Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri

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.

F66 video drive-through

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.

622 – Svalvogavegur

622 definitely is one of the most thrilling driving experiences that Iceland has to offer. Shelf roads through cliffs, beautiful views and then of course the bit below the sea level. A smaller 4×4 will NOT be a good option here

622 advice from the local

“First bit of 622 is paved and in good shape, it is after a “4×4 vehicles only” warning sign when things start to get interesting. The road gets super tight and narrow, as it’s carved inside a cliff. Drive this part slowly and carefully, as it’s wide enough only for one car – having a cliff on the left and a steep drop down on the right. There is also a danger of falling rocks.

And now to the exciting part or the main attraction of the road – the sketchy bit down at the sea level. First, there is a quite steep descent and the road starts to go between the sea and the cliffs. But soon it gets very narrow and sometimes we were basically kind of driving beneath the cliff, exposed to the waves crashing against the road. With a high tide this part of the road can easily be under water.

So, it is super important to be informed about the weather conditions while being on that road, as there is no help near and mobile connection is very limited. During our drive the weather wasn’t the calmest and there were waves partly crashing onto the road, but we got through there in one piece. Also, this section is super rocky and bumpy and needs to be driven with extra care.”

622 video drive-through

624 – Ingjaldssandsvegur

624 advice from the local

“624 (Ingjaldssandsvegur) is a mountain road located in northwestern part of Westfjords region in Iceland. It starts from highway 60 (Vestfjarðavegur), runs over a mountain and ends up at Ingjaldssandur valley. The highest elevation of the road is 508 meters (1667 feet) and it’s passable only during the summer months.

The mountain pass is quite steep at some places, but the road is generally in good condition and shouldn’t be a problem for a simple crossover for example.”

624 video drive-through

630 – Skálavíkurvegur

630 advice from the local

“There is no winter service for 630, so the road is accessible only during the summer months. But despite being unpaved and opened only for some time during the year, the road itself is in good condition and easily accessible for simple passenger vehicles without 4WD.

A really exciting place near this route is Bolafjall mountain, which is 635 meters (2086 ft) high. But it’s worth mentioning that weather can often be very foggy and cloudy up there and we were waiting three days for our shot, always rescheduling and aiming for the sunshine and clear sky. It’s definitely not pointless to go there when cloudy, you can still check out the Latrar Air Station and experience the tight mountain road (in that case with very poor visibility). But I’d say the views over the area are at least 60% of the experience being up there. “

630 video drive-through

635 – Snæfjallastrandarvegur 

635 advice from the local

“635 is unpaved, but it’s easily passable for a simple passenger vehicle (at least during the summer months!). I highly recommend stopping for a coffee break or lunch at Steinshús if you happen to be on this road. However, it’s worth mentioning that the cafe it’s not open all year round.

A track going towards Drangjökull glacier is also located in the middle of 635. You can drive on the trail until a parking spot and from there on it’s possible to hike all the way to the glacier.

A tiny cute church called Udalaskirkja is at the very end of the road. In my opinion, 635 isn’t as exciting driving experience as road 643 for exaple, but it’s still a nice drive if you have some spare time to spend in Westfjords.

635 video drive-through

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
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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Posted by epiciceland in Roads, Top Places, 0 comments
Day 4 – Landmannalaugar and Highlands in the north

Day 4 – Landmannalaugar and Highlands in the north


If you want to have an idea of how amazingly the area around Landmannalaugar looks like from a bird’s eye perspective, there’s a Highlands Virtual Reality tour that will take you there immediately.

Landmannalaugar hikes

There are two main, most beautiful, one-day hikes you can do from the Brennisteinsalda campsite. And it can be a bit confusing to understand the difference between them and how to get to each trail. At least for me, it was in the beginning. So let’s get to the point.

First of the hikes, the easier and quicker one, is the hike ending at the top of the Brennisteinsalda volcano, or “orange mountain”. It takes about an hour to reach the top and some 30 minutes to come back. The ascent is of normal difficulty and everyone should be able to make it.

pointing at brennisteinsalda

Pointing at Brennisteinsalda from Bláhnjúkur hiking trail

The second hike, for me even more beautiful, is the hike to the Bláhnjúkur peak or “Blue peak”. It’s a bit longer hike, it took us 1,5 hour to get to the top and some 1 hour to get back to the campsite and you should be in good physical condition to make it, at least compared to other places in Iceland where you just step out of your car and make a 5-minute walk. But it’s definitely doable for everybody and more than just worth it as it’s one of the most beautiful views in entire Iceland. Just be prepared for a mountain hike.

brennisteinsalda top view

View from the top of Brennisteinsalda towards Bláhnjúkur

What helped me the most with orientation was this map. I wonder why it’s so hard to find this map online, but this map is basically all you need to know. If you are in a good physical condition and weather is good, I definitely do recommend you to go for both peaks – Brennisteinsalda and Bláhnjúkur as well. It’s a beautiful loop trail, so you don’t go twice via same trail and all the views around it are breath-taking. On a halfway to Brennisteinsalda you’re going to cross lava field called Laugahraun which is interesting as well, although compared to the other peaks it’s not that special.

landmannalaugar map

The most important slice of Landmannalaugar map for your 1 day trip

There are of course many other trails in the Landmannalaugar area. If you are really into hiking or if you’re planning to spend more days in the area, you’re more than welcome to go for the other trails as well. The longest one is supposed to take some 3-4 days and ends in Thórsmörk, another magnificent valley. You will be probably spending nights in mountain huts along the way if you choose this hike. We didn’t go for it, as we wanted to see as many different parts of Iceland in possible in 12 days, but next time – why not? Just be prepared for rough cold weather even in summer and its sudden changes.

Brennisteinsalda hike

9:00-10:30

Distance from car park: 5/10 minutes (to the start of the trail, from camping/car park in front of the camping)
Time spent at: 1 hour to the top
Worth visiting even with bad weather: no
Physical condition needed: medium
Interesting index: 1 – amazing  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

brennisteinsalda hike start

This is how the start of the hiking trail towards Brennisteinsalda looks like

Hike for Brennisteinsalda volcano is quite easy and takes around 1,5 hour round trip. If you either don’t have much time, or weather is worsening or you simply aren’t into hiking that much, you can definitely make this one. The trail to the top and the view from the top itself are definitely worth it. We experienced it in slightly foggy weather and it was still beautiful.

brennisteinsalda hiking trail

Easy Brennisteinsalda hiking trail

You start at the main building of Landmannalaugar/Brennisteinsalda campsite where there are red signs pointing to two opposite directions. When coming from the river crossings facing the campsite, the one pointing left is the one for Bláhnjúkur and the one facing right is the one for Laugahraun lava field and Brennisteinsalda. The other way how to orientate yourself is simply to go in the direction of the mountain (you can see it throughout almost the entire trail) and use common sense.

Although the trail is well marked, the signs are not very helpful because they contain just the name of the entire trail and they don’t point specifically to Brennisteinsalda. It’s important to stick to the marked trail to not destroy Icelandic untouched nature and not get yourself fined heavily.

brennisteinsalda hike

Views from the Brennisteinsalda hike

Your first checkpoint would be crossroads with Laugahraun lava field where you will continue to the upper right, i.e. above the field. Then you will eventually arrive at another crossroad just below Brennisteinsalda where you should turn right, to face the only little steeper part of the hike right towards the peak. Once you reach the peak, you can enjoy 360° views of surrounding landscapes, Laugahraun field from bird-eye view and also majestic Bláhnjúkur peak nearby.

brennisteinsalda top

View from the top of Brennisteinsalda on a slightly foggy day. Still very windy at the top, despite calm day.

There was no wind below Brennisteinsalda at the time of our visit, but at the peak wind was blowing like crazy. So be prepared for this. After Brennisteinsalda you may either come back to the campsite or continue for the Bláhnjúkur peak – as we did. If you have enough energy and the weather is alright I definitely do recommend to go for Bláhnjúkur as well as the views surrounding that route are even more amazing.

Laugahraun

11:00-11:10

Distance from car park: 5/10 minutes (to the start of the trail, from camping/car park in front of the camping)
Time spent at: 15-20 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 3 – nice  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

brennisteinsalda peak view

View from the top of Brennisteinsalda towards Laugahraun

Laugahraun is a lava field with interesting rock formations formed from volcanic lava eruptions. It takes some 30-40 minutes to reach it from the campsite and it stands on the halfway to Brennisteinsalda mountain. It’s a nice place to see but it was not that amazing for us compared to other sights like peaks of Bláhnjúkur or Brennisteinsalda. We didn’t go particularly for it, but we stumbled upon it on our way back from Brennisteinsalda peak and on our path further towards Bláhnjúkur mountain.

If you have enough energy and good weather I recommend you to take the same route as we did so that you can admire all of them. Coming from Brennisteinsalda, if you leave the Laugahraun field at its top-right part, you will find yourself at the beginning of the trail for Bláhnjúkur , the Blue peak.

Bláhnjukúr hike

11:15-13:45

Distance from car park: 15 or 40 minutes (if you want to go only for Blahnjukur or if you firstly want to go for Laugahraun lava field)
Time spent at: 2 hours to the top, 60-90 minutes back down
Worth visiting even with bad weather: no
Physical condition needed: advanced
Interesting index: 1 – amazing  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

blahnjukur hiking path

Slippery clay slope at the start of the hike to Bláhnjúkur or Blue peak

For us hike to Bláhnjúkur, or the Blue peak, was the most beautiful, the most rewarding and the most difficult part of our one day visit of Landmannalaugar. We had to find the beginning of the trail, we had to ford the small river, we had to climb the steep muddy hill and then we had to cope with a strong cold wind at the top. All of these were definitely worth the experience. Views encompassing the route are amazing if you are lucky with the good weather. View from the peak is even more breath-taking. So how do you reach Bláhnjúkur?

You have three options to reach the top (including circular round trip we did, starting with Brennisteinsalda and continuing to Bláhnjúkur or vice versa). Arriving from river crossings before Landmannalaugar you may:

  1. either turn left and go directly for Bláhnjúkur or
  2. you may turn right, reach the Laugahraun lava field first and then continue for Bláhnjúkur hike or
  3. of course, you may choose the order we chose, i.e. after reaching Laugahraun continue for Brennisteinsalda peak, then come back to Laugahraun and then go for Bláhnjúkur.

I recommend the way we did it, i.e. go for the circular route, so that you can see everything.

blahnjukur hike views

Spectacular views right from the beginning of the hike on Bláhnjúkur and even on the slightly foggy day

After you leave the upper right part of Laugahraun field (coming from Brennisteinsalda trail), you will arrive at the small river. Despite the river being small, there’s no bridge or a designated place where the river should be crossed. We spent almost 30 minutes searching for the spot where to cross the river to not get our feet wet in this cold weather. And up to this day, I don’t know where was the “official” spot meant for this river to be crossed.

What we finally did was going almost 10 minutes to the right along the bank of the river coming to the place where the river was shallow enough with enough pebbles to jump on and pass. Then we had to come these 10 minutes on the other side of the river back again to reach the yellow marks marking the trail towards Bláhnjúkur. So, after 30 minutes of struggle, we managed to ford the river without getting wet, although I’m not sure whether this was the way meant for crossing, probably no.

blahnjukur hike near top

Bláhnjúkur hike near the top

Afterwards, for us, the most dangerous part followed. A trail is well marked with yellow sticks so you shouldn’t get lost. You will shortly arrive at the steep clay slope going up closer towards Bláhnjúkur. The ascent is not hard or anything, but it’s quite steep and you don’t have a good grip on the ground because of the clay. So with each step, you feel like slipping on the smooth clay. I was equipped with high-quality La Sportiva hiking shoes and those didn’t help either. There are neither stairs nor chains so you can only help yourself by going slowly zig-zag to the top.

Fortunately, this part is not too long and takes some 10 minutes to complete. What follows next is just a typical gravel hiking trail and you shouldn’t have any problems continuing up the path. Magnificent views will shortly emerge and will accompany you all the way to the top.

blahnjukur peak view

One of the views from the peak of Bláhnjúkur towards Landmannalaugar and 2nd (steeper) hiking trail

We had a semi-clear sky with partially sunny, partially cloudy weather and light fog. This is still supposed to be good weather so we enjoyed every moment of it. Visibility (although not perfect) was fine and the views were, as I already mentioned, breath-taking. We met only a single-digit number of visitors at the peak, so at the time of our visit, peak being crowdy wasn’t an issue. It was really windy and temperature felt like 5°C even on the sunny summer day like ours, so be prepared for that. Once reaching the top, you will be rewarded with the best views over the area.

blahnjukur top view

Another view from the peak of Bláhnjúkur towards Landmannalaugar camp, Laugahraun and 2nd (steeper) hiking trail

We started our descent from the other side of the mountain (the one where you may access Bláhnjúkur right from the campsite), which was supposed to be much steeper, according to guides I’ve read. That definitely wasn’t true and compared to the steep clay part we had to overcome before, this was a piece of cake. I wonder what’s worse – to ascent the clay part or descent? I guess descent would be worse.

The trail continued without any obstacles until we reached the point where we could see the small river we’d forded before from above. At this point we’d also seen the campsite from above already, so we continued pursuing that direction. The entire descent wasn’t hard and it took us some 1 hour at maximum to reach our campsite again. We went for a hot chocolate at the nearby snack bar and ate a little. It was still only before 3 pm so we had enough time to continue with our journey.

F208 north towards Sigöldugljufur canyon

15:00-15:30

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

F208 north horses

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

This is the F208 all of the guidebooks out here suggest you use if you want to go for Landmannalaugar. Well, if you are afraid of, or if you simply don’t want to cross rivers, then yes, this is the right way to arrive and leave Landmannalaugar as well. All the other ways like F208 to the south, F233 and F210 towards Maelifell or Landmannaleið – the shortcut in/out of Landmannalaugar, all contain some serious river crossings.

The beginning of the road near Landmannalaugar, until Ljótipollur detour, is very beautiful. Afterwards, the road shortly turns into a dull gravel road. Hence, the majority of the road is just a normal gravel road with potholes without any nice views alongside it. Compared to the out of this world, amazing F208 to the south there isn’t much to see.

road to ljotipollur

F-road towards Ljótipollur

But the views you see from this road are not the reason why people like us use it. Apart from not going back down the same road to the Vik, there lie two very nice stops along the road. Namely, two beautiful canyons entirely different in appearance, both definitely worth visiting. These were among the most beautiful places we’ve seen.

The northern part of F208 is actually definitely doable also by 2wd car, it would just be a really bumpy ride. That’s what I meant by saying “it’s all about river crossing” when it comes to the difficulty of Icelandic F-roads., Since there’s no river crossing on this part of the road, it’s doable also by a normal car.

Ljótipollur

15:30-15:50

Distance from car park: 5 minutes ascent
Time spent at: 15-30 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes, probably
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 1 – amazing  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

ljotipollur parking

Ljótipollur “parking”

Ljótipollur is a remote canyon where you will meet out of this world colours on every corner. It definitely didn’t look like a touristy place at the time of our visit and we had it all for ourselves at around 3 pm which is, I guess, still a peak hour.

If you put name Ljótipollur into your Google maps, it will navigate you towards detour in the right direction from northern F208 road, coming from Landmannalaugar direction (left, coming from F26 direction). There aren’t any good road signs so just follow Google and you should be fine. You’re going to drive nice black gravel road in the middle of nowhere which will end with the sign “cars forbidden” again in the middle of nowhere. The place with the sign served as a car park at the time of our visit (2 more cars were parked there, what a crowd). We left our car at this improvised car park and continued walking towards Ljótipollur direction a Google was pointing at.

ljotipollur

Ljótipollur

The walk took us around 5 minutes and a majestic red volcanic crater suddenly stood in front of us. We were the only visitors admiring it at that time. I don’t have any idea where were the people who arrived by the other 2 cars parked in the car park. Just us, absolute silence and a picturesque canyon filled with crystal clear water.

The weather was supposed to worsen considerably in the evening according to the weather forecast and there were already clouds gathering in the sky. Still, we were lucky that up to this point of our trip we hadn’t experienced any persistent rain. You can also hike around the Ljótipollur area but that wasn’t our plan, because Ljótipollur was already supposed to be the highlight of the area and we were really tired after Landmannalaugar hikes. That said, we left Ljótipollur and continued further towards one of the three most famous Icelandic canyons – Sigöldugljufur canyon.

Sigöldugljufur canyon

16:30-17:00

Distance from car park: 10 minutes
Time spent at: 20-40 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes, probably
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 1 – amazing  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

sigoldugljufur canyon

Sigöldugljufur canyon just by ourselves

Sigöldugljufur canyon was our favorite canyon in Iceland, because it was the least touristy and, in our opinion, the most beautiful. With all its remoteness it embodies for me the spirit of Iceland, i.e. a picturesque hidden place in the middle of nowhere. And that’s exactly where you will find Sigöldugljufur canyon, at the end of the road F208, in the middle of nowhere.

Google maps are quite precise with the location of canyon, although you won’t find any road signs indicating it, so you have to rely solely on Google maps. The canyon is located on the right side of F208 coming from the Landmannalaugar direction (i.e. naturally on the left side coming from the F26 direction). The only sign telling you “there’s something nearby” is the little car park near the spot which is the closest point connecting the road and the canyon marked on Google maps.

sigoldugljufur canyon

All alone at Sigöldugljufur canyon

When you leave the car park, you continue along the unmarked gravel road (used only by locals) and you keep on the left side of it, exactly as suggested by google maps. After some 10 minutes of walking, you will arrive at the right bank of the canyon and a huge network of small rivers and waterfalls of unbelievable colours will emerge in front of you. You will literally find yourself as in the middle of the fairy tale, especially if you’re as lucky as we were, and will be there all by yourself.

It’s possible to continue several kilometres ahead along the valley, so it’s just up to you how far you want to go. You are able to see the major part of the canyon already from the first moment you have it in your sight, however. That’s exactly what we did – admired it for a couple of minutes and didn’t continue further along the valley.

There’s actually no marked trail, so unless they make one anytime soon, you’re going to slightly break the rules, as you will be walking on an “unmarked path” and therefore destroying Icelandic nature a bit. We tried to go the same way back to spare the nature of our footsteps. That being said, I think it’s inevitable someone will build a marked trail heading to the canyon soon as it’s becoming more and more touristy from what I’d read before our trip.

Haifoss

18:00-18:20

Distance from car park: 5 minutes
Time spent at: 15-30 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 1 – amazing  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

haifoss

Just Haifoss

It was already around 6 pm when we were deciding whether to make a detour to Haifoss or not. I persuaded my girlfriend to do so, because this was the only time we had Haifoss quite nearby. And it was also supposed to be the tallest waterfall in Iceland, hence the one you’re going to probably include into your to-do list. The road leading to Haifoss (332) is the gravel road which you will be able to drive fast on, because it doesn’t have any potholes just a lot of gravel on it. That’s also why it’s not marked as an F-road.

Once you reach the well-marked car park, Haifoss is just a few steps next to it, in a huge moss-covered green valley with many sheep around. This is the place which is supposed to be more touristy, due to its accessibility also by 2wd cars, and yes it was even during our visit. There were some 3-4 cars other than us parking at the car park, which seemed like a lot compared to our experience at that time. There are several viewpoints of the waterfall, all next to each other so you will have enough space to admire the waterfall from and make same nice pictures. Despite weather being cloudy already, we were able to make some nice pictures anyway.

Long road towards Vik with heavy rain

18:30-22:00

After leaving Haifoss, a long road towards Vik stood in front of us. Yes, we could camp anywhere closer, but I still felt like having enough energy to do the drive and my girlfriend didn’t mind and, also, I didn’t want to camp again in the same camp – Vik. That’s why our next target destination I chose for us was the campsite in Kirkjubaerklaustur, as it had some really good reviews in Google maps. So I drove a lot. Back via road 332, then the road 32, then the road 30 and then kilometers along the road 1 just to reach the Kirkjubaerklaustur camping around 10pm. This was our most exhausting day and I’d already been tired as hell after 15 hours of being awake.

Moreover, shortly after leaving Haifoss, the weather forecast proved itself to be correct and the promised rain started and it intensified with each hour passing by. In the middle of our journey to Kirkjubaerklaustur the rain started to be really heavy and the roads were full of water, so we had to drive more carefully i.e. slower.

Kirkjubaerklaustur camping

22:00-

We reached Kirkjubaerklaustur camping in a heavy rain after 10pm and there was a huge ramp in front of the entrance to the campsite, so our first thought was “oh my god, we’re really late, what if nobody’s there?”. Luckily for us, there was still a campsite manager at that time guarding the ramp and hence we were able to pay for the camping and proceed. The campsite is very nice in a good condition and I definitely recommend camping in here. Although the weather was brutal at the time of our visit with heavy rain and wind, we still remember the campsite as one of the best.

Skipped places

  • Longer hikes near Landmannalaugar
  • Hjalparfoss waterfall

Landmannalaugar area is a paradise for hikers. You may easily spend there several days and still don’t have enough. We didn’t go for longer hikes this time, due to either shortage of time and us not being that much into more hardcore hiking. Not to mention, we were not equipped well enough for hikes lasting longer than just a single day.

There’s another nice waterfall near the route we drove called Hjalparfoss which we skipped. The reason for skipping it was quite straightforward – we’d already seen a ton of fascinating things on that day and Hjalparfoss was not supposed to be any special compared to the other ones we’d seen already.

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