Brufjellhålene is one of the popular places to visit in Southern Norway. Brufjellhålene hike is well worth doing but it can be difficult or hard if you don’t check the details beforehand. In this post, you have all the information you need to know for hiking to famous Brufjell Hulene caves and potholes in Flekkefjord, Southern Norway.
Of hundreds of places that I visited during my almost five years in Norway, and countless Norway hikes I have done, there was one still left on my list. I haven’t managed to do it due to the bad weather, the distance from Oslo, or other hiking or via Ferrata plans. Finally, last weekend, I managed to finally visit the spectacular Brufjellhålene (also called Brufjell Hulene). And it was a little bit different than what I expected. Read on to find out how to plan your Brufjellhålene hike.
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What is Brufjellhålene (Brufjell Hulene) – The potholes at the Brufjell caves
Brufjellhålene (also called Brufjell Hulene) is a set of horizontal potholes created during the Ice Age, around 20 000 years ago when the sea level was higher than now. The sea level was rising fast when the ice melted during the end of the last Ice Age and stayed high constantly for a long time. The weight of the ice forced the land to sink, and after the ice melted, the land started to slowly rise again. The rough seas were crashing against the cliffs and due to the erosion, they carved the set of Brufjell caves, called Brufjellhålene, in the rocks. The potholes are located 20 meters above the current sea level, and some of them are so big that people can go inside.
Brufjell Hulene potholes are located in southern Norway, in the small Åna-Sira town, outside Flekkefjord. It’s a part of the Magma Geopark area in Norway (the same where Trollpikken formation is located in). The caves are a popular hike in Norway.
Earthquakes were common in the Roligheten area in the past, and you can see the evidence of that nowadays. Some geological units in the Siraåna valley near Lundevatnet have been displaced around 500 meters to the east because of a geological fault.
To get to the Brufjellhålene, you need to hike. The Brufjellhålene hike leads through Brufjell summit and then down to the caves located by the sea. The last part of the hike is classified as black (the hardest type of trail marking in Norway) and very steep. It involves climbing and metal steps like via Ferrata. It is NOT an easy hike. Not suitable for dogs or very small children (but I’ve seen older children doing great on the trail).
The Brufjell Hulene hike starts by climbing to the highest point of Brufjell with 184 meters and panoramic views out to sea and land. On the way to the top, you can stop by beautiful Sandviga beach. From the top of Brufjell, the trail goes down lower and lower, finally reaching a smooth natural rocky platform about 10 meters above sea level. This platform and a series of caves have been worn out of the solid rock by the sea.
Total distance: 5,5km
Total time: 3-5 hours
Highest point: Brufjell 184m
Elevation difference: 578 m (you go up the mountain, and then down to the caves, then back up from the caves and down from the mountain again).
Path: Marked path
Difficulty: See the section below
Starting point: The hike starts from Åna-Sira town
Endpoint: The same as a start point
Brufjellhålene hike difficulty
The Brufjellhålene hike is marked as at first moderately challenging, and then transitioning to hard. The red and blue trails that go up to Brufjell are fine. However, the last part of the hike, the one that leads down to Brufjellhålene potholes is marked as black and very challenging.
Before you enter the climb down, you can see a signpost that you need to proceed only at your own risk. The hike is very steep and involves climbing elements, together with Via Ferrata elements (climbing with the use of metal steps and bolts mounted into the rock). Some parts are almost vertical. There is also a water stream gushing down the rocks, which doesn’t help.
I’ve done several via Ferrata routes in Norway before, and when I needed to go down on my own, at one point I didn’t feel very confident. Usually climbing down is much more difficult than climbing up (the way back was quite easy for me). And I did find it challenging to climb down.
Luckily, when I stood alone halfway down thinking about what to do, I met some people who gave me more confidence into going further. I tend to not take risky paths in the mountains when I’m hiking solo, but with more people around, it felt safer. On the way back, I ended up alone again, as I stayed in the cave a bit longer. However, it was easier for me than climbing down, so I made it back up safe and sound. In general, I recommend attempting this part of the hike with some company, not solo.
Read more: Trolltunga Via Ferrata – Adventurous Trip To The Famous Rock in Norway
Brufjellhålene hike – the weather
Due to the difficulty of the last part of the trail, it’s important to only do this hike in good weather. Never attempt this in bad weather conditions or in wet or slippery rock. You can check the weather forecast on Yr.no.
Brufjellhålene – The hiking trails
There are two main trails that lead to the top of Brufjell mountain and then to the beginning of the descent to Brufjellhålene. There is a blue trail, classified as an easier one. And a red one, which is a bit more challenging. The descent to the caves is marked as a black trail and signposted to be taken only at your own risk.
I decided to take a blue trail from the start of the route towards Sandvika beach, and then up to Brufjell. From there, for a short time, I joined the red trail and then the black one down to the caves. On the way down, I chose the blue trail again and then the red one to go back to the starting point.
The terrain varied between rocky and (very) muddy trails, either through the forest or in an open area.
I recommend taking a small detour to see the Sandvika beach and maybe take a quick swim after the hike. The water is clear, and there are white stones making the beach look like a little tropical paradise. It reminded me of some beautiful beaches from Nordland in Lofoten and Helgeland.
The trail markings on the Brufjellhålene hike
The marking of the trails in the Brufjellhålene hike is mixed. Sometimes you get blue poles on a red trail, sometimes red dots on a blue trail, and so on. Sometimes, there are no markings at all and you need to figure your way.
On the junction points, there were usually small maps showing your current location and the trails, which was good. However, in between the junction points, the marking was sometimes missing. On the way back I even ended up in the area that was closed (but the closing sign was only on the other side, so on my exit side…), due to rockfall. There were no signs of the rockfall from the part where I joined the trail.
I always recommend using the ut.no app or maps.me apps to make sure you are on the correct trail.
QUICK PLANNING TIPS FOR TRAVEL AND CAMPING IN NORWAY
- Find the best flights to Norway with Skyscanner.net
- Book your accommodation with Booking.com
- Find the best car rental deals on Rentalcars
- Activities to try in Norway you can find on Get your Guide and Viator
- Read Norway on a budget travel guide
Brufjellhålene in winter
The potholes are closed in winter. Any use of trails at that time is entirely at your own risk.
Brufjell Hulene Practical Information
How to get to Brufjellhålene
To get to Brufjellhålene, you need to drive on road 44 (the North Sea road) to Åna-Sira. On the road, after one of the bends, you can notice a big sign for Brufjell hostel and parking, as well as a sign to Roligheten. Take that turn, and drive on the small road until you reach a relatively big car park with signs to Brufjellhålene.
Parking at Brufjellhålene
There is no parking in the village. All around the village, there are signs that parking is prohibited. However, there is one big parking lot area, just before you enter the town build-up area, where you can leave your car and then walk through the village to the beginning of the trail for around 1-2 km. There is a simple toilet (no running water) in the car park.
The car park can get quite busy on the weekends and in the high season, so it’s good to either arrive very early or a bit later in the afternoon (when most people already leave). Just make sure you time your hike well, so you return before darkness. This is usually the best advice to avoid crowds on popular Norwegian hikes, such as the Kjerag hike.
Where to stay near Brufjellhålene hike
There are a few options for hotels near the Brufjellhålene hike. I stayed in one of them in the nearby village with a stunning sunset view from the balcony.
- Jøssingfjord Bed & Breakfast – this is where I stayed. There was a room with a shared cozy living room and kitchen attached, and a balcony with a sea and mountains view. Breakfast included. Check prices and availability here.
- Øvstefjellså Gård &Aktivitet Senter – this place is highly recommended near cute Flekkefjord village. With fairy-tale-like surroundings and options between rooms or nest-like cabins perched on a hill with a sea and mountain view, it looks like a perfect place for a relaxing stay. Check prices and availability here.
What to take with you for the Brufjellhålene hike
Some items that it’s worth taking with you for the hike are:
- Via Ferrata equipment (Via Ferrata lanyard, climbing harness, and helmet (if you have it) – initially, I was going to take mine with me, but then I forgot. In retrospect, I think I would feel better if I had it with me (or at least a helmet). However, it might have also been hard to clip in and out with a lot of people waiting to come to both ways, so it’s something to consider.
- climbing gloves – can be helpful for holding onto the metal steps and the wire.
- sturdy shoes
- comfortable stretchy trousers
- suncream – I always take this suncream as it has great protection, good skincare, and is perfect for kids and adults on the face and body.
- enough food and water
- small and light backpack
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