Lysevegen, a breathtaking Norwegian road with 27 hairpin turns

The popular tourist road Lysevegen in Forsand in Ryfylke (FV500) is a curvy mountainous road going from Lysebotn innermost in the Lysefjord to Sirdal, with a length of 29 km (18 mi.)  This is an impressive road in the high mountains of Rogaland and Vest Agder some of it single carriageway with passing places - with impressive scenery and weather. It’s one of the famoushairpinned roads in the world.

This road, located in Rogaland county in the southwest of Norway, has its highest point in the Andersvatn lake, at an elevation of 932m (3,057ft) above the sea level. At the top of the turns is Øygardstølen that has a parking lot, service building for trips to Kjerag, and food services. The road is dangerous because its 27 sharp bends, an average gradient of 9.4 % and twists and turns on a single track road. It means drivers need to be extremely careful.

When was Lysevegen road built?

The road, heralded as one of the most spectaculars roads in the world by the users, was built as a works road during the building of the Tjodan hydroelectric power station and was officially opened in 1984. Prior to that, boats were the only regular means of communication with the outside world for people in Lysebotn. The first road was built in 1953-64 inside the mountain, and it was used to get rid of all the removed stone-masses during construction. Tight corners and reverse camber bends greet you for the first 20 miles of this mountainous road, but it’s the last section of the road that will really challenge even the most experienced of drivers. Along with stunning views, it features no less than 27 hairpin bends in a row. Two of the main reasons to travel this road - apart from to experience the road - are the walk to Kjerag and the ferry through Lysefjord, back towards Stavanger. Not content with offering hairpins alone, the road drops nearly 1,000 metres before finishing off with an impressive tunnel that turns 340 degrees before you emerge in the quiet town of Lysebotn. Your head may be in a spin by the end, but this is as good as it gets.The road's winding design, providing stunning panoramic views, is very curvy and fun for a leisurely ride, so it pays to take it slow. Starting from Lysebotn, the ascent is 8.9 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 840 meters. The average percentage is 9.4 %. 

Is Lysevegen road open?

The weather on this zone is harsh and highly unpredictable and it does not take much time for the bright sun shine to change over to moderate to heavy snow fall. This narrow road is only open during 5 months of the year. It has the reputation of being very misty. It can be very narrow at times, so you often have to stop to let drivers coming from the opposite direction pass. This road is open only in the summer when it is ice free and safe. It opens in May, and closes in October/November (depending on snow conditions). Both dates are selected by the weather, not by people - sometimes it can be quite late in May before the snow ploughs finish their work, and you can still see snow well into the summer. It can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. At the summit there is a lot of snow in the winter and the road is normally opened in May and close for the winter in October. But even in June you can experience snow along the road. 

The road is not small business. It has 32 sharp curves, a drop of 800 height metres on the last 8 kilometres (5 miles). The last 1.1 kilometer (0.7 miles) is driving through a steep 340 degree curved tunnel also with three switchbacks inside, called Lysetunnelen. This is the view 900 meters down, once you get on top. The highest point on the road is by Andersvatn lake, 950 metres above sea level. It is a long road, twisting and turning the whole way down. People must take their time and be exceedingly careful driving this endlessly winding road.  

The surface is paved. The road from Lysebotn at the head of Lysefjord to Sirdal near Ådneram was finished in 1984, and was built in connection with the development of Tjodan hydro-electric power station. The 27 hairpin bends and tunnel down to Lysebotn are impressive and can be seen from Øygardsstølen, the cafe-restaurant and viewing point near the top. You will see thousands of little cairns around the high point - who knows why - but get out and build your own, when you come this way. 

Downhill skier Aksel Lund Svindal and WRC star Andreas Mikkelsen burn rubber in their native Norway, in Lysevegen road. Their need for speed was put to the test when the duo teamed up for a very special mission – could they come down the mountain in time to catch the last ferry of the day leaving Lyseveien? Watch the video! 


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