Not to be confused with Kristiansund in West Norway or Kristianstad in Sweden.

Kristiansand is the capital of Vest-Agder County, Norway. By population, it is the fifth largest city of Norway.


Kristiansand is the largest city located in South Norway between Oslo and Stavanger.

Kristiansand is located on Norway’s southern coast and has long been a favourite summer holidays spot amongst Norwegians. The sea (Skagerrak) and surrounding fjords are perfect for recreational activities like fishing and sailing. Kristiansand is the business and cultural capital of Southern Norway. Nicknamed “the coolest riviera” by the media, it is a modern city with a cosmopolitan history.

The city is also nicknamed "Norway's flower town" because of the many planted flowers that characterize downtown.

The name

The city was named after its founder, King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway in 1641.

The name was written "Christian(s)sand" (for "Christians sand" - meaning en:(King) "Christian's Sand") until 1877. Then, the ch was changed to k, the form was changed to "Kristianssand". The name was again changed to its present form Kristiansand in 1889. The city is sometimes called Kristiansand S, where S stands for South, to distinguish it from Kristiansund in western Norway, a name introduced by the postal service.


Kristiansand was founded on a flat sandy moor west of the river mouth of river Otra, and gouged out by contemporary ideal town with seven streets parallel to the river, and ten streets perpendicular to these. The old town district is called Kvadraturen and street lines are the same today. King Christian IV bought the city ground of existing large farms and allowed large green areas inside the city. Baneheia and Ravnedalen are among these. Kristiansand today consists of the historic center, in addition to the suburbs.

Sørlandsparken is an area located east of the town center that consists of several large trading companies in addition to Sørlandssenteret which is the largest shopping center in Northern Europe. Here is also the largest zoo and amusement park in Norway located.


For convenience, the city can be divided into six larger districts:


Kristiansand's climate is characterized by differences in temperature and precipitation at the Four Seasons, but climate is fairly temperate thanks to warm air being wafted across the Atlantic from the Gulf Stream. Kristiansand usually have a lot of summer sunshine compared to most of Norway. The weather in summer makes Kristiansand to an important seaside resort for Norwegians from other locations in Norway. There may be heavy snowfall in winter with south-southeasterly winds (snow record at Kristiansand Airport, Kjevik is 170 cm), but the snow rarely stays long at the coast of Skagerrak.


Kristiansand has a flourishing cultural life. The city is known especially for music (for example, the symphony orchestra and several festivals) and Kilden Performing Arts Centre, but there is also an art museum for the visual arts and several art galleries, cinema and theater.

IK Start is the best known football club in the city and is in the top league of Norway (their home ground is Sør Arena), in addition to sports clubs within, among others, athletics, basketball, handball, golf, badminton and ice hockey.

In Kristiansand, there are several mosques and many churches which includes Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist and Pentecostal congregations.


As the largest city in the southernmost part of Norway, Kristiansand has an expanding export industry that spans a wide range, from process industry, oil and gas technology, renewable energy and ICT, to fisheries and other food, bedding - and tourism.

Get in

Kristiansand is the southern communications center in Norway.

By plane

Bus connections to city centre are either city buses 35, 36, or M2 (note that the airport is not a regular stop for none of these services, so verify each departure) costing 35,- for a single ticket, or the airport bus costing 100,- one way.

By train

By car

E18 highway by the Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement Park

Kristiansand sits along the E18 highway from Oslo. The highway changes its name to E39 when it passes Kristiansand on its way to Stavanger. Route 9 starts in Kristiansand and takes you through the natural beauty of the Setesdal Valley to Hovden and further to Haukeligrend on the Hardangervidda (Hardanger Plateau).

By bus

The bus-connections to Oslo and the towns along the western shore of the Oslo Fjord is excellent. Nor-Way Bussexpress has 9 daily connections to Oslo, 4-7 buses while Lavprisekspressen runs twice daily. You are guaranteed a seat - if the bus is full, the bus company will add an extra bus. Lavprisekspressen provides online ticketing only. These express busses are usually just as fast as the trains to Oslo. To towns such as Larvik, Tønsberg and Sandefjord you might arrive several hours later if you go by train. There's also infrequent express bus connections to Stavanger and up along the Setesdal, with connections to cities such as Bergen and Haugesund. Regional buses run frequently along the coast, from Lyngdal and Lista in the west to Arendal in the east, run by several different bus companies. In winter time there are also buses that takes you to different ski resorts located in the hinterland and mountains. The bus terminal is located about 100 meters from the main shopping street, Markens, and right next to the ferry terminal and the train station. There's also a taxi stand here.

By boat

The port has a lot of cruise ship arrivals in the summer, and is one of the biggest cruise ship ports in Norway. From the cruise ship port, is a walking distance to city centre and the boardwalk, the bus terminal, the ferry terminal and the railway station.

City of Kristiansand

Get around

On foot

The town's center is quite compact, which means that everything is within walking distance. Suburbs are spread over quite a large area.

By bus

An eastbound Nettbuss Sør bus in Kristiansand

Nettbuss Sør operates the blue city buses (surch time tables). Eastbound buses depart from the Henrik Wergeland street, while westbound buses depart from the Tollbod street or the bus terminal, but not both. Northbound buses (to Vennesla) leave from the bus terminal. The main lines going from west to east is called the Metro bus. You can expect a bus every 5 minutes on weekdays. Service elsewhere is quite frequent during daylight hours, but the frequency drops significantly in the evenings and on weekends. Night buses operate Fridays and Saturdays.

By car

Most roads except the highway is just one lane each way - thus rush hour should be avoided.

Parking might be difficult in the city centre, try the parking houses. There's a toll booth on all roads leading to town.

By taxi

Taxis are expensive. In Kristiansand, there are two major Taxi Companies:

By bicycle

Kristiansand is a pioneer town for a network of separate paths for cyclists. There are dedicated bike lanes along most of the main roads in the city and paths along the major roads. Kristiansand is connected to the North Sea Cycle Route (Route 1) like the neighboring coastal towns.

By small boats

Good moorings if you have your own boat, and a nice guest marina with many facilities for visitors (  Gjestehavna).

There are also several sight seeing boats for tourists in the summer if you want to go to sea without your own boat.


Fiskebrygga, Kristiansand.
Christiansholm Fortress




Bystranda and Aquarama (gray building in the background) on a hot summer day

Second hand market

In the period 04.06. - 20.08., the Second hand market Posebyen Market is open every Saturday in Posebyen (old town).

Live music

Crowd gathered at the concert Tuesday at Fiskebrygga.

Music festivals

Until 2007, Kristiansand was the site of the Quart Festival, a multi-day music festival - the largest of its kind in Norway. Other festivals have come and after selling only 2000 tickets for the 2008 event, the festival was cancelled. In 2009, the festival is once again in full swing with bigger and bands tipped to play. The management has changed back to people that had previously made the festival a great success.


University of Agder

There's also music education (both classical and pop/rock) at Musikkens hus (House of Music) in the town center. There's also several small, private higher education schools, among them a Christian journalism school at Gimlekollen and a local departement of BI Norwegian Business School (programs for master and bachelor degree).



Shopping Malls

Markens gate

Specialty Stores


Ice cream





Mainly coffee



Set up your tent or rent a cottage.


Abra Havn, entrance to the accommodation facilities

In Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement park

Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement park offers a variety of accommodation services in the summer within the park area, ☎+47 38049700:


Approx. 12 km east of the town centre, close to Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement park and the large shoppingcentre Sørlandssenteret. There is no airport hotel just off Kristiansand Airport, so these are almost as close as you can get.





Stay safe

Norway is a fairly safe country in general, and Kristiansand is no exception. Though you might want to be extra careful at night in weekends, due to occasional drunk youths stumbling around.

Winter conditions

In the very southernmost parts of Norway, the winters are rarely harsh but also in Kristiansand is both snow and ice in the winter months of December to February. In winter, watch out for icy patches, and when wandering in the forest beware when crossing snowy clearings — they may well be frozen lakes with snow over them, which may look safe but could crack. Finally, beware of snow and ice falling from the roofs in downtown Kristiansand, also where it is not warned.

Stay healthy

In acute illness or if accident occurs:

There are many pharmacies (apotek) in Kristiansand, that are selling medications and can give you advice on the treatment of injury and disease. Vitusapotek Elefanten (Gyldenløves gate 13) has extended opening hours.


The tap water of Kristiansand is clean and nice drinking water, so do drink tap water instead of bottled water without worries to save money.


Kristiansand is nice small city, and almost every Norwegian speaks English more or less fluently. Most people will respond in English to any question you may have. Some Norwegians also speak some German, due to the proximity of the language, and that they study it in school. VISA and MasterCard are normally accepted in any restaurant, taxi or store. ATMs accept all major credit and debit cards and are available in English language. The currency is Norwegian kroner (crowns).

More guidance

Go next

Routes through Kristiansand

Newcastle (unconnected)  W  E  Arendal Oslo
Stavanger Mandal  N  S  Hirtshals Aalborg
Haukeli Evje  N  S  End

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, February 15, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.