With 82,000 inhabitants, KRISTIANSAND, some 30km west along the E18 from Lillesand, is Norway’s fifth-largest town and a part-time holiday resort – altogether a genial, energetic place which thrives on its ferry connections with Denmark, busy marinas, passable sandy beaches and, last but not least, its offshore oil industry. In summer, the seafront and adjoining streets are a frenetic bustle of bars, fast-food joints and flirting holidaymakers, and even in winter Norwegians come here to live it up.

Like so many other Scandinavian towns, Kristiansand was founded by – and named after – Christian IV, who saw an opportunity to strengthen his coastal defences here. Building started in 1641, and the town has retained the spacious quadrant plan that characterized all of Christian’s projects. There are few specific sights as such, but the place is well worth a quick look around, especially when everyone else has gone to the beach and left the central pedestrianized streets relatively empty. The main historic attraction, however, is a few kilometres out of town at the Kristiansand Kanonmuseum, the forbidding remains of a large coastal gun battery built during the German occupation of World War II.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Norway features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

13 ridiculously gorgeous pictures of Norway

13 ridiculously gorgeous pictures of Norway

From mountain landscapes to the midnight sun, photographer George Turner shares a selection of his best pictures of Norway. Norway, no matter the season, is …

06 Sep 2016 • George Turner insert_drive_file Article
Meet Norway's new ambassadors: 4 sheep named Erik, Frida, Lars and Kari

Meet Norway's new ambassadors: 4 sheep named Erik, Frida, Lars and Kari

This summer, the Norwegian tourist board have taken a new approach to sharing their country's magnificent landscapes. They've shunned slick ad campaigns in favo…

01 Aug 2016 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
A first-timer’s guide to the Faroe Islands

A first-timer’s guide to the Faroe Islands

Way out in the cool North Atlantic Ocean, there’s a cluster of craggy islands inhabited primarily by sheep and puffins. The Faroe Islands are Scandinavia’s …

07 Jun 2016 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month