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Iceland F-roads: Essential Info and How to Drive Them

Updated: Jan 25

What are Iceland’s F-roads, where are they located and what type of vehicle do you need to navigate the F-roads? If you’ve never traveled in Iceland before, then F-roads may be a new concept for you.

Learning about F-roads will equip you for your travel adventure in Iceland, making sure you know which vehicle to rent and preparing you for the trip ahead. We’ll answer these important questions and more, covering essential info for driving on Iceland F-roads, opening dates, and vehicle requirements. Let’s dive right in!

Iceland F-Roads

What are Iceland F-roads?

First of all, what are these famous Iceland F-roads? F-roads are essentially unpaved mountain roads that you will find in untamed parts of the country's interior and the beautiful Highlands of Iceland.

These special paths are called F-roads because they have an F in front of the number of the road. For example, F208 is F-road 208. The F stands for “fjalla”, which means “mountain” in Icelandic.

While they may be challenging to drive, the Iceland Highland F-roads will take you through some of the most stunning landscapes the Land of Ice and Fire has to offer, guiding you to unbelievable natural wonders and remote vistas.

Traveling the Iceland F-roads will allow you to bathe in the natural pools at the colorful geothermal oasis of Landmannalaugar, hike up the majestic Askja volcanic crater, discover the untouched beauty of Hveravellir Nature Reserve, soak in the awe-inspiring sites of Hofsjökull and Langjökull glaciers and go on many more amazing adventures.

Traveling off the beaten track by venturing off the ever-popular Ring Road, which circles the whole of Iceland, will inevitably take you down the country’s F-roads. Let’s prepare for your Icelandic adventure by learning more about these mountainous paths.

Icelandic F-Roads

Road conditions on Iceland F-roads

Due to their location in the desolate Highlands, Iceland F-roads are not regularly maintained, which means road conditions can be less than optimal. It’s important to be aware that the surface of these gravel roads is unpaved, which means you’ll have lots of rocks and small pebbles being kicked up by your tires. It takes a special type of control to navigate this wild terrain and sometimes there can be damage to the underside of your vehicle.

Iceland F-roads not only wind through the country’s magnificent mountains; they also cross rivers! There aren’t many bridges in Iceland’s Highlands, so it’s very likely that you’ll be crossing rivers as you drive on the F-roads. Be sure to pick a shallow point for crossing as you don’t want your engine to stall while fording a river.

You can find an up-to-date map of the conditions and safety of Iceland F-roads in a PDF or image file on the website. We recommend checking this map before you plan to drive these roads to find out what the specific F-roads you’ll be traveling on are like and to determine the best F-roads in Iceland for your journey.

Potential hazards on Iceland F-roads

If you’re driving a campervan in Iceland outside of the warm, summer months, you also need to be ready for icy, snowy roads. Some hazards that are important to be aware of as a driver in Iceland are blind hills, blind curves and even sheep darting out into the road!

The road surface itself can also change as you travel along Iceland’s F-roads, becoming more uneven or rocky as you go. There are particular road signs that indicate a change in the road surface, so you should have a warning beforehand. Just make sure to stay alert and have fun traversing some of the wildest and most beautiful natural landscapes you’ve ever seen!

Iceland F Roads

Is a 4x4 Required to Drive on Iceland F-roads?

The simple answer to this question is yes, and for very important reasons. Due to the unusual driving conditions, a 4x4 vehicle is absolutely necessary for traversing the backroads of the Highlands. Not only that, but it’s required by law.

With the uneven and unpaved terrain of these mountain roads, which often cross rivers, you need a specially-equipped vehicle to drive on F-roads. Deciding whether to rent a 4x4 vehicle in Iceland? If you plan to travel any F-roads, a 4x4 is the option for you. If a campervan is your vehicle of choice for traveling Iceland, you’ll be happy to know that you can drive a campervan on F-roads, as long as it’s a 4x4 camper.

You can rent a 4x4 campervan in Iceland such as a Land Cruiser, Subaru Forester or another type of SUV. There are also 4x4 camper rental models available like the VW Transporter. These options are all easy to drive while traveling in Iceland, both around the Ring Road and on F-roads.

F-roads in Iceland Map

Looking at the F-roads in Iceland on a map can give you a better understanding of where they’re located and whether you’ll need them to reach your location when driving in Iceland. Take a look at this F-roads Iceland map to prepare for your trip.

Iceland F road maps

Iceland F-roads Opening Dates

An important point to note is that Iceland Highland F-roads are not open all year long. Due to unsafe road conditions in the fall, winter, and spring, you can only access these Highland roads in the summertime, which is also the tourist high season.

The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration monitors these roads throughout the year and is responsible for maintaining them. The opening and closing times of the Iceland F-roads vary depending on when the authorities deem them safe.

In other words, not all F-roads open at the same time. Many of them open within the first two weeks of June. Others take a bit longer and are accessible from late June to early July.

Iceland F-roads closing dates are usually in mid-October, due to snowfall making these roads impassable. Closing dates for Iceland F-roads do vary though, just like the opening dates, depending on particular weather conditions at the time.

List of F-roads in Iceland

Here’s your handy list of the F-roads in Iceland, including their earliest, latest and median opening dates to help you plan your once-in-a-lifetime trip to this incredible country.

Iceland F-Roads
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Top Tips for Driving on Iceland F-roads

As well as renting a 4x4 vehicle and checking the road condition map, here are more of our top tips for driving on Iceland’s F-roads.

  • Let the most experienced driver tackle the F-roads – You don’t need a special driver’s license to go on F-roads, but it’s usually better to have a more experienced driver behind the wheel. Due to the uneven surface and rocky terrain of these roads, it’s much easier to lose control of your vehicle or skid out than when traveling on a paved road.

  • Stay focused – If you’re not an Icelandic local, driving the F-roads will likely be different to any driving you’ve done before. For this reason, it’s important to stay focused on the road and the task at hand.

  • Keep a slow and steady pace – Don’t go too fast as the road surface can change as you travel along the F-roads, so it’s important that you have enough time to anticipate any changes and adjust your speed accordingly. Be aware of the rules of the road and speed limits in Iceland, which are 90 km/h on rural paved roads and 80 km/h on rural gravel roads.

  • Stay on the marked paths – Although you may be tempted by the incredible scenery, absolutely don’t go off-roading while in Iceland. Not only is it illegal, but it destroys the precious flora in the area. Always stay on marked paths to avoid driving over fragile plant life, which will take hundreds of years to recover if destroyed.

  • Check the weather – When you drive in Iceland for the first time, there are many new experiences you’ll encounter. Weather conditions are extremely changeable, making it a good idea to check the weather forecast often for updates and advisories.

Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in Iceland!

Part of Iceland’s universal appeal is the amount of unspoiled natural beauty the country possesses. When driving on F-roads, you will no doubt feel the wonder and majesty of the solitude of your natural surroundings. What are you waiting for? Get ready to explore Iceland’s wild side by reserving your camper today!


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