Hiking trip in Telemark

Text: Anne Bloksgaard Nielsen Published 06.10.2021

Get inspired for your next hiking trip! Here are four tips for spectacular hiking trips in Telemark.

Telemark in southern Norway offers an abundance of hiking routes for the entire family. The varied landscape offers coastal paths, undulating hills and valleys, deep forests, as well as spectacular mountains whose peaks can be reached in only a few hours.On this page, with inspiration from Visit Norway, we’ve put together a selection of the most iconic hikes that the area has to offer.

Gaustatoppen – Perhaps the most beautiful views in Norway

Group of friends at Gaustatoppen

The absolute pinnacle of hikes in Telemark is the climb to the top of Gaustatoppen. The hike is about five km each way but if you’d prefer to save your energy, you can ride almost all the way to the top on the ‘Gaustabanen’,a unique funicular that runs inside the mountain! The funicular was originally built as transport to and from a secret NATO facility, but now carries thousands of tourists every year who wish to experience one of Norway’s most beautiful natural sights. If you prefer to walk to the top, the wide and well-signposted trail traverses large and small rocks and with a height difference of 700 m, it goes without saying that the views get better and better with every step. When you reach the top, you can treat yourself to coffee and waffles from the 100-year-old tourist cabin while you take in the panoramic views. From Gaustatoppen you can actually see one sixth of Norway on a clear day!

Sabotørstien – Feel the buzz of history

a sign pointing to the saboteur trail

If you’ve seen the film ‘The Heroes of Telemark’ or the TV series ‘The Heavy Water War’, you’ll know the story of how Norwegian saboteurs prevented the German occupying forces from using Rjukan’s production of heavy water to produce an atomic bomb. On this exciting and beautiful walking tour, you’ll follow the exact same path taken by the saboteurs on their way to blowing up the heavy water works at Vemork. Signs along the trail tell the dramatic story along the walk, which goes through forests and over mountains and offers impressive views of the mountainous landscape and the town of Rjukan.

Lårdalstigen – Walking along the Telemark Canal

Lårdalstigen offers a spectacular 14 km walk between Lårdal and Dalen. Much of the route follows the mountain ridge 800 metres above the Telemark Canal, so even if this challenging hike doesn’t take your breath away, the views most certainly will! The trail passes through old cultural landscapes and historical locations and en route you’ll see the silhouettes of the distinctive stone formations Risen and Gygri, from which a local legend has sprung. If you’d prefer not to walk back, from mid-May to mid-September you can take one of the delightful canal boats M/S Victoria or M/S Henrik Ibsen along the Telemark Canal, giving you the opportunity to experience the fantastic natural surroundings from a completely different angle.

Venelifjell – A summit hike for the entire family

To venner tar en selfie på fjellet

The hike to the top of Venelifjell at Vrådal is an amazing outdoor experience for the entire family. The 4 km hike up the mountain – whose name means ‘The Beautiful Mountain’ – starts in marshland, where you walk over bridges, and then takes you over rocky terrain to the idyllic Venelitjørni lake, where you can try your luck at fishing or take a cooling dip before continuing to the top, which rises 904 metres above sea level. Here you can enjoy a well-earned packed lunch with fantastic views of the sea and coastal town of Kragerø, the highland plateau of Hardangervidda and, of course, Gaustatoppen.

Did you know…

The Norwegian Tourist Board runs over 550 cabins across Norway that can be rented for overnight accommodation on your hiking trips. There are three types that are available:

  • Serviced, where you’re served food and can make your own packed lunch (for example, the cabin on Gaustatoppen).
  • Self-catered, where you’ll find facilities for cooking and can buy a selection of groceries.
  • Unserviced, where there are cooking facilities.