Something for everyone
The Norwegian city of Kristiansand, in the south of the country, has attractions and activities for everyone. Whether you spend your days within the city limits or travel in the surrounding region, you’ll find plenty for you and your family to do.
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One of the best ways of getting to know Kristiansand is to take the CityTrain. This is a guided tour that leaves from Markensgate during the summer months. The train stops at some of the city's main areas of interest, including the Visitors' Harbour, Nupen Park, Posebyen (the Old Town) and Bystranda (the Beach).
Once you've seen Kristiansand from the train, you'll know what parts of the city you'd like to explore further. Among these are likely to be Posebyen, with its quaint wooden houses painted in a uniform white, and the Fish Market, with its charming canals and inviting restaurants.
Other city highlights include the Central Market for all your shopping needs. Don't forget the Posebyen Market as well, which opens on Saturdays during the summer. If you're in Kristiansand over the winter months, head for the city centre and try the ice rink.
Kristiansand is an ideal base for the many attractions that lie within a short distance of the city. You can head inland and explore the beautiful region of Setesdal or visit the lovely villages along the coast of southern Norway. Villages to look out for include Søgne og Vennesla, Lillesand, Iveland and Birkeland.
You don’t necessarily have to travel by road, either. To reach Lillesand and its pretty streets, for instance, catch a boat at Blindleia.
Another place not far from Kristiansand is Odderøya Island. Odderøya, once a naval base, is now a popular recreation area. Take the 3km walk around the perimeter and enjoy the views of Kristiansand’s eastern harbour, marinas and the 17th-century Christiansholm Fortress.
If you are travelling with children, visit the Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement Park 12 km east of the city. There are rides, water amusements and shows, and animals such as monkeys, tigers and lions.
About 60 km from Kristiansand is the Slobrekka Quarry. This is another good day trip for children. They can learn about the techniques of quarrying and even obtain a mining permit that lets them dig for minerals. The quarry is open May to September.
Museums and festivals
Kristiansand has activities with festivals all year round. The festival themes include art, food, music and children and there’s never a shortage of residents and visitors willing to join in.
There are also some very good museums in Kristiansand and nearby districts. Among the best are the Vest-Agder Museum, which houses historical and cultural exhibits, and the Sørlandet Art Museum.
If you’re interested in military matters, travel 9 km southwest of the city to the Kristiansand Cannon Museum. The museum has a large collection of land and naval firepower.
A good destination for families is the Agder Nature Museum and Botanical Garden, which has an excellent children's play area. Another family-oriented attraction is the Setesdalsbanen Railway, which is a living museum rather than a series of exhibits. Here you can enjoy an 8 km ride from Grovane to Røyknes and back on an old steam train.
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