"Why Porsgrunn?" Porsgrunn by Saagar

Porsgrunn Travel Guide: 29 reviews and 41 photos

Industrial city with pockets of idyll

Porsgrunn and Skien - twin cities, really - in the southern part of Norway are on every secondary school student's itinerary: Porsgrunn is at the industrial core of Norway, Skien was the childhood home town of Henrik Ibsen, a noted author and playwrigth of some international fame, too. Located on the lower part of Skienselva, both cities had access to the sea, hydropower as an industrial base, and Porsgrunn became the convenient site of the main chemical, and lately, petrochemical industrial development of Norway. A pocket of Ruhr in the otherwise innocent Norwegian rural landscape. The industrial base and the kind of work people do here have served to form and fashion both cities, Porsgrunn perhaps the most. distinct working class city. Aestethics in the past has been a consideration of the capital ownership and directors (the state being a main industrial player and partner), and it's visible in some public buildings and villas. As you walk through Porsgrunn today you have a sense of post-industrial recovery efforts. There is a considerable effort at recapturing the riverfront for the public, and creating a pleasant tradestown atmosphere in the main street area parallell to the river.

Defining character

In addition to the industrial complexes at Her°ya and Rafnes just south of Porsgrunn, the Skien river is the most defining feature of Porsgrunn. The river splits the city in the middle, but with most central functions and entertainment on the east bank.

The broad river valley with its habitation and some fields on the outskirts is hemmed in by forested hills and mountains on both sides.

Some pearls of Porsgrunn

Apart from the industry scene, and the public services of this regional capital (together with Skien) there isn't that much to see or do in Porsgrunn.
A key exception is the Porsgrunn porcelain factory (separate tip on this) and access to some good deep sea fishing (also from Brevik and Langesund). Forests and lakes are nearby, and so is the sea coast.
Access is easy, with train and bus connections with Oslo and other towns up and down the coast. Buses take you upcountry Telemark, too, easily. Trains in fact ply the route Lillehammer-Skien (Porsgrunn being the last stop before Skien).
E18 passes by south of the city.
There is some local and regional shopping, but without much noteworthy beyond the porcellain and petrochemical products.
The surroundings are standard south coast/Telemark type of rolling hills, cliffs, slickrock coast, many lakes, rivers and mixed forests.
Certainly, if you have business in Porsgrunn, or want to visit the porcellain factory make sure you also walk the main street, see the stave church, relax on the water front and cut your hair. I have never seen a town this full of haircutters/hair styling saloons...

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Compact and easy city centre, nice water front
  • Cons:Yucky industry, but getting cleaned up
  • In a nutshell:Nice place to drop by, but I wouldn't want to live here
  • Last visit to Porsgrunn: Dec 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (28)

Comments (1)

  • tjodrik's Profile Photo
    Jun 1, 2006 at 2:31 PM

    the name of the restaurant is Lilly May, and we have other asian-inspired restaurants here in Porsgrunn also. .:-)


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