Driving the Highlands of Iceland

The mountain roads in Iceland open in different times according to location, and very different time each year. There can be a difference of more than one whole month depending on the weather and how rapidly snow disappears and more importantly how quickly the roads dry and can be therefore be driven on without being damaged by traffic. These roads can give a rough drive; have steep hills, narrow crossings, and unbridged rivers. Highland roads are marked as F-roads in most maps e.g. F-35 (Kjölur) or F-26 (Sprengisandur).

The Icelandic Road Administration has published a map describing the current road conditions of mountain roads in Iceland. The map can be accessed here. (Updated June 2016)

Those who intend to travel in the areas which are shaded on the map, please contact the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration tel. +354-522-1100 (during office hours) for the newest information.

The Icelandic Road Administration also publishes a brochure every year about driving the highland area of Iceland. The brochure can be downloaded here. (Updated June 2016)

Service

The Icelandic highlands offer no rest stops or shops. Travelers need to be well prepared with enough food, water and fuel for the drive ahead.

About 38 huts are run as accommodation in the highlands by the The Iceland Touring Association. These huts fill up quickly and are often booked long in advance. Camping is allowed in most areas although in some cases, such as protected areas, camping is only allowed at designed areas. Look out for private land and ask permission if you think the spot is on private property. It is the duty of all campers and travelers to not leave any marks on the land or litter where they have been. Be careful with bond fires and make sure you do not disturb the natural surroundings.

In Þórsmörk there are accommodations for example with Volcano Huts located in Húsadalur valley in the Þórsmörk Nature Reserve in Iceland. More information here

River crossing

Most rivers on F-marked roads in Iceland are unbridged. When crossing these rivers be sure to assess the current, depth and the nature of the riverbed before driving in. If a river looks dangerous to cross, it probably is. Try not to travel by yourself and even wait for another car to cross an unbridged river with you. This way you will be assured help if you run into trouble.

The weather can affect the river conditions, rain and high temperatures can cause bigger streams and please note that glacial rivers swell as the day goes on.

Please note! F- roads are only accessible for 4wd rental cars and you are not insured if damage occurs when crossing un-bridged rivers.

We recommend you bookmark three websites to use when doing a road trip in Iceland: Safetravel.isRoad conditions and Weather report.

Don’t forget to follow Sixt rent a car Iceland on social media for frequent updates via TwitterInstagram, Facebook and Youtube. And please use our official hashtag #SixtIceland so we can follow along. Happy travels!

For those wanting to read more about the country we recommend visiting the Iceland official tourism information site on www.visiticeland.com and the information site www.iceland.is