Idyllically situated and surrounded by water on three sides, Kristiansand is often referred to as the capital of southern Norway. With almost 116.000 inhabitants (estimate as of January 1.1.2023), the city is Norway's sixth largest municipality.

Kristiansand - Otterdalsparken fountain system

Kristiansand - Otterdalsparken fountain system

Unlike the far north of Norway, the region has a favorable climate. Kristiansand is one of the municipalities in the country with the most hours of sunshine, and summer temperatures are around 21 degrees, much to the delight of residents and their guests. With such good conditions, even palm trees thrive on the popular bathing beach in the city center. The city offers visitors everything their heart desires: a beautiful landscape, attractive cafés and restaurants, diverse shopping opportunities and rich cultural experiences.

Kristiansand - the city beach

Kristiansand - the city beach

Kristiansand - sun-seekers at the city beach

Kristiansand - sun-seekers at the city beach 

Kristiansand – history in a nutshell

The settlement history goes back to the Stone Age. In the middle of the 16th century, Christian III, King of Denmark and Norway, had the first fortifications built because of the important strategic location on the Skagerrak in the vicinity of today's city.

Almost 100 years later, in 1641, Kristiansand was officially founded by order of the Danish-Norwegian king Christian IV. The aim of the project was to create a trading center and a military base at the same time on the southern Norwegian coast. The one square kilometer city center was laid out like a chessboard in the form of 54 square areas. The apt name for the construct is "Kvadraturen".

Christiansholm FortressChristiansholm Fortress

In 1666 and 1682 Kristiansand became a garrison town and bishop's seat. Four city fires raged between 1734 and 1892, destroying large parts of the wooden buildings. Luckily, the inviting and cozy wooden houses in the Posebyen district were spared the last fire in 1892.

Skippergata in the Posebyen districtSkippergata in the Posebyen district

In contrast, many historical buildings in the old town fell victim to the fire. As a result, the construction of wooden houses was forbidden for the reconstruction, and the mixture of different architectural styles used in the reconstruction resulted in a cityscape that was atypical by Norwegian standards.

Kristiansand – economy, transport and administration

A major industry of the 19th century was the maintenance and repair of storm-damaged sailing ships. The ship berths were also used for timber exports to the Netherlands. - In the present, a nickel plant, the production of silicon for the solar cell industry, supplies and services for offshore oil and gas exploration and the fishing industry are of economic importance.

Kristiansand is an important transport hub for Norway. This is where the highways begin and end. There are rail connections to Oslo and Stavanger. The city is also connected to the long-distance bus network and there are ferry lines to Denmark, Holland and Germany.

The city is also an administrative center. Since January 1, 2020, the historical region of Agder has had the status of a province. Seat of the administration and the regional parliament is Kristiansand. The city is also the seat of the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of Agder and Telemark. The neo-Gothic cathedral is one of the most important sights.

Cathedral Church, Radhusgata with the Haakon VII statueCathedral Church, Radhusgata with the Haakon VII statue

Kristiansand – Education and Culture

Kristiansand is a university location. The University of Agder maintains a campus with six faculties in Kristiansand and in Grimstad, 50 kilometers away.

The city operates the visually stunning Kilden Performing Arts Center across from the cruise ship dock. The facility consists of a theatre, the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra and Opera Sør. According to, the official travel site for Norway, Kilden is the cultural powerhouse of southern Norway.

Kilden Theater and KonserthuKilden Theater and Konserthus

Kristiansand for cruise ship guests

According to the Port of Kristiansand, 2022 was a record year. A total of 129 cruise ships docked at the new pier. The port authority speaks of hundreds of thousands of passengers visiting Kristiansand and the surrounding area. Norway would not be Norway if cruise ships were not supplied with shore power from an external source. In the record year, Shore Power was used a total of 31 times.

Kristiansand - cruise terminal with the Nieuw StatendamKristiansand - cruise terminal with the Nieuw Statendam

Kristiansand is a city of short distances. From the cruise ship quay to the cathedral in the city center, visitors hardly walk more than a quarter of an hour. 

July 2023

My Shore Excursions Kristiansand