Must see attractions in The Coast

  • Top ChoiceSights in Kristiansand

    Sørlandets Kunstmuseum

    This exceptional regional art museum focuses on both fine and craft-based practices, and the collection includes some particularly strong contemporary work from local, Norwegian and Nordic artists. There is a bright, beautifully designed, pleasingly sophisticated children's wing. For anyone interested in Norwegian ceramics, the 44 works by local Kari Christensen will prove a treat.

  • Sights in Kristiansand

    Kristiansand Dyrepark

    Off the E18, 10km east of Kristiansand, Dyrepark is probably the favourite holiday destination for Norwegian kids. The former zoo is several parks rolled into one. There's a fun fair that includes rides such as the pirate-ship cruise, Captain Sabretooth's Treasure Trove and enchanted houses. Cardamom Town (Kardamomme By) is a fantasy village based on the children's stories of Thorbjørn Egner. There's a water park with heated pools and water slides. The biggest attraction, though, is still the zoo itself. It houses a large number of species, including red pandas, a crocodile house, lions and tigers and an African savannah filled with giraffes, zebras and others. For non-Norwegians, the highlight is the Northern Wilderness (Nordisk Vilmark), where visitors are transported through the habitat of moose, wolves, lynx and wolverines on elevated boardwalks.

  • Sights in Kristiansand

    Christiansholm Fortress

    Strandpromenaden's hulking centrepiece is the distinctive Christiansholm Fortress. Built by royal decree between 1662 and 1672 to keep watch over the strategic Skagerrak Straits and protect the city from pirates and rambunctious Swedes, the construction featured walls up to 5m thick and an armoury buried within a concentric inner wall. It was connected to the mainland by a bridge over a moat (filled in during the 19th century) deep enough to accommodate tall ships.

  • Sights in Kristiansand

    Agder Natural History Museum & Botanic Gardens

    The winding paths through the established 50-hectare park at Gimle Estate lead through a botanic garden that also contains rocks, minerals, stuffed animals and greenhouses containing the largest collection of cacti in Norway. The estate house has 19th-century period interiors and extraordinary teethlike columns at the front, and there's also a historic rose garden dating from 1850. It's just over 1km from the centre, across the Oddernes bridge.

  • Sights in Kristiansand

    Baneheia & Ravnedalen

    Baneheia and Ravnedalen, both north of the city centre, offer greenery and a network of lakeside hiking and skiing tracks for those keen to escape the city for a while. Both parks were created between 1870 and 1880 by Kristiansand's city chairman, General Oscar Wergeland. Over a total 30-year period, the planting of 150,000 coniferous trees transformed the area into a recreational green belt.

  • Sights in Kristiansand

    Kristiansand Museum

    Located 4km east of town on the E18, this open-air folk museum houses a collection of 40 farmsteads and hamlets from the Setesdalen region and Kristiansand itself. In summer there are lots of kids' activities, including some nice hands-on historical re-creations. Eastbound buses M1, M2 and M3 from Henrik Wergeland gate pass the museum.

  • Sights in Kristiansand

    Odderøya

    This island, a rocky outcrop just by the fish market and connected by a bridge, is one of the city's wonderful green spaces. There are some delightful places for a walk, a swim or a picnic; it's also home to artists' studios and Vaktbua cafe and bar.

  • Sights in Kristiansand

    Kristiansand Kunsthall

    Shows change seasonally, but are usually high-concept, challenging surveys well worth a browse. It's a stunning space, with a rare elevated town outlook. It hosts key events during the annual PUNKT festival.

  • Sights in Kristiansand

    Posebyen

    The Kristiansand Posebyen takes in most of the 14 blocks at the northern end of the town's characteristic kvadraturen (square grid pattern of streets). It's worth taking a slow stroll around this pretty quarter; its name was given by French soldiers who came to reposer here (it's French for 'relax'). A scale model (with buildings around 1m high) of the city as it appeared when designed by Christian IV is on view at Vest-Agder Folk Museum. The annual Kristiansand guide, published by the tourist office, includes a good section called 'A Stroll through Posebyen' to guide your wandering. The most well-preserved buildings include Bentsens Hus, which dates from 1855, the former post office dating from 1695 and Gyldenløves gate 56 (1802).

  • Sights in Kristiansand

    Kristiansand Cathedral

    Built in 1884 in late Gothic style, the Kristiansand Cathedral, with seating for 1800 people, is Norway's third-largest church.

  • Sights in Kristiansand

    Bentsens Hus

    Well-preserved building in Posebyen.