakes.
    •   Baneheia (Next to the city center) A wooded area with outstanding views of the city, lighted tracks, idyllic forest paths and opportunities for freshwater swimming in the summer season.
    •   Odderøya - an island to discover next to the city center (Connected with the city center by several bridges), filled with outstanding history, culture, nature, forest, forest trails and wonderful views over the city and the archipelago. Several nice beaches, opportunities for swimming and fishing and great picnic locations.
  • Even if Kristiansand receives little snow at winter time, there is popular ski-lift in Tveit, not far from the airport.
  • Swimming: Do not forget your swimwear, swimming possibilities are many, outdoors and indoors, in saltwater or freshwater such as the lakes Stampe and Jegersbergvannet, swimming pools, beaches, and rocks.
    • Aquarama(Tangen 8). MO, WE, TH 12 AM - 9 PM, TU, FR 6 AM - 9 PM, SA, SU 10 AM- 6 PM. Indoor swimming facilities, including a water slide, swimming pool, hot water pool, and diving towers.
    • Badelandet (Connected to Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement Park), a waterpark, outdoor or indoor (separate ticket required). Water slides, bubble baths, coral reefs, wave pool and swimming pool. The season lasts from April to October.
    • Bystranda (The town beach, right next to AquaramaAquarama) is a nice sandy blue flag beach with swim pier, sun deck, and palm trees - ideal for children.
    • Hamresanden (approx. 9 km east of town). Is a 3 km long, sandy blue flag beach that can be crowded on warm summer days.
  • The beautiful archipelago off Kristiansand (Skjærgården) consists of amazing landscapes, a paradise of islands, skerries, and rocks. In the summertime, you can reach it by sight-seeing-boats from the town center, MS Blindleia or MS Bragdøya. The archipelago and the surrounding fjords is also a perfect setting for sailing and fishing.
  • Bragdøya is an island in the middle of the approach to Kristiansand. Take the boat over from the small port of Augland (Vågsbygd) west of the town center. Discover the island (which is mostly a green space) and experience the abandoned coastal culture at Bragdøya Coast Culture Center.
  • Diving A-dykk (at Dvergsnestangen by Kristiansand Feriesenter) offers diving tips, diving courses, wreck diving, night diving, air refilling and diving for disabled.
  • Escape Room, Henrik Wergelandsgate 53, ☎ +47 45 81 79 81. In the mood to play? Play, learn, discover and solve puzzles!
  • Fishing: If you fish in the rivers in the area, you must purchase a fishing license. The rivers are rich in fish like salmon and trout. If you like to fish in the sea and deep sea fishing, there are good opportunities for that in the Kristiansand area.
  • Play golf: In Kristiansand, there are two golf clubs with their own courts, both a few kilometers outside the city center, Bjåvann and Kristiansand Golfklubb. No reason to let the golf equipment be left at home!
  • Kilden Performing Arts Centre (The landmark building), Sjølystveien 2 (at the quay of Odderøya), ☎ +47 90 58 11 11 (ticket service). Was opened 2012. A location for concerts, theater, and opera performances.

Second-hand market

In the period 04.06. - 20.08., the Second-hand market Posebyen Market is open every Saturday in Posebyen (old town).

Live music

  • Tuesdays from late June to early August there are free live concerts at Fiskebrygga (The Fish Market).

What to eat and drink in Kristiansand, Norway


Eat

Ice cream

  • Hennig-Olsen ice cream is produced in Kristiansand and is one of the largest ice cream brands in Norway. There are also several ice cream bars in the main street Markens and one on Fiskebrygga.

Restaurants

Budget

  • McDonald's (1.Corner of Markens gate/Dronningens gate, 2. Dronningens gate, 2. Sørlandssenteret).
  • Lotus Grillbar (Vestre Strandgate 26), ☎ +47 38029730. Nice and affordable Chinese food. Take-away service.
  • Håndverkeren, Rådhusgata 15 (Just beside the town hall), ☎ +47 48887844. Restaurant house that offers affordable, traditional Norwegian food, taproom and concert venue.
  • Villa Marina, Østre Strand gt. 2 a, ☎ +47 38 12 07 21. Large selection of Italian cuisine at affordable prices.

Mid-range

  • Egon (Chain restaurants: 1.Connected to the Thon Hotel Kristiansand, 2.Connected to Sørlandssenteret). Serves nice food for a much better price/quality ratio. All kinds of dishes available, you do need to go to the bar to order.
  • Slakter Sørensen, Rådhusgata 12 (The main square), ☎ +47 38 09 91 88. The Beef - restaurant on the square.
  • MåltidTollbodgata 2B (In the town center), ☎ +47 47833000. Intimate restaurant with a menu based on local ingredients.

Splurge

  • Sjøhuset, Østre strandgate 12 A (Is situated on a pier near the Nupen Park), ☎ +47 38026260, fax: +47 38026202. Daily: 11 AM-11 PM. Is Kristiansand's main seafood restaurant.
  • Pieder Ro, Gravane 10 (By the fish market (Fiskebrygga), ☎ +47 38100788, fax: 47 38100803NOCC. M-F: 11:30 AM-11 PM, Sa: 4 PM-11 PM, Su: 1 PM-11 PM. Serves very nice fish dishes as well as the more traditional Norwegian dishes, excellent quality and very nice location just southwest of the city center at the small harbor area near the fish market.

Drink

  • Christianssand Brygghus, Tollbodgata 9, ☎ +47 41726000 - a micro-brewery and pub
  • Patrics Pub & Restaurant, Markens gate 10, ☎ +47 40001958. Irish pub and restaurant in the city's main street
  • Møllepuben, Rådhusgata 15 (The basement. Connected to the restaurant Håndverkeren), ☎ +47 38027470. Traditional, Norwegian style pub Local bands play for dancing several nights a week.
  • Telfords Pub, Vestre Strandgate 7 (Connected to the Radisson Blu Caledonien Hotel). Scottish style pub, frequented mostly by an older crowd
  • Victoria Pub, Markens gate 19b (Main street), ☎ +47 380748 90. English style pub in a courtyard from the main street
  • Javel Pub, Vestre Strandgate 23, ☎ +47 3807 09 12. English style pub
  • Kick, Dronningens gate 8, ☎ +47 38028330. Nightclub and stage in the heart of the city
  • Bakgården Bar, Tollbodgata 5, ☎ +47 38021211. Pub ("både &") and bar in the backyard next to each other
  • Harvey's Sportsbar, Tollbodgata 4 (Next to Bakgården), ☎ +47 38 07 23 05. 16-03. A popular American sports bar, with a wide range of hamburgers and live sports. A crowded place during the weekends and Thursday nights (2 for 1).

Mainly coffee

  • Geheb is the largest chain of patisseries and cafes in Kristiansand
  • Laura's Coffee Bar (Rådhusgata 10) at the main square
  • Drømmeplassen (Skippergata 26) calls itself the dream place

Shopping in Kristiansand, Norway


Shopping Malls

  • Markens gate (The main pedestrian street) is the main shopping street in the town center. Most of the street is pedestrianized. Most of the shops are now chain stores, but it is still a busy and nice main shopping street. A few independent stores are still here. It's a central gathering place for most locals, and thus more than a shopping street. Markens gate is the starting point of the indoor shopping centers Sandens, Lillemarkens, and Slottet or elsewhere in Kvadraturen.
  • Sørlandssenteret, Barstølveien 31 (Barstølveien 31 (east of the town centre), ☎ +47 38049100, fax: +47 38049200, e-mail: sorlandssenteret@vital.no. M-F: 10 AM-9 PM, Sa: 10 AM-6 PM. Is the largest shopping center in Northern Europe, located about 10 minutes' drive east of town, in the larger Sørlandsparken area. There are many large stores in the area, and free parking (though you will have to pay road toll on the way back to Kristiansand).
  • Amfi Vågsbygd, Kirsten Flagstadsvei 32 (west of the town center), ☎ +47 38016011. M-F: 10 AM-8 PM, Sa: 10 AM-6 PM. Is a shopping center, about 5 minutes' drive west of town, in the Vågsbygd area.

Specialty Stores

  • Eventyrskogen Souvenirs at Kristiansand Zoo and amusement park
  • Souvenirs in the city center Guide Sør, Markens gate 3 (Main street, one block away from the boardwalk) ☎ +47 47710074.
  • Galleri Bi-Z, Dronningens gate 39, ☎ +47 38 02 53 30. Art gallery, exhibitions, sales, and own framing workshop
  • Husfliden, Gyldenløves gate 6 A, ☎ +47 38 07 06 95. Specialist shop for Norwegian handicrafts and design.
  • Høie, Setesdalsveien 620 (At Mosby, 9km north of the town center), ☎ +47 38124400. Høie bedding, factory outlets.
  • Stormberg, Barstølveien 86 (Sørlandsparken, east of the town center), ☎ +47 454 15 207. Outlets for Stormberg, Norway's largest brand of outdoor wear.
  • Stil- & kvalitet - gaverkvalitet - gavergaver (Sørlandssenteret), Barstølveien 31-35, Entrance D, first floor, ☎ +47 95 42 86 10, e-mail: sorlandssenterert@skgaver.no. Gift shop for those who want style and quality.

Safety in Kristiansand, Norway


Stay safe

Norway is a fairly safe country in general, and Kristiansand is no exception. Though you might want to be extra careful at night in weekends, due to occasional drunk youths stumbling around.

Emergency numbers
  • Police: 112
  • Fire: 110
  • Emergency Medical Services (Ambulance): 113
Safety at sea
Every year there are reports of foreign visitors that get into trouble in small boats at sea. In this area, fatal incidents also occur. Remember that life jackets are required and follow the usual marine traffic rules.

Winter conditions
For more information on driving in winter conditions, see the Winter driving article.
In the very southernmost parts of Norway, the winters are rarely harsh but also in Kristiansand is both snow and ice in the winter months of December to March. In winter, watch out for icy patches, and when hiking in the forests beware when crossing snowy clearings — they may well be frozen lakes with snow over them, which may look safe but could crack. Finally, beware of snow and ice falling from the roofs in downtown Kristiansand, also where it is not warned.

Stay healthy
In acute illness or if accident occurs:
  • Contact Emergency Medical Services/Ambulance ☎ 113 (Emergencies only)
  • Contact Kristiansand legevakt ☎116 117 or ☎+47 38 07 69 00 (Egsveien 102) For minor injuries and illness (emergency room/physician seeing patients without appointment. But to avoid long waits, you are advised to call for an appointment first). Open around the clock.
There are many pharmacies (apotek) in Kristiansand, that are selling medications and can give you advice on the treatment of injury and disease. Vitusapotek Elefanten (Gyldenløves gate 13) has extended opening hours.

Water
The tap water of Kristiansand is clean and nice drinking water, so do drink tap water instead of bottled water without worries to save money.

Dangerous animals
There are few wild animals that can hurt. However, some people get wasp stings and tick bites. In case of complications, consult a doctor. The only poisonous snake is the common European adder. In case of an adder bite, seek medical attention immediately.

Language spoken in Kristiansand, Norway


Norwegian is the main official language. English is widely spoken in tourist places.

LOCAL TIME

8:22 am
June 25, 2019
Europe/Oslo

CURRENT WEATHER

11.78 °C / 53.204 °F
heavy intensity rain
Wed

19.75 °C/68 °F
broken clouds
Thu

19.79 °C/68 °F
sky is clear
Fri

22.74 °C/73 °F
broken clouds
Sat

20.25 °C/68 °F
scattered clouds

LOCAL CURRENCY

NOK

1 USD = 0 NOK
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1 CAD = 0 NOK

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