15 Best Things To Do In Skien, Norway - Updated 2021

things to do in skien norway

As one of Norway’s oldest cities, Skien is a city bustling with culture and history. Skien is wondrously located between two glittering bodies of water, the Bryggeparken and Hjellevannet lakes, making this an ideal destination to dine with a beautiful view. The town’s most impressive feature is the scenic waterfront that makes the classic architecture all the more appealing. There is a list of things you can do to enjoy your next visit to Skien. Keep reading to find out about the best things to do in Skien, Norway.

1. Visit Skien Sluse

Skien sluse
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bitjungle used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Located in Telemark Canal, Skien Sluse, or Skien Lock in English, is the primary lock in the canal. It connects Skienselva to Hjellevannet. It is a 5-meter (16-foot) lock situated in Smieøya. The lock is not really the main attraction at the location, rather, the canal (Telemarkskanalen) offering tourists a chance to sail through it. Pleasure boats are scattered in the area, waiting to be booked by interested parties who want to go on a little cruise. After some time admiring the views from the waterscape, you will surely love to return to land and try the eateries and cafes nearby.

Skien Sluse

Address: selva, Skien, Skien, Norway

2. Bring your kids to The Fairytale Factory

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Elsa and Anna are back at @brooksfarms and it’s a MUCH sunnier day today Their next show in the playland theatre...

Posted by The Fairytale Factory on Sunday, August 30, 2020

If you are planning to visit Skien with your family, especially the kids, and you have a birthday party to hold, don’t hesitate to give The Fairytale Factory a call. It is a company that offers mobile magical entertainment to clients in need. Turn a simple birthday celebration into a memorable one by booking the professional team of creative geniuses, composed of designers, singers, and dancers in colorful and pretty fairytale costumes. Your guests will be mesmerized by the glitz and glamor. Not only that, but these charming characters have games and activities prepared for the attendees. Your child will surely thank you for an unforgettable birthday.

The Fairytale Factory

Website: The fairytale factory

3. Visit the stunning neo-gothic Skien Church

Skien Kirke church
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Wolfmann used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Located in Kirkegata, Skien Church is a stunning church in the city, which showcases neo-gothic architecture. It was built in 1894, featuring two parallel towers that stretch 68 meters (223 feet) in height. Hagbarth Martin Schytte-Berg designed this church that houses 1200 seats. The designers and the architect went over the top with the creation of this church as it was planned to become a cathedral. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Nevertheless, Skien Church is a lovely place to visit and say a few prayers. Weddings, baptisms, confirmations, and funerals are often performed here.

Skien Church

Address: Kirkegata 1, 3717 Skien, Norway

Website: Skien Church

4. Swing by the historic Gimsøy Monastery

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Your Skien holiday will not be complete without a visit to the Gimsøy Monastery. Located on the eastern side of Klosterøya Island, Gimsøy Monastery is a Benedictine monastery constructed in the early 12th century. It was founded by Dag Eilivsson after his safe return to his hometown after his journey to Jerusalem. Gimsøy Monastery is the first monastery that was specifically established for women. Its foundations are made from stone, and it showcases rustic details.

Gimsøy monastery ruin stone vault

Address: Klosterøya, Skien, Norway

5. Explore Telemark Museum

Telemark Museum (entré)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Orf3us used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Nestled in Telemark, Norway, Telemark Museum is a fascinating museum that features numerous edifices that are scattered in the area, including Vestfold and downtown Skien. It is like a group of museums with many exhibits. The porcelain museum features fascinating ceramic pieces that reflect Norwegian craft, culture, and history. On the other hand, Henrik Ibsen Museum is the childhood home of the Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen. The Telemark Museum also includes the childhood home of the painter Theodor Kittelsen. In addition to this, it has a lovely park, a cafe, and exciting escape rooms.

Telemark Museum

Address: Øvregate 41, 3715 Skien, Norway

Website: Telemark Museum

Opening hours: 11am - 9pm (daily)

Price: From 5 USD

6. Embark on a historical cruise at the Telemark Canal

The essential trip in Skien, Norway is an exciting cruise on the Telemark Canal. Regarded as a historical monument, the Telemark Canal is significant to the history of Skien as it used to function for the purposes of transporting goods and preventing floods. Upon its completion in the late 1800s, it was seen as the eighth wonder of Europe. Now, it is used primarily for the purposes of travel and leisure, providing an opportunity for visitors to embark upon an informational boat cruise. Aside from the historical significance, the cruise will also gift you with breathtaking views of the water and a luxurious dinner to accompany them.

Telemark Canal

Address: 3702 Skien Norway

Website: Telemark Canal

7. Have a relaxing stroll at Brekkeparken

Located in the city center, the Brekkeparken is an ideal place to unwind and enjoy a scenic view that overlooks the town. There are local ducks in the park’s pond and various gardens filled with vividly colored flowers. The park has a cafe where you can enjoy light refreshments and drinks while basking in the wonderful outdoors. Every Thursday in the summer, a live jazz concert plays outside, a popular event for many of Skien’s local residents. You can also learn a bit about the city’s history at the Telemark Museum, located within the park.


Address: Ovregate 41, Skien, Norway

Phone: +47 40855626

Website: Brekkeparken

8. See a performance at the Ibsenhuset concert hall

A post shared by IBSENHUSET AS (@ibsenhuset) on Mar 31, 2017 at 11:19am PDT

If you want to visit the center of Skien’s culture, spend an evening at the Ibsenhuset. The main attraction of this center is the concert hall where a vast variety of performances are held every year, but there is also a library in the building. The center also serves as a place for art exhibitions, conferences, and seminars to be held. There is a restaurant and cafe venue with food options for visitors.


Address: Lundegata 6, 3724 Skien, Norway

Phone: +47 35581330

Website: Ibsenhuset

9. Witness the beautiful architecture of the Skien Kirke

One of the most prominent pieces of architecture in Skien and perhaps even in Norway, the Skien Kirke is an absolute necessity to visit. Both the exterior and interior architecture are marvelous, representing the important religious and cultural history of the town throughout the centuries. Noted as the second-largest church in Norway and situated in the center of Skien, this beautiful church is hard to miss. If passing by the city, take a few moments to revel in the monumental architecture of the Skien Kirke.

Skien Kirke

Address: Amtmand Aalls Gate 1, 3717 Skien, Norway

10. Learn about Norwegian culture at the Henrik Ibsen Museum

A post shared by Elise Nanninga (@woudaapje) on Jun 29, 2017 at 1:35pm PDT

The Henrik Ibsen Museum is historically known to be the childhood home of the renowned Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen. The museum contains exhibits of old photos, films, plays, and an antique hat collection. A visit to this museum will expand your knowledge about Skien’s cultural history and give you insight into Henrik Ibsen’s lifetime. There is also a cafe in the museum where you can order delicious Norwegian waffles after your visit.

Henrik Ibsen Museum

Address: Venstoephoegda 74, 3721 Skien, Norway

Phone: +47 35544500

Website: Henrik Ibsen Museum

11. Enjoy an array of sports at the Skien Fritidspark complex

At the Skien Fritidspark complex, you can spend a day releasing all of your energy among a myriad of athletic activities. The center offers climbing areas, ice skating rinks, tennis courts, water parks, frisbee golf courts, indoor skiing slopes, gym machines, and much more. The sports center is open all year, so you can experience the enjoyment of different fitness activities without the seasonal limitations of outdoor sports.

Skien Fritidspark

Address: Moflatvegen 38, 3733 Skien, Norway

Website: Skien Fritidspark

12. Contemplate contemporary art at the Spriten Kunsthall gallery

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Spriten Kunsthall. Photo: Dag Jenssen

Posted by Spriten Kunsthall on Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Spriten Kunsthall gallery is another quaint place in Skien where you can experience the town’s rich culture. The gallery often hosts exhibitions with local residential artists, as well as occasional concerts and performances. The gallery also provides artist residency and project space, as their primary goal is to ensure that the local artists have professional work environments in which to continue creating art.

Spriten Kunsthall

Address: Toemmerkaia 19, 3732 Skien, Norway

Website: Spriten Kunsthall

13. Learn about Skien’s beer history at the Lundetangen Brewery Collection

A post shared by Merete 🌼 (@handverksfrua) on Jul 16, 2016 at 6:04am PDT

Regarded as a specialty museum, the Lundetangen Brewery Collection is a great place to educate yourself about Skien’s history of alcohol throughout the years. Established in 1854, the collection brims with an assortment of beer varieties from different time periods. A visit to this museum will allow you to learn more about the history of this particular brewery, as well as the general history of the small breweries that were established in Skien long ago.

Lundetangen Brewery Collection

Address: Oscarsgt. 2 C, Katakombene pa Lundetangen, 3725 Skien, Norway

Website: Lundetangen Brewery Collection

14. Dine with an unforgettable lake view at the Strom Mat and Bar

A post shared by Strøm Mat & Bar (@matogbar) on Jul 13, 2017 at 1:44am PDT

As Skien is a town nestled between two lakes, it is absolutely essential to spend at least one night dining with a spectacular view. At the Strom Mat and Bar, you can dine luxuriously with a wondrous view of the lake sparkling with city lights. This cozy restaurant has a wide range of food options, including accommodations for vegetarians and vegans. Their drinking menu is also impressive, with an assortment of fine wines and beers to try whilst enjoying the unforgettable lake view.

Strom Mat and Bar

Address: Nedre Hjellegate 11, 3724 Skien, Norway

Website: Strom Mat and Bar

15. Drink coffee at the waterfront at the Lykke cafe

If one experience with the waterfront did not suffice, then visit the Lykke cafe to gaze at an early view of the lake while sipping your morning coffee. The Lykke cafe also offers a modest menu with daily specials to choose from, so you can enjoy a light breakfast or brunch while getting ready to start your day. It is located in a central spot in Skien, and it is often frequented by residents as a place for meetings and casual outings.

Lykke Cafe

Address: Langbrygga 8, 3724 Skien, Norway

Facebook: Lykke Cafe

Visit the lake town of Skien for a charming travel experience

Bryggevannet og Hjellevannet - Skien
Source: Photo by user Bitjungle used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Norway is a vast country with many different types of destinations that cater to any adventurous traveler. There are villages within the mountains, peaceful snowy corners, bustling cities, and small quaint countrysides. Skien is a lake town, offering its visitors a taste of the peculiar, the stunning, and the historical aspects of Norway. Visit Skien to immerse yourself in the area’s rich dedication to culture, art, and beautiful outdoor escapes.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Izza Qureshi is a creative writer and artist residing in the Washington, D.C. area, but her mind is likely floating somewhere in the cosmos. Fascinated by the mysterious of the unknown world, she...Read more

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