Kristiansand is located on Norway’s southern coast and has long been a favourite 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 was named after its founder King Christian IV 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.
Kristiansand was founded on a flat sandy moor west of the river mouth of river Otra, and gouged out by contemporary ideal town with seven streets parallel to the river, and ten streets perpendicular to these. The old town district is called Kvadraturen and street lines are the same today. King Christian IV bought the city ground of existing large farms and allowed large green areas inside the city. Baneheia and Ravnedalen are among these.
For convenience, the city can be divided into six larger districts:
- Vågsbygd which includes Flekkerøya, west of downtown.
- Kvaderaturen (rectangular network of streets) including downtown and Posebyen.
- Torridal north of downtown on both riverbanks of Otra which includes the areas Dalane, Strai, Mosby 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, Søm and Tømmerstø.
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 have 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. 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.
Kristiansand has a flourishing cultural life. The city is known especially for music (for example, the symphony orchestra and several festivals) and Kilden Performing Arts Centre, but there is also an art museum for the visual arts and several art galleries, cinema and theater.
IK Start is the best known football club in the city and is in the top league of Norway (their home ground is Sør Arena), in addition to sports clubs within, among others, athletics, basketball, handball, golf, badminton and ice hockey.
In Kristiansand, there are several mosques and many churches which includes Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist and Pentecostal congregations.
Kristiansand is the largest city in the southernmost part of Norway, and has an expanding export industry that spans a wide range, from process industry, oil and gas technology, renewable energy and ICT, to fisheries and other food - and tourism. Kristiansand is a center for trade and the largest shopping center in northern Europe is located within the municipal boundaries.
Kristiansand is the southern communications center in Norway.
Kristiansand Airport, Kjevik (IATA: KRS) is located 12 km (7 mi) north-east of the city. There are seven daily flights to Oslo; four by SAS and three by Norwegian, Widerøe generally fly six times daily to Bergen, three times daily to Stavanger, once daily to Trondheim and three times daily to Copenhagen. KLM fly twice daily to Amsterdam. SAS also fly once a week to Alicante. When getting plane tickets, be careful not to mix Kristiansand up with the city of Kristiansund, which is much further north.
Bus connections to city centre are either city buses 35, 36, or M2 (note that the airport is not a regular stop for none of these services, so verify each departure) costing 35,- for a single ticket, or the airport bus costing 100,- one way.
Regional trains connect Kristiansand to other cities and towns along the Southern Railway Line (Sørlandsbanen). Up to 8 trains daily depart for Stavanger, while up to 6 daily trains leave for the country's capital, Oslo. The trip to Stavanger takes about 3 hours and the trip to Oslo between 4 1/2 to 5 hours. Trains both westwards towards Stavanger and eastwards to Oslo follow an inland route, meaning that travel to the towns along the coast is quite inconvenient by train. There are lots of nice forest views and rural settlements, though. The train station is situated right next to the town centre, the ferry terminal, and the bus terminal.
Kristiansand sits along the E18 highway from Oslo. The highway changes its name to E39 when it passes Kristiansand on its way to Stavanger. Route 9 starts in Kristiansand and takes you through the natural beauty of the Setesdal Valley to Haukeligrend on the Hardangervidda (Hardanger Plateau).
The bus-connections to Oslo and the towns along the western shore of the Oslo Fjord is excellent. Nor-Way Bussexpress has 9 daily connections to Oslo, Konkurrenten.no Konkurrenten.no 4-7 buses while Lavprisekspressen runs twice daily. You are guaranteed a seat - if the bus is full, the bus company will add an extra bus. Lavprisekspressen provides online ticketing only. These express busses are usually just as fast as the trains to Oslo. To towns such as Larvik, Tønsberg and Sandefjord you might arrive several hours later if you go by train. There's also infrequent express bus connections to Stavanger and up along the Setesdal, with connections to cities such as Bergen and Haugesund. Regional buses run frequently along the coast, from Lyngdal and Lista in the west to Arendal in the east, run by several different bus companies. In winter time there are also buses that takes you to different ski resorts located in the hinterland and mountains. The bus terminal is located about 100 meters from the main shopping street, Markens, and right next to the ferry terminal and the train station. There's also a taxi stand here.
Ferry company Color Line operate car ferries to Denmark, 2 times each day (3 times on Saturday - Monday) to Hirtshals. The trip takes 3 hours and 15 minutes, with the brand new superspeed ferry services the route. Prices soar in the summer.
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 city centre and the boardwalk, the bus terminal, the ferry terminal and the railway station.
Nettbuss Sør operates the blue city buses (surch time tables). 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. Night buses operate Fridays and Saturdays.
The town's center is quite compact, which means that everything is within walking distance. Suburbs are spread over quite a large area.
Most roads except the highway is just one lane each way - thus rush hour should be avoided.
Parking might be difficult in the city centre, try the parking houses. There's a toll booth on all roads leading to town.
Taxis are expensive. In Kristiansand, there are two major Taxi Companies:
Good accessibility for bicycles. 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.
- Fiskebrygga (Fish market) (Southwestern part of the town centre 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 an 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. Adults: kr 130-kr 340, Children: kr 110-kr 270 (depending on season) 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 centre. Here you can still see small, white, single-storey, wooden houses occupy a whole block. Very peaceful just a few minutes' walk from the busy shopping streets.
- Vest-Agder Museum Kristiansand. is an open-air-museum that consists of a mainbuilding 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 late 19th century and a cafè.
- Kristiansand Cannon Museum (Batterie Vara) (Møvig, 8km west of the town center), ☎ , e-mail: Post@kanonmuseet.no. 3Feb-11May: Su:Noon-4PM, 18May-11Jun: M-W:11Am-3PM, Th-Su:11AM-5PM, 12Jun-17Aug: Daily: 11AM-6PM, 18Aug-28Sep: M-W:11Am-3PM, Th-Su:11AM-5PM, 5Oct-30Nov: Su:Noon-4PM. 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 Skagerak.
- 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 collections 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. 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, ☎ . Is the town's 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. Rune stone from when the church was built is moved into this beautiful, old church
- The Boardwalk (Strandpromenaden). alongside the seafront in the town centre leads you threw beautiful parks and passes Norways second largest fountain park, Christiansholm fortress from the 17th century and a public beach - Bystranda, the Town Beach. The boardwalk continues along the western river bank of the river Otra.
- Ravnedalen. (Ravens' Valley) is a lovely park just outside the city centre. 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.
- Forests: In Kristiansand, there are many forests, never more than a short walk away. Near the town center are the areas Baneheia Baneheia and Odderøya, perfect for walking recreation or winter activities at winter time.
- Even if Kristiansand receives litle 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, swimmingpools, beaches and rocks.
- Aquarama, (Tangen 8). MO, WE, TH 12a.m. - 9p.m., TU, FR 6 a.m. - 9p.m., SA, SU 10a.m.- 6p.m.. Indoor swimming facilities, including water slide, swimming pool, hot water pool and diving towers NOK 130.
- 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. NOK 129
- Bystranda (The town beach, right next to Aquarama) is a nice sandy blue flag beach with swim pier, sun deck and palm trees - ideal for children.
- Hamresanden (aprox. 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 summer time, you can reach it by sight-seeing-boats from the town centre. 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.
- 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 centre, Bjåvann and Kristiansand Golfklubb No reason to let the golf equipment be left at home!
- Kilden Performing Arts Centre, ☎ +47 90581111 (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).
Until 2007, Kristiansand was the site of the Quart Festival, a multi-day music festival - the largest of its kind in Norway. Other festivals have come and after selling only 2000 tickets for the 2008 event, the festival was cancelled. In 2009, the festival is once again in full swing with bigger and bands tipped to play. The management has changed back to people that had previously made the festival a great success.
- Odderøya live at Odderøya is an annual rock music festival that takes place in early June.
- Palmesus, the annual music festival at the Bystranda beach in early July.
- Måkeskrik in Bendiksbukta, also at Odderøya is an annual music festival in late July.
- The Dark Season is an indoor annual club music festival in late October.
- University of Agder has its main campus at Gimlemoen just east of the town centre. The new campus was built at an old military camp, and the new building was finished in 2001. There are programs in nursing, teaching, languages, psychology, literature and arts, music, sports and health, mathematics and similar subjects, law, economics, social work and politics. Just a few of the classes are taught in English.
There's also music education (both classical and pop/rock) at Musikkens hus (House of Music) in the town center. There's also several small, private higher education schools, among them a Christian journalism school at Gimlekollen and a local departement of BI Norwegian Business School (programs for master and bachelor degree).
- Looking for a job in the Kristiansand area? See this website.
- Markens gate (main 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.
- Sørlandssenteret, Barstølveien 31 (east of the town centre), ☎ , fax: +47 38049200, e-mail: email@example.com. M-F: 10AM-9PM, Sa: 10AM-6PM. 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 centre), ☎ . M-F: 10AM-8PM, Sa: 10AM-6PM. Is a shopping center, about 5 minutes' drive west of town, in the Vågsbygd area.
- 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.
- McDonald's (1.Corner of Markens gate/Dronningens gate, 2. Sørlandssenteret). Meals are approx. 80 NOK.
- Lotus Grillbar (Vestre Strandgate 26), ☎ . Nice and affordable chinese food. Take-away service
- Egon (Chain restaurants: 1.Connected to the Scandic 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), ☎ . The Beef - restaurant on the square
- Måltid, Tollbodgata 2B (In the town centre), ☎ . Intimate restaurant with a menu based on local ingredients.
- Sjøhuset, Østre strandgate 12 A (Is situated on a pier near the Nupen Park), ☎ , fax: +47 38026202. Daily: 11AM-11PM. Is Kristiansand's main seafood restaurant.
- Pieder Ro, Gravane 10 (By the fish market (Fiskebrygga)), ☎ , fax: 47 38100803. M-F: 11:30AM-11PM, Sa: 4PM-11PM, Su: 1PM-11PM. 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 harbour area near the fish market.
- Christianssand Brygghus, Tollbodgata 9, ☎ . - a micro-brewery and pub
- Patrics Pub & Restaurant, Markens gate 10, ☎ . Irish pub and restaurant in the city's main street
- 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), ☎ . English style pub in a courtyard from the main street
- Kick, Dronningens gate 8, ☎ . Nightclub and stage in the heart of the city
- Bakgården Bar, Tollbodgata 5, ☎ . Pub ("både &") and bar in the backyard next to each other
- Harvey's Sportsbar, Tollbodgata 4 (Next to Bakgården), ☎ . 16-03. A popular american sportsbar, with a wide range of hamburgers and live sports. A crowded place during the weekends and Thursday nights (2 for 1).
- 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
Set up your tent or rent a cottage.
- Hamre familiecamping, Hamresandveien 1, 4656 Hamresanden (9 km east of the town centre), ☎ . Next to Hamresanden, the longest beach in the Kristiansand area.
- Kristiansand feriesenter Dvergsnestangen, Dvergsnesveien 571, 4636 Kristiansand (11 km east of the town centre), ☎ . Near the beach and rental boats.
- Roligheden camping, Framnesveien 10, 4632 Kristiansand (Only 2 km east of the town centre), ☎ . Near the beach and swimming facilities and not far from the town centre.
- Hamresanden Resort, 4656 Hamresanden (9 km east of the town centre), ☎ . At Hamresanden, the longest beach in the Kristiansand area, Hamresanden Resort offers a variety of accommodation, from cabins and tent sites in the summer to all year Apartment Hotel.
In Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement park
Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement park offers a variety of accommodation services in the summer within the park area, ☎+47 38049700:
Approx. 12 km east of the town centre, close to Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement park and the large shoppingcentre Sørlandssenteret
- Rica Dyreparken Hotel, Kardemommeby, ☎ , fax: +47 38 14 64 01, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Designed on the theme of Noah's Ark.
- Quality Hotel & Resort Kristiansand, Sørlandsparken, ☎ , fax: +47 38 17 77 80, e-mail: email@example.com. Right next door to Kristiansand Zoo, the resort also has its own outdoor play area with a Zip wire ride, climbing frame, beach volleyball court and heated 25-meter swimming pool.
- Centrum Budget Hotel, Vestre Strandgate 49, ☎ , fax: +47 38024869, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: Noon. Single 495, double 595.
- First Hotel Kristiansand, Droningens gate 66, ☎ . also known by the former names Hotel Fregatten and Hotel Sørlandet
- Scandic Hotel Kristiansand, Markensgate 39 (Main street), ☎ , fax: + 47 21614211, e-mail: email@example.com. Also in the heart of Kristiansand, nice staff and breakfast is always included in your rate. Bicycles available as well as free Wi-Fi in your room, or you can check your e-mail on one of the three computers in the lobby area for free.
- Comfort Hotel Kristiansand, Skippergata 7-9 (100 meters from the bus station), ☎ , fax: + 47 38070243, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also in the heart of Kristiansand, in a quiet street.
- Thon Hotel Wergeland, Kirkegata 15, ☎ , fax: +47 38027321, e-mail: email@example.com. Situated in the heart of Kristiansand, with the Wergeland Park, the cathedral and the market as its nearest neighbours. The hotel is only one block away from Markens, the most popular shopping street in Kristiansand.
- Yess! Hotel, Tordenskjoldsgate 12, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. New and modern hotel at a moderate cost. The hotel offers excellent service, premium beds and a healthy breakfast. The hotel is located in the city centre, only a 200m walk fra the bus, train and ferry station. Checkin from 15:00.
- Sjøgløtt hotell, Østre Strandgate 25, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. A cozy, centrally located, small hotel with sea views
- Radisson Blu Caledonien Hotel, Vestre Strandgate 7, ☎ , fax: +47 38112111, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Centrally located in the heart of Kristiansand
- Hotel Norge, Dronningens gate 5-7, ☎ , fax: +47 38174001, e-mail: email@example.com. Centrally located business and spa hotel.
- Clarion Hotel Ernst, Rådhusgate 2, ☎ . Recently renovated hotel. It is a modern first class hotel in the heart of the city centre. The hotel was built in 1858 and has long traditions as a hotel. Each room has a characteristic of its own, they may vary in size furnishing and decorations.
- Scandic Hotel Kristiansand Bystranda, Østre Strandgate 74 (on the boardwalk, near the town beach and Aquarama.), ☎ . is from 2013 the largest hotel in downtown Kristiansand.
- Kristiansand Public Library
- International Internet Cafe (Vestre Strandgate 24)
- Internettkafè 123 (Kirkegata 22)
Norway is a fairly safe country in general, and Kristiansand is no exception. Though you might wanna be extra careful at night in weekends, due to an occasional drunk youths stumbling around.
In acute illness or if accident occurs:
- Contact Emergency Medical Services ☎ 113 (Emergencies only)
- Contact Kristiansand legevakt ☎ +47 38 07 69 00 (Egsveien 102) For minor injuries and illness (emergency room/physician seeing patients without appointment).
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.
Kristiansand is nice small city, and almost every Norwegian speaks English more or less fluently. Most people will respond in English to any question you may have. Some Norwegians also speak some German, due to the proximity of the language, and that they study it in school. VISA and MasterCard are normally accepted in any restaurant, taxi or store. ATMs accept all major credit and debit cards and are available in English language. The currency is Norwegian kroner (crowns).
- Lillesand is a pleasant, picturesque but sleepy little town 25 minutes' drive along the E18 east of Kristiansand city. The town The town is consisting of picturesque white wooden houses around a small harbor, which can be quite busy in summer. In June, July and august, you may experience a part of the amazing archipelago Blindleia between Kristiansand and Lillesand by the sightseeing boat MB Øya. Return by bus.
- Vennesla is a village, 15 km north of Kristiansand, on the banks of the river Otra. The Setesdal Line (Setesdalsbanen) is a heritage railway and railway museum that runs on the 8 km long, wild and scenic stretch between Grovane and Røyknes stations in Vennesla, Sundays in June, July and august.
- Høllen is an old outport in Søgne municipality, 20 minutes drive along E39 west of Kristiansand. Take a walk in the outport and Åros beach nearby, or try your luck at fishing, and even take the sightseeing boat all year round to the even moore picturesque outport of Ny-Hellesund where there is also a rare restaurant and guesthouse.
|Routes through Kristiansand|
|Newcastle ← (unconnected) ←||W E||→ Arendal → Oslo|
|Stavanger ← Mandal ←||N S||→ Hirtshals → Aalborg|