Complete Information About Driving F-Roads in Iceland
Updated: Jun 11
More than 2 million tourists visit Iceland every year. Diverse nationalities, different personalities but oddly enough, most of them make the same choice: a road trip in Iceland. Personally, I think this is indeed the best decision one can make. It is not only one of the most affordable options but also one of the most flexible ones. But before hitting the road, you need to know what type of roads there are in Iceland. Have you ever heard about Iceland’s F-Roads? If there are any restrictions? Well, we have the complete information about Iceland’s F-Road just for you. Buckle up!
What are F-Roads?
If you decide to take a road trip in Iceland, knowing how the road system works is essential. Most roads are numbered, with road 1 or the “Ring Road” being the most important one. But it won’t take long until you notice some roads have an “F” in front of their number. These are F-Roads. The “F” stands for “fjalla” which translates to “mountain.” You will find them mainly in the Highlands of Iceland. This region covers most of the interior of the island, and it is remote and wild. The Highlands have many utterly otherworldly landscapes. They are so unique you will find it hard to believe they actually exist.
In this remote region, the terrain is irregular, rough and rugged. Now, the beauty of the land is undoubtedly worth visiting. But before doing so, you need to know there are certain restrictions on both time of year and type of vehicle.
Do I need a 4x4 vehicle for F-Roads in Iceland?
Yes, you do. As mentioned before, the Highlands are beautiful but wild and untamed. So are F- Roads. These tracks can be complicated to drive on, so you need both experience and a sturdy 4x4 rental car in Iceland. That is mandatory by the Icelandic law, and most road signs at the entrance of an F-Road will warn you about this restriction.
The majority of visitors that come to Iceland decide to make their trip in a rental car. If it is also your case, make sure to contact your car rental company so they can confirm your 4x4 rental vehicle is allowed on F-Roads. There is no police checkpoint at the entrance of such areas, so your safety and welfare depend solely on you. In the Highlands, you will rarely encounter a bridge. That automatically translates to crossing rivers with your rental vehicle. If you don’t have the right car nor enough experience, it can be life-threatening.
Do not drive on F-Roads with a 2WD vehicle under any circumstances. Driving a 4x4 means the power of the engine goes to both front and rear wheels. That gives you plenty of control over the entire vehicle. If you happen to be driving on a rocky and uneven trail, that’s exactly what you need.
Opening Times of the F-Roads
Unfortunately for many, these mountain roads are not open all year long as they are not easy to drive. They only open during the summer time. That is because they are located in the Highland, where the climate is even more severe compared to other areas of the country. The weather conditions during the winter time are harsh, and the roads become impassable.
Opening times depend on several factors: weather conditions, road conditions and how safe it is to drive on them. Below you can find an approximate calendar of the opening dates for these roads. As the Icelandic weather is very changeable, this can vary from year to year.
Tips and Tricks for F-Roads:
Even if F-Roads are open, you should check the Icelandic weather forecast and road conditions regularly to avoid any undesired situation. Details are provided by the Icelandic Road Administration and are continuously updated to keep drivers informed.
Get to know your rental vehicle. It is vital to have a 4x4 car but you also need to know how to handle it. When picking up the vehicle, if you have any questions, ask, and the staff and they will gladly help with any doubts you have.
Limit your speed. Driving on complicated gravel roads full of sand and ash or mud require a slow speed. Do not rush; it can destroy your vehicle and be dangerous for you and your loved ones.
If you plan on fording rivers, then it is essential to know if heavy rain is falling in other regions close to where the river runs. This rain can raise the river level in no time. Do check this information right before crossing. Never cross a river where the water is calm, as this would be the deeper area — changing gears while in the other is not recommended either.
Complete information on Iceland’s Highlands F-Roads
That is everything you need to know when travelling in Iceland. The Highlands are Mother Nature at her best. So if you want to enjoy it, be sure to follow our instructions. Driving in Iceland is not hard when done on main roads. On the other hand, F-Roads are not easy but they are absolutely worth it. Have a safe trip!