Porsgrunn is a middle-sized city in Telemark county, and it’s located roughly 2 hours south of Oslo. It’s not a typical tourist destination, but there are still plenty of tourists who find their find to Porsgrunn, either as a stop on their way further south, or because they want to spend a few days in the area.
There’s no denying that Porsgrunn is far from the most interesting city in Norway, but it’s still kind of popular among tourists. However, a visit to Porsgrunn can be quite nice, and you can get a good opportunity to get a feel for what the real Norway is like.
This article is going to be taking a closer look at what you can expect from Porsgrunn, and take a closer look at the best attractions and things to do in Porsgrunn.
1) Learn all about science at DuVerden Sjøfartsmuseum
DuVerden Sjøfartsmuseum is a newly renovated museum that aims at teaching children and family about physics and science, as well as Porsgrunn as a seafaring city. The center has lots of different interactive modules where you can learn about everything related to science, and most children find it to be a very entertaining experience.
This is not your average snooze-fest museum where the children are bored, but instead a fun playful museum where the children will want to spend more time. There’s something to do for all age groups, and most adults find the visit an enjoyable learning experience.
The name Sjøfartsmuseum can be translated to seafaring museum, but you might get a bit disappointed if you mainly visit to learn about seafaring. This museum is first and foremost a science center, with the seafaring exhibition being only a small part of it.
The entrance fee is 140 NOK for both adults and children, with family tickets (2+2) costing 450 NOK (2022 prices).
2) See and buy ceramics at Porsgrund Porselænsfabrik
Porsgrunds Porselænsfabrik is probably the company that has affected Porsgrunn the most. This factory from 1885 is still open, and they are known as a quality producer of porcelain.
The factory is by far the biggest tourist attraction in Porsgrunn, and there are exhibitions of their products that is open to the public. There’s also several outlet stores that sell the ceramics nearby where you can make a pretty good deal.
If you’re visiting, this is the opportunity to bring home a truly unique souvenir. They have a pretty big variety of designs, and most people end up finding something they like. They produce both modern designs as well as traditional Norwegian designs.
3) See a show at Ælvespeilet
Ælvespeilet is a concert avenue where there are plenty of shows and concerts, and there are usually something interesting to watch or experience there. So if you are visiting Porsgrunn, consider checking out what’s going on at Ælvespeilet, and consider booking tickets for a show there.
You can find a list of upcoming shows at their website by clicking here.
4) Wander down the main shopping street
Porsgrunn city is centered around the main street where you can walk to find plenty of shows and interesting buildings. You can choose either to walk along the promenade next to the river, or just up in the main street to get a better selection of shops and kiosks.
The harbor is just a short walk from the main city center, and it’s a nice place to go for a walk. There are plenty of cafés and restaurants if you are looking for someplace to eat or just grab a coffee.
5) Take a swim in the ocean
Porsgrunn has several amazing beaches where you can go for a swim, try your luck at catching a few fish, or just enjoy the day with the ocean breeze. You can swim in the Norwegian ocean during most of summer, and it’s very easy to find a good swimming spot in Porsgrunn, as long as you head towards the coast.
Some popular beaches that are worth stopping by in Porsgrunn are:
- Røra badeplass.
- Dikkon beach (see more on Sandøya below).
- Osebakken beach.
There are plenty of different smaller islands just outside Porsgrunn where you can spend the day if you have a boat to reach it. Island shopping is popular during the summer, where ferries will transport you to and from these smaller islands.
6) Learn all about geology at Geopark visitor center and its locations
The Gea Norvegica Geopark is scattered all around Porsgrunn and its bordering municipalities, but the main visitor center is in the middle of Porsgrunn. If you are interested in learning more about the special geology of the area, then this visitor center is the perfect place to stop by.
The visitor center has a lot of exciting stuff like different rocks and minerals, teeth from a mammoth, dinosaur models and several different exhibitions. It also has an on-site geologist who can answer all your questions about the geology of Porsgrunn and the surrounding area.
This is a great first stop if you plan on stopping by the different parts of Gea Norvegica Geopark during your stay, and for sure one of the best things to do in Porsgrunn.
7) Spending a day at Sandøya is one of the best things to do in Porsgrunn
Sandøya is a small island just off the coast of Porsgrunn, and it is known for its beautiful nature, incredible beaches and relaxed atmosphere. This small island has around 350 people living on it, but it’s mostly filled with tourists during the summer months.
There are plenty of trails on the island that you can walk to explore the island on your own pace. It’s a great place to visit with children, and the trails are not too difficult.
You need to ride the ferry from Brevik to get to Sandøya, and the ferry departs pretty frequently during the summer months. If you want to spend the night, feel free to check out the Dikkon Camping. They have lots of places for you to rent a place to set up a tent and enjoy a lazy summer evening on Sandøya.
8) Visit Porsgrunn Bymuseum
Porgrunn Bymuseum (translates to Porsgrunn city museum) offers tours to the public every Wednesday and Friday during the summer months, and gives you a look at the history of Porsgrunn as a city. As you can expect, Porsgrund Porselænsfabrik played a huge part in the lives of most people in Porsgrunn, so you will see even more porcelain here.
Porgrunn Bymuseum is far from the biggest or most interesting museum, but it’s a nice stop if you want to learn a bit more about this unique city. The entrance fee is only 50 NOK, so it’s a nice place to stop by for an hour or two. If you’re interested in history, this is a great place, but it will probably be a bit boring for children.
The museum is located just next to the Down Town shopping mall, which brings us to the next thing to do in Porsgrunn.
9) Go shopping at Down Town
Down Down is a big shopping mall just next to the city center in Porsgrunn, and it’s a great place to stop by if you need to buy anything. There are plenty of different stores, including several cafés and places to get something to eat.
There’s also a bowling hall on Down Town, so you can combine some family fun with your shopping trip. What’s better than spending an hour bowling with your family after shopping in the 90+ stores?
10) See the highly controversial Østre Porsgrunn kirke
The original Østre Porsgrunn kirke (Porsgrunn eastern church) was burned to the ground in 2011, and a new one was built in its place. This modern church was met with a lot of controversy, because as you can imagine, religious people are typically the best at adapting to modern things.
The church is still highly controversial because of its unique look, but it’s actually a pretty unique sight with its huge, white spire being seen from far away. It’s just a few minutes outside the main city center, so it’s also very easy to get to for a quick look and photo session. The church is operational just like any church, so stop by on Sunday if you want to see a sermon.
11) Eat ice cream and chill in Brevik
Brevik is a small town that is part of Porsgrunn municipality, and this is a type of town that most Norwegians think of as a “summer town”. There are plenty of people who live in Brevik all year round, but it’s an idyllic little town close to the ocean where lots of people enjoy hanging out during the summer.
There isn’t a lot of stuff happening in Brevik, but it’s a relaxed little place that is super nice during the summer. Just walk along the very small roads in the town until you get to the harbor where you can enjoy an ice cream in the hot summer sun. There are plenty of old buildings with unique architecture as well, so there’s a lot to see.
Going to Brevik is absolutely one of the best things to do in Porsgrunn if you are visiting in the summer, even though it’s not as great during the other times of the year.
What to expect when visiting Porsgrunn
Porsgrunn is not a typical tourism destination, so it will have fewer attractions than most cities of this size. It’s conjoined by its neighbor city Skien, and people who are living in these cities tend to think of both cities as one, and use both of the cities activities when looking for things to do.
The greater Skien and Porsgrunn area is referred to as Grenland. This includes the cities Skien and Porsgrunn, as well as Bamble, Siljan, Brevik, Langesund and Stathelle, all of which are smaller towns close to these bigger cities.
Porsgrunn itself has around 35,000 inhabitants, and it’s mostly an industrial city. A lot of people work at the different companies situated at Herøya, an industrial area with some of the biggest companies in Norway.
The University of South-Eastern Norway also has a campus in Porsgrunn, so you will see a city life with lots of students and a decent nightlife.
How to get to Porsgrunn
Porgrunn is just a few hours south of Oslo, and it’s easy to get there by car, train or bus. If you ride public transport, hop on the train that is headed towards Skien, then step off at Porsgrunn, the 2nd final stop on the train ride.
There are also plenty of buses that depart from Oslo that stops by Porsgrunn, and companies such as Nor-Way rides this route. If your driving a rental car, just follow E18 south until you get to Porsgrunn.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.