Useful Information

Location: At the Mefjell massif, southern wall of the Fauske fjord. Near Fauske.
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: free.
Guided tour by Nordland Turselskap: Adults NOK 800, minimum fee NOK 4000.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave SpeleologyIce cave TopicSacrifice Cave
Light: bring torch
Guided tours: full day tour.
Photography: Allowed
Accessibility: No
Bibliography: David St. Pierre, Shirley St. Pierre (1985): Norway's Longest and Deepest Caves, Cave Science, Transactions of the British Cave Research Association, Vol. 12, No.3, December 1985.
Stein-Erik Lauritzen, Lene Baastad, Julie Bjørlien, Edana Fedje, Per Holmlund (2005): The Svarthamar cave research project, Fauske, north Norway, 14th International Congress of Speleology. Athen-Kalamos 21-28 aug. 2005 paper P-12.
Address: Nordland Turselskap, Postboks 908, N-8001 Bodø, Tel: +47-9063-6086. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1200 AD oldest ice in the cave.
2003 Svarthamar project launched.


Svarthamarhola is the largest natural cave chamber in Scandinavia. The cave has four entrances, two of them rather huge and two small ones. One of the small entrances has a fine keyhole profile, and is a popular spot for photographers. The main chamber has the shape of a U and is up to 30 m high. Its big enough so that simple digital cameras are not good enough to take sufficient pictures. As a result most pages on the cave only show the small parts of the cave, which actually gives a wrong impression.

The cave is located inside a marble band on the southern side of the Fauske Fjord. The walk from the road at sea level to the cave entrance takes about 45 minutes and is partly steep. In winter a safety rope is recommended, and depending on the abilities of the participants, it might be a good idea in summer too. There are some trails created by heavy use, but no official walking trails.

The cave is not developed, but the visit does not require special equipment, except light, good shoes, and helmet. Of course the floor is dirty and if you want to crawl into the low parts, old clothes and a second set to change afterwards are recommended. As there are no guides at the cave you should always go in a group and leave an alerter who knows the time time, when you intend to be back. We recommend to join a guided caving trip by an operator like Nordland Turselskap. Cave tours can be organized by the Tourist Office at Fauske.

Svarthamarhola is - probably because of its size and its location close to the city Fauske - heavily visited. It actually has the state of a sacrifice cave, which is rather bad for the important contents of the cave, sediments which might contain a lot of information about the past. Beneath the clay and gravel this cave contains a large ice mass, which is more than 3,000 years old. The ice is layered, and it was possible to date the layers and thus date the informations which were drived from each layer.

As the cave is of great touristic interest, the Norwegian cavers were fearing the destruction of invaluable scientific data. As a result in 2004 the Svarthamar cave research project started which tries to save as much as possible before it is destroyed by cave tourists. The project is organized by Norwegian universities, the most famous participant is probably Stein-Erik Lauritzen, who is famous for his isotope dating research.