Out of the guidebook: Telemarkskanalen
West Bloomfield, Mich.
Skien is the beginning of the Telemarkskanalen, a unique water route. Most Americans seem unaware of this unique tourist attraction. Yet it’s really very old. The canal was finished in 1892 by 500 men, who carved it through the mountain for five years from Skien and up to the vertical plateau in Dalen.
The canal has eight locks, moving the Victoria or the Henrik Ibsen from one level, Skien, to Dalen, a distance of 105 kilometers (65 miles), 72 meters (236 feet) above sea level, from the southern part of Norway to the western part. You can choose tours that last from two to 11 hours, and you can also take a bus back to Skien. A journey on the M/S Victoria is a thrilling experience through nature, locks, and large bodies of water. The ship has an excellent café menu.
The canal has been and is an important trade route between upper and lower Telemark, transporting commercial goods and lumber. The boats run to various cities, and there are many hotels at which you can vacation, the most adventurous of which may be Dalen Hotel in Dalen, the administrative center of Tokke municipality.
The ordinary season begins around May 19 and ends September 6. There are many canal packages, including day trips, overnights, cycling, paddling, walking, and charters. For more info visit www.telemarkskanalen.no.
This article originally appeared in the Jan. 22, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.