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.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Norway features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Into the Arctic: the journey of a modern-day adventurer

Into the Arctic: the journey of a modern-day adventurer

Guinness record-breaking adventurer and author Dave Cornthwaite is two months and 1000 miles into his latest self-propelled expedition. He is tackling the fam…

27 Sep 2017 • Rachel Mills local_activity Special feature
The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
The 10 best summer festivals for escapism in 2017

The 10 best summer festivals for escapism in 2017

Festivals are a different beast in 2017. They used to be associated with drinking warm cider while watching crusty bands in your naffest clothes; now the best e…

07 Jun 2017 • David Hillier insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook