Iceland F-roads are mountain roads marked with an F in front of the road number, for example F210. F-roads are really rough to drive and only allowed for 4x4 rent-a-car or AWD-rent-a-car. If you plan on visiting the highlands and therefore driving on some of the F-roads please make sure you rent a 4x4 or AWD rent a car.
Iceland F-roads condition and opening
Iceland F-roads are NOT open during winter. Opening of F-roads varies every year depending on weather and road conditions. F-roads are not maintained as regularly as other roads therefore they are much rougher and often have big rocks or large holes that can easily damage the undercarriage. This can result in a high damage cost for the lessee. Please check the National Road Administration website, www.road.is, for more information regarding opening and road conditions.
Not all F-roads are the same
Only larger 4x4 rental vehicles are suitable for some F-roads including F-roads F88 and F894 (Öskjuleið), F249 (Þórsmörk) and F578 (Arnarvatnsheiði). Smaller 4x4 or AWD cars are not suitable for those F-roads. If conditions are bad then even larger 4x4 can not be used on any F-roads. Please always check the website www.road.is before you enter a F-road.
Some F-roads are NOT marked with F
This is when it gets a bit confusing. Some of the rough gravel roads are actually F-roads but are not marked as such on official maps. Those roads are, due to their location and low level of maintainance, much rougher than regular gravel roads and not suitable for passenger rent a cars. F-roads that are not marked so on official maps are road 550 (Kaldidalur), road 35 (Kjalvegur) and road 570 (Jökulhálsleið).
Crossing unbridged rivers is not recommended
Some of the rivers here in Iceland are unbridged and if you choose to cross any of these rivers the driver and lessee have complete responsibility for all damage (see terms and conditions) as normal insurance does NOT cover any damage caused by crossing a river. A special river-ford-crossing (RFC) insurance can be bought if you rent a 4x4. It applies only if your are fording the river, i.e. the river is crossed by a river-ford at very low speed (4 km/h.). What is a river-ford?
Off-road driving in Iceland forbidden
Off-road driving (off marked roads) is forbidden by law in Iceland. The nature is very delicate so driving off-road will leave tyre track marks which can remain visible for decades. No matter the type of landscape, be it green and or simply black sand - off-road driving will always leave a lasting mark and is considered vandalism. Drivers who cause damage to the land and the vegetation can easily expect a sky-high fine or prison term for offences. Also, no insurance covers damage to the rental vehicle while driving off-road.
Regular gravel roads
Not all gravel roads require a AWD or 4x4 vehicle. Passenger cars are allowed to drive on all of the non F-marked gravel roads except the non-marked F-roads mentioned above. If you are not used to driving on gravel roads please take extra caution. The speed limit on gravel roads is lower than on regular paved roads. Only 80 km/h. vs. 90 km./h. Keep in mind that though the speed limit is 80 km/h. this is too fast for drivers unfamiliar with the situation. We recommend you drive at the speed you feel comfortable with and let other drivers pass you than rather than try to keep up with other drivers.