Four main islands, and a number of smaller ones, make up the town of Kristiansund. It is one of the most densely populated cities of Norway and the country's most urban small city centre, due to the relatively small size of the islands on which it is built. The island Grip, northwest of Kristiansund, is also a part of the municipality. Until it merged with Kristiansund in 1964, Grip was Norway's smallest municipality. The former fishing village here is now deserted, but the houses are well preserved by former inhabitants who use them as holiday homes. It is a popular tourist attraction in the summer due to the very special location and architecture.
The city lay in ruins after the war and was rebuilt with a distinctive architecture, decorated in shades of red, yellow and green, giving Kristiansund the nickname the polychrome city (the colourful city). Traditionally, the city has made its living from the sea; herring fishing, shipping, bacalao production and export, and in recent years the oil and gas business. Kristiansund has a rich cultural life and hosts many annual festivals, including the Opera Festival, Nordic Light International Festival of Photography, City Festival and Tahiti Festival.
On Grip you can visit the beautiful Grip Stave Church, Norway's second smallest stave church, and Grip Lighthouse. Founded in 1876, Sundbåtene in Kristiansund claims to be the world's oldest public transport system still in operation. The small passenger ferries traverse the sounds between the four islands of the city. Visit the old part of town with its narrow streets and well preserved wooden houses.
Here you also find the memorial stone, beautifully situated with a nice view over the harbour. The old city structure in Vågen is a centre for the historical fishing settlement in Kristiansund. The Norwegian Bacalao Museum is also located here. Innlandet is an old city part of Kristiansund with very special and unique coastal architecture. Festiviteten (Kristiansund Opera) is the oldest opera house in Norway. It is built in Art Nouveau-style, and was completed in 1914. This is one of the few older buildings in the city centre of Kristiansund that survived the bombing during WWII. Erected in 1964, the Kirklandet church is recognized as the boldest modern church building in Norway.