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Brufjell Potholes are very interesting and popular landmark in Southern Norway. Located along the coast near Flekkefjord, the caves, or ‘potholes’ as they’re often referred to, are reminders of the higher ocean level in the past.
Although trail to the Brufjell caves winds thru low hills and later follows the shoreline (sounds easy, right?) you should prepare for a bit of challenge to visit the potholes, as they’re located at the bottom of rocky cliff. Scrambling down requires good head for heights and a lot of care! You will, however, be rewarded for your efforts with the experience and sight of incredible power of the Ice Age ocean.
Hiking to Brufjell Potholes near Flekkefjord, fact sheet
- Heighest point: 193 masl
- Total time: 3 hours
- Total distance: 3 km
- Parking: large visitor car park in Stornes (directions)
- Level of difficulty: to Brufjellet hill 2/5 – easy walk, good path, signposted. Norwegian standards: BLUE – moderate; to potholes/caves 4/5 – scrambling down steep cliff, chains provided. Norwegian standards: BLACK – expert.
- Brufjellet weather: Lekkefjord weather forecast
What are Brufjell Potholes?
Although they’re casually called ‘potholes’, the unique Brufjell formations actually are shallow caves.
Let’s move back in time a bit… some 20,000 years. Most of Scandinavia is covered by thick ice cap, melting very slowly. Due to the weight of ice and higher ocean level, the actual shore was much higher than nowadays; for example in northern Sweden we saw 8,000 years old shorelines at over 290 metres over todays sea level! Southern Norway’s Ice Age ocean level wasn’t that much higher than currently, however the Brufjell Potholes are unique sight and witness to the raw power of rough seas of past times.
How were the caves created then? Imagine the rough sea waves crushing against grey cliffs of Southern Norway… over and over again… shaping, sculpting the rocks just as they do nowadays. That’s how the potholes were created, by high waves beating the shore. Today, the sea level is much lower than 20,000 years ago and the caves are an effect of its past power.
How to get to Brufjell caves trail head
Brufjell Potholes are located along the southern coast of Norway, near a beautiful town Flekkefjord. The trail begins in a tiny village Stornes, at the very end of road no 4142. Coming from Kristiansand direction, follow road E39 until Flekkefjord, then take road number 44 and finally turn into road 4142 just before Ana-Sira and follow it for about 2 km. Coming from Stavanger direction, you can either follow road no 44 and turn into road 4142 just past Ana-Sira, or alternatively take road E39 and, as above, change to road no 44 in Flekkefjord.
Leave your car at the large visitors car park just before Stornes village (directions) and continue along the narrow road to the village. It’s a very short, but beautiful walk. The village is lovingly located over water, colourful houses and summer greens contrast in such a perfect way that you will be awed, just like we were!
Walk thru the village until you come to a small bay, the trail to Brufjellet and Brufjel Potholes is clearly signposted from the road. There are other trails running thru the area, we chose the shortest one.
Hiking to Brufjellet hill
There isn’t a direct trail to Brufjell Potholes, each way first passes thru another landmark – it’s either Sandvika beach or Brufjellet hill. Obviously, we picked the one going thru Brufjellet as it seemed a shorter option. Therefore we hit the trail heading into the trees, some 150 metres before the road ended (the other trail begins at the very road end).
At first, the trail climbed steeply, but we enjoyed the woodland walk – wild flowers and berry bushes were in bloom, scent of warm greenery was overwhelming and filled us with joy of being in nature again.
Soon we left the forest behind and found ourselves walking thru a rough, sun-burnt meadow specked with large boulders. Brufjellet was already visible and seemed to be only a short walk away. We continued along the signposted path and in no time were climbing to the Brufjellet summit!
Top of the hill is a single, massive boulder and reaching it would be a bit troublesome in places if not for the chains provided. This little hill appeared to be a great viewpoint! Despite being only 193 masl, Brufjellet provides panoramic sights, in all directions; looking back we saw rough meadows we just hiked, ahead of us was endless ocean, looking other directions we admired rough coastline of Southern Norway.
A challenging descent to Brufjell Potholes
As much as we enjoyed the summit views, we were eager to set off to our real destination – the potholes. We heard that they’re reached by a steep scramble down the cliff and were looking forward to a bit of adrenaline and excitement!
From Brufjellet’s top we retraced our steps for about 40 metres, and turned left when the path forked. Trail was taking us down towards the cliffs, and some 120 metres later we came to another path fork. Excited, we turned left again. We were on the direct descent to the caves!
Immediately we felt excited! Although Brufjell Potholes are a popular destination, reaching them can prove challenging, or even impossible for some. To get to the cliffs bottom, one has to scramble down the rocks – at first in a steep gully, then down an almost vertical rock face. Photos above show the route very well. The left photo shows Bea scrambling down, using steel lines as well as hand-and-foot holds fixed into the rock. The right photo is taken from the bottom of the cliff and reflects the level of steepness, also a popularity of the trail.
To sum up, to scramble down to the Brufjell caves, you’ll need to have a good head for heights and a bit of confidence. However, the section is secured with chains and handholds, and is not technically difficult. Also, it’s a relatively short scramble and a great fun!
We really enjoyed the scramble down to the potholes and felt quite happy on the thought that we will scramble again, on our way up!
Past the steep section, we were already at the sea level from 20,000 years ago. Facing the open ocean on such hot day, we felt happy, caressed by a gentle breeze coming from the south.
The caves were now easily accessible by a wide and relatively flat ledge of smooth, monolith rock. It felt like walking along a terrace.
We followed the ledge and soon came to the first cave which was very shallow and looked like the rock was took out by a giant ice scoop. As the sun was merciless, we had a short break in the shade before venturing further.
The next two caves were a bit deeper, and reminded us of giant mouse holes.
The furthest pothole was the most impressive. Not only it was large and with high ceiling, but it had a massive paddle at the entrance – perfectly sized to fit our reflections (as you can see on the photo above).
Having explored all the caves along the ledge, we walked back to the ‘scrambling section’ and enjoyed the short climb once again! Once at the clifftop, we decided to follow the same way back to the car park.
Visiting Brufjell Potholes – hiking map
A rare treat! Enjoy an online interactive hiking map
What we loved about exploring Brufjell caves
Undoubtedly, we enjoyed the scramble up and down the cliff! But seriously, the potholes are located in a very picturesque corner of Norway. The village of Stornes is simply beautiful, it has an incredibly peaceful ambience, despite being located in one of the most popular areas of ‘the south’. We also liked the uniqueness of the caves and once we learned a bit more about their origins, we found them even more interesting!
Wild camping near Brufjell caves, nearest campsites and accommodation
Wild camping is allowed and widely accepted in Norway. By law, everyone is allowed to stay overnight at any spot at least 150 metres from nearby buildings. As much as it sounds great and easy, finding a wild camping spot near Brufjell Potholes (and generally in Southern Norway) is rather tricky as the area is densely populated. After our visit to the potholes we continued west, looking for an overnight stay spot in a campervan, and we struggled big time. We tried numerous small roads, but they all led to farms and weren’t suitable. We ended up spending the night at Obrestad Fyr, which is relatively far from Stornes.
We can, however, recommend a fantastic campsite near Flekkefjord. We only planned to spend one night at Egenes Camping, but we enjoyed it so much, that we stayed longer. The campsite is located over lake Selura, a fab place to swim on a hot day, take my word for it! The staff was very friendly and went an extra mile to help us (we had a problem with hook-up in our camper). We can’t recommend them enough!
Accommodation in Flekkefjord
We believe that the beautiful, charming town of Flekkefjord is the best base for exploration of southern Norway. Besides the fantastic Egenes Campsite, this authentic, elegant southern-Norwegian town offers a wide range of accommodation to suit everybody’s needs and preferences. Below we’re sharing some of the best accommodations in Flekkefjord, we handpicked a selection of accommodation with authentic feeling, typical for this lovely area of Norway, take your pick and enjoy your stay!
|Maritime Fjordhotel||8.2 / 10|
|Grand Hotel Flekkefjord||8.6 / 10|
|Sogndalstrand Kulturhotell||9.1 / 10|
*Level of difficulty explained: 1– easy walk, mostly flat 2-easy hillwalk, good path 3-moderate, possible some steep sections 4-long hillwalk, possibly some scrambling involved, possibly pathless 5-difficult, possibly pathless, long, requires technical skills
NORWEGIAN DIFFICULTY LEVEL EXPLAINED: GREEN – easy , BLUE -moderate, RED – demanding, BLACK -expert