Guide to Icelandic F-Roads - Tips and Advice
Updated: Aug 9
Travelling around Iceland is probably the best thing that will happen to you. It becomes an even greater experience if you decide to do a road trip and circle the whole island. Nothing gives you as much freedom and so many possibilities as driving with your own rented campervan or a motorohme. You stop whenever you want, you visit the things you always wished to and you drive and rest when you feel like it. You will discover charming villages, distant regions of the North and cold glaciers.
Iceland is indeed a beautiful and unique country full of hidden gems. Due to the lack of train infrastructure, it is perfect for exploring by rented campervan or a motorhome. Not all of the previously mentioned places and attractions are easily accessible. Some can only be accessed by mountain roads with a certain vehicle. This is the key element of travelling in Iceland. As the summer is approaching us, we decided to gather all the information about the Icelandic F-roads and give you some tips on how to drive them and what the requirements are to be able to use them. Let’s find out!
What are F-roads?
It is important to explain at the start what F-roads are and where in Iceland will you find them. Iceland is divided into several different regions and one of them, the central part of the island is known as the Highlands. This area covers the interior part of Iceland and is full of glaciers, mountains, hot springs and lava formations. Its altitude is 400-500 meters above sea level and it is basically an uninhabited volcanic area.
The roads located in this zone are known as mountain roads. You can easily distinguish them from the others because of the symbol F given in their name. For example F 735 or F 208. When you see that indication, you can be sure this road is rough and made of gravel.
How to drive on F- roads?
Roads are indeed typical for Iceland but note that almost 50% of the total roads here are gravel. Even some parts of the Ring Road are gravel.
In order to drive on F-roads you need a four-wheel-drive vehicle (4x4). Most of the local rental companies have them on offer. We get many questions from our customers such as if they can go with their motorhome to Landmannalaugar, which requires using F-roads. This is absolutely forbidden and impossible to drive such a big, 2wd vehicle on F-roads.
Some brave tourists tried to go to the Highlands with their standard passengers car. It got complicated when they found the roads to be muddy and got trapped there. With no 4 wheel drive car, you are unable to get out of the mud, not even mentioning that you will definitely damage the clutch and this is not cheap to repair!
Those roads are challenging to drive even for an experienced driver and require crossing rivers and risky driving. You need to be careful and adjust the speed to the roads conditions. Beware that all the F-roads are really narrow and curved. There are lots of loose stones and pebbles that can damage the windshield or the body of your rental campervan easily. Be careful especially when you are passing by another car, there is not much space there to park your vehicle to take pictures. Do not leave your car in the middle of the road making it impossible for others to pass.
Remember that many of the F-roads require a river crossing. Unexperienced drivers can be easily get stuck if they don’t know the tricks to cross it. If you want to avoid that, either ask the rental company to give you some advice or check the road maps carefully and choose the route that does not require a river crossing.
A very important thing to consider here is the rental insurance of your rented vehicle. Many companies offer extra insurance that you can add to your rental. You will need it especially when driving on the Iceland F-roads. Unlike other countries, here the extra insurance really makes sense. Make sure you have the widest coverage possible. That will definitely make your campervan road trip even more pleasant with no stress.
Do I need a special license?
There is no need for applying for any special license to drive on mountain roads. You will be required to have a standard license equivalent to the B category European license.
Note though, that some of the rental companies require a special age to rent a 4x4 campervan. Check their terms and conditions and if you are not sure, ask which one would be the best for your Highland adventure.
Icelandic F-roads are only accessible during the summer season. In the Highlands this lasts around one month only. The climate here is rough and is changing constantly that is why there is no fixed dates of the opening and closing the F-roads. It comes from the observations and is based on the current weather forecast and roads conditions. Even during the summer, you can still find those roads covered with snow. That is why, even though the authorities decide to open the F-roads, that doesn’t mean it is completely safe and easy to drive there. You need to keep checking the weather forecast and drive with cautioun.
Guide to Icelandic F-roads - Tips and Advice
Do not underestimate our climate and the power of nature. Be careful when driving on F-roads, check the weather and roads conditions carefully. You will enjoy your Icelandic trip and its wild nature, when travelling with cautioun. Safety should always go first! Now you know everything about F-roads, you cannot say we did not tell you!