- childrens first choice

Kristiansand Norway - Anders Martinsen / VisitKristiansand

Kristiansand was established in 1641, by the King of Norway and Denmark at that time, King Christian IV. The name is supposed to include the words "Kristian" from the king's name "Christian", and the word "sand" which reffers to the sandy ground which the city is build on.

This is the capitol of beautiful ”Sørlandet”, which is the coast of the southernmost part of Norway. The landscape and the climate invites thousands of thousands from whole Norway to taking their summer vacation here.

The children loves it for the amazing beaches, the animals in Kristiansand Zoo, and not to mention the ”City of Captain Sabretooth” – the Abra Harbour, where this scary pirate is living.

Kristiansand is both a city and a municipality, and is also the administrative centre of Vest Agder County. By October 2011 the population was 83.100, which makes it the 6th largest city in Norway.

Let's take a city walk

Fiskebrygga Photo: Anders Kristiansand

Let's start with a little city walk in Kristiansand centre.

The city has a lot of interesting places to see, and we start at the sophisticated Fish Market with it’s lively restaurants.

We follow the eastern Harbour with the Otterdal Fountain Park, a quite unique recreational area, with granite fountains made by the sculpturing artist Kjell Nupen. In this area we also find the guest harbour, and the Christiansholm Fortress from 1672.

Kvadraten Kristiansand Photo: Anders Martinsen /VisitKristiansand

The centre of old Kristiansand has still the characteristic, square plan in renaissance style, which absolutely is worth beeing a part of your city walk.

In Posebyen you will find one of the largest collections of traditional, charming old, white painted wooden houses. So typical for the region Sørlandet. During summer season you will find a street market here every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

When visiting Kristiansand you must pay a visit to the Fisherman’s Wharf in Kristiansand’s old town area, where you can find an exciting fish market as well as many restaurants.

The fish pier is an interesting sight, and an experience in itself. Here you can see the fish and shellfish swimming in tanks, and hear the fleet of small boats chugging through the canal. Why not try one of the many restaurants in the area.

Hotels and accomodation

This popular city with all it's attractions has of course a lot of hotels and other accomodations.

If you are looking for luxury, you will like Radisson SAS Caledonien, and if you are visiting the Zoo then the Rica Dyreparken Hotel  is a good choice.

We also recommend the Thon Hotel Wergeland as an excellent choice to stay in your visit to Kristiansand.

What to see and do in Kristiansand

Kristiansand Dyrehage - The Zoo

A wolf in nature: Photo: Anders Martinsen Visit Kristiansand

Let’s get back to the children first.

Without any doubt, the most popular of all attractions in the region is the Kristiansand Dyrepark (Zoo).

This is great for adults, and even greater for the children. You find it 11 km outside the city centre.

This is the most visited attraction in Norway, and is covering around 150 acres of typical, wild Scandinavian terrain.

In many ways it is quite different from most other zoo’s in Europe, as there are few fences and bars, so the animals can move in wide, open spaces.

The zoo itself has more than 800 birds and animals, of 120 different species, and includes lions, tigers, giraffes, wolfs and lynx.

The World of Captain Sabretooth – the Pirate

Captain Sabretooth's world. Photo: Anders Martinsen-VisitKristiansand

In the Zoo area there is also build a whole world of adventure pirate activities, where you can follow the Captain Sabretooth’s productions from early July until early August.

This year you can experience the play ”Captain Sabretooth and the Secret of the Ocean”, which is the last one of a trilogy.

The kids will love the ”Captain Sabretooth” world, and now you can even stay overnight in the Pirate’s Town, Abra Harbour”.

The Badeland

In 2010, the new attraction, Badeland was opened.

This is a waterpark island, with slides, pools, waves and rivers. Amusement for both young and old people.

And of course: The whole park area has all kinds of restaurants, cafeterias and kiosks where you can buy food and sweets of all kinds. As you will understand, to play yourself through all the activities in the leisure park, you will probably need more than one day.

The Setesdal Mineral Park

Mineral park Photo: Erik Engenes / VisitKristiansand

We also recommend you to take a visit to the Setesdal Mineral Park.

Here you can see and learn about the unique shaped crystals, the many colorful minerals and other valuable stones from all over the world, all seen in this very special underground tunnels in the mountain.

Get a view into the origin of the earth, and see uncommon minerals and expencive jewellery stones.

Learn more at

The Railway Museum

Setesdalsbanen Photo: Anders Martinsen

This is Vest-Agder museum and the Setesdalsbanen

This is a narrow gauge railway, with steam engines and carriages still in use after more than 100 years.

The amazing 8 km track runs from Grovane to Røyknes, through the most scenic settings, passing forrests and small lakes. Both Grovane and Røyknes has museum stores.

Vest-Agder County Museum

This is the largest historical museum in Southern Norway.

It has an Open Air museum, a micro city with a collection of miniature houses, and in the main building there is a toy exhibition.

Festivals and attractions

Miniconcert in Kristiansand Photo: Anders MArtinsen / VisitKristiansand

The city is the centre for many festivals during summer, like ”Odderøya Live”, ”Palmesus”, ”Supersonic” and the ”Maakeskrik”.

This autumn, the greatest festival events are ”Punkt ’12”, ”Christiansand Protestfestival” and the ”Southern Discomfort”. The city also host a Children's Film Festival.

The Kilden Theatre and Concert Hall

Kilden Theatre Photo: Olav Breen

A brand new, amazing Cultural centre was opened in January 2012, named "Kilden", with more than 2,200 seats.

Here you will find the Opera South, the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra and the Agder Theatre. It is also hosting a variety of other forms of cultural expressions.

This is a unique building, both in architecture, function and volume.

It has 16,000 square meters, four halls, where the biggest one is the concert hall with nearly 1200 seats. The Theatre & Opera Hall has 700 seats

Find yourself a cultural event when visiting the city, and experience the Kilden hall.

The Cruise Town

Cruiseship in Kristiansand. Photo: Maiken Flaat Kulien

Throughout ages, this city has always played an important role in the Norwegian naval history.

At one time, it even was recognized for having maybe the largest fleet of sailing ships in the world.

The city has one of the fastest growing cruise harbours in Norway when it comes to popularity, and in 2011, 54.000 passengers from cruiseships were walking in the streets of the city. It's expected to raise conciderable in the years to come.

Many passengers, as well as other tourists visit the Søgne old church, which is the oldest half-timber church in Norway, and build as early as in 1640.

In 2012 it is expected 50 port of calls from cruiseships, and even opening for wintercruises to the city.

Education and work

Here you will find the University of Agder, which also is situated in the town Grimstad. There are about 9000 students in this region. In the autumn of 2010, the new and modern campus was opened in Grimstad, where 2500 students started their studying.

You can read more about the University of Agder and the faculties here:

In this region you will find people from around 140 different countries. International education is available from 1st to 10th grade through the Kristiansand International School.

Pupils with parents from abroad are given priority when they are here for a limited period of time.

The region is offering a huge variety of jobs, both in private as well as in public sector.

The main employers are National Oilwell Varco with 1500 staff members, the Sørlandet Hospital with around 5,500 employees in the region.

Siem Offshore is the owner and operator of a very modern fleet of support vessels for the global oil and gas industry, as well as anchor handling vessels.

Other major emploers are of course the Kristiansand Municipality and University of Agder. If you are interested in finding work, visit our own starting page for finding work in Norway.

How to get here

The city is accessable from sea, air, railway and roads.

There are daily routes with boat to and from Denmark, and the Kristiansand Airport Kjevik is only 12 kilometres from the city. From Kjevik there are daily flights to Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim, København and Amsterdam.

The Sørlandsbanen railway is connecting the city with Oslo in the east and Stavanger in the west. Going by car or bus, you arrive Kristiansand from the east on the E18 road, and from the west on the E39.

Norwegian Christmas

Take a look now

Norwegian Christmas

Norwegian Names

Learn about

Norwegian Names

Get my ebook

The Old Norwegian Glass Fishing Floats

or read more first ...

Check our glass float web-pages

Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms Kristiansand

The Coat of Arms for Kristiansand is showing a pine tree with symbols from the Norwegian Royal Standard, which includes the Royal Crown and the Norwegian Lion.

The Arms are based on the oldest seal of the city, as King Christian granted the city the right to use these symbols.

Under the seal is the letters R.F.P., which is a shortening for the words "Regna Firma Pietas", (Fear of God strengthens empires) which was King Christian IV's slogan.

Around the seal is the words: "Cavsa Triumphat Tandem Bona", which means "The good course ultimately prevails".