Reading material for those who love the camping life

Campingportalen on tour in the summer of 2020 - part 2
Text and photos: Campingportalen / Fortunaweb AS

Campingportalen on tour in the summer of 2020 - part 2

Then finally the day had come to set course for Telemark and Norsjø holiday country. Previously we had only been here on day visits, and it had given us a very positive impression of the place. Expectations were therefore high when a few hours after check-out from Hokksund Camping we rolled into Norsjø holiday land.

Norsjø holiday country

We were going to be on Norsjø for a week, and knew that this was a very popular place. We had therefore reserved a plot well in advance of arrival. We have a large cart, and were therefore careful to point this out in the order.

At the reception we were received by a very nice lady who later turned out to be the driver of the place. She drew and explained the way to the plot so that we would not drive wrong. The plot we got was absolutely superbly located, large and beautiful, almost right on the water's edge. Here was a very good place for both caravan and awning - now everything was ready for a great week at Norsjø holiday country.

Norsjø Cable Park

Norsjø Kabelpark is beautifully located on Norsjø holiday land and is Norway's only full-fledged water ski and wakeboard facility. There is no doubt that for many of the guests, this is the big draw. It was crowded between carts with wetsuits hanging to dry and both courses and equipment rental are offered on site. Exciting activity suitable for many ages!

When the cable park closes in the evening, the area becomes a favorite bathing spot for the children. Great fun to climb the jumps and very nice also for those with for example SUP boards.

The restaurant at Norsjø

Norsjø Ferieland has its own restaurant with good food and drink, and if the little ones are impatient, there is a large playground right next door. From the restaurant you have a great view of the bay by which the campsite is located.

Heddal Stave Church

Norsjø ferieland is located a short distance from many different attractions. Notodden is a 20 minute drive away, and here you will find, for example, Heddal stave church and village garden which is well worth a visit.

A stave church is a church built of wood with a load-bearing construction of staves (pillars). In Norway today we have 28 preserved stave churches, Heddal is the largest of them with a length of 20 meters and a height of 26 meters. It was built once in the 1250s.

We managed to make the trip here at the right time to get a tour of a skilled guide who could tell many stories about the church, including the legend of how the church was built. We can promise both trolls and other mysteries in the legend, so just make the trip to Heddal Stave Church. Feel free to take a guided tour, it is highly recommended.

Heddal village park

A stone's throw from the church you will find Heddal bygdetun. Here you can get to know life better on a large farm in Heddal in the 1800th century. The buildings come from the district, and one of the perhaps most beautiful buildings is Rambergstugo - the main house - which is beautifully decorated by the rose painter Olav Hansson in 1784. This was the first building that came to Heddal bygdetun.


Just a few hundred meters from the center of Notodden is Tinnfoss. The waterfall is regulated, but if you are lucky enough to visit it when the power station opens the locks, it is raw sight. At the end of the 1800th century, the waterfall was central to an industrial adventure that has included it on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The power station, which was ready in 1901, provided electricity to the paper mill, which had timber floated down in a separate run in the waterfall, but much larger for Norway's industrial history is the electricity that was delivered to Norsk Hydro's experimental factory.

Sam Eyde and Kristian Birkeland are considered the founders of Norsk Hydro and started the experiments with the production of Salpeter right here in Notodden. This is worth taking with you, and a natural journey forward is to set course for Rjukan and Vemork - That was exactly what Eyde and Birkeland also did in their time to produce electricity on a REALLY large scale. This stream gave us Norway's first fertilizer factory.


The Telemark Canal is perhaps one of the most famous attractions in Telemark. This is a waterway that stretches all the way from Skien and up to Dalen. The landscape variations are large on this 105 km long route which has a height difference of 72 meters distributed over 18 lock chambers.

A trip on the Telemark Canal can, for example, be combined with an overnight stay at the venerable Dalen Hotel, which is also referred to as the "adventure hotel".

Vrangfoss locks

The Telemark Canal can be experienced both by boat and on land. This year we chose the land variant, and went to perhaps the most beautiful lock facility along the route - Vrangfoss locks. Here there are five lock chambers with a total lifting height of 23 meters.  If you only want to visit one lock system, we would recommend that you choose this.

You can walk along the locks and follow the boats through the chambers. Here there are many people in turns who ensure a safe trip from chamber to chamber.

Next time, the plan is to test the boat variant, it is probably not a less fascinating experience either.

Rjukan and Vemork

A trip to Rjukan and Vemork has long been on the wish list, and now the trip had finally arrived. Rjukanfossen provided the basis for Vemork, and when it was completed in 1911, it was the world's largest power station.

The development of Vemork was part of the establishment of "Rjukan I", the nitrate factory in Rjukan. Hydropower, Norwegian technology, engineering and the efforts of rallaren and industrial workers made Rjukan known as an industrial site with a large power plant. Vemork power station is one of the most famous power plants internationally.

Only luck and good timing stopped a plan to send all the turbines for metal recycling - the power station is therefore preserved, and is today operated as the Norwegian Industrial Workers' Museum. It makes a powerful impression to see how lonely this facility was in its heyday.

The Vemork campaign

The Vemork campaign was the sabotage campaign against the Germans' production of heavy water during World War II, and must probably be given much of the credit for most people to nod in recognition and say that they have heard of Vemork.

Germany's battle for the heavy water has almost endless information about it, but if you visit Vemork you can experience something that until recently has been reserved for the history books; The factory where the heavy water was produced has been demolished, but only a few years ago a fiery soul managed to convince the right people that the heavy water plant itself could be found underground ...

As recently as 2017, it was possible to dig out the basement under the hydrogen factory, and it was precisely here that the well-known sabotage operation took place. The basement was intact! At the time of writing (2020), construction work is still in progress, but it is slowly but surely moving towards a finished museum where you can experience one of the greater moments from war history with your own eyes.

Kos shall we travel?

After a great week at Norsjø Ferieland we were ready to move a bit again. "Where are we going to travel?" Yes, Easter General Viggo Valle asks about this every year, and there are probably many holiday tourists in Norway who have done this summer. With very many Norwegians on the trip and limited opportunities for booking camping sites along the way, it has been an extra strain in time not to quite know where the trip goes next. It is also a fact of the road standard that many campsites in Norway are often very poor. A road trip can therefore be extra demanding if you should be so unlucky to meet others on the same errand with a caravan on roads where 2 cars can barely get past each other.

Luckily we were lucky and got a great place at Lovisenberg Familiecamping in Kragerø. 10 days of wonderful archipelago idyll along the beautiful Telemark coast was ahead of us.

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