Kristiansand is the beating heart of Norway’s favorite holiday destination; the place Norwegians go to relax and enjoy life or actively pursue their preferred leisure activities.
For many people the town and its surrounding area are synonymous with summer, sun, sea and unforgettable holiday memories. Kristiansand can offer a unique collection of activities and experiences. From boating and island-hopping in the archipelago, to strolls among inland fields and woods – all within walking distance of each other. Imagine watching the waves lapping the beach in the center of town, the wind blowing in your hair and the tang og salt in the air. A couple of hundred meters away you can fish for salmon in the Otra River. You can join a boat tour of the archipelago, take a trip out to one of the islands to bathe, or just sit still and enjoy life.
Gateway for travelers
Kristiansand is also a hub for travelers, with Kjevik Airport and car ferry routes to Denmark’s Jutland peninsula. Seen from the European continent, Kristiansand is the gateway to Norway. If you decide to head east o west from Kristiansand, you will find an abundance of charming south coast holiday attractions.
In the eastern bank of the Otra River, just beside the E18 highway, lies the south coast’s largest cultural museum, Agder National History Museum and Botanical Gardens, which boasts one of Norway’s largest collections of cacti and a number of carnivorous plants.
Ravnedalen Valley Country Park
Just north of the town lies the Baneheia and Ravnedalen Country Park (Naturpark). It is a great area to walk in. Fiskebrygga is more than just a place for fishing boats to unload their catches. Here you will also find a wide range of restaurants and a fish market with tanks full of live fish to choose from. You can also make your way from here to Odderøya, with its rocks, footpaths, sea views and summer café. Beautiful!
Pause for breath
Sørlandet Art Museum is situated in the town center. It offers a permanent collection of Norwegian art in the period 1800-2000, as well as temporary exhibitions of paintings and arts and crafts. There are also several private art galleries.
Along the coast you will find a string of charming villages, with white-painted houses dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. Generations of seafaring, whether to far-flung fishing grounds or on merchant vessels plying European waters, has left an indelible mark.
Once a small park with bears as its main attraction, now Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement Park is housing a number of large, national attractions. The facilities have evolved into one of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions. This year it is turning 50, an occasion that is being celebrated with two stamps prepared by Norwegian Post.
There is always a lot of fun to be had in the park. You can visit the waterpark, with its bathing facilities, you can go on the fairground rides, or visit the zoo and see giraffes and zebras, among many others. The endangered red panda is a popular attraction. The Kristiansand Zoo works closely with the World Wildlife Foundation to save species threatened with extinction.
The zoo also offers a rainforest full of monkeys and apes. Here you can see them swinging freely in the trees. Further into the steaming jungle are dark passageways filled with crocodiles, alligators and other reptiles. The zoo is home to more than 800 animals and birds, which live in surroundings, which are as close as possible to their natural habitats. You can also see native Nordic animals, such as wolves, lynx, wolverine and elk.
One of the zoos biggest attractions opened in 2002. Tiger Kingdom is a massive area which the zoo has reserved for among other Siberian tigers. Tiger kingdom has been nominated as the world’s best tiger area.
Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement Park also won the prestigious ‘Brass Ring Award’ in 2002 for its marketing campaign, in competition with the world’s most famous attractions.
Feature image (on top): View from Odderøya, Kristiansand
Holiday Heartland, written by Tor Kjolberg