Sprawling south-west of Oslo, Telemark is a historic county that has long been one of Norway’s most important industrial regions. Its name translates as “Mark of the Thelir” in recognition of the ancient North Germanic tribe that once inhabited the land. Telemark’s coastline and interior are connected along a scenic canal while its towns hold strong links to several Norwegian artists and writers.
Things to do in Telemark
Whether you want to be immersed in Norway’s rugged landscapes or follow in the footsteps of Edvard Munch, Telemark is a captivating destination within easy access from Oslo.
Travel along the Telemark Canal. Board the MS Viktoria or MS Henrik Ibsen to travel the 105-kilometre-long Telemark Canal, which is considered one of the most spectacular waterways in Europe. Pass through its 19th-century locks while taking in the majestic natural scenery at the foot of the Hardanger Mountain Plateau en route from Skien to Dalen.
Visit Henrik Ibsen’s childhood farm. Just north of Skien is the childhood home of Henrik Ibsen at Venstøp where the Norwegian playwright lived until he was 15 years of age. Wander between the beautifully preserved farmhouse, the labourers’ quarters and the rustic barn, then test your skills on the recreated 1830s bowling alley. There’s a museum cafe where you can enjoy afternoon tea, as well as a gift shop selling books about Henrik Ibsen’s life.
Explore the artistic streets of Kragerø. See where the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch gained inspiration for many of his paintings as you explore the waterfront town of Kragerø. It was also home to the fairytale illustrator, Theodor Kittelsen, whose childhood home has been transformed into a museum and regularly hosts exhibitions commemorating the artist.
Getting around Telemark
Skien Geiteryggen Airport and Notodden Airport are the main aviation gateways to Telemark and have flights to destinations across Norway. Buses travel from Oslo to towns and villages across the region while trains connect to both Porsgrunn and Skien. Having your own vehicle is the most convenient way of exploring Telemark, although most of its towns and villages can be explored on foot.