Mandal, on the southern coast of Norway, is known as ‘the little city with the big artists’ and is full of history. Mandal is actually a town, and is known as the ‘live-capital’ of Norway due to there being over 300 live concerts there every year. (Where is this information taken from ?)
As well as its live music scene, there are plenty of wonderful historic old, white houses in narrow streets which perfectly embody the southern Norwegian charm. Buen is a cultural house which is an important part of the centre which brings a modern expression to the traditional city.
You can reach Mandal by driving south of Oslo for about 5 hours. Alternatively there is a ferry terminal at Kristiansand about an hour up the coast, where you can get ferries to Denmark.
Mandal in Summer
In the summer, Mandal is as idyllic as the other southern cities in Norway. There are plenty of shopping opportunities as well as an additional market selling vegetables and fruit, art and flowers, and there are of course also the weekly live concerts! Additionally, the city offers a few festivals such as Skalldyrfestivalen (seafood festival) and MandalJazz. AMFI Mandal, as mentioned above, is also a great option for a spot of indoor shopping and a bit to eat. If you are interested in exploring some museums, both the Mandal Museum and the Viegeland house are great options and located in the centre.
In the outskirts of the city centre, you will find Furulunden which is both a wonderful place with beaches and stunning scenery, but also a perfect place if you enjoy a nice walk, a family friendly atmosphere, an outdoor BBQ and the opportunity to spot some wildlife. There is also a restaurant in the Risøbank, that belonged to the ship owner, Christian Salvesen, in the 1800s.
Uranienborg is also well worth a visit to enjoy a view over the city.
Cycling – In the summer, why not rent a bike to explore the city. You can enjoy the narrow streets and beautiful scenery on your own terms and at your own pace.
Mandal Hiking – go to Furulunden and explore the beauty of the nature, beaches and wildlife that the area has to offer.
Mandal Cultural Significance – Mandal is filled with history and whether you are planning on simply enjoying the historic city or you want to explore the wonderful museums, you will have plenty of things to explore during your visit.
Fishing in Mandal – both fishing from land, river fishing and fishing from a boat is possible in Mandal. Mandalselva River is famous for its salmon fishing opportunities and is amongst the 10 best rivers for salmon fishing in Norway. Special licenses is required and must be bought in advance
Traditional food from Mandal – In southern Norway, you can never go wrong with the seafood. Enjoy the absolute freshest of fish and seafood while enjoying the peace and mesmerising atmosphere of Mandal during your holiday.
Skalldyrfestivalen in Mandal is a seafood festival which is well worth the experience and has been a yearly celebration for over 30 years. The event goes on for 4 days straight and the city turns into a festival with great seafood, live music, entertainment, shops and much more. The event takes place the second weekend of august and 60000 people make the trip every year.
Mandal in Winter
In the southern parts of Norway, people typically visit to enjoy the seafront and the wonderful summers, however with shopping opportunities, museums and stunning scenery, there is no reason why you should keep away in the winter. Visit Mandal for a relaxing winter break and enjoy the special winter light, with the low sun, as well as the city’s indoor pool, the cinema, the shopping street and the cosy cafes and restaurants.
If you have rented a car and you’re happy to drive around to explore the surroundings, or you want to get out and on a boat, there are numerous places that are well worth a visit.
Dyreparken Kristiansand or Kristiansand Zoo
About 45 minutes’ drive from Mandal towards Kristiansand you will find Kristiansand Zoo (Dyreparken Kristiansand). Kristiansand Zoo is Norway`s most frequently visited attraction covering an area of 150 acres of wild Nordic terrain. The zoo and amusement park are renowned for their beautiful scenery and sympathetic environments. In the Zoo or Dyreparken, the animals have wide-open spaces in which to roam - however, the visitors are still able to get up close to observe some of the most beautiful animals.
The zoo contains an enclosure for Scandinavian animals such as wolves and elk. It has large breeding grounds for Bactrian camels, and large enclosures for exotic animals such as; alligators, orang-utans, Siberian tigers and a variety of apes and monkeys. It is totally different from other European zoos, which are characterised by bars and heavy padlocks.
If you are visiting the Zoo we also recommend a trip to Cardamom Town (Kardemomme By). The town is based on a well-known children's story written by Thorbjørn Egner and if you visit in season you will meet all the Kardemomme By's characters from the book! Alongside the Zoo you will find Badelandet, which is a bathing area with heated swimming pools. Here you can watch the Pirates battle it out from the Black Lady ship (Den Sorte Dame), while you enjoy an ice cream. It's paradise for both young and old.