Kristiansand: Norway’s centre in the south

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If you are travelling from Denmark to Norway by ferry, you will often arrive here – in Kristiansand, the largest and most important city on Norway’s south coast. The city is not only the gateway to the breathtaking land of the fjords, but also offers a varied cityscape itself – beach holidays, amusement parks, diverse museums and mystical open-air areas all come together here. Here you will find everything you need to know about travelling to Norway’s fifth largest city.

Why should you go on a holiday in Kristiansand?

The city of Kristiansand on the south coast of Norway is a popular holiday destination in summer, and not just for tourists from Norway. Here, urban city life meets sun, beach and sea. But you can not only enjoy a beach holiday in Norway’s southern centre and fifth largest city, but also explore the surrounding nature – for example on one of the offshore islands or the mystical nature parks – and visit one of Norway’s most popular attractions: the Kristiansand Dyrepark, a large zoo and amusement park.

Kristiansand: Holidays
Anyone travelling to Kristiansand is on holiday on Norway’s south coast.

Where is Kristiansand located?

Kristiansand is located in the far south of Norway at Skaggerak. The city is located in the province of Agder, of which it is also the administrative centre. It is located roughly halfway between Oslo and Stavanger, with the Norwegian capital around 320 kilometres away and Stavanger around 240 kilometres to the northwest. If you are planning a road trip along Norway’s coast (possibly even up to the North Cape), Trondheim, which is a good 800 kilometres away, could also be a destination. The northern Danish city of Aalborg is only around 200 kilometres away thanks to ferry connections.

Kristiansand: weather

Kristiansand has an ocean climate, which makes for relatively mild temperatures. The best time to visit is from June to September, as temperatures are at their highest during these months – the warmest months are July and August, when temperatures reach an average of 18° Celsius. However, you should always bring a rain jacket or umbrella, even in summer. The coldest months are January and February, although temperatures are still within reasonable limits at an average of 2° Celsius. The water temperature can rise to 21° Celsius in summer.

Activities and sights in Kristiansand

Kristiansand Dyrepark

Kristiansand: Dyrepark
At Kristiansand Dyrepark you can immerse yourself in the world of pirates.

Kristiansand Dyrepark is a large and varied park that combines a zoo and an amusement park. The park is located 11 kilometres east of the city and is extremely spacious, so you can spend many hours here without getting bored – in addition to the zoo, there is also an entertainment park with various themed areas. The Badelandet water park is also adjacent to Dyrepark.

The zoo, which is also one of Norway’s most visited attractions, is not only home to Scandinavian animals such as wolves and moose, but also species from all over the world – a highlight is the large savannah enclosure, which is crossed by a bridge. Also not to be missed are Kardamom Town, based on the children’s books of the same name by author Thorbjørn Egner, and “Kaptein Sabeltanns Verden” (Captain Sabertooth’s World), where everything revolves around pirates.

Museums in Kristiansand

Kristiansand has a number of interesting and varied museums for the whole family. The Kristiansand Museum is located in the centre of the Kongsgård district and consists of an open-air museum, a miniature town and a main building with an exhibition on toys. Around 40 historic buildings, some of which date back to the 16th century, can be explored here, including a school and a farm. Another museum highlight is Sørlandets Kunstmuseum, which exhibits both historical and contemporary works of art from the south of Norway.

The Kristiansand Cannon Museum is also worth a visit, and not just for history buffs. Eight kilometres from Kristiansand is a former coastal battery that was built by the German occupying forces in the 1940s. Today, it houses an interesting exhibition on the Second World War, the occupation of Norway and one of the largest cannons in the world.

Bystranda beach

Bystranda (English: city beach) is located in the south-eastern city centre of Kristiansand and is the most popular bathing spot in Kristiansand, also due to its inclusiveness. The sandy beach not only offers seating, beach volleyball courts, a skate park and a playground, but also particularly clean water – the Blue Flag flies here, a quality mark that is only awarded to beaches that make a special effort to promote sustainable tourism. Few places in Norway have more hours of sunshine than Kristiansand, making swimming here particularly enjoyable.


The island of Odderøya is a former naval base that is now an open-air area. Here you can take a wonderful walk, relax and enjoy the view of Kristiansand’s eastern harbour, Christiansholm Fortress and various boat harbours. Odderøya Fortress, the oldest fortress in the city and once Northern Europe’s largest quarantine centre, is also worth a visit. There are good bathing opportunities on the eastern side of the island. The Fiskebrygga bridge connects the small island with the mainland. Music fans should pay a visit to the Kilden Performing Arts Centre.

Kristiansand: Odderøya
Odderøya lies off Kristiansand and is now an open-air area that invites you to relax.

Accommodation in Kristiansand

Hotels in Kristiansand

Kristiansund has a number of hotels to offer, from cosy B&Bs and simple hostels to chic designer hotels. Hotels often have the advantage of a central location – hotspots or train stations can often be reached quickly and easily on foot. In addition, breakfast is included in most hotels.

Holiday homes in Kristiansand

Holiday homes can be a good alternative to hotels, especially for families and other groups. Holiday homes give you a feeling of being at home, especially when you return to your accommodation after an exciting day’s holiday. They are also often spacious and often offer not only a kitchen or additional cooking facilities, but also a garden area – sometimes even with access to water. Pets are also allowed in many holiday homes. A holiday flat can be an alternative to a holiday home, especially in a city.

Camping in Kristiansand

Especially, but not only, in the summer months, camping in Norway is a very popular way to go on holiday. Camping – whether wild camping, which is permitted in Norway, or on a campsite – is often very close to nature and many campsites are located by the water. In addition, most campsites today offer a wide range of accommodation types (from simple pitches to glamping), as well as a wide range of services.

Travelling to Kristiansand

Travelling to Kristiansand by car and ferry

Kristiansand is very easy to reach for travellers arriving by car, camper or motorhome. The city on the south coast of Norway has a direct ferry connection with Hirtshals on the northern Danish mainland, meaning that travellers from Central Europe can easily travel to Norway in just over three hours. Alternatively, you can also choose a ferry to Oslo or Gothenburg. Kristiansand is therefore an excellent starting point for a road trip through Norway. Trips from the southernmost point to the northernmost point, for example, are very popular and allow you to get to know the land of fjords in a very special way.

Travelling to Kristiansand by plane

Travelling to Kristiansand by plane is quite straightforward. Kristiansand Airport is located around eight kilometres north-east of the city centre. There are regular flights from Oslo, Copenhagen and Amsterdam, among others, but there are no direct connections to the UK. However, the major airports in Oslo and Copenhagen are very well connected to the British flight network. From the airport, you can get to your accommodation by taxi, public transport or rental car.

Cruises to Kristiansand

Not only do many ferries dock in the harbour of Kristiansand, but also a large number of cruise ships. Whether you are travelling to Norway or the North Sea – on a cruise you can see a lot of different countries in a very short time and gain a whole range of new impressions and experiences.

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