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See Telemark skiing for the skiing style.

Telemark is a county in East Norway. It is a rugged area with many big lakes ("inland fjords") and picturesque valleys. The county stretches from the industrial areas along the sea through the forested hills to the barren, unpopulated Hardangervidda.


Nisser lake in Telemark
  • Brevik - a seaside town with a bacallao festival.
  • - a small village in the heart of Telemark. Major attraction is Bø Sommerland.
  • Kragerø - a seaside town which attracts many tourists in summer.
  • Langesund - a seaside town with many concerts at Wrightegaarden in summer, also has a fish festival and a sea shanty festival.
  • Notodden - holds a yearly blues festival in August.
  • Porsgrunn - a town with a yearly street theater festival.
  • Rjukan - a town deep in a valley that the sun doesn't reach there during winter. Also the home of the Vemork hydroelectric plant, the Industrial workers museum and the heavy water sabotage mission during WWII
  • Skien - a town where the famous author Henrik Ibsen was born
  • Vrådal

Other destinations

Tinnsjø lake
  • Gaustadtoppen - an iconic mountain with an impressive panorama of large parts of South Norway
  • Haukeli - mountain village in the east of Vinje municipality; huge ski destination during winter
  • Nome - a municipality
  • Rauland - mountain village in Vinje municipality


Telemark is a county of fascinating contrasts. It is a picturesque area with countless lakes, rivers and valleys, and Mt Gausta landmark overlooking vast areas. Traditional culture such as harding fiddle music is kept alive in Telemark. It is also home to the largest stave church, Heddal at Notodden. Excellent skiers from Telemark played a key role in developing modern skiing. Many Norwegians spend their vacation along Telemark's coast at Kragerø. Telemark is at the same Norway's industrial heartland. Telemark's hydro power and fertilizer factories began modern heavy industries around 1900. Timber and paper were also important industries along Telemark's rivers. The Skien-Porsgrunn area is still dominated by heavy industry. Norway's only major canal, the Telemark canal, was constructed between Skien and Dalen to allow transport of goods and passengers from the deep interior to the ports. The canal still stands out as an engineering achievement.

The town of Rjukan was developed from scratch to serve the new fertilizer factory and hydro power there. An elaborate transport system was constructed to transport fertilizer from Rjukan to Skien. A short railway was constructed from the factory to Tinn lake, where a railway ferry (unique in Norway) carried the train to Tinnoset. From Tinnoset by rail to Notodden, and finally by barges across the lake and through the canal to Skien and Porsgrunn.

The hydro power at Rjukan's Vemork facilities was used to produce heavy water during world war 2, the allies used vast resources to destroy the production capacity at Vemork. A group of Norwegian commandos completed one of the war's most daring and successful sabotages against Vemork facilities. Later the ferry (loaded with heavy water bound for Germany) at Tinn lake was sunk.

Get in

By plane

  • Two airports in Telemark have scheduled flights – Skien Geiteryggen Airport and Notodden Airport.
  • Nearby Sandefjord's Airport Torp has direct flights from many European cities. From there, take the free shuttle bus to the nearby train stop ("Torp Sandefjord Lufthavn") and the train to Porsgrunn or Skien.
  • Oslo Airport, a major international airport, is 180 km northeast of Skien. See below how to get in from Oslo.

By train

  • There are trains from Oslo along the coast to Skien, sometimes with a change in Larvik in Vestfold county. Search on

By bus

By car

  • E18, the main road of Eastern and Southern Norway, passes through Telemark in the districts of Porsgrunn, Bamble and Kragerø.

By boat

Get around

  • Local buses, tickets and info by Vestviken (Norwegian only). Route info on (also in English).


Ulefoss locks at Telemark canal
  • Ibsen's Venstøp, Skien - The place where the world-famous writer Henrik Ibsen was born.
  • Telemarkskanalen (The Telemark Canal). Telemarkskanalen was hewn out of the rocks by hand, and stretches 105 km from Skien to Dalen in west and to Notodden in east. The Canal consists of eight locks with a total of 18 lock chambers, and a difference in height of 72 metres. The first part was completed in 1861 (Norsjø -Skien) and the Bandak Canal in 1892.





Stay safe

Telemark is considered extremely safe. There is really no need to avoid any places at any time, although you should probably not provoke drunk people in taxi lines around 2AM-3AM.

Go next

This region travel guide to Telemark is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!