Road 655 Hellestylt – Øye
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Norangsdalen (Road 655) is one of my favorite valleys, absolutely stunning to ride through! Beautiful summer mountain pastures in picturesque surroundings at Urasetra. Lyngstøylsvatnet with it’s hidden secrets right below the surface, the huge boulder “Gange-Rolf”, Hotell Union Øye, and the narrow valley itself with the famous, high peaks surrounding it.
Norangsdalen has actually been a tourist gem – not only for decades – but for more than a century. Back in the days when traveling meant luxurious, leisure exploring for the few, Norangsdalen was at it’s peak. From the 1890’s, famous artists, writers and even royals have been visiting the area to hike mountains, or to travel overland. Kaiser Wilhelm, Karen Blixen, Arthur Conan Doyle to mention a few… Many came by ships and stayed at Hotell Union Øye. Then they were transported, first by horse and cart, later by car, through Norangsdalen to Hellesylt and on-wards to the Geiranger fjord.
When the Norwegian King Harald and Queen Sonja celebrated their Silver wedding in 1993, they traveled all over Norway by ship (“Norge”) and by land. They also visited Øye and traveled through Norangsdalen. Since then, the valley got it’s nick name “The Queen Route”. A total of 7 European Queens have actually been through here, and our Queen Sonja has been mountain hiking in the area many times.
What to explore?
If you ride the valley from south, you first ride through the not so exiting Nibbedal valley. When it starts to get narrow, you are in Norangsdalen and you need to stop at the summer mountain pastures at Urasetra. Well worth a selfie as it looks like this the origin of the Freia milk chocolate commercial (I think you need to be Norwegian to grasp that comparison…).
From Urasetra you continue a few minutes to the lake Lyngstøylsvatnet. Even if you just got back on your bike, this is a lake you don’t want to miss! In 1908 a huge rock slide came thundering down from the mountain Keipen. It covered the valley bed with boulders, and the river soon became a lake. The lake swallowed 9 summer mountain pastures, but you can still see the remaining foundations, road, fences and gate below the surface. Lyngstøylsvatnet is for this reason visited a lot by divers every summer. Next to the lake you can also see the 12 meters high giant rock named ‘Gange Rolf’ which serves as a memorial stone for the huge slide.
When you finally reach Øye, make a stop at Hotell Union Øye. This is a real gem worth exploring so I’ve made a separate post about it.HELLESYLT WEATHER