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Best car rental insurance in Iceland: 2021 guide

Best car rental insurance in Iceland: 2021 guide

This is the preliminary version of the article. We hope to add more insurance providers in the near future, especially for our US-based friends. Share with us what you find to be the best value-for-money car rental insurance for Iceland in the comments, in our FB group, or write us an email!

Me, you, and probably 99.9% of other Icelandic visitors have already wondered, how to choose the best insurance for their car rental in Iceland. The task is not easy, because insurance options vary widely and are not unified across car rental providers. There are, however, multiple common features for every car rental insurance. The same applies to common threats. So let’s summarize all of these and then look at the available options.

TLDR – tell me the best insurance!

To simplify it the most, if you prefer full coverage, I suggest the following:

Compare the price and the content of the full (a.k.a. “platinum”) insurance offered by your Icelandic car rental company to Lotus and RentalCover below and choose for yourself. Personally, we always use Lotus or RentalCover. These two offer the best level of insurance for a price (usually) comparable with anyone else:

  • Lotus car rental with their Platinum insurance covers EVERYTHING including river crossings. You can support us by using a 5% discount for Lotus with promo code: absoluticeland
  • RentalCover, a top-notch external insurer insures you against everything except river crossings, usually for a much lower price compared to the car rental companies

Beware! Even platinum insurance packages most of the time don’t cover water damage / river crossing (we know only of 1 company that does), and even many other damage types like undercarriage or doors and windows.

For example, as of 1.6.2021, one of the most popular car rental companies in Iceland offers platinum insurance for a 7-day Dacia Duster trip for 300USD. However, their platinum insurance does NOT cover:
-undercarriage, wind, tires, windows, water damages

You can have a better level of coverage for a lower price with RentalCover. RentalCover’s 4×4 insurance (for non-US citizens) covers everything except river crossings for, in this example, 240USD / 200Eur. 

iceland car insurance

A full picture is not that easy though, there are more things to consider. Don’t want to buy full Icelandic car rental insurance? Or do you just want to understand the details? Well my friend, then read below…

What are the risks of a car rental in Iceland?

  1. Collision – damages to your car
  2. Collision – damages to someone else’s car
  3. Someone steals your car
  4. Loose gravel hits your car
  5. Sand or ash damages your car (engine or anything else)
  6. You damage the undercarriage / chassis of your car
  7. You damage the tire
  8. You damage the windows
  9. You damage the doors (e.g.: wind overthrows them)
  10. Water damages your car (engine or anything else)
  11. Animals damage your car
  12. Car can’t move and you need towing

Yes, all of this can actually happen when you drive in Iceland. Yes, all of this is usually charged separately (excluded from the basic insurance). Is it likely it will happen? Well, most of the time no, but this obviously depends on your driving skills. One thing is certain – there are more threats on Icelandic roads than on a typical American / European road (I said typical, for sure there are some more dangerous roads).

Important: How to choose the best car for Iceland?

So do we just want to scare you so that you buy our insurance? No 🙂 It’s just good to be prepared and set the expectations right so that you can choose for yourself.

What types of insurance are in Iceland?

Rule number one – always check the insurance conditions of your car rental company! Too difficult to understand? Well, obviously… But, what you can generally expect is the following:

  • What’s included in the basic price is usually only the compulsory insurance (see below)
  • For some of the damages not included in compulsory insurance, you may buy an optional insurance

Compulsory insurance

There are two types of insurance that are compulsory for every car rental company in Iceland. This basically means you will always get these two included in the basic price:

  • Collision damage waiver
  • Third-Party Liability Insurance

1. The collision damage waiver (CDW)

The CDW covers costs for case (1) – damages to your car if there’s a collision. BUT. Almost always you have to pay as well. This is called “the deductible”, “the driver’s liability” or “the excess”.  So the usual example goes like this: there’s a CDW with 300 000 ISK deductible, which means, you will pay ALL damages up to 300 000 ISK (2350 USD). If the damage is bigger, you will not pay the rest.

Secondly, the CDW will usually not cover many types of damages. Usually, all of the bullet points (3) to (12) above are not covered. To insure against them, you have to either buy optional insurance or buy completely different insurance.

2. The third-party liability insurance (TPL)

The TPL covers costs for case (2) – damages to someone else’s car if there’s a collision. You don’t pay anything in this case. These damages are covered by TPL.

car rental iceland insurance

Optional insurance

Well, we’ve covered 2 cases out of 12 so far, what about the rest? Car rental companies offer to cover SOME of those as optional insurance. The word “some” is very important here because only very few companies cover most of them and we know only of 1 car rental company which covers all of them.

What are the typical optional insurance options in Iceland?

1. The super collision damage waiver (SCDW)

Do you remember how we talked about “the deductible”, “the driver’s liability” or “the excess”? That’s the money you may pay if you damage your rental car. The SCDW lowers this amount. If you buy this optional insurance, you will pay a lower (sometimes even zero) deductible in case of an accident.

3. The theft protection (TP)

This covers costs for case (3), i.e. someone stealing your car. Usually, there is no deductible, so you usually don’t pay anything if it happens. It’s worth mentioning, though, that car thefts are very rare in Iceland.

4. The gravel protection (GP)

If I had to take just one optional insurance in Iceland, it would be gravel protection.  Gravel is everywhere in Iceland. And most of the gravel is on F-roads. Which you should see because they are beautiful! This is the type of damage that happens almost always. So better be insured against it 🙂

5. The sand and ash protection (SAAP)

Although this sounds like insurance against volcanic ash, that is not its main purpose. There are several sand fields in Iceland, most of them in the South. They are mostly exposed to the wind after the snow thaws, i.e. in February, March, and April. Now imagine what happens if the wind blows enough sand into your engine? Nothing good 🙂 That’s where the SAAP comes in. Do you need it in summer? Usually no, but no one can rule out that sand will get into your engine in some cases.

Some car rental companies offer more optional insurance, but for the typical company, the list usually ends here. So, we’ve covered 5 out of 12 cases now! What about the rest?

Important: How to choose the best car for Iceland?

These are the less typical optional insurance options in Iceland:

6. The undercarriage / chassis insurance

Imagine driving over big rocks on some of the F-roads, for example when heading to Askja. It’s not that hard to hit the undercarriage, a.k.a. chassis of your vehicle and to damage it. Most of the insurance packages do not cover this! You have to either buy the optional undercarriage insurance or buy different insurance that will cover that.

7. The tire insurance

Unfortunately, even damage to tires is excluded from basic insurance packages most of the time. This means, should anything happen to your tire (or sometimes even a wheel), you will be fully responsible for that. Unless you buy optional insurance or different insurance which will cover all of these.

8. The window insurance

The same applies to windows. This is usually a separate “insurance item”. That means, anything happens to windows – you are fully responsible for that and will pay for that. Unless you buy optional insurance or different insurance which will cover all of these.

9. The door insurance

Even doors are usually excluded from basic insurance and even many optional insurance packages. The damage to doors is pretty common in Iceland, mostly due to strong wind and people not taking enough care when opening and closing their doors. You may insure against the door damage by buying optional insurance or different insurance which will cover all of these.

10. The water insurance

If you want to drive F-roads with river crossings, this is one of the most important points. Car rental companies don’t cover water damage, not even in their platinum packages! As of now, we know only about Lotus car rental, which does cover water damage.

What does this mean? Well, if you cross the river on an F-road, and let’s say the water gets into your engine, your engine may die. And you may remain stuck in the water. And you will be paying for towing + new engine. How much can a new engine cost? Well, easily even 10 000 USD!

A PROMO CODE absoluticeland will get you a 5% discount with Lotus and us a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

“So what should I do??” Well, either go for Lotus with water insurance (and, please, even in this case study carefully the river crossings!!) or take special caution and try to avoid bigger river crossings. We wrote a list of all F-roads with the size of their river crossings described (this may change in time though! always check conditions at the time of your trip).

road 63 bildudalsvegur

Road 63 Bíldudalsvegur

11. The animal encounter insurance

Yes, this doesn’t happen often, but seldom it does. During our trip, we’d actually met more sheep than tourists 🙂 And sheep often don’t act logically, some being really stubborn getting at the road at the most inconvenient time. This, in the first place, means, take special care not to harm animals in Iceland!

If, in any case, an animal damages your car somehow (hopefully nothing happens to the animal, let’s rather picture a scenario of an angry sheep scratching your car), you will be fully responsible for that. Unless you buy optional insurance or different insurance which will cover all of these.

12. The towing insurance

Got stuck in the river? Stuck on the rock? Stuck in the sand? Is your engine dead? Did you collide and your car can’t move? You will need towing. And towing isn’t cheap. And is charged separately. Unless you buy optional insurance or different insurance which will cover all of these.

iceland car rental insurance

What insurance should I choose?

The most common damages

Now, if you read all of this, here’s a little reward for you 🙂 What is in our opinion the most common damage happening to rental cars in Iceland? Well, if I had to pick Top 3, it would be 1) gravel damage, 2) water damage (if you go for F-roads with river crossings), 3) classical collision of any kind.

What happens less often, but still happens are the door damage (due to wind), tire damage (of course tires are under pressure on Icelandic roads, though this isn’t that expensive damage), and damage to the undercarriage of your car (if you aren’t careful enough).

What usually does not happen are thefts, animal encounters or window damages, and sand/ash getting into your engine outside of spring. 

Trip scenarios

Reykjavik and south 

Going just around Reykjavik, golden circle, and the south? Well, then you don’t need the water damage insurance. Also, gravel hitting your car, you damaging the undercarriage, or animals damaging your car are not very likely. Of course, anything may happen, though.

This means that usually, just basic compulsory insurance is enough. For peace of mind, you may take Gravel protection, Sand and Ash protection, and/or Super collision damage waiver if you feel unsure. Look at RentalCover how much they charge for insurance – it may be cheaper than buying insurance from your car rental company and cover you better.

Usually cheaper RentalCover will cover everything except water damage.

Ring road or winter trip

The ring road is long and winter is more dangerous, so I would generally recommend slightly better insurance. It’s better to have Gravel protection, Sand and Ash protection, and Super collision damage waiver. Some other options like Tire insurance, Window insurance, Door insurance or Towing insurance may be viable for your peace of mind as well, not necessary though. If you are not going for F-roads, water insurance is unnecessary.

Highlands with simple F-roads 

Going for highlands, F-roads, and gravel roads with no or just small river crossings? Well, then you probably need to be insured against everything mentioned in the article, except river crossings (water damage).

I suggest you first read well full/platinum insurance conditions of your car rental company. If they include all of the damages I mentioned in the article (usually they don’t), then compare their price against RentalCover. This external provider covers everything except water damage for a very good price.

Want to have covered everything, including water damage? Lotus car rental will cover it with their platinum insurance!

Highlands with more difficult F-roads

Going for highlands, F-roads, and gravel roads with medium river crossings? Get all available insurance, especially the one for water damage, undercarriage, and gravel!

There’s only 1 car rental company which we know about, that covers you against everything mentioned in this article, including river crossing. That is Lotus car rental. You can have a 5% discount for booking with them with our promo code: “absoluticeland

Alternatively, you may take special caution, avoid big river crossings and go for an insurance package without water insurance. In that case, I suggest you first read well full/platinum insurance conditions of your car rental company. If they include all of the damages I mentioned in the article (usually they don’t), then compare their price against RentalCover. This external provider covers everything except water damage for a very good price.

How to find out which roads have difficult river crossings? We’ve made a list of F-roads for you!

How does RentalCover work?

RentalCover is, in our opinion, the best 3rd party insurance provider for car rentals around the world, who will insure your Icelandic car rental. 

You need to buy insurance any day BEFORE the trip. If any accident or damage happens during your trip, this is the procedure to follow:

  1. Create documentation of the accident (photos, notes)
  2. Notify your car rental company immediately
  3. Pay for the damages to your car rental company – require confirmation for that!
  4. Send the documentation (photos, notes, your written communication with car rental company, confirmation of your payment) to RentalCover
  5. RentalCover will pay you for the damage

The main advantage of a third-party provider like RentalCover is most of the time the better price and better insurance coverage. 

The main disadvantage is that you have to pay for the damage first, and you will get the money back afterward. 

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Posted by epiciceland in Guide, Roads, Tips, 2 comments
Best Fagradalsfjall volcano tours

Best Fagradalsfjall volcano tours

Seeing an eruption of an active volcano with your own eyes is a once in a lifetime experience. To do it, you have basically two main options – go on your own or take a guided tour. Because an eruption of Fagradalsfjall volcano is still only quite recent, high-quality guided tours are scarce. That’s why we decided to make a short list of the best Fagradalsfjall volcano tours available at the moment.

We will do our best to update the list and broaden this article, and apologize for any discrepancies, which may occur because everything changes really quickly these days.

Fagradalsfjall volcano crowds

Fagradalsfjall crowds – image courtesy of Guðni Oddgeirsson

Fagradalsfjall volcano tours general information

Volcano hike – time

A hike from the closest parking spot takes from 1 to 2 hours one way, depending on your physical condition. If you are going on your own, definitely add up some time for finding a parking spot and walking from there to the start of the trail. Also, don’t forget to add a time to enjoy the volcano itself 🙂

Volcano tours – price

As of April 2021, prices range around 400-600 USD per private group, i.e. the more of you the lower the price. If you go solo, i.e. you will be part of a bigger organized tour, do expect a price of around 100 USD per person. Of course, you may find cheaper and more expensive tours. Always check the current price with the provider, as these may change quickly.

Volcano tours – what’s included

A typical volcano tour includes the following:

  • Reykjavik pickup with a driver
  • An experienced guide
  • Free cancellation up to 24 hours before the trip

A typical volcano tour does NOT include the following:

  • Shoes, clothes or any gear (no special is required, though)
  • Food, water, snacks

There are exceptions, though, and almost always there is an option to buy or hire anything you need, so don’t be afraid 🙂

Fagradalsfjall volcano

Fagradalsfjall volcano

Fagradalsfjall volcano tours we recommend

1. Troll expeditions

Troll expeditions is a renowned Icelandic company with a long history and thousands of 5/5 reviews. They’ve recently added a Fagradalsfjall volcano tour and we really do recommend taking this one!

Do you want an exclusive private tour with no one else, just you? Troll offers Geldingadalur volcano private tour as well!

All conditions and prices are clearly stated on their website and you can easily book via their system. And we also have a 10% discount for you! 🙂

10% discount for all Troll expeditions tours , including volcano tour, with promo code: get it here

Fagradalsfjall volcano tour

Fagradalsfjall volcano tour by Troll Expeditions

2. Helicopter tour by Guide to Iceland

Guide to Iceland is a huge Icelandic tour company with many good references. They’ve recently added a helicopter Fagradalsfjall volcano tour and based on their reviews we can also recommend you to take this one.

Obviously, a helicopter tour is pricier. BUT. Seeing a volcano from a helicopter is simply once in a lifetime experience 🙂 So you have to decide for yourself whether it’s worth it for you. Don’t take too long though, they sell out quickly.

All conditions and price are clearly stated on their website and you can easily book via their system.

Fagradalsfjall volcano tour

Fagradalsfjall volcano tour by Guide to Iceland

3. Traveo

Traveo is a smaller, but very friendly and affordable Icelandic tour company. They’ve also recently added a Fagradalsfjall volcano tour

Their tour is one of the most affordable ones if you travel in a small group of 1 to 3 people. All conditions and price are clearly stated on their website and you can easily book via their system.

Fagradalsfjall guided tour

Fagradalsfjall guided tour by Traveo

4. Adventures.com

Adventures.com is another big Icelandic tour and reseller company. Their references are good, although in specific cases we got some worse feedback on their tours. This may be due to the huge numbers of clients they are serving. 

They’ve also recently added a Fagradalsfjall volcano tour and this one seems to be one of the cheapest out there if you plan to go just as a couple. Do expect more crowds / bigger group though, as a cost for a lower price.

Fagradalsfjall volcano tour by Adventures.com

5. 2 Go Iceland

2 Go Iceland is a smaller tour company that also recently added Fagradalsfjall hike to their tour portfolio. If you are looking for a more personalized experience, this may be a choice for you. 

They don’t have an online booking system though, so you have to contact them manually by email or social media. Although 2 Go Iceland doesn’t have many reviews, this is a regular tour company, so don’t be afraid to book with them.

6. Amarok Adventures

There’s a Spanish nomadic couple that also recently added Fagradalsfjall hike as one of their tours. They have a beautiful website and their approach seems to be very personalized. They don’t have any booking system, so you have to contact them directly.

Although not that well known, Amarok adventures seem to be a legitimate small tour company worth trying.

Fagradalsfjall volcano tour

Fagradalsfjall volcano tour by Amarok Adventures

Any questions? Ask in our Facebook group!

Tips on any fabulous tours we missed? Feel free to tell us!

Posted by epiciceland in Top Places, 2 comments
Top 5 action tours

Top 5 action tours

An endless number of tours is available in Iceland and it may be overwhelming to find the best ones. We’ve done it for you and handpicked the list of best tours from various providers around Iceland.

Carefully picked from thousands of options based on experience, content and reviews.

Category “action tours” is for those who seek action, adrenaline and intense Icelandic experience, and at the same time beauty of Icelandic nature.

1. Glacier hike

iceland glacier tour

Where else to walk on a glacier, if not in Iceland? Hiking on the majestic Icelandic glaciers is truly a once in a lifetime experience. It’s also an activity you definitely don’t want to do all by yourself. When hiking a glacier we always advise you to have an experienced guide by your side. And glacier equipment which is included in the tour price 🙂

That’s why we sat down and narrowed the list of hundreds of different glacier walking options to 5 we consider the best. They all happen to be from one provider not by a coincidence. Troll Expeditions is at the same time – the cheapest, the best-rated and one of the oldest glacier hiking tour operators in Iceland. And even offers a big discount to our readers! Win-win-win situation 🙂

Option 1 Option 2 Option 3 Option 4 Option 5
From Skaftafell Skaftafell Skaftafell Sólheima-jökull Sólheima-jökull
Length 3 hours 5 hours 4 hours 3 hours 4 hours
Climbing no no possible no possible
Difficulty Easy Moderate Moderate Easy Moderate
Price, Age 70$, 8-11y 85$, 12y+ 123$, 12y+ 157$, 12y+ 78$, 12y+ 150$, 12y+
Cancel free, 24 hours before free, 24 hours before free, 24 hours before free, 24 hours before free, 24 hours before
Discount 10% with our code 10% with our code 10% with our code 10% with our code 10% with our code

The cheapest, the easiest and the shortest are Option 1 from Skaftafell and Option 4 at Solheimajokull:

troll Skaftafell glacier hike

Option 1: Skaftafell easy glacier hike

troll solheimajokull glacier hike

Option 4: Solheimajokull easy glacier hike

For those who want to spend as much time as possible walking on the glacier Option 2 from Skaftafell. Finally, for those who even want to try ice climbing, there are the 2 most action-packed options – from Skaftafell Option 3 and at Solheimajokull Option 5:

troll skaftafell long glacier hike

Option 2: Skaftafell long glacier hike

troll skaftafell glacier climbing

Option 3: Skaftafell glacier climbing

troll solheimajokull ice climbing

Option 5: Solheimajokull ice climbing

TIP: There are many other glacier hiking tours at different places. We aimed for picking the best ones.

2. Rafting

iceland rafting

Icelandic canyons are nothing less than stunning. Now imagine not only observing the canyon from the top but also sailing down the river in the canyon! Well.. or better said rafting down. Sounds scary? Not that much with experienced guides! 

Luckily enough, there’s a 5***** Icelandic company that puts both safety and fun in the first place. Be prepared to get wet, though! (Not too much, don’t be afraid). Viking Rafting is a top-notch Icelandic tour company with 5/5 ratings. They will serve you a rafting experience you will never forget 😉

Option 1Family rafting; a beautiful raft for everyone
– panoramic views over the canyon
– from Hafgrímsstaðir (for pickup contact Viking)
– 3-4 hours, 125$ adult, 78$ 6-12years old, min 6y.o.
– optional: Photo package, Dinner
– 90% refund up to 48 hours before the trip
– 10% discount code: EPICRAFTING

Option 2White water action; let’s make it exciting!
– action, fun, excitement and a lot of water
– from Hafgrímsstaðir or Akureyri pickup
– 6 hours, 195$ adult, min 18y.o.
– optional: Photo package, Lunch, Akureyri pickup
– 90% refund up to 48 hours before the trip
– 10% discount code: EPICRAFTING

viking family rafting

Viking family rafting

viking white water action rafting

Viking white water action rafting

TIP: There are many different water tours in Iceland at different places. We aimed for picking the best ones.

3. Laugavegur trail hike

iceland laugavegur trail hike

“What is the single most ultimate, most epic Icelandic hike?” 90% of respondents reply: “Laugavegur trail”. This trail is the ultimate symbol of Iceland. Out-of-this-world views, trails, mountains, rivers, lava…, everywhere.

Laugavegur trail stretches from the base of Landmannalaugar called Brennisteinsalda campsite all the way to Thórsmork in the south. It may even be extended by another day or two of breath-taking hiking, the Fimmvörðuháls hike, which ends up next to Skógafoss

Laugavegur hike is a 4 to 7-day hike (depending on your pace and the version you take). It can be best enjoyed when sleeping over in mountain huts. And when you have someone experienced by your side. For a worry-free Laugavegur hike we recommend you to take a guided tour. And we picked for you the ones we consider the best:

Option 1 Option 2 Option 3 Option 4
Length 5 days 7 days 3 days 1 day
Sleep mountain huts mountain huts mountain huts -
Meals Full board Full board Full board -
Pickup Reykjavik Reykjavik Reykjavik Reykjavik
Price, Age 1770$ 14-17, 2021$ 18+ 2418$ 14-17, 2651$ 18+ 721$ 14-17, 943$ 18+ 201$ 8-16, 263$ 17+
Cancel free, 24 hours before free, 24 hours before free, 24 hours before free, 24 hours before
Discount 5% with our code 5% with our code 5% with our code -

Option 1Laugavegur Classic; 5 days
– all-inclusive Laugavegur experience
– 4 nights in the mountain huts included
– included: guide, full board, luggage transportation, Reykjavik pickup
– 2021$ adult, 1770$ 14-17y.o., min 14y.o.
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip

Option 2Laugavegur Extended; 7 days
– all-inclusive Laugavegur + Fimmvörðuháls
– 6 nights in the mountain huts included
– included: guide, full board, luggage transportation (Laugavegur), Reykjavik pickup
– 2651$ adult, 2418$ 14-17y.o., min 14y.o.
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip

Option 3Fimmvörðuháls Gentle; 3 days
– all-inclusive Fimmvörðuháls hike
– 2 nights in the mountain huts included
– included: guide, full board, Reykjavik pickup
– 943$ adult, 721$ 14-17y.o., min 14y.o.
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip

Option 4Fimmvörðuháls Intense; 1 day
– intense 1-day Fimmvörðuháls hike
– included: guide, Reykjavik pickup
– 263$ adult, 201$ 8-16y.o., min 8y.o.
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip

 

TIP: There are many different hiking tours in Iceland at different places. We aimed for picking the best ones.

4. Silfra snorkelling


Have you ever swum between tectonic plates? Well, in Silfra you will! Silfra is located in Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. And it’s not any ordinary snorkelling. You will be floating on pure, filtered, glacier water with breathtaking underwater views in the world’s clearest waters.

There are tens of different Silfra tours and we strived to pick for you the 4 best ones when it comes to reviews, price and fun!

Option 1Snorkelling Classic; the best and safest of Silfra
– pure Silfra experience; the highest quality, the cheapest price
– 3 hours (1 hour underwater), from Silfra
– included: all equipment + free photos
– 117$, min 12y.o.
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip
– 20% discount with promo code: EPICELAND20

Option 2Snorkelling + Golden Circle; time-efficient option
– golden circle with Silfra snorkelling in 1 day
– 10 hours (1 hour underwater), Reykjavik pickup
– included: all equipment + free photos
– 210$, min 12y.o.
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip
– 20% discount with promo code: EPICELAND20

Option 3Snorkelling from Reykjavik; pickup included
– pure Silfra experience; if you need Reykjavik transport
– 5 hours (1 hour underwater)
– included: all equipment + free photos
– 185$, min 12y.o.
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip

Option 4Professional diving; for certified divers
– the most intense option, bring your diving certificate
– included: all equipment + Reykjavik pickup
– 5 hours, 292$ adult, min 18y.o.
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip

troll silfra snorkelling classic

Troll Expeditions Silfra snorkelling classic


troll silfra diving golden circle

Troll expeditions Silfra snorkelling + Golden circle

 

TIP: There are many different snorkelling tours in Iceland and various diving tours in Iceland at different places. We aimed for picking the best ones.

5. Quad bike ride

Iceland is a paradise for all-terrain-vehicle lovers. That includes quad bikes. Buggies are the unique opportunity to see parts of Iceland where even 4×4 cars don’t have access to! With picturesque landscapes, ponds and lava everywhere, Iceland makes it to the top of the list of places ideal for buggy rides. And with a guide, you don’t have to worry about the path!

We went through numerous quad bike options at different places and picked the best 3 for you:

Option 1Reykjavik; best rated, action-packed ATV tour
– panoramic views over Reykjavik
– 3 hours, 190$ adult, 142$ 8-16years old, min 8y.o.
– pickup from Reykjavik included
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip

Option 2Hella; private black sand beach buggy tour
– unforgettable beach tour with max 4 people
– 2 hours, 234$ adult, 119$ 7-15years old, min 7y.o.
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip

Option 3: Egilsstaðir; remote forest quad-bike tour without tourists
– crossing streams in the remote forest of Hallormsstaður
– 1 hour, 193$ adult, 57$ 8-16years old, min 8y.o., max 4 people
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip

Option 4: Reykjadalur; ultimate full-day buggy tour with hot springs
– lava fields, mountain ranges, hot steams valley
– amazing way of seeing Reykjadalur hot springs
– 7 hours, 518$ adult, 388$ 6-16years old, min 6y.o.
– lunch + pickup from Reykjavik included
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip

 

TIP: There are other buggy tours at different places. Check them out, if you wish :).

6. Snowmobiles? Kayaking?

For sure! Check them out – we covered snowmobiles and kayaking in our Top Family tours post:

Best Icelandic Snowmobile tours

Best Icelandic kayaking tours

Note: all prices and information were valid as of the time of writing this article, please always check if anything hasn’t changed after clicking on the links.

 

Posted by epiciceland in Itinerary, Top Places, 0 comments
Top 5 family tours

Top 5 family tours

An endless number of tours is available in Iceland and it may be overwhelming to find the best ones. We’ve done it for you and handpicked the list of best tours from various providers around Iceland.

Category “family tours” is meant to be for families, couples, or individuals looking for an unforgettable organized Icelandic experience which, at the same time, is not too demanding. Carefully picked from thousands of options based on experience, content and reviews.

Looking for more action? We also covered the best Icelandic action tours. Rafting, glacier hikes, quad bikes and more!

1. Husavik whale watching

You’ve probably already heard about Husavik whale watching. This is one of the most popular Icelandic tours. And there is a reason why. Watching whales, dolphins, seals and puffins in their natural habitat is once in a lifetime experience.

Whale watching is also the activity you simply have to book the tour for. Unless you have your own boat in Husavik :). There are tens, if not hundreds, of different whale watching tours. We reviewed all of them and picked the best 2 for you.

Option 1speedboat; probably the best tour out there
– chance to see whales, dolphins, puffins, seals
– you reach more places with a speedboat = higher chance
– free voucher if no whales or dolphins were seen
– 2.5 hours, 170$ adult, 113$ 7-12years old, min 7y.o.
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip

Option 2wooden boat; slower, cheaper, traditional, but good 
– free voucher if no whales or dolphins were seen
– 3 hours, 94$ adult, 32$ 7-15years old, FREE under 7y.o.
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip

 

TIP: There are other whale watching tours at different places. The best chances for whales are in Husavik area, though.

2. Icelandic horse riding

icelandic horse riding snaefellsnes beach

The Icelandic horse is one of it’s kind. It is a unique breed of horse, exclusive solely to Iceland. Icelandic horses are smaller compared to “regular horses”, so it’s a bit easier to ride them. There’s even a law that states that it’s not allowed to breed any other type of horses in here. And once the Icelandic horse leaves the island, he’s even not allowed to come back. So – it’s some kind of a secluded, exclusive VIP horse club, here in Iceland.

Even though we are not much into organized tours, we took a horse riding tour. And we don’t regret it. Again, there are tens, if not hundreds, of different horse riding tours in Iceland. We reviewed most of them and picked the best ones for you. 

From Location Length Price
Option 1 Reykjavik countryside 2 hours 79$ / 105$
Option 2 Reykjavik lava field 2 hours 108$
Option 3 Snaefellsnes beach 1 hour 65$
Option 4 Vik beach 1 hour 109$
Option 5 Akureyri countryside 2 hours 124$
Option 6 Varmahlid countryside 1 hour 73$
Option 7 Isafjordur fjord 2,5 hours 150$

Horse riding in Reykjavik:

Option 1Hafnarfjordur, 2 hours; 79/105USD, near Reykjavik

 

Option 2red lava tour, 2 hours; 108USD, pickup from Reykjavik

 

Horse riding around Iceland:

Option 3Snaefellsnes, beach, 1 hour; 65USD, various options / lengths

Stori Kambur horse riding

Option 4Vik, beautiful black sand beach, 1 hour; 109USD

Option 5Akureyri, countryside, 2 hours; 124USD, hotel pickup

Option 6Varmahlid, countryside, 1 hour; 73USD

Option 7Isafjordur, fjord valley, 2.5 hours; 150USD, hotel pickup

 

 

TIP: All options have a minimum recommended age ranging from 6 to 13 years old. Please check this individually.

3. Snowmobile ride

Wanna take a ride? I meant, a snowmobile ride? Well, Iceland is not that bad for that 🙂 Thanks to its outstanding glaciers, you can do it all-year-round! We sifted through most of the snowmobile tours and picked the best ones for you:

Option 1snowmobile only; probably the best tour; great reviews; 
– single or shared ride on a snowmobile – your choice 
– from Vik, hotel pickup possible from elsewhere
– 1-hour superjeep ride + 1-hour snowmobile ride, 298$
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip
– driving license needed to drive + min. 6 years old as a passenger

Option 2Golden circle + snowmobile; the cheapest option
– Thingvellir, Geysir, Gullfoss, Langjokull snowmobile
– shared ride on a snowmobile
– Reykjavik pickup
– 9:00-19:00, 236$ adult,  114$ 13-15years old, FREE under 13y.o.
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip
– driving license needed to drive

Option 3: South coast + snowmobile; reasonable mid-option
– Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, Myrdalsjokull snowmobile
– shared ride on a snowmobile
– Reykjavik pickup possible
– 9:00-20:00, 322$ adult, 227$ 8-11years old, min. 8y.o.
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip
– driving license needed to drive

 

TIP: There are many other snowmobile tours at different places. We aimed for picking two best ones.

4. Ice cave visit

What’s more Ice-landic than an ice cave? It’s usually not so easy to get into one and in most of the cases, it’s best to rely on an experienced guide to get you there. However, once you get into an ice cave, you will be rewarded with out-of-this-world gigantic ice formations. Once in a lifetime experience? Definitely.

We went through countless different ice cave tours and picked for you the best ice cave tours in terms of reviews, price and contents. Order is from the easiest alternative to the slightly more exhaustive ones:

Option 1 Option 2 Option 3 Option 4
From Jökulsárlón Vik Skaftafell Jökulsárlón
When October to March All year October to March November to March
What superjeep + cave + GoT superjeep + cave glacier hike + cave jeep+hike+ cave+beach
Length 3 hours 3 hours 4 hours 5 hours
Price, age 108$, 6-11y 145$, 12y+ 100$, 8-11y 132$, 12y+ 117$, 8y+ 234$, 12y+
Cancel free, 24 hours before free, 24 hours before free, 24 hours before free, 24 hours before
Discount 10% with our code 10% with our code 10% with our code 10% with our code

Option 1superjeep ride + blue ice cave + GoT locations
– from Jökulsárlón (contact Troll.is if you need a pickup)
– October to March, max 12 travellers, equipment included
– 3 hours, 145$ adult, 108$ 6-11years old, min 6y.o.
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip
– 20% discount code: EPICELAND20

crystal blue ice cave iceland

Blue ice cave from Jökulsárlón

Option 2superjeep ride + GoT dragon ice cave
– from Vik (contact Troll.is if you need a pickup)
– All year round!  max 12 travellers, equipment included
– 3 hours, 132$ adult, 100$ 8-11years old, min 8y.o.
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip
– 20% discount code: EPICELAND20

dragon glass katla ice cave iceland

Dragon ice cave from Vik

Option 3 glacier hike + ice cave
– from Skaftafell (contact Troll.is if you need a pickup)
– October to March, max 12 travellers, equipment included
– 4 hours, 117$, min 8 years old
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip
– 20% discount code: EPICELAND20

skaftafell blue ice cave iceland

Blue ice cave from Skaftafell

Option 4:  superjeep ride + glacier hike + blue ice cave + beach
– from Jökulsárlón (contact Troll.is if you need a pickup)
– November to March, max 10 travellers, equipment included
– 5 hours, 234$, min 12 years old
– cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip
– 20% discount code: EPICELAND20

treasure iceland ice cave iceland

Full day from Jökulsárlón

TIP: There are other ice cave tours at different places. Check them out, if you wish :).

5. Kayaking in Fjords or by Glacier

kirkjufell kayaking

Sailing right next to Mt. Kirkjufell under the midnight Sun? Kayaking in the glacier lagoon full of icebergs by the magnificent glacier? Perfectly possible!

One of the best ways to escape the crowds and enjoy the peaceful beauty of Icelandic nature is to get on the water. How? Well, one of the most eco-friendly options is kayaking 🙂 And not just ordinary kayaking! You can kayak right next to legendary Kirkjufell mountain. And even by the midnight Sun. 

Alternatively, to stick to the word “Ice-land” you may even kayak in the glacier lagoon full of icebergs! We tried our best to pick for you the best kayaking experiences in Iceland:

Option 1 Option 2 Option 3 Option 4 Option 5
From Grundarfjörður Grundarfjörður Sólheimajökull Sólheimajökull Reykjavik
When May - Sept May - Sept May - Sept May - Sept May - Sept
What Kirkjufell kayaking Kirkjufell midnight glacier kayaking kayaking + glacier hike kayaking + south coast
Length 2 hours 3 hours 2,5 hours 5,5 hours 10-11 hours
Price, age 56$, 12-16y 93$, 17y+ 80$, 12-16y 133$, 17y+ 81$, 12-15y 130$, 16y+ 138$, 12-15y 204$, 16y+ 132$, 12-15y 171$, 16y+
Cancel free, 24 hours before free, 24 hours before free, 24 hours before free, 24 hours before free, 24 hours before
Discount - - 5% with our code 5% with our code 5% with our code

Kayak during the day by magnificent Kirkjufell in our Option 1. Prefer midnight sun? Take a look at our midnight sun Option 2:

 

Kayaking in the beautiful glacier lagoon? That’s our Option 3, now with a 5% discount for you. Want to combine kayaking in the glacier lagoon with hiking the majestic glacier itself? That’s our Option 4, with a 5% discount for you.

Do you want to take an affordable south coast tour – see Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Plane wreck + kayak in the glacier lagoon in 1 day? That’s our Option 5, with a 5% discount for you:

glacier kayaking

Kayaking in Sólheimajökull Glacier Lagoon

glacier kayaking and hike

Kayaking + Glacier hike in Sólheimajökull Glacier Lagoon

glacier kayaking and south coast tour

Kayaking + South coast tour near Sólheimajökull Glacier

TIP: There are several different kayaking tours in Iceland at different places. We aimed for picking the best ones.

Note: all prices and information were valid as of the time of writing this article, please always check if anything hasn’t changed after clicking on the links.

Posted by epiciceland in Itinerary, Top Places, 0 comments
How to avoid tourists?

How to avoid tourists?

“Iceland off the beaten path.”

“Hidden gems in Iceland.”

“Iceland best-kept secrets.”

Everybody Googles these headlines. Everybody wants to have a private, remote experience. Nobody enjoys crowds of tourists, shouting, leaving litter, waiting in queues for pictures…

Well, Iceland is one of the few places around the world where it’s still possible to experience “remoteness”. But, it’s getting worse each year. Covid definitely helped with over-tourism a bit. The everlasting question still remains, though:

How to avoid tourists?

Be creative. We offer you inspiration, how.

sigoldugljufur canyon

Sigoldugljufur canyon. A remote, magical, non-touristy place.

1. Pick non-touristy places

Googling for phrases like hidden gems, off the beaten track or best kept secrets usually won’t work. Once it’s easy to Google it will be also crowded. So how to find non-touristy places?

Our touristy index

Use our touristy index. Our site is a brand new website and it’s a really niche one.

We’ve also covered a touristy index for all of our:

Google a lot

Google for places with little reviews.

“Travel around google maps” to arrive at spots which you may find interesting, there are many of them in Iceland.

road 643 westfjords

Semi-paved road 643 with many potholes

2. Go for hard-to-access places

If a place is hard to access it usually discourages the majority of visitors. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Being far away from any campsites or hotels
  • Challenging river crossings are in the way
  • The road to the place is steep, unpaved or even not marked on the map
  • The place is not even accessible by car

4×4 car only

The way we chose when searching for secluded places was to focus on sights accessible only by 4×4 vehicles. This way we eliminated at least all those who are not friends with driving on F-roads. And it’s a great adventure as well.

If you opt for an extensive highlands driving, as we did, be well prepared, though:

Study the F-roads you plan to drive on.

Respect all river crossing rules.

Choose your car wisely.

Hike

Going for a hike is another interesting option, although not such a comfortable one, due to Icelandic ice-cold weather even in summer. This is also the reason why you very rarely meet crowds on longer hikes. In Iceland, you have countless possibilities of where to go hiking. One of the most popular ones include areas of:

And literally hundreds and hundreds of less known ones.

Use a ferry

Why not use a ferry? This brings another discomfort to many travellers – you have to carry all of your equipment, you have to plan well for where to leave your car etc, etc. And at the same time, these are the reasons why areas only accessible by ferry are usually the least crowded ones.

One great and most well-known example of this in Iceland is the Hornstrandir Nature reserve. It’s accessible only by ferry and it’s one of the very few places almost untouched by heavy tourism.

Sveinstindur near Langisjor

The upper part of the hike on Sveinstindur near Langisjor lake on a foggy day with slight rain

3. Come in a shoulder season

Well, well. This is an eternal trade-off. You come off-season and you will freeze to death or you will get blown by a heavy wind. You come in a peak season with the best weather and you will be rammed by crowds of tourists. Sadly, it’s not much different in Iceland. Hence, it’s all about the trade-off and you are the final decision maker, what is most important to you.

It’s still useful to understand Icelandic seasons to make an informed decision. The sweet spot seems to be somewhere between May and September. According to your taste of course.

Luckily to Covid pandemic, during our visit, there was a year-long-lasting shoulder season.

Reynisfjara beach

Reynisfjara beach at 9pm in the evening

4. Choose non-peak times

This is an easy trick which is definitely doable in summer. Why in summer? The daylight is very long in Iceland during the summer. During its peak at the end of June, it starts around 3 AM in the morning and ends around midnight.

Thus, your easy trick may be to visit the usually most crowded places either very soon, near sunrise or very late, near sunset.

Langisjór campsite

This was supposed to be Langisjór campsite according to maps. It just turned out to be a remote place with nobody being there.

5. Stay away from campsites

And bigger villages. Or pick the remote ones.

While Icelandic campsites are usually well maintained and spending nights there is typically a pleasant experience, this is where most of the tourists concentrate. Because it’s cheap. Because it’s accessible.

Option number one is to Google campsites which are either remote or not well known (for example measured by a number of Google reviews).

Option number two is to opt for private accommodation in guesthouses, hostels or hotels. These are usually small family-run places which cannot accommodate huge crowds.

epic iceland facebook group ask questions or get inspired in our community

Posted by epiciceland in Guide, Tips, 1 comment
A detailed list of F-roads

A detailed list of F-roads

I’ve compiled for you a comprehensive list of the main Icelandic F-roads. It’s based upon both personal experiences with driving the roads and extensive studying of other travellers experience.

Checklist

Read our guide on how to choose the best car rental insurance for Iceland.

Before taking an F-road, remember to ALWAYS check the following:

modrudalsleid f905 askja

Crossroads between Möðrudalsleið road and F905

Time estimate to complete F-road?

I will answer this question for all of the roads at once. Google maps are pretty much quite precise in time estimates, even when it comes to F-roads. That means if you are planning your trip, you may more or less rely on Google time estimates. There are a few caveats though.

Google maps estimate is an estimate under standard conditions. This usually assumes, for example, normal weather, crossing the rivers immediately, etc. So what are the other things you need to account for other than standard conditions?

  1. Worse weather. This means anything from heavy rain, through a huge fog, to strong wind. Incorporate these into your estimates.
  2. Proper car. You need to drive a 4×4 car on all F-roads. However, 2 different 4×4 cars may be as different as night and day.
  3. Your driving skills. I’ve seen many much slower drivers when driving in Iceland. But I’ve also seen some much quicker. I would say I’m somewhere in the middle then, and I aligned with Google times quite well.
  4. River crossings. If you don’t know the river you are crossing, or if you are just inexperienced, you should take enough time to examine the river.
  5. Tourists. Yes, in high season there may even be a traffic jam on some F-roads. This may slow you down. Or maybe you will be the cause of the traffic jam? 🙂
  6. Pauses. You’re gonna make MANY of them. To eat, to take a picture, to go use the toilet, etc. Calculate with these as well.

F26 – Sprengisandsleið

F26 is by far the longest Icelandic F-road. It’s one of the only 2 roads which connect the southern and the northern Iceland directly. First one is F35, which is much easier to drive compared to the rougher F26. The road is deserted, without any campsites, guesthouses, supermarkets, nor even gas stations along the road.

You have to drive 250 kilometres with no possibility to refuel, mostly no cell phone coverage, nor any internet network. That being said, driving F26 is a huge adventure, just better be properly prepared for it. Bring enough water, food and warm clothes, in case you needed to stop unexpectedly and wait for someone else to pass by and help you.

Check weather and road conditions thoroughly before departure and follow precautionary safety issues found e.g. here.

Is there a river crossing on F26?

Yes, there are several river crossings of various sizes. I haven’t driven F26 personally yet, so I’ll write the detailed guide once I do.

What car do I need for F26?

You have to drive at least a medium-sized 4×4 SUV like Dacia Duster. However, in the case of F26, the bigger the car, the better. You will make no mistake when opting for a super-jeep.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car here or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F26 video drive-through

 

F35 – Kjalvegur

F35 has been reclassified to just “35” in recent years, due to road improvements. Still, Google maps mark it as F35.

F35 is the second-longest Icelandic F-road. It’s one of the only 2 roads which connect the southern and the northern Iceland directly. First one is F26, which is much tougher to drive compared to the easier F35. The road F35 is long and remote, without any campsites, guesthouses, supermarkets, nor even gas stations directly along the road.

BUT. You’re gonna meet many fellow travellers along the road. We met many of them even during Covid times. The reason is, there are two main points of interest near F35 – Kerlingarfjoll and Hveravellir. Both of them provide small guesthouses/hotels and restaurants. Just tank enough fuel to complete this approx. 180km route.

Is there a river crossing on F35?

There are no river crossings on F35. That’s one of the reasons why you will meet a lot more traffic on this road compared to F26. It’s also the reason why this road is much easier to drive than F26 or many other F-roads.

f35 kjalvegur

F35, aka Kjalvegur, near Hveravellir

What car do I need for F35?

You will be fine with any 4wd car. There are many potholes and small ponds with some water, but otherwise, F35 is easy to drive. It’s just long. I would say it would be doable also by 2wd (if it was allowed).

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car here or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F66 – Kollafjarðarheiði

F66 is the only road which leads across the central Westfjords and directly connects the northern part of Westfjords with the southern part.

Is there a river crossing on F66?

Yes, there are some small river crossings (more like streams than rivers). Nothing serious though.

What car do I need for F66?

This depends on weather conditions. In normal weather, you will be fine with any 4wd car, even the small SUV. In rainy and windy weather, however, F66 may get really challenging with muddy ground and wind blowing.

With F66, the main challenge lies not in the river crossings, but in its steepness and terrain. It’s one of the most mountainous roads in Iceland.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F88 – Öskjuleið

F88 is the shortest (and possibly the quickest) road to reach Askja, but the most difficult one. It connects ring road in the north to F910. It’s not advised to drive the road for any drivers with little experience in river crossings.

Is there a river crossing on F88?

Yes, there are several river crossings and they are said to be big and treacherous. I haven’t driven F88 personally yet, so I’ll write the detailed guide once I do.

What car do I need for F88?

You will definitely need at least a medium-sized 4×4 car, but preferably a super-jeep with large ground clearance, strong engine and a snorkel. It’s also better to gain experience with river crossings on different, less challenging, F-roads and then come back to drive this one. All river crossing rules apply strictly here.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F88 video drive-through

F206 – Lakavegur

f206 lakavegur iceland

F206 Lakavegur Iceland

F206 is a rough F-road leading to Laki craters. No, you won’t find this road in its full length on Google Maps. You need to look at more local maps. 

Is there a river crossing on F206?

Yes, there are unbridged rivers along F206 and one of them is considered at least a medium-sized river crossing. There are videos over internet how tourists drown their cars in F206 (luckily without injuries) so take special care please.

What car do I need for F206?

There are medium-sized river crossings on F206, hence you need preferably at least a medium-sized 4wd car. “Can we do it in a Suzuki Jimny?”, yes you can try and you may succeed, but you may also not. Jimny is considered to be a small-sized SUV, which, when driven in the right way and in good weather may be enough. It may also not be enough if the opposite is the case.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F206 video drive-through

F207 – Lakagigavegur

f207 lakagigavegur iceland

F207 Lakagigavegur Iceland

Lakagigavegur is rough and bumpy loop road leading around Laki craters. The road is completely isolated, and you need to drive F206 to get there.

Is there a river crossing on F207?

There’s no river crossing on F207 but there are river crossings on F206 which is the only way how to reach F207. 

What car do I need for F207?

You need preferably at least a medium-sized 4wd car. Road is very bumpy, and moreover, you have to overcome a medium-sized river crossing at F206 if you want to reach F207.

F207 video drive-through

F208 – Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri – north

F208 north has been reclassified to just “208” in recent years, due to road improvements. Still, Google maps mark it as F208.

F208 is a long F-road which connects southern ring road next to Vik with the southern end of F26. I call “north” the part north of Landmannalaugar and “south” the part south of Landmannalaugar. With F208 north vs F208 south, it’s a tale of two roads, which are significantly different from each other. Long story short – F208 north is easier to drive. But, this comes with a cost. Views and landscapes around F208 south are one of the most beautiful sights you may see in Iceland.

F208 is also one of the most sought for F-roads because it leads to the most popular Icelandic highlands area – Landmannalaugar. Most of the guides would tell you to better take F208 north because it’s easier to drive. I will tell you the opposite – take F208 south, because it’s amazing. Or even better – take both the southern and the northern one and admire them. But, choose a proper car and study river crossing guidelines.

Is there a river crossing on F208 north?

There’s no river crossing on F208 north, not even small ponds.

F208 north horses

Horses or “Icelandic ponnies” blocking the F208 road Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri north of Landmannalaugar

What car do I need for F208 north?

F208 north is a gravel road with many potholes and your car will probably shake a bit while you drive on it. Nonetheless, there’s nothing else exciting about F208 north.

If it wasn’t for a requirement to drive 4×4 car on every F-road, I would tell you that F208 is doable also by a better 2wd car. That being said, any 4wd car, even a small-sized SUV, would be fine for this part of F208.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F208 video drive-through

F208 – Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri – south

F208 is a long F-road which connects southern ring road next to Vik with the southern end of F26. I call “north” the part north of Landmannalaugar and “south” the part south of Landmannalaugar. With F208 north vs F208 south, it’s a tale of two roads, which are significantly different from each other. Long story short – F208 north is easier to drive. But, this comes with a cost. Views and landscapes around F208 south are one of the most beautiful sights you may see in Iceland.

I particularly chose to drive F208 south, because I’d read that it’s a once in a lifetime experience. And I can only confirm that. On top of that, you can make a detour to Langisjor lake from this part of F208 (and you should do that). Just choose a proper car and study river crossing guidelines.

Is there a river crossing on F208 south?

Yes, there are several river crossings from small to medium-sized ones. River crossings on F208 south were among the 3 biggest river crossings we’d encountered during our Icelandic trip (we chose to do medium-sized river crossings at maximum).

River crossings on F208 south are doable, though. Even if you are not highly experienced in driving through water. At least in the summer. The deepest ones had a depth of around 40-60cm during our trip in August. If you are interested in specific details about each river crossing on F208 south, reach out for our Day 3 journey blog post.

F208 after F235 junction

Road F208, or Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri, after crossing with F235 towards Landmannalaugar

What car do I need for F208 south?

You need to have at least a medium-sized 4wd car with decent ground clearance to ford the rivers. We’ve done well with our Dacia Duster. However, I wouldn’t go for a smaller car. See our guide below for more details.

“Can we do it in a Suzuki Jimny?”, yes you can try and you may succeed, but you may also not. Jimny is considered to be a small-sized SUV, which, when driven in the right way and in good weather may be enough. It may also not be enough if the opposite is the case.

Choose your car and insurance wisely when driving F-roads with bigger river crossings. Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F208 video drive-through

F210 – Fjallabaksleið syðri

This is one of the most moon-like F-roads in Iceland. F210 spans the area between Thorsmork and Landmannalaugar from the west to the east. F210 is only minimally maintained and very remote as only very few cars decide to take the route.

One of the main reasons travellers take the route is the legendary Maelifell mountain along the road. F210 is subject to Icelandic crazy highlands weather (like a total fog or heavy rain out of the blue). Be prepared for that with sufficient equipment, driving skills and proper car.

Is there a river crossing on F210?

Yes, there are several river crossings, with many of them being small and medium ones and some of them even bigger ones subject to weather conditions. There’s even a part where you’re gonna be driving virtually IN THE RIVER along the river stream. I haven’t driven F210 personally yet, so I’ll write the detailed guide once I do. For now, advice from the local:

River by Mælifell has a rocky bottom and a small steep bank right after you cross the river from the east and the sand can be wet and there is a risk of getting stuck also people tend to hurry across the river because of the steep bank not knowing that the riverbed has quite a lot of rocks that could cause you problems…

What car do I need for F210?

For F210 you’re gonna need at least a medium-sized 4wd car, preferably a super-jeep with snorkel and good driving skills. Better practice with less difficult F-roads first and then go for F210.

And definitely choose your car wisely when driving F-roads with bigger river crossings. Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F223 – Eldgjárvegur

F223 video drive-through

F224 – Landmannalaugavegur

F224 is a short final detour to reach the main Landmannalaugar area. It’s scenic of course because you’re near Landmannalaugar, which is one of the most picturesque Icelandic places.

F224 is a very bumpy road with some epic potholes. You will also meet MANY fellow travellers at F224 because everybody wants to see Landmannalaugar 🙂

Is there a river crossing on F224?

Yes, there are 2 non-trivial, medium-sized river crossings at the end of F224, right next to the Brennisteinsalda campsite. That’s why many visitors opt for leaving their car at the parking lot just before the river crossings. This is not very convenient though, because you have to walk the distance from car to the campsite (around 10 minutes) each time you need something from your car (and this will happen often, trust me). Also, in case you have a rooftop tent, you will not want to camp that far from the campsite facilities.

We decided to cross the rivers, although these were one of the deepest ones throughout our trip. Feel free to read about our experience with crossing these rivers.

What car do I need for F224?

If you don’t want to do the final 2 river crossings, basically any small 4wd car will serve you well. Just drive slowly.

In case you want to park directly in Brennisteinsalda campsite, i.e. cross the rivers, you will need a medium-sized 4wd SUV. We’ve seen multiple travellers successfully crossing even with small 4wd car, but they were struggling a bit and didn’t look very sure about their crossing.  It’s already an adventure crossing with a medium-sized SUV so to save you some nerves, but go for a bigger car.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F224 video drive-through

F225 – Landmannaleið

F225 is a shortcut from road 26 in the west to Landmannalaugar in the east. Well, at least it’s supposed to be a shortcut 🙂 It’s 20km shorter than driving north via F26 and F208, but for someone, it may be more difficult to drive.

Is there a river crossing on F225?

Yes, there are some river crossings on F225. According to my knowledge, they should be at maximum medium-sized ones, i.e. doable also without super-jeep. That being said, a medium-sized river crossing is a non-trivial one and you have to adhere to river crossing guidelines and better have some experience with river crossings already. That’s why many travellers avoid this shortcut.

What car do I need for F225?

A medium-sized 4wd SUV should be sufficient for F225. Maybe even a small SUV, according to weather and road conditions.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F225 video drive-through

F228 – Veiðivatnaleið

F228 advice from the local

“Sandy road with two clear water rivers to cross. One of the crossings is in a curve of the river, so can be quite deep. Veiðivotn (fish lakes) is mostly visited by fishermen It is a beautiful area with lots of colorful crater lakes. A great area to do shorter hikes.”

F228 video drive-through

F233 – Álftavatnskrókur

F233 is a shortcut from F210 to the northern part of “F208 south” road. Travellers who want to see Maelifell first and then continue towards Landmannalaugar usually look at this road. Beware though! F233 has some of the hardest river crossings in Iceland. This means that either better avoid this road, or be very well prepared and gain enough experience with river crossings elsewhere first.

Is there a river crossing on F233?

Yes, there are several river crossings with some of them easily being classified as big river crossings. F233 opens every year among the last F-roads and that happens for a reason. Rivers with some powerful streams cross the road, which means it’s passable only for a limited time of a year.

What car do I need for F233?

With some luck, you may be able to pass with a medium-sized 4wd SUV. In case you don’t want to rely on luck, better go for a super-jeep option. Even with super-jeep, it’s very important to not do something stupid and strictly adhere to river crossing guidelines. Check the road conditions beforehand. Wander the river on foot.

Choose your car and insurance wisely when driving F-roads with bigger river crossings. Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F235 – Langisjór

F235 is a one-way detour from F208 south towards out-of-this-world Langisjor lake and Sveinstindur mountain. I highly recommend you to take F235 if you want to gain experience in driving Icelandic F-roads and enjoy the moon-like landscapes. It’s once in a lifetime experience.

Is there a river crossing on F235?

Yes, there are several river crossings. None of them was dangerous at the time of our journey, though. They are mostly small to medium-sized river crossings doable even if you are not highly experienced. You still have to adhere to river crossing rules of course.

If you are interested in specific details about river crossings on F235, feel free to read about them in detail here.

F235 towards Langisjór

Surreal landscapes on road F235 towards Langisjór lake

What car do I need for F235?

You should do well with any 4wd SUV. The medium-sized 4wd car would be the safest, though, as some of the rivers may gain volume when it rains a lot. More importantly, to reach F235, you will have to cross several medium-sized rivers on F208 and for that, you definitely need a medium-sized 4wd SUV.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F235 video drive-through

F249 – Þórsmerkurvegur

F249 is probably the most notoriously known for tourists getting their rental cars drowned here. Except for that, it’s a beautiful moon-like road and one of the only 2 roads that will get you to Thorsmork, which is a beautiful mountainous area.

The road is better to be avoided if you don’t have all it takes – a proper car, enough experience and perfect knowledge of river crossing rules.

Is there a river crossing on F249?

Sure, there are many river crossings on F249. They start as small ponds, soon evolve into small rivers, medium-sized rivers and end with big ones. The final river crossing (Krossá river) is probably the biggest river crossing you may encounter on marked F-roads in Iceland.

What car do I need for F249?

Without any doubts, you’re gonna need a super-jeep. And the bigger the better. Last river crossing is one of the most treacherous and challenging moments you will encounter on Icelandic roads. Even with a super-jeep, it’s not guaranteed you’re gonna pass. You have to ford a river precisely in the way it needs to be forded, to not drown your car.

Choose your car and insurance wisely when driving F-roads with bigger river crossings. Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F249 video drive-through

F261 – Emstruleið

F261 leads along the northern side of Thorsmork valley and connects it with the eastern part of F210.

Is there a river crossing on F261?

Yes, there are several river crossings. According to my research, they are supposed to be at maximum medium-sized ones. I haven’t driven F261 personally yet, so I’ll write the detailed guide once I do.

What car do I need for F261?

A medium-sized 4wd SUV should do the job. Don’t forget to consider also connecting roads (F210 should be similar but F233 is one of the most challenging F-roads in Iceland when it comes to river crossings).

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F333 – Haukadalsvegur

F333 – advice from the local

“The track starts next to Geysir thermal area. It first goes through an Icelandic wood, then through fields of lupines, and ends at the F338. There is one small river crossing, but it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Another: “F333 is an unpaved and rough road. It doesn’t have any unbridged rivers, but the section beginning from the F338 route is very bumpy, filled with potholes and big rocks on the road. After that section, the F333 becomes a forest road, which is a pretty unusual experience in Iceland due to the lack of trees. 🙂 “

F333 video drive-through

F335 – Hagavatnsvegur

F335 advice from the local

“Track that goes to the glacier lake Hagavatn. The first part is easy, with only one tiny stream to cross. Nice views at lake Sandvatn. Near the end is a small cabin from Ferðafélag Íslands. In 2015, staying there one night cost ISK 4000. Very short bunk beds, and no drinking water near the cabin. After the cabin, the track continues for another kilometer to Hagavatn. But you have to cross a glacial river, about 4m wide. At the end of the road lake, Hagavatn overflows into a river with a 30-meter (my guess) high waterfall named Leynifoss. According to a message in the cabins gestabók (guest book), it should be possible to hike from there to the nearby glacier, but I haven’t tried that.”

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F337 – Hlöðuvallavegur

F337 advice from the local

“Starting from F338, going south, you first get a decent track around mount Hlödufell. There are actually tracks on both sides of the mountain, I took the right branch. The area is flat but scattered with huge boulders which probably fell from the mountain. There is a cabin on the south side of the mountain, often used by horse groups. One km after the cabin there is an unnumbered sidetrack on your right, that goes to Thingvellir. I think its name is Eyvindarleið…

…The F337 continues in sand and lava to a mountain range. Just before reaching it, there is a sign pointing back to the north to an unnumbered track that goes around this mountain range. Close nearby the river Brúará runs in a small but pretty canyon Bruarárskörð, worth a visit. The same river later forms a few km downstream of the Brúarfoss waterfall. After the mentioned sign, the road goes steep up the mountain. The track is mostly fair, but there is one section where it crosses a dry riverbed with big round stones for a few hundred meters. At the top of the mountain, you have a great view of lake Apavatn (weather permitting, I only saw mist and rain), before descending on a steep and curvy road. There are no rivers to cross on F337.”

F338 – Skjaldbreiðarvegur

F338 advice from the local

One: “This is a Linuvegir, a track along powerlines. It runs on the slopes of the shield volcano Skjaldbreiður. Starting from the west the track first crosses a small stream. The track is mostly fine with only a few sandy stretches. But it runs in a lava field, with lots of short curves and bends. And several stretches where you drive under the powerlines. Nice views on the Thórisjökull and Langjökull glacier. A few km before the track ends near Gullfoss, there is a river crossing. I don’t know how difficult this one is (I took the turn to F333), but you cross the same river on a bridge near Geysir, and it looks doable there.”

Another:  “The river crossings on this road are very wide (3:55) and rather wide (7:00) (the only optimal place for a crossing is where the river turns wide and hopefully shallow). One needs to plan the crossing correctly because one is able to find submerged and surfaced boulders to place the car on top of, and also deep vistas within the crossing. This crossing changes every single year so any route or tracks may lead one astray and the route shown in the video is *not* to be taken for granted.”

F338 video drive-through

F347 – Kerlingafjallavegur

F347 is the only road leading directly to the picturesque Kerlingarfjoll area. It’s a detour from F35 and it’s definitely worth taking. In terms of difficulty, I would divide F347 into two parts – up to a Kerlingarfjoll mountain resort and afterwards, towards Hveradalir.

Up to the Kerlingarfjoll mountain resort, F347 is just a gravel road with potholes doable even by a 2wd car. To Hveradalir, however, it becomes more challenging. This time the challenge exceptionally doesn’t lie in river crossings (as there are no unbridged ones) but in steepness and rugged terrain of the final section.

Is there a river crossing on F347?

Contrary to wrong statements of some other guides – there is NO unbridged river crossing on F347. This means you may get to Kerlingarfjoll without fording any river.

f347 near hveradalir

F347 road next to Hveradalir hot spring area in Kerlingarfjoll

What car do I need for F347?

For the part up to Kerlingarfjoll mountain resort, any 4wd car would be sufficient. For the final part leading to Hveradalir, I recommend at least a medium-sized SUV with enough ground clearance. Dacia Duster is a minimum. We’ve done it in it and it was a bit scary.

“Can we do it in a Suzuki Jimny?”, yes you can try and you may succeed, but you may also not. Jimny is considered to be a small-sized SUV, which, when driven in the right way and in good weather may be enough. It may also not be enough if the opposite is the case.

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F508 – Skorradalsvegur

F508 advice from the local

“I’ve driven F508 Skorradalsvegur in a 4×4 truck. It’s bumpy and rocky. There is only one really steep hill to climb if one drives east (descend if one drives west). No rivers to cross that I can recall, but as mentioned – this follows the power lines like F338, not as much “under” the lines but they’re always nearby. Very little to see apart from one small waterfall next to the steep section mentioned – a second one isn’t far away but to see it one needs to hike to it. Both are pictured here and are about 12-14 meters high each (39-46 ft): https://gonguleidir.is/listing/eiriksfell-i-skorradal/ Those who visit these waterfalls tend to drive back out of Skorradalur rather than heading onwards.”

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F578 – Arnarvatnsvegur

F578 advice from the local

One: “Starting in Húsafell the first part is a bumpy ride in an old lava field. After about 6 km there are signs to two lava caves, Súrtshellir and Íshellir. The track continues bumpy and bendy, but with a good view on Langjökull and EiríksJökull, until the river Nórðingafljót. This is a clear water river but can be a major obstacle. Wide, fast streaming, and big rocks on the river bed. Not an easy crossing…

…The F578 continues as a fair track to a mountain cabin Alftakrókurskáli and onwards. After a (signposted) turn to the left the track goes along Arnarvatn stóra and to the fishing lodges at the north side. The Landscape is mostly lakes and small hills covered with stones. From Arnarvatn the road is going north as a straight black line in flat green moorland back to inhabited areas. But the “F” is then already dropped from the road number. There are quite a few unnumbered tracks in the area, and I was surprised to see how well signposted and marked they were, like this one, south of Arnarvatn.”

Another: “F578 from the south is quite rough. So rough that anglers going to the lodges generally drive the RR1 to the north and then take the F578 from there. I have twice had to help wrecked vehicles out of the river (Norðlingafljót). It’s a road I wouldn’t do except on a good truck.”

F586 – Haukadalsskarðsvegur

F586 advice from the local

“A normal track going over a hill. Steep on both sides. On the east side, you have to cross the same river two or three times, but this shouldn’t be a problem. More upstream the river runs in a nice but not too impressive canyon. Near the top of the hill, the river is dammed, creating a small reservoir. On the west side of the hill, you only have to cross one small river. There’s is an impressive rock face near the end of F586. The biggest attraction of Haukadalur is Eiriksstaðir, a replica of a Viking house, where a guy in a Viking costume will show you around.”

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F586 video drive-through

 

F649 – Ófeigsfjarðarvegur

f649 Ofeigsfjardarvegur Iceland

F649 Ófeigsfjarðarvegur Iceland

F649 advice from the local

“649 starts from Strandavegur (643) and goes over a mountain towards a fjord named Ingólfsfjörður. After descending the mountain, the road passes through Eyri, a small village that has a huge deserted herring factory and some houses used as summer homes. It’s after the factory when 649 becomes into F649 and the road conditions get much more rougher and bumpier. Driving along the coastline we passed through a farm and eventually arrived next to Húsá river. It’s worth mentioning that it is possible to ford Húsá river and carry on for a few more km and end up at Hvalárfoss waterfall, which marks the end of F649. But since we had problems with our car’s 4WD system, I decided not to risk it this time with the river crossing. So, we just turned around and drove all the way back to Strandavegur.

I’d say F649 is a very special road, since it’s so isolated and far away from everything. As mentioned earlier, it creates a feeling that you are driving towards some kind of an end. And in a way you also experience a sense of ending when you pass the abandoned factory, that has been like that since 1952. That being said, there was actually surprisingly much traffic on that day. :)”

F649 video drive-through

F735 – Þjófadalavegur

F735 advice from the local

“This is the road to Hveravellir, which is a must-go when you travel the Kjölur route. The track continues to the cabin at þjófadalir. I did this track but returned halfway because the scenery was not interesting enough. There is a track going up the mountain on the right (Oddnýjarhnúkur) which may give a good view of the Langjökull glacier which is behind it. No streams to cross on this track.”

F752 – Skagafjarðarleið

F752 advice from the local

“One of the three roads from the north to the Sprengisandur. And IMO the second most interesting after the F881 (from Akureyri) but before the F26. It has one major obstacle, near Laugafell you have to cross a big glacial river, the Hnjúkskvísl. There are also several freshwater rivers to cross, but these should be minor problems. Not many highlights on this road. Of course, Laugafell has an excellent thermal pool. The east part of F752 is rather desolate but with sometimes a good view of the Hofsjökull glacier. After a steep descent with sharp curves, you are in a green river valley between mountains, where it continues as road 752.”

Another: “As usual, it’s a lonely unpaved road, offering beautiful views and lunar landscapes. It also has some streams and two pretty wide unbridged rivers, that need fording. They weren’t too deep when were crossing them, but they can be depending on the weather conditions.”

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F752 video drive-through

F821 – Eyjafjarðarleið

F821 is another spectacular Icelandic F-road located in north of Iceland. It starts from Hólsgerði farm and heads south until it reaches Laugafell mountain hut. It’s a pretty rough going, having big potholes and rocks on the road.

F821 advice from the local

“It doesn’t have any huge unbridged rivers, just a couple of streams. F821 runs through a valley and then climbs from sea level up to 926 meters (3037 ft). The twisty and narrow section climbing up was very exciting and memorable. The trail ends with Laugafell mountain hut, that has a natural geothermal hot spring.

We took this road on the 5th of September 2020 and a day before that there had been an unexpected spontaneous snow storm in that area, specially more in the center part of Iceland. Luckily, the following day was clear and warm and the sun had been melting a lot of snow by the time we got there. That’s the reason why the trail was quite wet in the beginning and after the elevation there was quite a bit of snow still on the road. A good example of how Icelandic weather can be unpredictable and change the conditions very quickly.”

F821 video drive-through

F839 – Leirdalsheiðarvegur

F839 advice from the local

“Only did the first part of this road, which is a steep climb to some summer houses. Several freshwater streams to cross, but the biggest one is bridged. I stopped at a viewpoint where you had a distant view on the sea.”

Another: “F839 is interesting… It often doesn’t open until late July or early August. It’s only about a 45-minute drive to the sea where you have an exceptional view and a legal but extremely primitive camping site. Great fishing at the mouth of the lake for a reasonable fee (ISK 6000). This road can be done in any reasonable SUV with +20cm clearance loaded.”

Another: “F839 is a bit shorter than F899, being 27 km (16,7 miles) long (while as the F899 is 34 km / 21 miles long). It has a few unbridged rivers (or streams) that need crossing, but for me the highlight of F839 is in the middle where there is a steep decent following a tight bridge and then ascent back up. Maybe it’s also worth mentioning that near the end of the road we encountered some trail damage, driving through that small section needed more caution. We did this trail in the end of September, so we were rewarded with beautiful autumn coloured scenery. “

F839 video drive-through

F881 – Dragaleið

F881 is a road in Icelandic Highlands connecting F26 and F821, located in the very heart of Iceland. It’s 18 km / 11 miles long and driving it offers a true sense of wilderness. At times it almost really feels as if you are on another planet.

F881 video drive-through

F894 – Öskjuvatnsvegur

F894 is a climax of all moon-like roads leading to the amazing Askja area. It is the final section (after F905 and F910) which ends closest to the famous Viti crater. F894 is a very rough unpaved road that will shake the hell out of you but otherwise isn’t dangerous at all.

Some travelers decide to leave their car at Dreki huts and hike towards Askja afterward. Feel free to read about the details here. If you are interested in how we’ve done it, we wrote a blog about it here.

Is there a river crossing on F894?

There is no river crossing on F894. There are 2 medium-sized ones on F910 preceding it, though, and several bigger ones also on the alternative route of F88.

vikraborgir parking askja

Vikraborgir car park, the closest point available on your route towards Askja/Víti crater

What car do I need for F894?

You need an SUV with sufficient ground clearance because the road is very bumpy with many big boulders being part of the terrain. By sufficient I mean at least that of a medium-sized SUV like Dacia Duster. Alternatively, you may just drive very slowly to take care and not to damage the undercarriage of your car.

Don’t forget to consider connecting roads. There are 2 medium-sized river crossings on F910 and even bigger river crossings on F88. Plan for that carefully.

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F894 video drive-through

F899 – Flateyjardalsvegur

F899 advice from the local

“You would say this track would be comaparable with F839. But there is no steep climb in the beginning, and no summer houses, and it looked more deserted. But like F839 it is a rivervalley between beautiful mountains. Along the track where several signs pointing to deserted or disappeared farms. Halfway the track is a mountain cabin, and near the end another was under construction. Near the beach there was a toilet house. There are numerous rivers to cross, but I don’t remember any that would be a problem with a decent SUV.”

Another: “F899 isn’t as rugged as some other F-roads, however it still has numerous streams and unbridged rivers that need to be crossed, even though none of the rivers were super deep when we did this trip. The nature was very beautiful and green, offering stunning views. At the end of a trail there is a sandy beach section that might be problematic for some vehicles. A small island, called Flatey, is also seen from the end of the trail. There is also a campsite (just before the sandy part) that has a flush toilet and running fresh water.”

F899 video drive-through

F902 – Kverkfjallaleið

F902 advice from the local

“Did this with a tour group, and only remember that the track was quite sandy. Kverkfjöll is an impressive hot spring area on top of the glacier. But very difficult to reach, because it requires a few hundered meters steep climbing on the glacier. A hike from the cabin at the foot of the glacier to the spring area and back will take a full day. There are guided tours that start at the cabin.”

F902 video drive-through

F903 – Hvannalindavegur

f903 Hvannalindavegur Iceland

F903 Hvannalindavegur Iceland

No, you won’t find this road in its full length on Google Maps. You need to look at more local maps. 

F903 advice from the local

“Compared to some other Icelandic Highland roads, F903 is pretty sandy. I personally loved the rocky section of the trail, that is just before first river crossing. F903 has two unbridged river crossings, both are over Lindaá river. In the middle of the trail after the second river crossing is a small oasis, called Hvannalindir.”

F903 video drive-through

F905 – Arnardalsleið

F905 is the first in the series of F-roads leading to amazing Askja area. F905 is also the easier out of 2 possible options on how to reach Askja by driving (the tougher one is F88). F905 stretches through the most beautiful and out-of-this-world Icelandic landscapes and I more than just recommend you taking it. It’s once in a lifetime experience.

Gravel, clay, rocks, sand, sulphur – anything you can imagine, all of this surrounded by unforgettable views of the volcanic hills around. This is F905.

Feel free to read in details here about our experience with driving on the moon-like F-roads leading to Askja.

Is there a river crossing on F905?

There are no major river crossings on F905, only ponds and small rivers. There are 2 significant medium-sized river crossings on the following F910, though. Follow the river crossing principles to succeed.

F905 Askja Iceland

F905 coming from Möðrudalsleið, towards Askja

What car do I need for F905?

Specifically for F905, you would be fine with any 4wd car. BUT, don’t forget about the connecting roads, especially F910. As I mentioned, it contains medium-sized river crossings which require you to drive at least a medium-sized SUV to be more sure to cross.

F905 is a versatile F-road with all kinds of terrain you can imagine. It’s also bumpy and possesses many potholes so take care when driving it.

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F905 video drive-through

F907

F907 has been reclassified to just “907” in recent years, due to road improvements. Still, Google maps mark it as F907.

F907 connects Modrudalsleid in the north with Austurleid and Jokuldalsvegur in the south. We used F907 to traverse from Askja towards Studlagil canyon.

Is there a river crossing on F907?

We drove only a short section of F907 from the crossroads with Austurleid in the west to Jokuldalsvegur in the south. This section had only some small ponds to cross. I’ll write a detailed guide once I drive the entire F907.

What car do I need for F907?

For the short section we drove, any 4wd car would be sufficient. Bear in mind though, you’re gonna be probably continuing on the more difficult roads like F910 where medium-sized river crossings are present. For those, you need a medium-sized SUV.

F909 – Snæfellsleið

F909 advice from the local

“Coming from the north you first get three smaller glacial rivers. Before you get to the mountain cabin, there is another, much wider one. The road itself was easy to ride, at least on my bike. From the cabin, I did a day hike following the valley west and later south of mount Snæfell, and was rewarded with a great view on the valley east of the mountain. Another popular hike is to go to the top of Snæfell. You can ask the warden at the cabin for directions. After the cabin, the road continues as a bumpy track to the Brúarjökull glacier. At that point, the glacier is not very steep, and you can easily set some foot on it.”

F909 video drive-through

F910 – Austurleið

F910 is the road you cannot avoid when visiting Askja. F910 connects both F905 and F88 with the main Askja area. It’s a breath-taking F-road with magnificent landscapes along the road. Driving on F910 is an integral part of entire Askja adventure.

Be prepared for your Askja venture responsibly, though. It’s neither an easy drive nor the short one. Bring enough food and water, tank enough fuel and plan your journey in advance. Study guidelines for driving F-roads and crossing rivers carefully.

F910 askja

F910 towards Askja

Is there a river crossing on F910?

Yes, there are 2 major medium-sized river crossings on F910. They are manageable, just check weather and road conditions thoroughly before departure and follow precautionary safety guidelines found e.g. here.

We’ve also put together a detailed guide on how to succeed with river crossings on your own.

If you are interested in specific details about river crossings to be found on F910, we wrote about them in detail here.

What car do I need for F910?

There are medium-sized river crossings on F910, hence you need preferably at least a medium-sized 4wd car. “Can we do it in a Suzuki Jimny?”, yes you can try and you may succeed, but you may also not. Jimny is considered to be a small-sized SUV, which, when driven in the right way and in good weather may be enough. It may also not be enough if the opposite is the case.

If you want to be sure, better opt for a larger car. Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F910 video drive-through

F923 – Jökuldalsvegur

f923 Jokuldalsvegur iceland

F923 Jokuldalsvegur Iceland

No, you won’t find this road in its full length on Google Maps. You need to look at more local maps. 

F923 advice from the local

“It turns into an F-road after the last farm and straight away there is quite a wide unbridged river that needs to be forded in order to carry on. There is a second river crossing also, but that once is located a little bit before the end of the road. Eventually, F923 ends with merging into road 910. We did this trip at the end of September and some parts of the road were already covered by quite a bit of snow.”

F923 video drive-through

F985 – Jökulvegur

F985 advice from the local

“We just went up F985 a couple of weeks ago on a super jeep tour. The road takes you all the way up to the station for snowmobile tours on Vatnajökull, where it ends. I saw smaller vehicles driving on the road than what you mentioned you’ll have, so it would appear that you can drive it under ‘normal’ conditions in summer, but be advised that it is narrow and windy and there is always the possibility of a HUGE truck coming around the corner at you. I’d suggest contacting the local guide in the area that we used (Ice Explorers), they can give you further details.

The views are amazing on this road, especially as you get further up. Our super jeep guide kept going even when the road didn’t, bringing us through the snow and up onto the glacier for views across the top of Iceland. Highly recommend them if you’d like to do it right.”

F985 video drive-through

558 – Berserkjahraunsvegur

558 advice from the local

“Berserkjahraun is located on the Snæfellsnes peninsula in Western Iceland. It’s a 4000-year old lava field and twisty unpaved road going through it is called Berserkjahraunsvegur (558). It’s only 10.6 kilometers (6,5 miles) long, but offers breathtakingly beautiful views and landscape. 558 is doable with a passenger car, even though there are some bumpy sections. “

558 video drive-through

612 – Örlygshafnarvegur

Road 612 is the scenic road which leads to the westernmost part of entire Iceland – Látrabjarg cliffs. Road 612 is one of the most interesting roads around Iceland, find out why here, where we write about Latrabjarg.

Is there a river crossing on road 612?

Since road 612 is officially not an F-road, it also doesn’t contain any river crossings. Other challenges are present, though.

breidavik beach

Breiðavík beach next to the road 612

What car do I need for road 612?

Officially, 612 is accessible by any 2wd car. I do recommend a 4wd though, at least a smaller one. The road eventually gets rough and you may damage the undercarriage of your car if its ground clearance isn’t big enough.

Read about our detailed experience with 612 here and here.

The last part of Örlygshafnarvegur is a rough, narrow gravel road with many potholes, leading across the mountainous area and sometimes even next to the coastal edge simultaneously. It’s definitely doable by any 4wd (not sure how it looks in rough weather, though). We also met several 2wd cars, but they were struggling at least. Sure, in good weather you can make the last part even with 2wd, it will just take you much longer than in 4wd and you will be probably blocking many 4wds waiting behind you.

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

643 – Strandavegur

Road 643 or Strandavegur is the only road leading to legendary Krossneslaug hot spring. It is the terminal road of the area.

643 is a very scenic coastal drive and not an easy one. I highly recommend taking it, though because it’s a great experience. Feel free to read about our detailed experience with 643 here and in our journey diary.

Is there a river crossing on road 643?

Since road 643 is officially not an F-road, it also doesn’t contain any river crossings. Other challenges are present, though.

road 643 near Arneshreppur

Overview of Strandavegur, a.k.a. road 643

What car do I need for road 643?

Road 643 heading towards Krossneslaug is definitely doable by any SUV in summer and definitely was doable by our Dacia Duster. Officially, you’re allowed to drive the road even with a normal 2wd car. However, this is one of the very few “normal” roads in Iceland, where I don’t recommend using a 2wd car. There are just too many potholes for it. Yes, you can do it also with 2wd, but take a lot of additional time. We’ve done it in about 2 hours (one way) and I would say with 2wd it’s additional 1-2 hours.

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

832 – Vaðlaheiðarvegur

832 advice from the local

“Vaðlaheiðarvegur is an old mountain pass over Vaðlaheiði mountain in North Iceland. There are three ways to get from Akureyri to North-East Iceland. The first one is a paid tunnel on the ring road, the second one is a combination of roads 84 and 83 and the third one is road 832.

Road 832 goes on top of the tunnel. It’s quite a fun alternative to the other options and shouldn’t be a problem to get through during summer months. If you are afraid of mountain driving, don’t recommend it, though 🙂 It even has a small unbridged stream.”

832 video drive-through

939 – Öxi

oxi 939 map

Road 939 is a shortcut from Djupivogur towards Egilsstaðir and it’s passable only in summer.

Öxi is a quite steep mountain road with lots of turns, potholes and beautiful scenery alongside it. Feel free to read about our detailed experience with 939 here and in our journey diary.

Is there a river crossing on road 939?

Since road 939 is officially not an F-road, it also doesn’t contain any river crossings. Other challenges are present, though.

Oxi pass

Source: https://www.dangerousroads.org/europe/iceland/6361-%C3%B6xi-pass.html

What car do I need for road 939?

In summer, road 939 is accessible by any 2wd car. For the more comforting feeling, I would drive it with at least a small 4wd SUV, though. The road is mountainous, steep and the weather may get ugly around the area.

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Möðrudalsleið

Modrudalsleid is a rough, semi-paved road which serves as a gate towards F-roads to Askja – F905 and F907.

We found out the more the name of the road resembles some killing machine the rougher the actual road is, but that’s just what we’d observed. Möðrudalsleið is a quite good gravel road (compared to many other F-roads) so it’s possible to drive really fast.

Is there a river crossing on Möðrudalsleið?

Since Möðrudalsleið is officially not an F-road, it also doesn’t contain any river crossings. Other challenges are present, though.

modrudalsleid

Möðrudalsleið road, the first gravel road you’re gonna encounter when coming from Egilsstaðir direction

What car do I need for Möðrudalsleið?

You may drive Modrudalsleid with basically any car. There are only small potholes, so even a 2wd car would be suitable. You will just have to drive slower because gravel may damage your car more easily if it has a very low ground clearance.

If you are planning to continue towards Askja, you will need a medium-sized 4wd car, though. Read more about that in the section where I write about F905 and F910.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Austurleið next to Þríhyrningsvatn

Austurleid is also the name of an entire F910 road. Here, however, I talk about the 20km long section between roads F905 and F907. We used Austurleid to traverse from Askja towards Studlagil canyon.

Is there a river crossing on Austurleið?

Austurleið by the lake Þríhyrningsvatn didn’t contain any serious river crossings, just small rivers and small ponds of depth 20-30cm at max.

What car do I need for Austurleið?

Austurleid is a secluded F-road with all of the characteristics of any other general F-road – not well paved, not well maintained, potholes, gravel, but no serious river crossings. This makes Austurleid easy to pass.

Basically, any 4wd is sufficient for Austurleid. Just consider the connecting roads. If you are e.g. planning to visit Askja before or after, you will need at least a medium-sized SUV.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Jökuldalsvegur

Jokuldalsvegur connects road 923 with F907 and stretches along the entire length of Studlagil canyon. It’s a semi-paved non-F-road, so you may basically treat it as a normal, but old road of worse quality.

Is there a river crossing on Jökuldalsvegur?

Since Jokuldalsvegur is not an F-road, it also doesn’t contain any river crossings. Other challenges are present, though.

What car do I need for Jökuldalsvegur?

If you aim only for Jokuldalsvegur (e.g. you want to visit Studlagil canyon), any car would be fine. Jokuldalsvegur is a bit rough compared to normal roads, but definitely doable also with a 2wd car.

If you, however, aim to combine your trip with visiting Askja, go for at least a medium-sized 4wd car.

Feel also free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Other roads

Haven’t found the road you were looking for in here? Try this website or this website. I personally found some of the information at the mentioned sites a bit misleading – some roads are marked as “really dangerous roads” and when I was driving them they seemed to me fine and not that dangerous and vice versa.

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Posted by epiciceland in Guide, Roads, Top Places, 0 comments
How to cross rivers – 2021 guide

How to cross rivers – 2021 guide

River crossings are the main challenge of Icelandic F-roads. If it wasn’t for them, 95% of F-roads would be easy to pass. However, they do exist and create a significant obstacle. Improper river crossing may cause huge and expensive damages to your car. In extreme situations, even your life may be at stakes. That being said – prepare thoroughly for your river crossings!

With river crossings, it all comes to HOW, WHERE and WITH WHAT.

By HOW I mean general rules for a safe river fording. It’s essential to adhere to them, no matter how big your car is.

By WHERE I mean where are you crossing. What is the type of river? How big is it? What is the season? How much did it rain recently?

By WITH WHAT I mean the type of vehicle you are operating. Generally said, the bigger the better – but it’s more complicated.

How to safely cross Icelandic rivers? (HOW)

  1. Make a plan. Do you have a proper car? What types of rivers are in your way? Are you equipped sufficiently? Think before.
  2. Check the road conditions. If they say impassable, don’t even try. If they say passable, read further.
  3. Examine the river.
    • So you arrived at the river. If you can see with your eyes that it’s a small river or even just a pond, you may usually proceed with passing. What’s a small river? Read below in “WHERE“.
    • If you can’t assess the depth with your eyes, find out physically. Go into the river. How are you supposed to do that in ice-cold water? Get inspired by how we’ve done it.
    • Alternatively, wait for someone else (ideally with a similar car) to pass.
  4. Compare the river to your car. The essential thing is, whether your air intake is high enough above water level. But that’s not the only thing. See below in “WITH WHAT“.
  5. Stay inside yellow markers. Those mark the area allowed for crossing (and usually also shallowest). They are situated on the borders of a passable area.
  6. Go for the shallowest part.
    • If it’s a medium-sized or even a bigger river, it’s really important to cross it through the shallowest part. This is usually NOT the exact middle of the river crossing, but rather its sides.
    • This is usually NOT where the river is calm – that’s typically the deep part. Better find a part where you can see the stream of river running into pebbles and cross on that pebbles.
  7. Turn 4×4 mode on.
  8. Drive slowly.
    • First, max second gear, around 10kph to create a little “wave” around your car. Ride that wave.
    • If you drive too quickly, water will splash into your engine and your car may be dead. See below in “WITH WHAT“.
  9. Don’t stop. Don’t switch gears. If you do, you may not get the car going again. Don’t get scared by your car shaking inside the river, just go steady.
  10. Down the stream. If it’s possible, go with the stream, not against it. This will lower chances the water will get into your engine.

Don’t want to fear about paying for your drowned car? Use Lotus! Now with our 5% discount

What types of river crossings are in Iceland? (WHERE)

The basic categorisation can be made according to the depth of the river crossing. 

  1. PONDS
    • Up to 20cm / 8inch.
    • If the depth of a river crossing is this shallow, you don’t have to bother much about crossing at all. It’s doable with any car, even with a 2wd one. 
  2. SMALL
    • 20 to 40cm / 8-16inch.
    • Here some ground clearance of your car starts to make sense. I consider 40cm to be still a small river but it’s already a non-trivial crossing. If you do it wrong, you may end up like this.
  3. MEDIUM
    • 40 to 70cm / 16 to 28inch.
    • This is already some decent river crossing. You will probably not get drowned but you may waste your car easily.
    • It’s still a manageable crossing though, even for beginners! You just have to adhere to river crossing rules strictly and drive a proper car.
    • Examples: F208 south, F235, F224, F910 
  4. BIG
    • More than 70cm / 28inch.
    • I would avoid these at all costs if I was a river crossing beginner. Not only may you waste your car, but you could also get yourself seriously injured, if not killed.
    • You need to have a combination of a) proper car, b) adhering to river crossing rules and c) experience
    • Examples: F233, F249, sometimes F26, F88, F210 

The depth of the river is the single most important factor when it comes to a river crossing. There are of course several other aspects influencing your fording:

  • Has it rained heavily for a few days? Add some centimetres on top of your expected river depth.
  • Is it just early summer? Glacial rivers will have substantially more water compared to the late summer.
  • What is the riverbed like? Is it stony or muddy? If it’s muddy, it will be harder for you to ford.

What car do I need to cross rivers? (WITH WHAT)

Ok now you know HOW to cross and WHERE will you be crossing. It’s time to get to WITH WHAT. A right car is essential. But how are you supposed to know what car is the right one? Of course, we are talking only about 4wd/4×4 now:

  1. The bigger the ground clearance (and wheels), the better. Because of several reasons. Firstly, your air intake will be higher (see below). Secondly, the chances you will get stuck in a river are lower. Thirdly, the chances, you will damage your undercarriage are lower. 
  2. The higher the air intake, the better. Study this one carefully. The main risk with river crossings is flooding your engine with water (then the engine usually becomes dead). This happens once the water reaches an air intake of your car. The water level should be AT LEAST 10cm/4inch below your air intake!
  3. The stronger engine, the better. Inside rivers, some additional horsepower may only help. BUT – use your horsepower on lowest/2nd lowest gear only when crossing the rivers! 
  4. Snorkel is a plus. If your car has a snorkel installed, it basically deals with point number 2. It adds considerable height to your air intake. It’s not everything, though. You may have a snorkel, but with the too-low ground clearance, you could still get stuck in a bigger river. 

Read our car choosing guide.

When there are only PONDS in your way, you may basically choose any car.

When there are SMALL RIVERS in your way, ideally choose any SUV or 4wd car.

When there are already MEDIUM RIVERS in your way, choose your car wisely and better opt for at least a medium-sized SUV.

When there are BIG RIVERS in your way, either avoid them at all or if you really want to, then choose the super-jeep.

We also offer you FREE discount codes for several Icelandic car rental companies.

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Posted by epiciceland in Guide, Tips, 0 comments
Best Icelandic Roads

Best Icelandic Roads

The ultimate guide to the most spectacular Icelandic roads. How to prepare for the roads, choose the proper car, our experience and many tips.

9. BILDUDALSVEGUR 63 TO PATREKSFJORDUR

crossroads bildudalsvegur vestfjardavegur

Crossroads of the roads 60 and 63 or Bíldudalsvegur and Vestfjarðavegur

Summary

Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes, probably 
Interesting index: 2 – great (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Bildudalsvegur is located in the western part of Westfjords. It’s one of the most scenic roads in Westfjords.

How to drive road 63, Bildudalsvegur

In summer, road 63 is accessible by any 2wd car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Road 63 consists of a combination of normal paved roads and semi-paved gravel roads with some potholes. And of a combination of mountain roads and coastal fjord roads. That means – absolutely OK with any 4wd and also fine with 2wd, you will just need to drive carefully and more slowly compared to Google Maps’ estimates.

road 63 bildudalsvegur

Road 63 Bíldudalsvegur

Our experience with road 63

We were coming from the Dynjandi waterfall direction (road 60) and used the road to get to our final destination for that day – Látrabjarg cliffs

We didn’t have any problems driving the road with our Dacia Duster and made a quick stop at Reykjafjarðarlaug hot spring

Tips about Bildudalsvegur

General advice as for any other semi-paved Icelandic road applies – beware big potholes, beware sheep on the road, drive really carefully if it rains heavily or snows, beware blind corners on the roads and don’t stop in the middle of the road. 

8. F347 TO KERLINGARFJOLL

f347 near kerlingarfjoll mountain resort

F347 near Kerlingarfjöll mountain resort

Summary

Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes (not pleasant but should be ok to drive) 
Interesting index: 2 – great (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

F347 is the only road leading to magnificent Kerlingarfjoll area. The road itself and the surrounding landscapes are picturesque as well. 

How to drive F347

I do recommend a medium-sized 4wd car to drive F347.

The toughest part of the drive to Kerlingarfjoll is the last ascent of F347 towards the main area of Hveradalir. It’s quite steep and we’d seen several cars turning back, being afraid of making the ascent with their car. If you are interested in details, read our guide on Kerlingarfjoll. To sum up, you definitely need a medium-sized SUV to reach Hveradalir (or some big guts).

Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

f347 near hveradalir

F347 road next to Hveradalir hot spring area in Kerlingarfjoll

Our experience with F347

F347 doesn’t have any river crossings and is mostly pretty similar to F35. The closer you approach Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort, the more the road starts getting more mountainous and more interesting.

Once you reach the mountain resort, the entire scenery gets really picturesque. We decided to continue as close as possible to the epicentre of the area – Hveradalir – by car. That meant, to continue driving the steepest part of F347 to the end of the road, or, Hveradalir area.

f347 near kerlingarfjoll

F347 near Kerlingarfjöll mountain resort

Tips about F347

The final part of the F347 road is the most challenging one and probably the steepest we drove on in Iceland. Again, there are no river crossings, just the road is really bumpy and towards the end quite steep. However, in good weather (read – no snow, no heavy rain) it’s definitely doable by any medium-sized SUV and better, like our Dacia Duster. If you feel unsafe, go slowly, turn 4×4 on or watch someone else go first in front of you.

7. VESTFJARDAVEGUR 60 TO DYNJANDI

Vestfjarðavegur near Dynjandi

Road 60, or Vestfjarðavegur in Westfjords near Dynjandi waterfall on a sunny day

Summary

Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes, probably 
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Vestfjardavegur is located in the western part of Westfjords. It’s one of the most scenic roads in Westfjords.

How to drive road 60, Vestfjardavegur

In summer, road 60 is accessible by any 2wd car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

It’s a kind of semi-paved road with occasional potholes, so definitely not the best, but not an F-road as well. It’s doable by 2wd, you’ll just have to drive carefully and more slowly than Google times suggest.

road 60 between thingeyri and flokalundur

Road 60 (Vestfjarðavegur) between Þingeyri and Flókalundur

Our experience with road 60

We were coming from the Thyngeiri direction and used the road to get to Dynjandi waterfall and then towards our westernmost destination – Látrabjarg cliffs

Road 60 is a beautiful fjord road. It firstly crosses the mountainous landscapes and then leads along the coastline. Views along the road are amazing and unique, though. The road is definitely worth taking.

Dynjandi Vestfjarðavegur road 60

Road 60, or Vestfjarðavegur in Westfjords towards Dynjandi waterfall

Tips about Vestfjardavegur

General advice as for any other semi-paved Icelandic road applies – beware big potholes, beware sheep on the road, drive really carefully if it rains heavily or snows, beware blind corners on the roads and don’t stop in the middle of the road. 

6. ORLYGSHAFNARVEGUR 612 TO LATRABJARG

breidavik beach

Breiðavík beach next to the road 612

Summary

Worth visiting even with bad weather: no, probably 
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

How to drive road 612, Örlygshafnarvegur

Officially, 612 is accessible by any 2wd car. I do recommend a 4wd though, at least a smaller one. The road eventually gets rough and you may damage the undercarriage of your car if its ground clearance isn’t big enough. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

The last part of Örlygshafnarvegur is a rough, narrow gravel road with many potholes, leading across the mountainous area and sometimes even next to the coastal edge simultaneously. It’s definitely doable by any 4wd (not sure how it looks in rough weather, though). We also met several 2wd cars, but they were struggling at least. Sure, in good weather you can make the last part even with 2wd, it will just take you much longer than in 4wd and you will be probably blocking many 4wds waiting behind you.

Our experience with road 612

The “rough part” of 612 is not very long, so if you are patient enough, feel free to take it even in 2wd. Views along the road are breath-taking. You will pass a shipwreck, a plane wreck, a car scrap yard, some small settlements and, most importantly, the picturesque Breiðavík beach. Is Orlygshafnarvegur dangerous? No, just don’t look down too much when driving near the edge of the mountain 🙂

Tips about Orlygshafnarvegur

We had already realized that the more difficult the name of the road in Iceland is to pronounce, the shittier the actual road will be. Orlygshafnarvegur was in line with this newly found rule of ours. Road 612 starts neatly but gets rougher and rougher with each additional kilometre.

5. OXI 939 TO EGILSSTADIR

Oxi road 939

Icelandic crazy Oxi road 939

Summary

Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes, probably 
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Oxi was the most surprising road we had driven. Öxi is a shortcut in the southeastern part of Iceland from Djupivogur towards Egilsstadir. 

How to drive road 939, Oxi

In summer, Oxi is accessible by any 2wd car. For the more comforting feeling, I would drive it with at least a small 4wd SUV, though. The road is mountainous, steep and the weather may get ugly around the area.

Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Our experience with road 939

We turned to 939, or the so-called “Öxi road”, not knowing at that time why the road has a name. Many other roads in Iceland don’t have any name. Well, we shortly found out why. Öxi road looked like a former F-road, or at least something very similar to the F-road. It was a gravel road with a lot of potholes and right after turning to it, it started to be quite steep.

Oxi pass

Source: https://www.dangerousroads.org/europe/iceland/6361-%C3%B6xi-pass.html

This was the time when we finally realized why this road has a name. Öxi was a quite steep mountain road with lots of turns, potholes and beautiful scenery alongside it. I’d never read about it beforehand, but whatever, that’s Iceland, right? Our weather wasn’t ideal at all, with fog getting heavier and rain starting to pour persistently. Hence, the entire Öxi experience had become quite scary at some point, with my girlfriend starting to have a facial expression as if she were in a horror movie. The entire drive took some fair 45 minutes in these weather conditions. 

Tips about Oxi

Soon after driving on Öxi (from the south), we reached a small car park where we saw several people taking pictures. This spot wasn’t marked on the Google maps, nor had I read anything about it. Nevertheless, we parked our car, got out of it and realized why do so many people take pictures.

An amazingly picturesque valley full of waterfalls, fairytale-like green moss and cliffs emerged in front of us. Out of this world experience once again. One of the most beautiful photo spots of our entire trip. It was probably possible even to come closer to the waterfall valley by walking, but we remained satisfied with the look we just saw and continued through Öxi further.

4. STRANDAVEGUR 643 TO KROSSNESLAUG

road 643 near Arneshreppur

Overview of Strandavegur, a.k.a. road 643

Summary

Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes, hopefully 
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Road 643 or Strandavegur is the only road leading to legendary Krossneslaug hot spring. It is the terminal road of the area.

How to drive road 643, Strandavegur

Road 643 heading towards Krossneslaug is definitely doable by any SUV in summer and definitely was doable by our Dacia Duster. Officially, you’re allowed to drive the road even with a normal 2wd car. However, road 643 is of the very few “normal” roads in Iceland, where I don’t recommend using a 2wd car. There are just too many potholes for it. Yes, you can do it also with 2wd, but take a lot of additional time. We’ve done it in about 2 hours (one way) and I would say with 2wd it’s additional 1-2 hours.

Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

road 643 westfjords

Semi-paved road 643 with many potholes

Our experience with road 643

Road 643 belongs to one of the most breath-taking coastal roads I’ve ever driven. So, it’s definitely worth taking. There are numerous spots where you just have an urge to stop, soak up the atmosphere and take photos to remember it. It’s also almost deserted, we met a single-digit number of cars during our drive.

iceland 643 Strandavegur

Beautiful views along Strandavegur, road 643

Strandavegur could easily be classified as an Icelandic F-road. It doesn’t contain any river crossings but it contains almost everything else an F-road may contain. Potholes, gravel, narrow passages, steep parts, driving on the edge of the cliffs, … When I had googled about the road, one review stated that it’s the most dangerous road the guy had ever driven. Well, I don’t agree with that, it’s not necessarily dangerous, but it may be a bit scary at some parts.

seals on 643

Surprise! Our first seals spotted on 643

Tips about Strandavegur

One of the highlights of the road was a moment when my girlfriend spotted a seal sunbathing on the rock in the sea. We stopped the soonest we could, got out of the car and observed a seal family enjoying their day under sunbeams. It was a once in a lifetime experience to spot wild seals out of the blue.

3. F905, F910 AND F894 TO ASKJA

F905 Askja Iceland

F905 coming from Möðrudalsleið, towards Askja

Summary

Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes (not pleasant but worth the experience) 
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

The roads leading to Askja are one of the most out-of-this-world roads, and so are the landscapes surrounding them.

How to drive F905, F910 and F894

Choose your car wisely to get to Askja. There are 2 major medium-sized river crossings along these roads. You’re gonna need at least a small to medium-sized 4wd car to drive them, preferably a medium-sized 4wd. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

We’ve covered all of the river crossings in detail in this post about Askja.

F910 askja

F910 towards Askja

Our experience with F905, F910 and F894

Once we turned to F905, a real adventure began. By “a real adventure” I don’t mean anything dangerous (at least with our dream weather it definitely wasn’t), just endless out of this world landscapes as if you were on another planet. F905 and the ones following were the most beautiful roads we drove and are definitely highlights of our entire Icelandic trip.

Different types of surface alternate between each other, each one the more beautiful than the one before. Gravel, clay, rocks, sand, sulphur – anything you can imagine, all of this surrounded by unforgettable views of the volcanic hills around. I don’t remember any river on F905 (maybe only some small ponds, which shouldn’t cause you any trouble at all).

modrudalsleid

Möðrudalsleið road, the first gravel road you’re gonna encounter when coming from Egilsstaðir direction

After spending some time on F905, the road turns into F910, which is very similar in its character to F905, just, once again a bit different. There are a few parts of the road where you’re going to drive literally on huge volcanic rocks and you have to drive really carefully not to damage your car – this is where a good 4×4 with high ground clearance happens to be useful. The most important part of an Icelandic F-road which you should pay attention to (as I wrote here) is the regular rivers and their existence on your road.

vikraborgir parking askja

Vikraborgir car park, the closest point available on your route towards Askja/Víti crater

Tips about F905, F910 and F894

We’ve covered all of the details about river crossings, roads and Askja in this detailed guide about Askja.

Once you arrive at Dreki huts, you may already leave your car here and go for 8km hike towards Viti and Öskjuvatn and you’d definitely enjoy the beautiful mountain area even more. What we did, was to come as close to the actual geothermal Víti lake as possible and spend most of our time there.

To do that, you have to take the F894 road, i.e. slight turn right coming from F910 direction, standing in Dreki huts spot. The road is really rough and rocky, with volcanic stones and rocks about everywhere. At the end of the road, you will reach the car park with another toilet booth, called the Vikraborgir car park. This is where you have to leave your car.

2. F208 SOUTH TO LANDMANNALAUGAR

F208 after F235 junction

Road F208, or Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri, after crossing with F235 towards Landmannalaugar

Summary

Worth visiting even with bad weather: no 
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

The southern part of F208 or Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri from Vik towards Landmannalaugar is one of the most beautiful Icelandic roads.

How to drive southern F208 from Vik

The southern part of Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri has everything that an Icelandic F-road may have – serious river crossings, narrow roads, potholes, gravel, sand, remoteness. You need a proper 4wd car, preferably at least a medium-sized SUV. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

There are several river crossings along the road, some of them smaller, some of them bigger. If you are interested in details about each significant river crossing, reach out for the detailed description of our journey.

F208 Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri

F208, or Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri, after crossing with F235 towards Landmannalaugar

Our experience with southern F208

This is a once in a lifetime experience. I’ve never seen such out of this world stunning landscapes as on these roads. Southern F208, for me, was one of the TOP3 experiences in Iceland. Although driving the roads for some 6-7 hours we met just a handful of cars which is also a part of this secluded Icelandic experience. The wi-fi/cell network coverage sometimes works and sometimes not, so be prepared for that.

F208 south near Landmannalaugar

Road F208, south of Landmannalaugar, coming from Vik direction

After the junction of F208 and F235, you will be driving north to reach the Landmannalaugar. Along this part of the road, even more surreal landscapes continued to surround us and the journey was more than just worth it – it was spectacular.

There are several river crossings along the road, some of them smaller, some of them bigger. If you are interested in details about each significant river crossing, reach out for the detailed description of our journey.

F208 south near Landmannalaugar

Road F208, or Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri, south of Landmannalaugar, coming from Vik direction

Tips about southern Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri

Definitely take your time, start your ride early in the morning and focus on driving for 100% of the time.  All of the rules for F-roads driving and river crossing do apply for southern F208. Once you are prepared and choose your car wisely, don’t be afraid though. The road is doable with the right car even if you are not that much experienced in highlands driving.

I also highly recommend a detour towards Langisjor lake via F235. See below. 

1. F235 TO LANGISJOR

F235 to Langisjor

Out of this world landscapes surrounding F235 road towards Langisjór lake

Summary

Worth visiting even with bad weather: no 
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

F235 towards Langisjor was the most beautiful and out-of-this-world road I’ve ever driven.

How to drive F235

When it comes to difficulties and obstacles, F235 is pretty similar to the southern part of F208. That means you’re gonna encounter rough terrain, river crossings (although a bit smaller compared to serious medium-sized ones at F208), sand and potholes. You need a proper 4wd car, preferably at least a medium-sized SUV. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

If you are interested in details about each significant river crossing, reach out for the detailed description of our journey.

F235 towards Langisjór

Surreal landscapes on road F235 towards Langisjór lake

Our experience with F235

Landscapes everywhere along the road are out of this world and no words can precisely describe them. We were the only car driving the road. We reached the “Langisjór camping”, or at least that’s what Google maps said, which was just a small cottage with 2 nice modern toilets at the end of the world.

F235 was a great fit for my itinerary – non-touristy, amazing views, not so long, out of this world landscapes everywhere around. Beware of the bad weather though. If it gets too foggy, you won’t see a thing and your experience, although exciting thanks to driving, would deteriorate considerably.

If you are interested in details about specific river crossings, different parts of F208 and how to get to Langisjor and Sveinstindur, reach out for the detailed description of our journey.

F235 to Langisjór

This you should NOT do (stand on the moss). Road F235 after turning right from F208 towards Langisjór lake

Tips about F235

We continued back via the same F235 road to continue our journey to Landmannalaugar. Surely there are other roads to get back, but these are the roads you can’t find on Google maps, so I called them “unmarked roads” like the one towards Blautalón lake described for example here. Should we have a bigger car I would probably use a different way back as I usually try to avoid going on the same road twice.

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Best Icelandic Hot springs

Best Icelandic Hot springs

The ultimate guide to most beautiful Icelandic hot springs. How to find them, what kind of car do you need, our experience and many tips!

9. REYKJAFJARDARLAUG

Reykjafjarðarlaug hot pool

Reykjafjarðarlaug hot pool

Summary

Distance from car park: 2 minutes
Time spent at: 30-45 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 2 – great (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Reykjafjardarlaug is a nice hot spring in the middle of nowhere, right next to the Road 63 in Westfjords.

How to get to Reykjafjardarlaug

In summer, Reykjafjardarlaug is accessible by any 2wd car. Although the road 63 leading there is zig-zag and secluded, it should be alright to reach with a bit of careful driving. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Our experience with Reykjafjardarlaug

We made just a quick stop at the hot spring because we had already visited several of them at that time and headed elsewhere on that day. Reykjafjardarlaug is nevertheless nice and pleasant, just maybe not that exceptional compared to some other ones in Iceland. As someone had put it: “3 out of 5 Icelandic stars, i.e. 5 out of 5 anywhere else in the world”. 

Tips about Reykjafjardarlaug

There are actually 2 places for bathing in here. First one is the man-made artificial pool with regulated water temperature. The second one is the actual source of the hot water itself – a wild hot spring with varying temperature (usually much hotter). This secret Reykjafjardarlaug hot spring lies nearby.

Bathing is free of charge, we didn’t notice any donation box, but there may be one.

8. HVERAVELLIR

Hveravellir hot spring

The only Hveravellir hot spring for bathing. Image: courtesy of hiticeland.com

Summary

Distance from car park: 2 minutes (hot spring) 
Time spent at: 1 hour
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 3 – nice (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Hveravellir is a hot spring area in the middle of F35 road with one nice free hot spring available for bathing. 

How to get to Hveravellir

You need a 4wd car to access the Hveravellir area. The road F35 (Kjalvegur) is not hard to drive on, though. You may rent basically any 4wd car to drive it. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Once you leave F35 towards Hveravellir, it’s just a short, easy drive and you will soon find a parking lot in front of a small restaurant.

Our experience with Hveravellir

Almost next to the parking lot lies a nice, public, free hot spring.

Since it is so close to the car park, there’s a high chance someone will be inside most of the time. Nevertheless, the hot spring is big enough and water is pleasantly hot, with some 38°C (according to my professional assessment). On the other hand, air temperature felt really cold, something like 7-8°C even in the middle of August. So again – be prepared for that – you are in the middle of Iceland, in highlands.

I guess my expectations for Hveravellir were too big (read further to find out why). When planning our trip, I had read that there are “several hot springs in the Hveravellir area”. Moreover, seeing pictures like this had instantly made me a Hveravellir enthusiast. Well, the reality was a bit different.

Tips about Hveravellir

There were supposed to be “several hot springs” so let’s go find the other ones, we told ourselves. Hopefully with no people inside

hveravellir trail sheep

Sheep around Hveravellir trail

We were hiking for 1 hour around the entire area, but we haven’t found any hot springs, other than the main one near the parking lot. We don’t have anything against walking, but the entire area was pretty uneventful, with nothing interesting to observe. We said hello to several sheep along the way, but even those didn’t know where the other hot springs were.

We finally also asked the local at the restaurant who just confirmed our realization by saying: “you can bath only in this hot spring, next to the car park. There may be also some other hot springs further away, but you shouldn’t bath there”.

7. LYSUHOLSLAUG

lysuholslaug hot spring

Lýsuhólslaug hot spring

Summary

Distance from car park: 0 minutes 
Time spent at: 0,5 to 2 hours
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 2 – great (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Lysuholslaug is a nice, man-made and man-maintained hot spring, hidden in the southern part of Snaefellsnes peninsula. 

How to get to Lysuholslaug

Lysuholslaug is easily accessible by any 2wd car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Don’t get fooled by Google that you have to walk to Lysuholslaug. You don’t have to. There’s a road leading right next to the hot spring area. It’s just not marked on the Google Maps (see below).

Lysuholslaug hot spring map

Lýsuhólslaug hot spring as indicated on Google Maps. The road to it does exist, though.

Our experience with Lysuholslaug

Bathing in Lysuholslaug is definitely a very pleasant activity when the weather sucks. We really enjoyed it, despite the place not being anywhere near as picturesque as Hrunalaug or some other “wilder” hot springs. So, it depends on your preference, weather (and who knows what else), whether it’s worth making a detour for you. For us it definitely was.

Other than us, there was just one other couple using the pools at the time of our visit. We guess the main reason was, once again, Covid pandemic, rather than the place being unpopular.

Tips about Lysuholslaug

There are 2 small hot tubes and 1 bigger pool. All of them are the so-called “sea-weed baths”. That means, they look to be dirty, because of the sea-weeds everywhere. The ground and walls of the pool are also slippery, because of sea-weeds.

The big pool has water with the temperature of around 32°C (according to my professional assessment, i.e. read “just guessing”). Water in the small hot tubes is much hotter, around 36-38°C in the first of them and around 39-41°C in the hottest one. It’s definitely not recommended to stay in the hottest one for too long.

The hot spring is a paid one – 1000ISK/person, i.e. some 6-7eur.

6. BRENNISTEINSALDA

Landmannalaugar hot spring

Landmannalaugar hot spring. Picture taken from https://www.foodiebaker.com/day-4-iceland-travelogue/

Summary

Distance from car park: 5-7 minutes from both car parks (in camp and before camp) 
Time spent at: 20-40 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little to medium
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Brennisteinsalda hot spring is the only hot spring suitable for bathing in the main Landmannalaugar area.

How to get to Brennisteinsalda

You need a proper 4wd car to reach Landmannalaugar and Brennisteinsalda hot spring. However, there’s a huge difference whether you come from the northern side of F235 or southern side.

Read more about these different routes in our F-road guide. Read also about how we chose our car, as this is essential for your Icelandic trip. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Landmannalaugar Brennisteinsalda campsite

Landmannalaugar Brennisteinsalda campsite on the summer evening

Our experience with Brennisteinsalda

Brennisteinsalda hot spring is the only real natural hot spring (without any human interference) we’ve seen in Iceland so it’s definitely worth trying. It’s basically a stream of some really hot water (>50°C) flowing into the small river and you may bath in this river.

The river actually isn’t so hot, maybe around some 26-30°C which doesn’t feel so fantastic when it’s like 5-10°C outside. But the more you approach the actual hot stream, the warmer it gets. The warmest place is, of course, just near the place where the stream flows into the water. This is the place you want to aim for (but so will all your fellow co-campers). You will probably have to wait some time in a queue to get to that source. There’s also another smaller stream a few meters to the right, so these 2 streams flowing into the river are the hottest spots.

Tips about Brennisteinsalda

The hot spring is free to use. There’s no place to change your clothes, just a wooden structure to put leave your clothes on, which also serves as an entrance to the hot river.

The river is also really shallow, only some 40-70cm deep, so you basically have to lie in it to be covered by water. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth the experience and it’s a really cool thing to try as Brennisteinsalda hotpot is one of the very few “wild” hot springs not artificially modified by locals.

5. HORGSHLIDARLAUG

Horgshlidarlaug hot spring

Hörgshliðarlaug hot spring in the heart of fjord

 

Summary

Distance from car park: 2 minutes 
Time spent at: 10-30 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 2 – great (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Hörgshliðarlaug is a nice remote hot spring hidden in one of the fjords in the northern part of Westfjords.

How to get to Horgshlidarlaug

In summer, Hörgshliðarlaug is accessible by any 2wd car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Not only tough to pronounce, but also tough to find, that’s Horgshlidarlaug. At the time of our visit, the road 633 was closed, so we had to use northern part of the road 61 and make a detour south (left) right before crossing the Mjóifjörður fjord.

Once we arrived at the point indicated on Google Maps, there were just a few rural settlements with old houses next to them and we didn’t see any hot pot. At one of the settlements, we spotted an old bath-tub, with the big sign “PRIVATE PROPERTY”. Hmm, maybe this is Hörgshliðarlaug? I stepped out of the car and headed towards the bath-tub. On a halfway there a local guy stopped me with a huge smile on his face. I asked whether this is Horgshlidarlaug and he just casually replied that this is his house and the hot spring is another 2 kilometres down the road. I guess we were not the first, nor the last tourists sneaking around his courtyard.

horghslidarlaug map

The actual hot spring Hörgshliðarlaug is 2 kilometres south from the spot indicated by Google Maps

Nevertheless, the guy was right (of course). So, in case it will not be corrected yet on Google Maps (and you couldn’t see any hot spring), just continue 2 kilometres south down the road. You will definitely see it on your right (when coming from the north) or on the left (when coming from the south). There’s no real car park, you have to stop next to the road (but there’s a wider part of the road near hot spring).

Our experience with Horgshlidarlaug

Horgshlidarlaug is a dirty, old, full of seaweed hot spring with true Icelandic atmosphere. It lies right in the heart of the fjord, so you will be able to watch the fjord while soaking in the hot pot. If you are lucky enough, there may even be seals around (we haven’t seen any though).

Horgshlidarlaug westfjords

Horgshlidarlaug hotpot and a changing room

At the time of our visit, there were 2 groups of tourists already bathing in the hot spring. Hence, we waited 10 minutes, and afterwards, the hot spring became empty. Hörgshliðarlaug is definitely an original and picturesque place, nevertheless, we liked some other (see below) hot springs even more.

Tips about Horgshlidarlaug

There’s an old shelter next to the hot spring, which serves as a changing room. If you are into “sauna style” bathing, you may even alternate between bathing in the hot spring and bathing in the ice-cold sea. Water in the hot spring is very pleasant though, having some 36°C (according to my professional, read as „guessed“, assessment).

Hot spring is free to use, I don’t remember a donation box next to it, but there may have been one.

4. HELLULAUG

hellulaug hot spring

Hellulaug hot spring

Summary

Distance from car park: 2-3 minutes 
Time spent at: 15-45 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Hellulaug is a nice hot spring situated in one of the fjords in the southern part of Westfjords.

How to get to Hellulaug

In summer, Hellulaug is accessible by any 2wd car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

You can get to Hellulaug from the main road 60. Just be sure to finally turn on Hellulaugavegur and end up here, because there’s one other (wrong) spot on Google maps. You will leave your car at a small, gravel parking lot. From there you have to descent about 1 minute to reach the pool itself.

hellulaug hotpot

Hellulaug hotpot

Our experience with Hellulaug

At the time of our visit, it had already started to rain. We changed our clothes inside our car and virtually ran in the rain towards the pool. There were two local girls (this time without cocaine) already bathing there (didn’t seem to leave any time soon). 

The entire bathing experience was very nice. The water was pleasantly hot, but not too hot (some 34-36°C). It felt really comfortable to soak in the pool, while the rain poured down. Additionally, view from the hot spring is very nice, because of its location in the fjord. So you’re basically sitting in the hot spring looking at the fjord.

Tips about Hellulaug

Hellulaug is situated right in the heart of the fjord and it’s a man-made hotpot (water is being brought there by a pump). There’s no changing room, nor any shelter, but the hot spring is free of charge.

Well, if it rains, since there’s no shelter, some of your things will probably get wet, unless you cover them with something. We didn’t mind, though, because Hellulaug was probably the last stop of our trip.

3. KROSSNESLAUG

krossneslaug

Krossneslaug

Summary

Distance from car park: 5 minutes 
Time spent at: 30-60 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Krossneslaug is a really unique, one-of-its-kind hot spring literally at the end of the world (or at least all Icelandic roads). 

How to get to Krossneslaug

Although officially any 2wd car is allowed in here, I do recommend a 4wd car and some guts to reach Krossneslaug. Road 643 heading towards Krossneslaug could easily be classified as an Icelandic F-road. It doesn’t contain any river crossings but it contains almost everything else an F-road may contain. Potholes, gravel, narrow passages, steep parts, driving on the edge of the cliffs, …

Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Google Maps mark Krossneslaug quite precisely. They just don’t show that the “car park” (or better said the place next to the road where you may leave your car) is tens of meters above the pool. That means, you have to leave your car up, next to the road and you have to walk down the path to Krossneslaug itself. Only the owner of the pool has an access to reach the pool by car.

Our experience with Krossneslaug

Bathing in Krossneslaug is again a once in a lifetime experience. It definitely belongs to Top 3 of our Icelandic hot springs. When we arrived, there was no one else in the pool, only the owner performing maintenance of the place.

krossneslaug hot spring

Views from Krossneslaug

Once in the pool, you will again feel like being in some kind of fairy tale. Just you, hot pool and view of the endless sea. The smaller, hotter bathtub even has a windshield (I guess for cases of severe weather?).

Before our departure, I asked the owner whether it does make economical sense to maintain such a pool at the end of the world. He just smiled and replied that from June till 1st half of August usually hundreds of people come per day. Even during Covid times, just their structure changed to more locals. OK, that surprised me, I guess it makes sense then.

Tips about Krossneslaug

Krossneslaug is a paid (1000ISK, i.e. 6-7Eur/person), man-made, hot water pool, utilising nearby hot spring water. It has a long history (1954) and 2 pools available for bathing. The bigger, rectangular pool with a water temperature of around 34°C and a smaller, more modern hot tub with a temperature of around 38°C. It is well maintained by the owner of the place, who also resides there usually from June until August each year. The entrance fee includes a changing room, toilets and showers, of course.

2. GUDRUNARLAUG

gudrunarlaug hot spring shelter

Shelter for changing clothes and Gudrunarlaug hot spring

Summary

Distance from car park: 5 minutes 
Time spent at: 30-60 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Guðrúnarlaug is one of the most picturesque hot springs in Iceland. It’s very well accessible.

How to get to Gudrunarlaug

In summer, Guðrúnarlaug is easily accessible by any 2wd car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Our experience with Gudrunarlaug

When we arrived at the parking lot, we saw just one couple bathing in the hot spring. We were already spoiled by travelling during Covid pandemic, in the sense that we had been alone at every other place we had visited. So, we decided to wait a bit once the couple finishes its bathing, which took about 5 minutes.

Yep, once again, we were alone in Icelandic hot spring, in August at 4 pm. The rain had already been pouring when we got out of our car. We really enjoyed Gudrunarlaug bathing, even despite (or thanks to?) rain getting heavier. The place with its surroundings is pretty cool and the water is pleasantly hot (some 36-38°C). Definitely worth visiting. It was one of the best hot springs we’ve bathed in.

gudrunarlaug hotpot neighborhood

Neighborhood of the Guðrúnarlaug hot spring

Tips about Gudrunarlaug

Guðrúnarlaug is definitely a bit more touristy compared to, for example, Lýsuhólslaug. The reason for that is its proximity to ring road and to Westfjords, i.e., it’s quite easily accessible. The same is true when it comes to access to the actual hot tube – it’s a 2-minute walk from the car park, which sits right next to it. Google Maps are also quite precise about the location of Gudrunarlaug, so feel free to orientate according to them.

Guðrúnarlaug is located next to the small rural campsite (we didn’t see anyone camping at the time of our visit, during Covid-19 times) and something which looked like a school. There’s an authentic wooden shelter (similar to the one next to Hrunalaug) serving as a changing room, right next to the pool. Hot spring is free to use, I don’t remember a donation box next to it, but there may have been one.

1. HRUNALAUG

hruni hot spring

Tranquil scenery of Hruni hot spring

Summary

Distance from car park: 5 minutes 
Time spent at: 20-60 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes, definitely
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

How to get to Hrunalaug

Hrunalaug (or Hruni) is easily accessible by any 2wd car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Use Google maps. They were quite precise about the location. There’s actually a car park (see attached picture) near the hot spring. From the “car park” it’s about 3 minutes of walk. You shouldn’t get lost, as far as I can remember there’s even a sign pointing towards hot spring.

hrunalaug car park

Hrunalaug “car park”

Our experience with Hrunalaug

I can confidently nominate Hruni hot spring for winning the award of most authentic Icelandic hot spring. It is, without doubt, the best hot spring we’ve ever been to. Thanks to many aspects. Firstly, it’s a place secluded from anything else with no buildings or roads around. Secondly, the landscape surrounding it is truly peaceful and picturesque. Thirdly, the hot pot itself looks like to be from some kind of fairy-tale. And, importantly, the water (in the main one) is pleasantly hot with some 38°C according to my professional (read amateur) assessment.

Once we got in, we really got carried away by the surrounding atmosphere. Just a slowly pouring rain, few sheep, endless grass and besides that just silence. Everything was tranquil, only until the new guest arrived at the hot spring. If you are into stories, feel free to read ours about meeting a naked Icelandic teenager possibly under drugs.

hrunalaug bathing

The main and the hottest hot spring in Hrunalaug

Tips about Hrunalaug

Once you arrive at the hot pot itself, you will realize there’s also a covered shelter for changing clothes! A very authentic one 🙂 The entire place is maintained by locals and works on a basis of free donation. There’s a donation box next to the hot spring.

There are actually several pools, some of them smaller, some of them bigger. All pools do contain a heated water, but each one has different temperature. The hottest one is also the smallest and is the one right next to the shelter. It’s ideal for 2 people, and if you are OK with some squeezing even for 4.

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