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Nicknamed Summer City, Kristiansand is one of Norway’s most popular vacation destinations—and it’s easy to see why. This waterfront town has everything you could ever want while visiting on a Norway cruise, including sandy beaches near the city center, world-class shopping, and an exciting cultural scene.
On your cruise to Kristiansand, spend an afternoon swimming in the calm waters of Bystranda Beach. Stroll around the quaint streets of the old town of Posebyen, or enjoy a fun-filled day at the famous Kristiansand Dyreparken and Zoo. In this heavenly port of call, you’ll enjoy the best that Norway has to offer.
Wander around Posebyen, a picturesque town with one of the largest collections of old white wooden houses in Northern Europe. Aside from being a charming destination and the perfect location to take photos, Posebyen is also the only sector of the city that survived the massive fire of 1892. Walk past 17th-century buildings, like the old post office, and enjoy the al-fresco market that pops up in town every Saturday.
Admire the undulating curves and geometric shapes of the Kilden Performing Arts Centre’s striking facade. As the home of the city’s theater group, symphony orchestra, and opera company, the Kilden Centre is considered one of the best concert halls in all of Scandinavia. Try and catch one of the many shows in their daily program.
If you’re in the mood for some seafood, head to Fiskebrygga, the city’s scenic fishing wharf. Try the local catch of the day and sample other delicacies like shrimp and mussels while admiring the red and burnt orange wooden buildings lining the harbor. If you’re craving something different, the fishing pier also has a number of cafes and restaurants that offer everything from Mexican-inspired meals to sweet ice cream cones to satisfy all kinds of cravings.
Kristiansand has long been a favorite vacation destination with locals in Norway because of its white sand beaches. One of the best places to cool off during the hot summer months is Bystranda Beach, a small beach located close to the city center. Swim in its calm waters, unwind under the shade of a palm tree, or simply enjoy burying your toes in the soft and pristine sand of this centric oasis.
Take in the scenery at Ravnedalen, a beautiful nature park found just outside of the city full of blooming magnolia and rhododendron flowers. Stroll past the picturesque lake or arrange a picnic under the shadow of one of its towering spruce trees. Embark on a gentle hike up to a 300-foot lookout and admire the view from above. During the summer, you can also enjoy outdoor concerts on certain days of the week.
One of the most-visited attractions in Norway is Kristiansand Dyreparken, an all-in-one amusement park that includes a zoo, fair, and water park to explore. Take the family there for a fun-filled day, where you can board a pirate-ship ride, race down a bobsled track, explore a fantastical village inspired by a popular children’s story, and spot all kinds of exotic animals at its wonderful zoo including wolves, monkeys, pandas, and crocodiles.
During your port visit on a cruise to Kristiansand, sample some staples of Norway’s inventive cuisine, such as the country’s national dish, lamb stew (or fårikål), fresh seafood, and other meat dishes like moose and reindeer. Freshly baked goods are also a must in Kristiansand, and you’ll find irresistible breads and pastries tempting you in bakeries all over the city. Make sure to order some bolle, which are soft, hot buns sprinkled with cardamom, and the kanelboller and kanelsnurrer, spiraled and knotted pastries made with butter, sugar, and cinnamon.
Kristiansand is named after King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway, who founded the town in 1641. During the 18th century, the town rose to prominence as a hub for shipbuilding. Today, it’s the most important transportation center in Southern Norway and provides freight services to countries around Europe and the United States. The city is also known for its varied cultural scene, as it is the home of a cutting-edge performing arts center, modern art museum, symphony orchestra, and first-rate zoo.
The Kristiansand cruise port is located within walking distance of the town’s downtown area. There’s also a small train that will take you to the city’s center, too. Near the port, you’ll be able to walk to a number of attractions in the area, including Fiskebrygga Wharf; SKMU, the modern art museum; the old town of Posebyen; and Bystranda Beach.
Most of the sightseeing you’ll want to do in Kristiansand is within walking distance of the port. However, if you prefer to explore the city in other ways, there are also taxis and a public bus system available.
Near the Kristiansand cruise port, you can walk to Markens Gate, a busy street in the city center full of stores and shops. If you’re looking for something other than mainstream stores, stroll down Skippergata, a side street near Markens Gate, or head to the old town of Posebyen, where you’ll find a variety of small boutiques and shops selling local goods and unique gifts to bring back home.
The local currency in Kristiansand is the Norwegian krone. Credit cards are widely accepted in the majority of stores and restaurants, although keep in mind that you’ll have to present a valid ID when using a credit card. Tipping is not typical, but if you’d like to leave a little extra, you can always round up when paying the bill.
On the southern tip of Norway lies the country’s fifth-largest city. Kristiansand is full of family fun and is a haven for outdoor adventure seekers. Kids of all ages will love Dyreparken zoo and amusement park, and the charming Fiskebrygga is home to a lively fish market, gourmet restaurants, and open air concerts. Stick your toes in the white sand of Bystranda Beach in the city center or venture just outside downtown to explore trails, fjords, and much more.