The capital of southern Norway is the rocky coastal area of Kristiansand. In the summer, the harbors of the fifth-largest city in the country are bustling, and the Quart Festival draws music lovers from far and wide. Geographically facing continental Europe and surrounded by water on three sides, Kristiansand is known for boat trips, cultural history, and a former naval base. In winter, the city is a wonderland of cold-weather activities. From downhill and cross-country skiing to ice skating, travel to Kristiansand in winter is a popular activity for families.
Located on the southern tip of Norway, Kristiansand is easy to reach by a variety of transportation methods. The airport is located just seven and a half miles from the city and receives flights daily from Oslo, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Bergen. The city is home to the second-largest port in Norway, making travel to Kristiansand by water a breeze, and cruises and shipping boats share these waters and the port. The Norwegian State railway is another method of arriving at Kristiansand, and buses are available as well. For visitors who have an interest in bicycling, this city is considered a pioneer in creating safe paths for cyclists. Many visitors arrive to enjoy the scenery from the seat of a bike.
Norway’s most frequented attraction is located in Kristiansand. The zoo, Kristiansand Dyrepark, covers an area of more than 150 acres. The zoo spreads over five separate parks: a water park, theme park, entertainment park, forest park, and the zoo itself. During the summer high season Kristiansand Dyrepark is open from 10 am to 7 pm, and it closes earlier, between 3 and 5 pm, during the rest of the year. Highlights of the zoo include watching sea lions be fed, an impressive collection of lions and tigers, chimpanzees, zebras, and a variety of shows. The Kristiansand Dyrepark is located seven and a half miles from the center of the city, making it easily accessible for visitors.
The beginning of July sees one of the most popular events in the city. Music-lovers travel to Kristiansand for the Quart Festival, the most popular music festival in Norway; the festival returned in 2009 after experiencing some financial difficulties in 2008. Travelers who arrive for the festival might be surprised at the other offerings of the city. The fish quay is an inviting and lively area of town; and it is known as being much more than your average fish market. A combination of restaurants, boat traffic, and a great display of prawns and fish make this a popular attraction for locals and visitors alike.
A trip to Kristiansand should begin with a stroll through the old town, Posebyen. The white wooden houses make a great backdrop for a morning walk. Suggested walks are available from the tourist bureau if you’d like an itinerary to follow. In addition, a boat trip through the inland waterway of Blindleia brings visitors to the village of Lillesand, where you can experience a sense of the historical coastal culture of the area. Cycling routes are another popular excursion, but they have steep hills that are appropriate for people with a reasonable level of fitness. The rocky coast, wooden homes, and fresh seafood all lend a relaxed atmosphere to this city, and the many Kristiansand hotels ensure there are plenty of places to stay.