Kristiansand on the South Norwegian coast is the perfect Nordic short break destination with its walkable and easy to navigate city centre together with beautiful natural surroundings and bustling and charming harbour area onto the Skagerak.
Officially founded and named after Danish king to Norway Christian IV in 1641 the town was laid out in Renaissance style on a grid plan. Right in the middle of the central section now known as Kvadraturen = The Quarters the new THON Hotel Parken opened in May this year.
With its central location on the town square with the Wergeland park and just opposite the Neo-Gothic Kristiansand Cathedral dating from 1884, it is the ideal place to take in the town and surroundings on foot. Due to the grid plan and the visible green copper spire of the cathedral, it is easy to find your way home.
Staying at a brand-new hotel is always enthralling. Everything is crisp and fresh and welcoming. You get to explore all the careful thought and consideration that has gone into creating a welcoming atmosphere. You feel all the hard work, planning and development is done just for you. The staff and management are full of pride and on their toes to please and have been looking forward to welcoming and servicing the guests.
A discerning focus on design, art, comfort, and functionality is very prevalent at the THON Hotel Parken. The public area walls are either exposed cast concrete or old brick walls from the original buildings that comprise the 184-room hotel, creating a rustic, modern and urban feel.
Designer furniture throughout
Scandinavian sculptural design furniture by Danish producer Erik Jørgensen create a stunning effect in the rooms and in the public areas. The furniture apart from being quality craftsmanship beautifies the austere, restful and functional rooms.
The continental beds by Norwegian company Jensen together with plump down pillows and duvets gives the utmost comfort and stimulates a heavenly night’s sleep.
Colour explosion artwork
The hotel also works as an art gallery space. All over the hotel colourful artwork adorns the walls by the avid painter and previous professional handball player Isabel Blanco. Isabel who studied at art school in Aalborg in Denmark has been given total creative freedom to decorate the hotel with her imaginative paintings that mostly represent guardian angels in their leisure time when they are not helping mortals.
Key to success in the restaurant business is understanding how your town likes to dine. Enter a group of culinary entrepreneurs that have raised the gastronomic bar for the town and are behind the established Sjøhuset on the sea-front together with the more recent Bønder i Byen just opposite the hotel. The new Torvets Bistro takes inspiration from France both in the interior and kitchen offerings but ramps up the offering for the Nordic palette with fresh and abundant seafood and select seasonal local produce.
Bountiful Breakfast buffet
A bountiful breakfast buffet is served up in the Torvets Bistro.
OUT AND ABOUT
The evangelical Lutheran Kristiansand Cathedral just opposite the hotel was completed in 1885. The church was designed by the architect Henrik Thrap-Meyer and is one of the largest churches in Norway. Two previous churches on the location were destroyed by fire. One in the great fire in 1734 and another in a fire in 1880. The church is open to the public daily between 10.00 and 17.00.
Kilden Performing Arts Centre
The Performing Arts Centre “KILDEN” by Finnish ALA Architects houses the ‘Agder Theater’, the ‘Kristiansand Philharmonic’ and the ‘Opera South’. Four performance halls are lined up in the mid-zone of the building with foyer-spaces to the west side. Further, on the west along the waterside, a huge cantilevered roof will cover both the public city-space by the sea and the foyer space which provides access to the shows. Waterfront-facade clad with local oak follows the forms defined by the halls and creates a surface separating the real world from the illusional. In the summer there are a number of free afternoon matinee concerts in the foyer.
Irmelinn Ramo Norwegian jazz/pop pianist and singer
The Fiskerbrygga (the fish quay) fish market is a popular harbour hang-out with sea-food purveyors offering a wide range of seafood such as lobster, prawns crabs, salmon and much more. A number of quay-side restaurants serve up the delicacies, and the atmosphere is charming.
Lunch at Pider Ro, Fiskebrygga
Enjoy the cheerful atmosphere at the popular fish quay restaurant Pider Ro on Fiskebrygga. This casual restaurant serves seafood salad, fish and chips, cod with baked potatoes, vegan and meat burgers, mussels, prawns and a lot of other bistro favourites.
Every Tuesday during the summer season there are popular live concerts at “Fiskebrygga”.
Sørlandets Kunstmuseum (art museum) has a permanent exhibition comprising Norwegian art from 1800 until today, as well as temporary exhibitions of contemporary crafts and visual art.
Master of Stoneware / Axel Salto exhibition until 21.October 2018.
Axel Salto was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1889 and is known today as one of the finest masters of 20th-century ceramic art.
12-øre bun from Dampbageriet
Often busy waterfront restaurants have a tendency to focus on efficiency and not so much on quality. They tend not to strive for perfection and just rely on the view over sea, lake or river to bring in the dinners.
This is not the case at Restaurant Sjøhuset a popular hotspot for more than three decades in an old salt warehouse dating back to 1892 on an east facing sea-front location overlooking the guest marina and Nodeviga with the Odderøja Museum Harbour.
The Danish restaurant manager since 2012 Max Hansen was previously head sommelier at the Michelin starred Søllerød Kro North of Copenhagen. The impeccable warm, discreet and knowledgeable welcome and service by Max is clearly reminiscent of the legendary host Jan Restorff at Søllerød Kro who is a true master at making you feel comfortably welcome.
The restaurant works on two levels. The south facing covered deck serving bistro classics such as salads, shrimps, fish soup, moules frites, fish and chips, entrecote, or the popular seafood platter with shrimp, crayfish, lobster, salad with pickled vegetables, bread and mayonnaise. The main restaurant with the east facing conservatory offers casual fine dining with a 3-5 course set menu and a small a la carte menu. Inside the restaurant is adorned with an eclectic collection of decorative maritime-related effects, strengthening the maritime feel of the restaurant.
The kitchen keeps things simple – and is simply superb. The kitchens treatment of the abundant Norwegian sea-food available in Kristiansand sets this restaurant apart and carefully selected wines make this restaurant experience a must in Southern Norway.
Cheese: Store Velten – Ruselåtan Ysteri, Lille Aske – Bo Jensen, Konge Ost – from Hitra, Rå Blå from Grindal Ysteri
Wines: Castello di Volpaia Vin Santo del Chianti Classico & CHATEAU DOISY DAËNE 2006 blanc liquoreux, Second Cru Classé
The old town in Kristiansand in the northeastern part of Kvadraturen is the only area that survived the big town fire in 1892, and thus contains the oldest and most characteristic buildings in the town. In Posebyen you will find 166 protected buildings from the 1700s -1800s mostly white-painted wooden houses. There are a number of charming shops in the area and the beautiful buildings are, like most of Kristiansand, adorned with beautiful flowering plants.
No.1 gave & interiør
Hansen & Co
Leisure and pleasure are etched into Kristiansand and its surroundings. Nowhere more so than in Ravnedalen a couple of kilometres north of Kvadraturen. This recreational park area was established in the 1870’ in a valley with steep cliff fronts by general Joseph Frantz Oscar Wergeland who also established the Wergeland park in the town center. Wergeland was a keen botanist and planted numerous plants and trees in the park. From the park, there are marked scenic hiking routes taking you into the nature area Barnheie past lakes and through the forest.
After taking in the park and nature enjoy a lunch or dinner at Café Generalen. The lakeside café with a view to a massive cliff front has been run by Frank Marvin for the past 15 years. The café is famous for its burgers. Try the Generalen Special topped with cheddar bacon, garlic dressing, and mushrooms, the bacon jam burger or burger of the week. There are also a few vegetarian dishes on the menu.
Brutalist architecture of Agder old Theatre by Ugland & Thorne, 1976 with wall relief by Henrik Finne
Retro , Torvkvartelet
We travelled to southern Norway with the modern cruise like SuperSpeed connection across Skagerak from Hirtshals in Denmark to Kristiansand with Color Line. (3hrs 15 min). Don´t miss the excellent value buffet in the restaurant “Catch Me If You Can” You can sit in the restaurant for the full duration of the crossing and enjoy unlimited food and drink (book in advance).
There are flights from Oslo and Copenhagen to nearby Kristiansand Airport Kjevik KRS