The Telemark Canal
The Telemark Canal, which stretches 105 kilometers from Skien to Dalen, offers cultural history, bustling crowds, constantly changing landscape and lock passages just as they were over 100 years ago. The two nostalgic canal boats M/S "Victoria" and M/S "Henrik Ibsen" sail in regular routes between Skien and Dalen from May to September and offer cruises varying in duration from two to 11 hours. The somewhat newer M/S "Telemarken" sails between Akkerhaugen and Lunde.
Telemark offers hiking possibilities from the coastline to the soft valleys in Vrådal and Nissedal, spectacular walks along the Telemark Canal and up to the Hardangervidda mountain plateau, where wild reindeers roam. Popular walks include the Lårdal path in Tokke, Mount Gausta in Rjukan, Hægefjell in Vrådal, and Solstien (the sun path) in Rjukan, which was built with the help of sherpas from Tibet. Tour maps are available. Read more about hiking in Telemark.
Telemark can offer several good golf courses, all of them situated in beautiful surroundings. These include Kragerø Golfpark and Lønne Golfklubb in Kragerø, Grenland Golfklubb in Skien, Vrådal Panorama Golf Putting in Vrådal and Norsjø Golfpark on the shore of Lake Norsjø in mid-Telemark. A new family-orientated nine-hole golf course will open in Vrådal in 2013.
A strong cultural identity is what characterises Telemark. Telemark’s historic buildings tell a tale from the 900 year old stave church in Heddal to the modern West Telemark Museum that opens this year. The many museums of different sizes in Telemark show life as it used to be - on the coast, in the cities and in the countryside.
Telemark is one of Norway’s best fishing counties and can offer fishing in the sea, rivers, lakes and mountain lakes. Some of Europe’s best deep-sea fishing waters lie outside Langesund. Trout is the most common catch in the fresh water lakes.
Telemark's nature is perfect for boating activities and the possibilities are many. The ferries in Brevik and Kragerø bring passengers to many of the beautiful islands on the Telemark coast. MB “Fjellvåken” sails in scheduled route between Skinnarbu and Mogen cruising on Lake Møsvatn on the Hardanger mountain plateau. In Vrådal the old tug boat “Fram” cruises on Lake Nisser, while a charming little cable ferry brings people across Lake Nisser from Sundsodden to Fjone. The canal boats MS “Henrik Ibsen”, MS “Victoria” and MS “Telemarken” sail on the Telemark Canal from May to September.
Bø Sommarland , situated just outside the village of Bø, is Norway's largest waterpark, with one of the world's largest artificial waves for surfing and Norway's biggest water roller coaster. Enjoy indoor water parks at Rjukanbadet in Rjukan and Skien Fritidspark in Skien. Skjærgården Badepark in Langesund offers both indoor and outdoor pools, and is situated right by the seashore.
Canoeing and kayaking
Telemark is dotted with rivers, lakes and canals that offer great opportunities for kayaking and canoeing. From the open sea with its multitude of islands through to lakes of varying sizes in the lowlands and on the Hardangervidda mountain plateau, the choice is vast. The Telemark Canal, with its many locks and narrow waterways is especially popular with paddlers.
Telemark is an exciting area for cyclists and there are a number of different routes to choose from; island jumping outside the coastal town of Kragerø, off road cycling in Nissedal, a spin at Vrådal Mountain bike park, or mountain biking in the Hardangervidda mountain plateau. One of the scenic routes follows the Telemark Canal from Ulefoss to Dalen, and the national cycle route no. 2 runs here. Bicycles can be rented in Lunde, Dalen, Rauland, Vrådal and Rjukan.
Telemark offers a variety of festivals and events throughout the summer, among them Porsgrunn International Theatre Festival, Country Festival in Seljord, Skåtøy Song and Poetry Festival, "Mersmak" food festival in Skien, Bacalao Festival in Brevik, Langesund Seafood and Fish Festival, just to mention a few.
Activities for children
Farm visits are popular activities for families with children, and most areas in Telemark offer this. Of course the water parks in Rjukan, Bø, Skien and Langesund are hits with the youngest.
The Himalaya Climbing Park in Skien, the sea serpent tower in Seljord, and the wakeboard arena at Norsjø Ferieland are popular places to visit for families. You will also find daily activities for children in all museums in Telemark.