F-Roads in Iceland
What are F-roads in Iceland? Are they open all year round? What car is suitable for F-roads in Iceland? Here in this blog, we will go over that and more.
F-roads are Iceland highland roads. The F stands for „Fjallvegur“ which means „mountain road“. They are gravel roads that can be challenging and dangerous but you will have amazing views along the way. The scenery in the highlands is often breathtaking and consists of glaciers, waterfalls, volcanoes, rivers, colorful hot springs, rock formations of various types, and much more.
The F-roads are as different as they are numerous. Some have rivers you need to cross and the gravel on each road can vary as well. For the F-Roads, you need a 4x4 vehicle because by law you are only allowed to drive 4x4 vehicles on F-roads.
Driving on F-Roads in Iceland
There are a few things to consider before you set off on one of Iceland's F-roads:
- You are only allowed to drive a 4x4 vehicles on F-roads
- Off-road driving is illegal in Iceland. Only drive on roads marked with a number, even though you may see some tire tracks do not drive on them. If you drive off-road you will face a hefty fine.
- No insurance in Iceland covers water damage, so please carefully assess any river before crossing it.
- F-Roads and highland roads are only open in summer. So make sure the road you plan to drive on is open.
- Drive slower in case of any sudden rocks on the road that can cause damage to the undercarriage or if there is a very bad gravel road up ahead.
- Phone signals in the highlands are not very stable and you may find yourself driving for long without a signal. However, you will always be able to call the emergency number in Iceland even if you have no signal. The emergency number in Iceland is 112.
- Be sure to fill up your tank before heading into the highlands, as there is only one gas station there. The gas station is located in Hveravellir.
Are F-Roads open all year round?
No, F-roads are only open in the summer and there are no specific opening or closing dates.
When are F-roads open in Iceland? The exact opening dates of F-roads vary, with some opening in early June and others opening no earlier than the end of June. However, they can also open later depending on how well the road has recovered after the winter. Below is a list of opening dates from 2015-2019 but the dates are usually the same every year:
What to look for when crossing a river in the highlands of Iceland
There are a few things to keep in mind when crossing a river in Iceland.
- First of all, again no insurance covers water damage. This means that the risk when crossing a river is always on the driver when crossing a river. Water damage can easily cost over 10.000 EUR / 11.000 USD.
- Always assess the river before crossing it. Stop the vehicle, go outside and look at the conditions.
- After entering the river, do NOT stop and do not turn around.
- Drive slowly and steadily through the river, do not shift gears.
- Always travel downstream when entering the river.
- Do not drive across a part of the river where the water is still. This can be the deepest part of the river.
- It is very important to inspect the river before you go through it. If the river is deeper than your knee, we recommend not taking the risk.
What is the best vehicle for F-Roads?
You must have a 4x4 vehicle to drive on F-roads as 2wd vehicles are not allowed on any F-roads.
Choosing the most suitable rental car for your Iceland adventure is something you need to think about. You need to plan where you want to go and what you want to see before you make your decision. If you don´t yet have a concrete plan of exactly what you want to do or where you want to go, then choosing a 4x4 vehicle is the safest choice as nothing should be holding you back from going where you want to go. Whether you are visiting Iceland in the winter or summer months, choosing a 4x4 vehicle keeps your options more open and in the winter it is safer than a 2wd.
Here are some of the cars we recommend for driving on F-Roads in Iceland:
Dacia Duster – The Dacia Duster has been one of our most popular choices for driving the highlands over the past few years. It is a 4x4 vehicle and you can lock the differential if needed. It has room for 4 people as well as luggage, is very economical for a 4x4 vehicle, and has good ground clearance.
Suzuki Grand Vitara – Is perfect for a group of up to 5 people and has a boot capacity of almost 750 liters. The Suzuki Grand Vitara has a powerful 2,4l engine and four-wheel drive to cope well with all conditions. We here at Icerental 4x4 carry three models of the Grand Vitara with both manual and automatic transmissions.
Suzuki Jimny – This small off-road SUV is recommended for 2 people only, although it can accommodate up to 4 passengers. It has large windows that are great for appreciating and enjoying the amazing views of the highlands and it has a radio/CD player that you can use to listen to your favorite music along the way.
Jeep Grand Cherokee – This is a great choice of a 4x4 vehicle for your trip through the highlands in Iceland. It has a big engine that makes it powerful, large luggage compartment, and is comfortable for up to 5 people. What makes our Cherokees special at Icerental 4x4 is that we have lifted them slightly and put them on bigger tires. They are older models but in good condition.
Ford Expedition – The Ford Expedition is a great choice if you are traveling with a larger group of people. They fit up to 8 passengers, however, we recommend adding the roof box for extra luggage space if there are 7-8 passengers. It has an automatic transmission and is a 4wd. It has a very powerful engine and great ground clearance.
Our Camping Cars – We have a variety of 4x4 campers suitable for a trip around the Icelandic Highlands. They are all available from the 1st of May until the end of September. We have the Suzuki Jimny, Dacia Duster, Suzuki Grand Vitara all fitted with our roof tents and then we also have the Dodge Durango which is fitted with an XL roof tent suitable for 3-4 persons.
You can find out more about our rooftop tent campers here and see our camping equipment here.
Are F-Roads hard to drive in Iceland?
That depends on which road you want to drive. Some are easier than others but we would say that all require concentration. You have to be very aware of what´s in front of you and navigate rocks in the road, rivers, and sand.
Road conditions on F-roads can also change from day today. The river you crossed yesterday may be stronger or weaker the very next day. If you know that you will encounter a river on your journey on an F-Road, take into account the weather conditions in the area in the days before as heavy rain can cause the rivers to be deeper and the current to be stronger than when there is no rain.
Best F-Roads in Iceland
Below you will find a table that includes for example the F208 and F210. It shows the estimated opening times for each F-Road, how difficult the route is we estimate from, whether the road has any river crossings, how rough the road itself is, and whether there are any river crossings along the way.