Kristiansand, Norway

Kristiansand was founded in 1641 as a military garrison by King Christian IV because of its strategic location in southern Norway. The original 17th century fortress still stands along the East Harbor. Come visit the charm of Norway’s fifth largest city.

Share this
View MAP

1 Cannon at Christiansholm Fortress in Kristiansand, Norway

Christian IV, who was the King of Denmark and Norway, commissioned the Christiansholm Fortress in the 17th century. It remained a military post until 1872. This original bronze cannon is one of eight that protected the citadel. The stone walls of the circular tower are 16 feet thick. Today, in addition to being a tourist attraction and a small gallery, the facility is available to rent for special events.

Østre Strandgate 52B, 4610 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

2 Christiansholm Fortress on Waterfront in Kristiansand, Norway

When the Christiansholm Festning was built circa 1672, it stood on a small island off the shore of Kristiansand in the East Harbor. A tall, stone bastion still surrounds its base. The garrison was only tested in battle during the Napoleonic Wars when it was attacked in 1807 by two Royal Navy ships including the HMS Spencer. When the British succeeded in occupying the fort, they tried to destroy it with dynamite. Their plan literally backfired when a delayed fuse unexpectedly exploded, killing four seamen.

Østre Strandgate 52B, 4610 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

3 Christian IV Bronze Statue in Kristiansand, Norway

This bronze statue celebrates when Christian IV established a new town along the sand of the Otra river in 1641. He named it after himself: Christianssand. This image of the former King of Denmark and Norway holding a scroll stands proudly in a medium along Festningsgata, the main boulevard that runs through the center of Kristiansand. The sculpture was created in 1982 by Vinje Gunnerud.

Rådhuset K 4611 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

4 Boardwalk Around Eastern Harbor in Kristiansand, Norway

This view from Odderoya displays the beauty of Østre havn or the Eastern Harbor. The pier on the left is actually an islet named Nodeviga. It sits at the mouth of the Gravanekanalen channel. It also is near the start of the Kristiansand Boardwalk, a 1.7 mile promenade around the waterfront. You can first explore Otterdalsparken with its huge water fountain and outdoor sculptures. Then behind the marina of moored sailboats are the Tresse park and the Christiansholm Fortress. Continue at a leisurely pace along the Srandpromenaden and you find the Bystranda public beach.

Sjølystveien 5 4610 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

5 Mute Swan Cygnets Swimming in Kristiansand, Norway

These cute, fluffy cygnets swimming in the East Harbor of Kristiansand hardly have the appearance of an adult mute swan. Once they reach maturity, this migratory waterfowl will have white plumage, an elegant S-shaped neck and an orange bill accented by a black knob at the base. Although they are flightless at this age, they will eventually have a wingspan of 80 to 90 inches and weigh about 25 pounds. There are about a half million mute swans in the world. They tend to favor the temperate areas of Europe so there is only a small population in Norway.

[58.141519, 7.997352]
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

6 Otter Valley Marina in Kristiansand, Norway

A great way to enjoy the sea air with your seafood is to head towards the Otter Valley Marina and look for a large, red wooden building. In 1892 it began as a salt warehouse and 99 years later it became the Sjøhuset restaurant. The place to sit during the summer is on their patio while you sip one of their homemade beers. Then stay long enough to taste their halibut, cod or if you are indecisive then order the shellfish platter. Afterwards you can walk off your delicious meal with a stroll along the Srandpromenaden and enjoy the waterfront.

Strandpromenaden 14 4610 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

7 Kilden Performing Arts Center in Kristiansand, Norway

Since 2012, the cultural jewel of Kristiansand is the Kilden Performing Arts Center. Kilden, which means “the source,” is the source for symphony orchestra and other concerts in a hall that seats over 1,100 people. There is also the main stage and orchestra pit of the Agder Teater. Its stunning modernism design stands along the Gravanekanalen waterfront on the Odderoya islet.

Kilden Teater og Konserthus Sjølystveien 2, 4610 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

8 Fiskebrygga Former Fish Wharf in Kristiansand, Norway

On either side a waterway named Gravanekanalen are colorful wooden buildings that recall the time when this area was a landing and marketplace for fishermen. Now called Fiskebrygga, The Fish Wharf has evolved since the 1990s into a popular collection of shops and restaurants. Tourists enjoy walking along the wooden boardwalks while watching small boats zip by. And of course a few places still sell fish.

Gravane 26, 4610 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

9 Row of Children Walking Over Footbridge in Kristiansand, Norway

There is something endearing about watching a row of children walking in a row during a fieldtrip while being chaperoned by adults. It always reminds me of geese struggling to keep their goslings in line. These kids were marching over a footbridge leading to Fiskebrygga, a former fish market that has been converted into an entertainment district.

Gravane 10, 4610 Kristiansand S, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

10 Bear with Boy Statue in Kristiansand, Norway

This bronze artwork in Otterdalpark appropriately titled “Bear with Boy” was created in 1967 by Norwegian artist Arne Nikolai Vigeland. Although he worked for the post office for 50 years, he was also a prolific sculptor. Several of his pieces are displayed around Kristiansand. However, his largest collection is in the town of Vigeland. That museum also includes works by the brothers Emanuel and Gustav Vigeland. This should not to be confused with the famous Frogner Park in Oslo where over 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland are displayed.

Gravane 1 4610 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

11 Kristiansand Cathedral at Town Square in Kristiansand, Norway

The 230 foot clock tower of the Kristiansand Cathedral grabs your attention when you enter the town square. Then you begin to notice other features of Torvet such as its cobblestones, flowers, park benches, a large water fountain, small restaurants tucked inside historic buildings and the Rådhuset or Town Hall along the eastern border. Wonderful outdoor concerts are also staged here during the summer.

Gyldenløves gate 9, 4611 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

12 Kristiansand Cathedral in Kristiansand, Norway

The Kristiansand Domkirke is the city’s fourth cathedral since 1682 when it became a diocese and the seat of Bishop of Agder. After its predecessor burned down in 1880, this neo-gothic church was built five years later using stone. As a result, it survived a city-wide fire in 1892 and an artillery attack by the Germans in 1940. The original design of Kristiansand Domkirke by Henrik Thrap-Meyer accommodated over 2,000 people.

Gyldenløves gate 9, 4611 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

13 Rådhuset or Town Hall in Kristiansand, Norway

This neo-classical style Rådhuset was built in 1864 along the town’s main square called Torvet. It houses the Kristiansand Commune or municipality offices. With a population of about 150,000 people, Kristiansand is the fifth largest of Norway’s 428 municipalities. It is also the capital of Southern Norway’s VestAgder County.

Rådhusgata 24, 4611 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

14 Lion Carving at Brandvgt in Kristiansand, Norway

This furious looking lion stands guard over the two wooden doors of Brandvgt. When the red brick building, which was designed by Johan Keyser Frølich, opened along Rådhusgaten in 1894 it was Kristiansand’s main firehouse. Today it houses the City Hall Quarter (municipal administration offices) and an information center. I tried to learn more about this carving but was unsuccessful. Although the city’s coat of arms features the Norwegian lion, this relief has little resemblance to the heraldic of a left-facing, crowned lion holding an axe. This feline seems to have been skinned as if by a hunter.

Rådhusgata 12 4611 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

15 1st Stampe Lake at Baneheia Park in Kristiansand, Norway

When Christian IV founded Christianssand in 1641, part of his master design was to convert a forested area into a beautiful park. However, by the mid-19th century, most of the trees had become lumber for building homes. It was nicknamed “Disgusting Health.” In 1862, General Oscar Wergeland took the initiative to restore the land’s splendor. During the next several years, his garrison soldiers planted 10,000 trees. By the turn of the century, that number had grown to over 150,000. It is once again a beautiful place to enjoy as this woman laying on a rock can confirm.

1. Stampe 4613 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

16 2nd Stampe Lake at Baneheia Park in Kristiansand, Norway

Northeast of town is a lovely parked named Baneheia. You’ll need to climb one of two steep trails but the trek is worth it once you discover the tree-lined lakes called 1st, 2nd and 3rd Stampe. They were formed by old stone dams in order to supply the town with water. Now they offer the locals an all-season recreational area that includes about 1.3 miles of hiking paths. They are also popular swimming holes during the summer. Tourists especially enjoy the wonderful views of the city below. Another nearby park to explore is Ravnedalen or Raven’s Valley.

2. Stampe 4613 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

17 White Wooden Houses in Posebyen in Kristiansand, Norway

Kristiansand suffered a major fire in 1892 which destroyed most of this Norwegian town. Surprisingly, several blocks of small wooden row houses survived. This Old Town neighborhood consists of a grid pattern of streets and cobblestone sidewalks. Soldiers who used to live in these modest, one-story homes called it Posebyen. In French this means to rest or relax. That is exactly how you will feel as you explore this charming flashback into Norway’s history.

Tordenskjolds gate 39 4614 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

18 Det Lille Konditori Café in Kristiansand, Norway

Det Lille Konditori is a café at Skippergata 43 in the Posebyen neighborhood. Inside they serve small cakes and pastry along with a great cup of coffee or hot chocolate. This snack is more delicious when enjoyed at one of their outside tables. The first floor of their building dates back to 1750 when it was the office of a therapist named Johnsen. It was then expanded during the early 19th century.

Skippergata 43 4611 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

19 John Bentsens Hus in Kristiansand, Norway

This former house of John Bentsen was built in 1855. He was a musikkløytnant or lieutenant in the military band. During its early history, this small building housed close to 40 people including soldiers. Inside and in the backyard you will find period furniture and implements. This is also the location for a town market on Saturdays during the summer.

Kronprinsens gate 59, 4614 Kristiansand S, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

20 Odderøya Island in Kristiansand, Norway

Odderøya is reachable by footbridge in the southeast section of Kristiansand. From 1667 until 1999 it was a large naval base. The island also had an unsavory role as a quarantine station for cholera victims for 110 years starting in 1804. Most of the military facilities are gone leaving behind less than two miles of undeveloped walking paths. They lead to terrific views of the fjord and an 1832 lighthouse. At the beginning of the park is the Miljøfyrtårn building. The Eco-Lighthouse Foundation sets standards and then issues certificates to businesses that demonstrate their eco-friendly operations.

Sjølystveien 5 4610 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

21 Flower Market in Town Square in Kristiansand, Norway

A common sight in Europe is finding a fresh flower market in the main square. I love how the fragrances mix with the colors to create a quaint accent to a historic setting. They are irresistibly charming! This display of springtime in Kristiansand’s Torvet square is a beautiful example. I suspect the blue sky and the cathedral’s clock tower added to the ambiance.

Rådhusgata 12, 4611 Kristiansand S, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

22 Pedestrian Street Named Markens Gate in Kristiansand, Norway

During the first two centuries of Kristiansand’s existence, this main boulevard was named Queen Street probably in honor of either Anne Catherine or Kristen Munk, the two wives of King Christian IV. This mostly pedestrian street is now Markens gate but the locals simply call it Markens. In addition to being a major shopping district, several of its historic buildings contain offices and apartments.

Markens gate 32, 4612 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

23 Sandens Shopping Center in Kristiansand, Norway

Sandens is Kristiansand’s largest indoor shopping mall. It is located on Markens gate in the center of the city. Inside you will find 35 stores plus a couple of restaurants. Two other major centers nearby are Slottet and Lillemarkens. There are also several other stores in the area but most of them appear to be chains that appeal to local residents versus boutiques designed to attract foreign visitors.

Markens gate 10C 4611 Kristiansand, Norway
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions