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Everything You Need To Know About F-Roads in Iceland

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

Are you ready to explore the wild and rugged beauty of Iceland? If so, then understanding Iceland's F-roads is essential. F-roads are some of the most unique roadways in the world. They wind through mountains, glaciers, rivers, and other breathtaking landscapes.

But driving on them can be tricky – they're often unpaved and require special vehicles with 4-wheel drive. That's why we've put together this guide on everything you need to know about F-roads in Iceland!

Here we'll cover what they are, how to drive them safely, opening and closing dates for different seasons as well as a map section that will help you plan your journey. So if you want to make sure your Icelandic adventure is an unforgettable one, read on!

F roads iceland

What Are Iceland F-Roads?

Iceland's F-roads are unpaved mountain roads found in the country's interior, known as Iceland Highlands. These special paths are designated as F-roads because they are prefixed with an 'F' followed by a number, representing their mountainous nature. The 'F'stands for 'fjalla,' which means 'mountain' in Icelandic.

The purpose of Iceland's F-roads is to provide access to the remote and breathtaking landscapes that lie beyond the popular Ring Road. While they can be challenging to navigate, the F-roads offer intrepid travelers the opportunity to explore untouched natural wonders, discover hidden geothermal oases, and witness awe-inspiring vistas. These roads take adventurers to places like:

  • Landmannalaugar, with its colorful geothermal pools

  • The majestic Askja volcanic crater

  • The untouched beauty of Hveravellir Nature Reserve

  • The mesmerizing sites of Hofsjökull and Langjökull glaciers

Iceland's Highland roads

Road Conditions on Iceland F-Roads

When venturing onto Iceland's F-roads, you must know the road conditions you may encounter. Due to their location in the desolate Highlands, these F-roads are not regularly maintained, which means the road surfaces can be less than optimal. Here are the key factors to consider regarding road conditions on Iceland's F-roads:

  • Unpaved Surface: F-roads are gravel roads, lacking the smooth asphalt found on paved roads. The unpaved surface means you'll encounter rocks and small pebbles that your tires can kick up as you drive.

  • Challenging Terrain: Navigating F-roads requires a special kind of control and skill. The wild terrain can be rugged, uneven, and bumpy, demanding caution and attention from drivers.

  • Vehicle Damage: The rough conditions of F-roads can potentially lead to damage to the underside of your vehicle. Rocks and other debris on the road may pose a risk, particularly to the vehicle's vulnerable parts, so it's essential to drive carefully and consider using a suitable vehicle.

  • River Crossings: F-roads in Iceland often cross rivers since there are limited bridges in the Highlands. It's crucial to select a shallow point when crossing rivers to avoid stalling the engine and encountering difficulties.

To ensure you have the most up-to-date information on road conditions, it is advisable to consult an official source such as the website. This website provides a comprehensive and regularly updated map indicating the conditions and safety of Iceland's F-roads.

By checking this site before your journey, you can learn about the specific F-roads you'll be traveling on. You will also be able to determine the best routes for your adventure through Iceland's magnificent landscapes.

F Roads Conditions

Potential Hazards on Iceland F-Roads

If you're driving a campervan in Iceland outside of the warm summer months, you'll need to be extra vigilant when navigating the F-roads. Extreme weather conditions can make these roads slippery and treacherous, leading to increased risks of accidents and injury.

When driving on F-roads in Iceland, you should always be aware of potential hazards like the following:

  • Snow and Ice: During the winter months, some F-roads can become slippery when covered in snow or ice. This means you'll need to drive with extreme caution and use snow tires or chains if you want to attempt driving on these roads.

  • Deep Puddles: Due to the unpaved nature of F-roads, they can be prone to flooding after periods of heavy rainfall. Be aware that puddles may become deep enough to stall your vehicle, so always take extra precautions when driving in wet conditions.

  • Loose Rocks and Debris: When traveling on F-roads, you may encounter loose rocks and debris on the road. This terrain can make your journey bumpy and potentially damaging. So, it's important to maintain a steady speed and ensure your vehicle is in good condition before you set off on your journey.

  • Darting sheep: Sheep are a common sight in the Icelandic Highlands, and they may dart across the road unexpectedly. Be mindful of this potential hazard when driving on F-roads in Iceland, as animals can cause serious damage to your vehicle if hit.

  • Blind hills and curves: Many F-roads have blind hills, sharp curves, and narrow paths that can be difficult to navigate. It's always important to drive slowly and cautiously when approaching these areas, as visibility can be limited.

Iceland's F road driving conditions

Is a 4x4 Required To Drive on Iceland F-Roads?

The simple answer is yes, and for important reasons. The unusual driving conditions and the nature of F-roads in the Highlands make a 4x4 vehicle absolutely necessary for traversing these back roads. Moreover, it is a legal requirement to drive a 4x4 on F-roads in Iceland. The uneven and unpaved terrain, along with river crossings, demand a specially equipped vehicle to ensure safe and successful travel on F-roads.

If you're considering renting a vehicle in Iceland, opting for a 4x4 is highly recommended, especially if you plan to explore F-roads. For a convenient and versatile option, renting a 4x4 campervan in Iceland is an excellent choice. It combines transportation and accommodation in one vehicle, providing flexibility and freedom during your journey.

You can easily find 4x4 campervan rental options such as Land Cruisers, Subaru Foresters, SUVs, or 4x4 camper models like the VW Transporter. By choosing a camper rental in Iceland, you'll have the advantage of a suitable vehicle for F-road travel while enjoying the convenience and comfort of a camper.

4x4 on Iceland's f roads

Exploring the Best F-Roads Iceland Has To Offer

Exploring the highland F-roads in Iceland is an unforgettable experience. Not only will you see some of the most breathtaking natural beauty the country has to offer, but you'll also experience a unique adventure that takes you off the beaten path. To get you started, here's a selection of some of the ten best F-roads in Iceland:

10 Must-Drive Highland F-Roads In Iceland

1. F208

F208 or Fjallabaksleið nyrðri is a challenging and adventurous road in Iceland, offering stunning landscapes in the Central Highlands. This 102 km/63 mi long unpaved road takes you through rugged terrains, including potholes, rocks, and river crossings. With its well-maintained condition and clear markings, F208 provides a thrilling off-road experience for those equipped with a 4WD vehicle.

F208 in Iceland

2. F35

F35, known as the Kjölur Route, is a 168 km/104 mi long highland road in Iceland, traversing the scenic Kjölur plateau. Starting from Haukadalur in the south, near the renowned Gullfoss waterfall, it winds its way to Blönduós in the north, showcasing stunning landscapes throughout the journey. This historic route, once an essential horse trail and trade route, now offers adventurous travelers a chance to embrace the rugged beauty of the Icelandic Highlands.

Iceland's Kjölur Route

3. F864

Road 846 is a scenic route located in the western region of Iceland. It spans approximately 36km/26 mi and connects the town of Hvammstangi to Road 1. This gravel road offers picturesque views of the surrounding landscapes, including mountains, fjords, and coastal areas.

4. F225

This road is a great option if you want to explore a small part of the Iceland highland F-roads in no time. The road stretches for approximately 43 km/27 mi, offering challenging terrain and requiring a 4-wheel drive vehicle with high clearance for safe passage. It is located near the Þórisvatn Lake and provides a unique driving experience in the Icelandic highlands.

F225 in Iceland

5. F902

F902 (Kverkfjallaleið) is an 84 km/50 mi demanding drive in southeast Iceland, known for its breathtaking landscapes and rugged conditions. With potentially difficult river crossings, it is recommended to tackle this road with a 4x4 vehicle that has high clearance. Situated deep in the Highland, F902 reaches elevations of up to 877m (2,877ft) above sea level, offering stunning lunar landscapes and a remote, natural wonderland for travelers.

F902 in a volcanic area

6. F26

F26 (Sprengisandsleið) is a renowned highland gravel road stretching 232 km/144 mi through the desolate Sprengisandur region in Southern Iceland. It traverses the vast expanse of grey sand, stones, and rocks, providing a glimpse into the harsh living conditions of medieval Iceland. With an elevation reaching 861m (2,824ft) above sea level, F26 is one of the country's highest roads, offering views of the surrounding glaciers and mountains.

Sprengisandur, Iceland

7. F88

Askja Road, also known as F88 (Öskjuleið), is a 79km/49 mi dirt track in northeast Iceland that leads to the remote Askja volcano. It is a challenging drive with river crossings and rough road conditions, requiring a 4x4 vehicle for safe passage.

Askja, Iceland

8. F550

Road 550, also known as Kaldadalsvegur or 'the Kaldidalur,' is a picturesque and historic route in the Western region of Iceland. Spanning 40km/25 mi from Thingvellir to Húsafell, this road offers a shorter but scenic option for exploring the Icelandic highlands, earning it the nickname' highlands for beginners.'

best f roads in iceland


F910 (Austurleið) is a famous and challenging mountain road in the Northeastern Region of Iceland, known for its remote and demanding terrain. This road is 170 km/105 mi long. Travelers should be aware of the lack of services, potential rough conditions, including lava fields and river crossings, and the need to travel together with other vehicles for safety in this remote area.

F910 route, Iceland

10. F206

F206 (Lakagígar) is a challenging 41 km/25 mi road in Southeast Iceland near the Lakagígar region, renowned for its stunning landscapes and rugged rivers. It offers a remote and solitary experience, with limited traffic, inhabitants, and no cell phone service in certain areas. Although it's a bit challenging, it rewards travelers with breathtaking views and access to notable sites like the magnificent Fagrifoss waterfall.

F206 Iceland route

5 Must-See Iceland F-Road Attractions

Although there are plenty of Iceland F-road attractions to explore, none offer quite the same breathtaking experience as these must-see attractions:

  1. Landmannalaugar: Nestled in the Highlands, Landmannalaugar is a geothermal wonderland renowned for its vibrant rhyolite mountains and natural hot springs. The F-208 road provides access to this captivating area, offering picturesque hiking trails and the chance to soak in the warm geothermal waters.

  2. Askja Caldera: Located in the northeastern part of the Highlands, Askja Caldera is a striking volcanic crater filled with a serene and surreal turquoise lake. The F-88 road takes you to this remote destination, where you can hike to the caldera, witness the stunning Víti explosion crater, and explore the otherworldly landscapes.

  3. Þórsmörk: Hidden between glaciers and mountains in the south of Iceland, Þórsmörk (Thorsmork) is a lush valley with stunning hiking trails. The F-249 road offers access to this natural oasis, allowing you to admire the glacial rivers, picturesque canyons, and panoramic views of the surrounding glaciers.

  4. Herðubreið: Known as the 'Queen of Icelandic Mountains,' Herðubreið is an iconic table mountain located in the northeastern Highlands. The F-862 road leads you to this majestic peak, providing opportunities for hiking and capturing breathtaking views of the volcanic landscapes.

  5. Kverkfjöll: Situated in the northern part of Vatnajökull National Park, Kverkfjöll is a mesmerizing area with vast glaciers, ice caves, and geothermal activity. Accessible via the F-902 road, you can explore the unique ice formations, hike through the rugged terrains, and witness the otherworldly beauty of this glacial wonderland.

Thorsmork valley, Iceland

F-Roads Iceland Map

Driving in Iceland can be challenging, and having an accurate map is a must. An F-roads Iceland map provides detailed information about the tough terrain and is essential for navigation. This map of the F-roads in Iceland is especially useful for travelers who are exploring the interior and highlands of the country. Take a look at this F-roads Iceland map to prepare for your trip.

Iceland F-Roads map
Credit to Vegagerðin

List of F-Roads in Iceland

Here's a 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.

When is the Iceland F-Roads Opening Dates?

It is important to remember that F-roads in Iceland open only in the summer months, usually from mid-June until mid-September. The exact opening and closing dates vary yearly, so it is best to check with local authorities before planning your trip.

When is the Iceland F-Roads Closing Dates?

The closing dates for Iceland's F-Roads typically depend on weather conditions, road safety, and maintenance schedules. Generally, these highland roads begin to close around late September or early October and remain closed throughout the winter months until they reopen in late May or June.

However, it's essential to check the official Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration (IRCA) website for up-to-date information on specific F-Road closures before planning your trip. The exact dates can vary each year.

F Roads Opening dates
Credit to Vegagerðin

Tips for Driving F-Roads in Iceland

Before you set off on your F-Road adventure in Iceland, there are a few important tips and safety precautions to remember. Here are a few suggestions to help ensure that your journey is safe and enjoyable:

  • 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 from 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 you must 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.

 Driving F-Roads in Iceland

Tips For Traveling on F-roads in September and October

Traveling on F-roads in September and October can offer a thrilling and unpredictable adventure in Iceland. To make the most of your journey, consider these helpful tips:

  • Stay informed about F-roads in Iceland during September and October: Keep an eye on the latest updates regarding road conditions, closures, and openings during this time. Stay updated on the specific dates for the closing and opening of F-roads in Iceland to plan your itinerary accordingly.

  • Prepare for changing weather: F-roads in Iceland in October can be dangerous because it's the wettest time of the year. You can expect lots of rain and drizzle during this time, making the roads slippery and potentially impassable.

  • Be mindful of road closures: In late September or early October, some F-roads may close due to deteriorating weather conditions, especially at higher elevations. Stay updated on temporary road closures to adjust your plans accordingly and ensure a smooth journey.

  • Carry essential supplies: Stock up on food, water, and emergency supplies before embarking on your F-road adventure. Remember that services and amenities may be limited or unavailable in remote areas during this time.

Traveling on F-roads

Challenges of Driving F-Roads in Winter

Driving F-roads in winter conditions in Iceland can be particularly challenging and requires careful preparation and adherence to safety precautions. Do know that most F-Roads are closed during the winter as they are practically impassable, so you might need to join a super jeep tour instead.

If you happen to drive one yourself and have an authorization to do so, here are some important points to consider:

  • Know the conditions: Stay updated on the latest weather and road condition reports for F-roads in Iceland during the winter. Check for any Iceland F-roads winter closures or warnings before setting off on your journey.

  • Choose appropriate vehicles: Ensure you have a 4x4 vehicle with good winter tires for better traction and control on the icy and snowy terrain. Regular cars are not suitable for F-road driving in winter.

  • Plan your route carefully: Consider the length of daylight and the limited services available during winter. Plan shorter driving distances and allow extra time for unforeseen delays or emergencies.

  • Pack emergency supplies: In case of unexpected situations, always carry a winter survival kit, including warm clothing, blankets, food, water, a first aid kit, a flashlight, and a shovel.

  • Drive cautiously: Reduce your speed and adjust your driving to the prevailing road conditions. Be aware of icy patches, snowdrifts, and potential hazards such as avalanches or sudden changes in weather.

  • Respect road closures: If a road is closed or marked as impassable, it is essential to respect these closures for your safety. Attempting to drive on closed roads can lead to dangerous situations and may require costly rescues.

F Road closure dates

Remember, driving a campervan in winter requires experience, caution, and preparation. By following these guidelines and staying informed about driving on Iceland's F-roads in winter, you can have a safe and enjoyable journey.

Get Ready for the Adventure of a Lifetime in Iceland!

Iceland's F-roads are some of the most scenic and fascinating routes in the world. With stunning views, varied terrain, and the chance to travel in a completely unique way, a drive along one of these roads is an experience you won't soon forget.

By reserving a campervan, you can explore these routes in comfort and style, making your journey even more enjoyable. So make to book your campervan today before the summer rush and get ready for an unforgettable road trip through stunning Iceland.


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