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About Kristiansund

It's believed that the very first Norwegians lived near Kristiansund around 8,000 BC, at the end of the last Ice Age. During the Viking Age there were many important battles around the city. And during WWII most of the city was destroyed by Germany.

Today Kristiansund is a much more peaceful place and the lovely city is spread across five islands just off the mainland. The old watchtower, Varden, is a great place for panoramic views across the city and surrounding islands.

Kristiansund boasts some of Norway's most interesting architecture including the Art Nouveau Kristiansund Opera House and the Old Town at Innlandet. But as German bombs levelled the city, most of the colourful architecture is post-war. 

Kristiansund was built on the exporting of clipfish (salted cod) and was a major supplier to the Mediterranean area. The Norwegian Clipfish Museum follows the progress of that industry throughout the ages. Watch for the sculpture of the Clipfish Woman of Kristiansund, proudly standing near the waterfront.


Shore excursions in Kristiansund

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Atlantic Ocean Road and Haholmen Island

Activity mediumRefreshments included

Duration: 4½ hours

See Norway’s stunning scenery and Viking roots at their very best on this immersive tour.

Your Nordic adventure begins with a journey to the island of Frei, once the site of a fierce Viking battle. From here, you’ll take an undersea tunnel to Bergsøy Island. The scenery grows ever more dramatic as you make your way to the incredible Atlantic Ocean Road. Voted Norway’s Engineering feat of the Century in 2005, the road connects Averøy with the mainland and was built across small, uninhabited islands and skerries, linked by bridges. The road faces the Atlantic at all times and offers incredible vistas and viewpoints no matter what the weather brings.

Upon arrival at Geitøya Island, you’ll board a replica of the Viking ship, Saga Siglar for the short cruise to Håholmen Island, in an archipelago of around 20 small islands and islets. During your visit you’ll also see a film about Ragnar's voyages and the 3 Viking ships he built, after which it’ll be time for refreshments of coffee and cake in a cosy restaurant.

Afterwards, you’ll board the boat again for the short boat ride back to the island of Geitøya, where a bus awaits you to drive you to Averøya en route to Kristiansund, via the Atlantic Ocean Road and the underground tunnel.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach, boat and on foot. There is approximately 30 minutes of walking on this tour, as well as a few steps to negotiate. Some of the walking is over uneven ground. This tour is not suitable for passengers with a fear of tunnels. In the event that inclement weather prevents the Viking ship from sailing, you will be transferred to Håholmen Island by modern boat.

Kristiansund Highlights

Activity medium

Duration: 3 hours

Visit one of Kristiansund’s most interesting buildings and discover the history of the industry it was founded on.

Experience the thriving modern hub of Kristiansund on your journey to the striking Kirklandet Church, situated on one of the 4 islands linked by bridges that make up the city. This architecturally bold modern church was inaugurated in 1964 and features 320 stained glass windows that transform the 30 metre high chancery wall into a symphony of colours.

Continue to the Klipfish museum, housed in an old warehouse building dating back to 1749. Salt cod, or klip fish, has been an incredibly important industry for Kristiansund, whose rich fishing grounds and ideal climate for air drying cod made it an ideal conduit for the trade. Foreign merchants settled in Kristiansund from the 1700s and while Klipfish was mainly produced for export, a popular local dish still found in many local restaurants is Bacalao (Spanish for cod). You will have the opportunity to taste samples of this delicious and heavily Spanish influenced dish.

Complete your tour with a stop at Varden Viewpoint, 78 metres above sea level and affording glorious panoramic views of the city, ocean, fjord and mountains. Varden was the site of a watchtower and a copy of the tower was given to the city in 1992.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There is approximately 1 hour of walking on this tour, as well as a few steps to negotiate. There is a 15 minute walk each way to reach the tower at Varden Viewpoint, part of which is along a gravel path.

Leisurely Kristiansund

Activity low

Duration: 2 hours

A comprehensive sightseeing tour designed to show you the best of Kristansund, from the comfort of your coach.

Your scenic drive will take you around the colourful city of Kristiansund. Built around the salt cod industry in the 1700s, the majority of the old city was destroyed in World War II and has been rebuilt as a modern, attractive community. Travel around the connected islands that make up Kristiansund and learn about its fascinating history as its economy moves towards the petroleum and gas industries.

Visit Frei Island via the Krifast Bridge to see the majestic inner fjords and mountains that surround the city. Stops will be made along your journey to ensure you have the opportunity to capture stunning photos or to simply relax and take in the views.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach. There is minimal walking on this tour; passengers may remain on the coach at the photo stops if they choose.

The Atlantic Ocean Road and Kvernes Stave Church

Activity low

Duration: 3½ hours

See the incredible Norwegian coastline from the Atlantic Ocean Road and visit a beautiful Viking stave church.

Your scenic journey will take you along Kristiansund’s beautiful coastline via the Krifast Tunnel, stopping for photos along the way. Relax on board your coach as you travel along what is regularly voted the most beautiful highway in the world - the spectacular Atlantic Ocean Road. Linking Averøy to the mainland, the road comprises a total of 8 bridges connecting small islands and affords magnificent views of the ocean and coastline.

Reaching Averøy, you will visit the old Kvernes Stave Church. Built in 1432, the church's original design has been altered over the years, and its richly-adorned interior dates back to the 17th century. The walls in the choir are decorated with scenes from the Old and New Testaments. The ceiling and walls in the nave, rediscovered during recent restoration work, are painted with floral decorations.

On your drive across the island you’ll see many salmon farms, an industry that has flourished since the opening of the Atlantic Ocean Road in 1989.

Your return drive will be through one of the deepest undersea tunnels in the world – completed in 2009, the 5 km feat of engineering reaches depths of 250 metres in places.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There is approximately 20 minutes of walking on this tour, as well as a couple of steps to negotiate to enter the church. In the event that the Kvernes Stave Church is closed for church services, an exterior visit will be made instead. The journey along the Atlantic Ocean Road is around 1¼ hours. This tour is not suitable for passengers with a fear of tunnels.


A selection of cruises to Kristiansund