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All about F-ROADS | Driving in the Highlands

Do you know what an F-road is in Iceland? If you’re renting a car and driving anywhere in the country, then you need to. But don’t worry, friends, that’s what you have me for.

Hello, Team Iceland, welcome back to this channel, where every Wednesday, I talk about another helpful Iceland planning topic. This week, we are talking about what the heck is an F-road, why you need to know what it is, and all of the things. Before we get started, I want to give a shout-out to one of my followers. This one comes from thedigitalvisual, and they write, “Your interactive map has been such a valuable resource for us. We are still here in Iceland for another few days and couldn’t have imagined road-tripping without it.” It just melted my heart that this person took the time out of their trip to say such kind words to me, so thank you guys so much for all of your support. I really, really appreciate it, and I am so glad that you’re loving the ebook. So, without further ado, the F-roads in Iceland. Let’s get into it.

What is a F ROAD?

All right, so the biggest question is, what is an F-road? Quite simply, the F-roads are mountain or highland roads, so these are the roads that mainly are heading to the interior part of the country. These roads are not your average roads, but more like extremely rocky, full of potholes, muddy, incredibly steep roads. Some of them you even have to cross rivers. They’re intense, and these roads 100% require a four-wheel drive vehicle. It is not safe or legal to access these roads with a two-wheel drive vehicle. These roads are also not regularly maintained, so they’re not going to be smoothed out, they’re not going to be plowed, they’re not going to be regularly kept up by the Road Administration.

However, these are the roads that you will need to take if you are planning to access any of the roads in the highlands of the country. Now, I have to give a really, really big caveat on this that’s super important if you are planning on taking a trip into the highlands, and if your route requires an F-road. Not all four-wheel drive vehicles are alike. Certain F-roads will require higher clearance on a vehicle. So, for example, if you are planning on going into Thórsmörk, and you want to get on the other side of the Krossá River, which is extremely deep, then you will need an extra-specialized, modified vehicle.

So, my suggestion is that you talk to your rental car company and make sure that they know your route before you rent a vehicle. That way, they’ll be able to recommend which kind of vehicle that you would need, modified or not, because none of the vehicle insurances in Iceland cover damage to the underside of a vehicle. So, if you’re trying to save money by renting a four-wheel drive that’s smaller, and you damage the underside of the vehicle, it’s going to be very, very expensive.

Most people that are traveling into the highlands or onto the F-roads know that this is for a particular purpose. However, if you’re wondering if your vehicle can tackle F-roads, and the rental car companies all put a sticker on the dash that says, “This road is allowed on F-roads.” If your car is not allowed, then it will say, “This car is not allowed on F-roads.” So if you’re confused about the whole thing, the just look for the sticker on your dash. So if you’re wondering how to locate these F-roads and their conditions, then you can check out the Icelandic Road Association listing the roads that you will need a specific vehicle on, as well as the conditions and when they open.

When are they open?

Next up, let’s talk about when you can actually access these F-roads. The F-roads are actually only open during the summertime, completely closed off in other seasons. Usually, you can see the F-roads open from mid-June up until the end of August. That, of course, depends on the snow, so how early the snow melts, and then how early the snow starts in the fall as well. These dates are changing all the time. All you have to do if you want to know if those roads are open is check the link in the description below, and that will tell you when the average open time is, and then also when it is open in the year that you’re traveling.

Why F ROADS?

Next up, let’s talk about why you would want to go on the F-roads in the first place, if they’re so crazy. So, quite simply, the F-roads allow you to get to some of the most beautiful and breathtaking places in the entire country. Places like Landmannalaugar, Thórsmörk, all of those beautiful locations require F-roads to get there, so require a certain vehicle and a certain type of driving. If you’re wanting to get to some of these locations, then it’s absolutely worth renting a vehicle with F-road capabilities.

READ MORE:   Things that are Different in Iceland from the USA

The next reason is to get away from the crowds. Because these places take more time and are more challenging to get to, you’re not getting a lot of people going in on F-roads into the highlands. And so, if you want to get away from the crowds and have a more secluded vacation, then this is what you need to do. And last but not least, it’s just an extra adventure. Think about getting in your vehicle, and packing up all your stuff, and heading out into some of these remote locations, and it’s the challenge of the crazy driving, and it’s so fun. So, if you’re really up for adventure, then I highly suggest this for you.

Tips for Driving F ROADS in Iceland

Last, you guys, of course I have some major tips that you can consider if you’re renting a vehicle and driving on the F-roads. First up, always, always, always check the road conditions. This is so important for F-road travel because, like I said, they’re not regularly maintained, so you want to know if they’re open. You just don’t want to get started on your adventure and then have to turn back around, so always check the road conditions.

Next up is leave a travel plan. Safetravel.is is where you can actually put the route that you’re about to take for that day. This is really important just in case anything bad happens, then someone knows what your travel plan was for the day. Next up is knowing the emergency number for your rental car company. You want to make sure that if something happens, your car company is going to help you out, so you want to make sure to know that number. And then also, the emergency number in Iceland is 112, not 911. So, 112 in Iceland is what you would call in case of an emergency.

Now, also, it’s really, really important that when you’re heading onto the F-roads, you want to make sure that you have a full tank of fuel. You don’t want to get stuck in the middle of the highlands, not knowing when you can pick up fuel next, because there are not fuel stations everywhere, if that wouldn’t be very obvious. So make sure that that’s the first thing you do before you head in, is fuel up. Also, not a lot of restaurants and places to eat in the highlands, so if you’re heading out on the F-roads, make sure to pack food with you.

Another tip is to go early, because sometimes on these F-roads, like I said, you’re going to have to cross rivers, and usually the rivers are higher in the middle or towards the end of the day because the glaciers are melting more. So, go early to avoid any disasters that way. Lastly, you’re going to want to pack warmer clothing. The temperature around the coast in Iceland is the warmest that it is in the country, and then as you’re heading interior, it’s actually getting colder. So even if it’s warm when you’re leaving Reykjavik, you’re going to want to pack warmer clothes so that you’re not colder inland.

Okay, my friends, that is all the information that you’re going to need to know about F-road travel. I hope you found this video helpful, and I hope it helps you understand the F-roads and feel confident about tackling these roads on your adventure. As always, if you found this video helpful, I would love it if you could give it a thumbs-up and subscribe for new Iceland planning videos every week. I’ll see you next time, friends.

Happy planning.

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