If you are an adventurous traveler seeking challenges from nature, the rugged terrain of the contrasting Highlands will not disappoint. Iceland is fittingly called the Land of Fire and Ice because of its unique landscape. When driving the Highland F208 in Iceland you can easily see jarring opposites like natural hot springs and ice-capped mountains.
These hypnotizing and inhospitable mountain peaks all hold stunning views and natural marvels designed to make you stop in awe.
Driving the Highland F208 in Iceland
Based on the coarse landscape you need to bypass a regular sedan and rent a durable four-wheel drive vehicle. On your road trip, any photo you take will look like a postcard and create a lasting memory. Travelers will definitely enjoy driving through the Highlands of Iceland on the famous road F208. But what are Highland F-Roads in Iceland? Get in your new rental and we’ll explain how you can traverse these unique Highland mountain roads.
What are Highland F-Roads in Iceland?
The types of roads in Iceland include primary roads, primary Highland roads (F-roads), secondary roads, local access roads, and uncategorized Highland roads. How are the Highland F-roads in Iceland different from other roads in this fascinating island nation? Unlike the paved Ring Road, F-roads are the rough roads that allow you to pass through the Highland Mountains. They require a four-wheel drive to traverse obstacles like a lava field, gravel roads, and river crossings.
Yes, on the F208 you will have to drive with all of those conditions. But swallow your fear and embrace the journey. If you follow these simple steps you can make it through and cross the river like a pro. The first step is to drive slowly and evenly through the river. Don’t gear shift in the middle of the water because this could cause your SUV to stall.
When you make it across drive cautiously as usual. You will also encounter blind curves and navigate steep drops with no guardrails on the side. If you drive dangerously you could fall over the side. But you can also gaze upon one of the best views in Iceland.
Be sure to bring satellite navigation or a WiFi device in case you get lost. Always wear your seatbelt and never drive off-road. It’s illegal to drive off-road because your vehicle can damage Iceland’s pristine habitats. Look for labeled roads and signs with a number on it. If you cannot see a road sign then do not drive on that road. If you do and you’re caught you can be sentenced with up two years of jail time and an expensive fine. So drive safe, follow the rules, and you will have a great vacation.
F-Roads Opening Dates
The roads can be very dangerous and impassable in the winter therefore they are only open in the summer months. The opening dates for F-road access in Central Highlands starts in the middle of June and closes after summer. The opening dates are dependent on the weather and since weather conditions are so unpredictable there’s more than opening date.
Fortunately, the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration have provided a chart with possible dates for when all F-roads will be open. For example F-road 208 Sigalda, the route to the famous hot spring in Landmannalaugar, has three opening dates. The earliest opening date is June 9th, the median opening date is June 16th and the latest date is June 26th.
Iceland Highlands: Self-Drive
Road trips are the best way to see Iceland in all of its glory. The Iceland Highlands self-drive tour is the perfect route to take if you want to curate your experience. You can make as many stops as you want and move at your own pace. So pack some snacks, get your playlist ready, bring water-resistant clothes, and get ready to navigate Highland Road F208.
Driving this road will take you from the south of Iceland to the center. The Sigalda portion of the F208 allows you to drive past the largest reservoir in Iceland and power stations. You can find stunning waterfalls colored in vivid blues and take scenic photos. Then continue on your way to the breath-taking Landmannalaugar Iceland region that is commonly called the “People’s Pools.”
Landmannalaugar is known for natural hot springs where you can take a relaxing dip among color-spattered mountains. These luminously colored mountains have several hues of pink, yellow, blue, orange, and black that shift in the sun. Minerals found in the rhyolite volcanic rock that makes up the mountains cause this colorful phenomenon. You can also visit a lava field called Laugahraun and visit nearby lakes.
After the visiting the “People’s Pools,” you can continue your drive on F208 in the section called Eldgjá. This area is more challenging to get across because of the river and it is impassable depending on inclement weather. When you make it through you will get to see the jaw-dropping Ófærufoss waterfall and impressive lava fields.
Then the last but most difficult portion of the F208 is called Skaftártunga. On this route, you can see deep canyons and more cascading waterfalls.
Highlands Iceland Weather
Summer is the most popular season to visit Iceland because there are several weather benefits. The days are longer because of the midnight sun and the temperature is mild ranging from 10° to 15°C (50° to 59°F). And it can even go as high as 25°C (77°F).
However, the Highlands Iceland weather is just as unpredictable as the rest of the country even in the summer season. In the summer season, you can still encounter quick temperature changes. It can become extremely cold and stormy then quickly revert back to normal. Therefore, check the weather forecast frequently to anticipate any brewing storms and road conditions.
Your Grand Adventure
Visiting the Highlands and navigating the F-roads is a grand adventure you will talk about for years to come. So pack your bag and book your flight. Be sure to bring your camera, your courage, and an open heart, and then hit the road.