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Kristiansand, Norway

Introduction

The city of Kristiansand sits on the coast of southern Norway on the North Sea. It's a relatively small city with about 80,000 people, but with the greater area it is home to about 150,000 people. Today the city is known for its sunny days, beaches, and Norwegian tourists, who prefer this city over many others for their summer holiday.

History & Background

The city of Kristiansand was only founded in 1641, although the surrounding areas had been settled for centuries. The city was founded and named after King Christian IV, who created the city as a center of regional trade and defense. From this time the city offered little else as it slowly grew into a military and trading center on a regional level.

In the 1700s the city grew rapidly as it became a major trading center. With the fall of the Hanseatic League's dominance in Bergen this same century, Kristiansand gained trading opportunities and took them. This growth continued into the 1900s, but the Great Depression in the 1920s ended the city's growth and prosperity. The next decade, during World War II, the Germans occupied the city putting the city into further decline.

Since World War II the city has not been able to compete with Oslo and other major trading centers, but has re-established their trade to a significant degree. Although a fairly small city, Kristiansand has a steady economy based primarily on trade and shipping.

Kristiansand Today

Kristiansand attracts visitors every year, especially during the warm sunny summer months. The beaches and music festivals draw people here to enjoy the sun, relax, or party. This holiday atmosphere carries over from the beaches and festival grounds to the city itself during the summer months as the locals tend to embrace it or avoid it entirely.

Beaches & Parks

Beach in the City: This beach is in the middle of the city. Although it's a bit small due to limited space in the city center, it offers the closest option to those staying in town and is full nearly year round.

Odderøya: This island makes a great trip from Kristiansand as it was home to a naval base, but today is more of a park and is accessible on foot from the heart of the city.

Hamresanden Beach: This beach is fairly large and offers swimming in both the sea and a river that empties into the sea at this point. It's also a fairly large beach so there is room for a lot of people, especially on sunny summer days.

Historical & Architectural Sights

Lillesand: This getaway is just a boat ride from Kristiansand and it makes a great day trip. The boat ride is scenic and the town of Lillesand boasts nearly everything a person can think of when it comes to a stereotypical coastal village as the town's layout and architecture bring you to a new day and age.

Museums

Agder Natural History Museum & Botanical Gardens (Agder naturmuseum og botaniske hage): This museum has exhibits on natural history as well as the botanical gardens. For more information visit their website at: naturmuseum.no.

Kristiansand Cannon Museum (Kristiansand Kanonmuseum): This museum, a bit outside of the city has a huge cannon collection including some rather unique cannons. For more information visit their website at: www.kanonmuseet.no.

Setesdalsbanen Railway (Setesdalsbanen): Just outside of Kristiansand, these trains are pulled by steam engines taking visitors from the town of Grovane to Røyknes, 5 miles (8 kilometers) away. It is both an educational experience as well as a relaxing journey. For more information visit their website at: setesdalsbanen.no/welcome-to-the-setesdalsbanen/.

Sørlandet Art Museum (Sørlandets Kunstmuseum): This art museum is primarily comprised of Norwegian art in its permanent collection. The museum also features regular visiting exhibits as well. For more information visit their website at: skmu.no/english/.

Vest-Agder Museum County Museum (Vest-Agder museet): This museum focuses on the historic people and culture of the city and the greater area as a whole. For more information visit their website at: www.vestagdermuseet.no.

Cultural Activities

Fish Market (Fiskebrygga: The quayside hosts the fish market as well as numerous shops and restaurants. The area is great to see on foot and is a combination of local and foreigner alike, giving the area and the market itself a fairly authentic Norwegian feel.

Areas & Neighborhoods of Interest

The area of Posebyen has a huge collection of white-painted wooden houses packed tightly together. This neighborhood has an incredible charm as it maintains a look and feel from centuries past.

Transportation

Kristiansand is well connected in southern Norway and sitting close to Oslo there are additional transportation options. Kristiansand's airport offers regular routes to most major Norwegian cities. Boats and buses also provide great transportation options to southern Norway.

For international connections, the options are much more limited, but nearby Oslo gives the traveler a huge number of choices. Options from Kristiansand itself are primarily in the form of boat (to Denmark) and plane as you can get to most major northern European cities by air. These routes are somewhat limited due to the options available from Oslo.

Airport: Kristiansand's airport, Kjevik Airport is located about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the city's center. The airport code is KRS and the airport's website is: www.avinor.no/en/airport/kristiansand.

Train Station: Kristiansand's main train station is located on the water just southwest of the center of town. For train times and schedules, their website is: www.nsb.no. For its location or directions, see the map below.

Bus Station: There are numerous private bus companies that service Kristiansand. There are a couple bus stations and stops, but the main bus station is located next to the train station. For its location or directions, see the map below.

Local Transportation: Moving around the city of Kristiansand and the surrounding islands can be done by bus or ferry as the city has a fairly extensive transportation system.

Official Websites

City of Kristiansand: www.visitkrs.no
Kingdom of Norway: www.visitnorway.com

Map & Directions

This page was last updated: March, 2013