The port of Kristiansand is Norway's fifth largest city and the gateway to Southern Norway. Museums, harbourside restaurants and family-friendly beaches make it a pleasant place to spend a few days winding down at the end of a more extensive Norway travel itinerary, or as a leisurely short break destination in its own right.
A few kilometres out of town is the Kristiansand Kanonmuseum, housed in a former coastal gun battery and built by prisoners of war during the German occupation. From here big guns could target enemy warships in the straight between Norway and Denmark, and a huge 38-calibre gun - which could fire shells more than 50 kilometres - remains in situ.
Nowadays it's ferries rather than gunboats that ply the route between Kristiansand and Denmark, and their regularity means that there's always a steady flow of visitors, especially during the summertime. Many come to take in the flourishing summer festival scene, others to shop in the grid of streets in Kristiansand's compact city, or take sightseeing boat trips to nearby rocky coves and sandy beaches.
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