As harbour city of the South, Kristiansand offers plenty of opportunities to experience culture, enjoy the surrounding nature, or to relax during a weekend away.
Discover the city
Kristiansand is known for its old town, harbour and white beaches. The old town of Posebyen is characterised by white wooden houses. It is one of the few parts of the city that survived the city fire of 1892. The harbour is known for its beautiful canals and is loved by locals, especially on sunny days. An interesting site in the harbour is the Fiskebrygga, or the fish market. Here you can try fresh fish and local specialties at the fishmongers or the restaurants. With a fifteen-minute walk from the Fiskebrygga, you arrive at Bystranda, the city beach of Kristiansand. With the white sand, palm trees, and the possibility to swim, it is the perfect place to spend time when the weather is nice. Between the Fiskebrygga and Bystranda, you can find the Christiansholm fortress. The fortress was completed in 1672 and was part of the defence plan for the city when it was founded in 1641. In 1872, the fortress was dismantled and today, it is a tourist attraction and venue for cultural activities. Just a 10-minute walk from the fortress, right in the city centre you will find the Cathedral. This neo-Gothic church was completed in 1885 and designed by architect Henrik Thrap-Meyer. The cathedral is actively used, twice a week there are church services. The building is open to visitors all year round and in summer there are guided tours.
- Christiansholm Fortress
Art and culture
In Kristiansand, you can find a lot of art and culture. For example, the Kristiansand Kunsthall is a progressive art gallery where exhibitions of local, national, and international artists can be visited. In addition to museums, Kristiansand also has open-air art and architecture, such as the Kunstsilo building designed by Mestres Wåge Arquitectes and MX_SI Architectural Studio.
Don’t miss these museums:
- Cannon museum
- Kristiansand Museum
- Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden
- Odderøya Museumshavn
- Sørlandets Art Museum
- Kristiansand Kunsthall
Just south of the city centre you can find Odderøya, an island where the former naval base was located. Nowadays, this part is a lovely outdoor area just outside the city centre of Kristiansand. Along the idyllic hiking trails, you will find a lighthouse, secluded bays with sandy beaches, and several war memorials. Hike to the highest point of the island and take in the fantastic views. After the hike, you can relax in one of the various cosy cafes.
On the island, you can still find traces of the time when it was a naval base. In Odderøya Museumhavn, you can see the history of polyester boats and learn how boating became popular as a hobby in Norway after WWII.
For more information about the Kristiansand region, have a look at the Southern Norway page.
Nature around Kristiansand
Baneheia en Ravnedalen-park
Right next to the city, there are two beautiful nature reserves, Baneheia and Ravnedalen Park. A 20-minute walk from the Holland Norway Lines terminal brings you to the entrance of Baneheia, a recreation area built between 1870-1880. In the past, the area was used for harvesting wood. Nowadays there are several hiking trails. The routes vary between light, heavy and cultural. In addition to hiking, you can also enjoy the rich flora and fauna in the area, go swimming or fishing, and there are several viewpoints where you can spot birds. Baneheia is connected to the Ravnedalen park, another nature reserve that is known for its lakes, heather and the beautiful swans that live there. It is a beautiful and mystical park where you can enjoy fantastic walks. In the summer, you can enjoy open-air concerts and theatre there.
Just 6 km from Kristiansand, you can visit the Lille Preikestolen. It is located by Lake Fiskåvannet on a 6 km hiking trail. The Lille Preikestolen is the little brother of the rock formation Preikestolen near Stavanger.
Another impressive hiking trail is the Tømmerenna, also known as “The Wooden Path”. This trail starts in Vennesla, about a 30-minute drive from Kristiansand. The 2-hour walk takes you over suspension bridges, through tunnels, along the bank of the river and not to forget, along the wooden slide that was used to transport harvested trees. It is recommended to start in Steinsfossen and continue the route to Kringsjå. From here you can see the Setesdalbanen, an ancient train track where an authentic steam locomotive still runs. Good to know: The wooden path is a protected nature reserve, and the walk is at your own risk.
Food and drinks
There are plenty of restaurants and pubs in the city to rest after a long day of activities. Here are some tips:
Shopping in Kristiansand
The Markens Gate is the main street in the city centre. In addition to restaurants, you will also find a lot of nice shops here. From the big chains to local stores, Kristiansand offers something of everything.
Tips for shopping:
- Markens gate, main Street
- Lillemarkens Shopping
- Sørlandssenteret, 12km from Kristiansand, one of Norway’s largest shopping centres
- Skippergata, street with local shops
On Sunday, the shops in Kristiansand are closed.
View our travel offers in the region
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Discover the surprising city of Kristiansand
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