Spread across five islands that lie just off the coast of mainland Norway, Kristiansund is believed to have been home to the country’s very first settlers. It was nearly wiped out in the Second World War and has been almost completely rebuilt, so there are only a few traces of the old town. Now a colourful and modern place, its packed cultural calendar and lively social scene have taken centre stage.
- Step inside Norway’s oldest opera house, Festiviteten. Built in 1914 in an Art Nouveau-style, it’s one of the few buildings in the town centre of Kristiansund that survived the war.
- Hike Kvernberget, a 200-metre-high mountain that sits on the western edge of the town. From its summit, you’ll have a great view of the town and beyond.
- Go island-hopping on the Sundbaten boat, the world’s oldest form of public transport that’s still in use. A huge part of Kristiansund’s cultural heritage, this boat has been running since 1876, and is a great way to sightsee around the harbour.
SHORE EXCURSIONS► View all EXCURSIONS
The Atlantic Ocean Road & Stave Church►
Buckle up for a road trip along Norway’s rugged Atlantic coast. You’ll set off from Kristiansund, a town that stretches over 3 interconnected islands. Your journey to the mainland takes you across 7 bridges and through the 5-kilometre-long Freifjord Tunnel. Once you’re back on terra firma, you’ll make tracks for the Atlantic Ocean Road. This scenic stretch – one of Norway’s National Tourist Routes – skips between islands and skerries as it meanders from the mainland to Averøy Island. You’ll cross causeways, bridges and viaducts on the way, stopping for photos at some of the postcard-perfect outlooks. Keep your eyes peeled for seals, sea birds and – if you’re lucky – whales. Once we pull up on Averøy Island, we’ll head for the fjord-side village of Kvernes. The wooden stave church here has been welcoming worshippers since the 1300s, and we’ll have half an hour to peek inside at the paintings and carvings. The last leg of our drive takes us back to Kristiansund through the Atlantic Ocean Tunnel, 250 metres below sea level.
Highlights of Kristiansund►
This trip ticks off all the best parts of Kristiansund, a charm-filled town built across 3 interconnected islands. A big chunk of Kristiansund was destroyed during the Second World War, so what you see now is modern and colourful, built around the sheltered natural harbour that the islands form. After a short guided tour of the town, you’ll have about half an hour to explore on your own. Next, we’ll head to Kirklandet Island, where we’ll pay a visit to the local church. On sunny days, the stained-glass windows create a rainbow of colour inside the building. Kristiansund found its fortune by exporting clipfish – dried and salted cod – to Mediterranean countries like Spain and Portugal. You’ll learn more about this at our next stop – the Norwegian Clipfish Museum. Photos and exhibits tell the story of Kristiansund’s clipfish trade, and at the end there’s a taste test where you’ll be able to try a few mouthfuls yourself.