A woman stood on a gravel f road in Iceland
To actually make the journey to much of the highland region, you’ll have to traverse a number of designated F-Roads. F-Roads have been determined by the Icelandic Road Administration to be potentially hazardous, therefore requiring a specific calibre of vehicle to ensure safe travel. This means a 4x4 or four-wheel drive vehicle is a must-have.
If you attempt to drive a 2wd vehicle on these roads, you could be in breach of Icelandic traffic law, resulting in a fine. Furthermore, rented cars and trucks not suitable for f-road travel will not be covered in your insurance package. This is a standard practice to protect both the company and individual from issues that may arise.
F-roads can take many shapes and forms, although they are generally described as unpaved roads or tracks that are not maintained in the same way that the main road system spanning Iceland is. This means that you have to expect the unexpected and won’t truly know the state of an f-road until you see it. With that said, there are information services available to check road states (call 1777 for additional information about specific roads) and all f-roads are mapped and monitored for public visibility.
Conditions of f-roads can range from the following;
To further complicate the matter, f-roads are often located in places where mobile network coverage can be unreliable, so you may be unable to contact somebody for help in the worst-case scenario. The emergency contact number is 112 and should be available even without a mobile signal.
Driving on an f-road is certainly much different to the highways and roads you’ll be used to at home. Unpredictable weather and terrain will tax your skills as a driver, so it is important to be confident in your ability at all times. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to mitigate the risks and get the most out of your Icelandic adventure. Some of this guidance comes directly from official sources and some from our years of experience as a car rental service in Iceland.
It might all sound like a bit of a chore at this point, but we absolutely guarantee that the sights, sounds and vistas you’ll experience are truly unmissable. The highland is home to a number of unique locations, each different from the last. Some of our top recommended places to visit in the Iceland highlands include:
One of the most popular hiking areas in all of Iceland and named after the Norse God Thor, this gorgeous mountain ridge is flanked by three glaciers and rivers.
One of the most active volcanoes in Iceland, with eruptions dating back to 874, this incredible spectacle was once known as the ‘gateway to hell’.
With the nickname ‘Queen of Icelandic Mountains’, you’d expect something pretty grand. Fortunately, this remote mountain is so prolific in Iceland it’s been voted as the national mountain. It was first scaled only in 1908, years after the populace was aware of it.
There are so many incredible places to explore within the highlands of Iceland that you shouldn’t shy away from the challenge - especially if you have an adventurous bone in your body!
Due to the extreme weather during winter seasons, f-roads are only open to the public for specific periods of the year, mostly in the summer months. The Icelandic Road Administration publishes the opening dates each year to ensure motorists are fully appraised on where and when they can travel. This information has been included in our table below.
(2015 - 2019)
|Earliest opening date||Latest opening date||Opening date median|
|Lakagígar, F206||14th June||9th July||24th June|
|Fjallabaksleið nyrðri, F208
|1. Sigalda - Landmannalaugar||24th May||26th June||12th June|
|2. Laugar - Eldgjá||14th June||17th July||29th June|
|3. Eldgjá - Skaftártunga||5th June||26th June||15th June|
|Fjallabaksleið syrðri, F210|
|1. Keldur - Hvanngil||21st June||17th July||5th July|
|2. Hvanngil - Skaftártunga||28th June||23rd July||7th July|
|Langmannaleið (Dómad.) F225||28th May||3rd July||23 June|
|Emstruleið, F261||21st June||10th July||3rd July|
|1. Gulfoss - Hveravellir||24th June||1st July||12th June|
|2. Hveravellir - Blönduvirkjun||22nd May||25th June||7th June|
|1. Hrauneyjar - Nyidalur||20th June||10th July||29th June|
|2. Nyidalur - Bárðardalur||20th June||10th July||29th June|
|Skagafjarðarleið, F752||26th June||16th July||5th July|
|Eyjafjarðarleið, F821||28th June||24th July||19th June|
|1. Inn að Herðubreiðarlindum||14th June||26th June||19th June|
|2. Herðubreiðarlindum - Dreki||14th June||26th June||19th June|
|Öskjuvatnsvegur, F862||14th June||24th July||24th June|
|Vesturd. (Hljóðaklettar), F862||12th June||24th June||7th June|
|Kverkfjalaleið, F902||14th June||26th June||18th June|
|Arnardalsleið, F905||11th June||26th June||17th June|
|Uxahryggjavegur, 52||16th April||11th May||1st May|
|Kaldadalsvegur, 550||1st June||7th July||7th June|
We hope this guide has helped to educate about driving in and around Iceland, specifically when looking to drive on f-roads. For additional information about driving and other information about your journey to Iceland, please see our guides below.