Iceland is such a beautiful country full of hidden pearls and quite perfect to go around by car. You can discover beautiful villages, the burning and remote areas of the north and the icy and cold glaciers of the southeast. But not all of these places are easy to get to, some of them are only reachable by mountain roads that have certain opening schedules, so you may be asking yourself When do mountain roads open?
It is important to know what a mountain road is and where they are located. Iceland is divided into several different regions, one of them is known as hálendið or “The Highlands”. This area covers most of the island’s interior and it is full of glaciers, rugged mountains and hot springs surrounded by crazy rock formations. It is situated at 400-500 meters above the sea level and it is basically a volcanic inhabited area.
Roads crossing this area are known as “mountain roads”. You can differentiate them from other roads by their name “F-roads”. Any sign showing an F + number would be a mountain road. ex. F735. To drive through an F-road, a 4x4 vehicle is required. Sometimes even having a 4x4 is not enough, an experienced driver and a local expert is more than advisable as well, as some of these roads require river fording and risky driving. That is why asking When do mountain roads open? is important as conditions may affect your driving experience.
When do mountain roads open?
In this article we are providing information on approximate opening dates of F-roads in the Highlands. Have a look at the table above (source: road.is), which collects the opening dates of the previous years.
On what factors does their opening depend?
F-roads can be crossed only during the Icelandic summer season, which in the Highlands it only lasts one month. The climate in this area is very unstable and it is changing constantly, snow usually covers these roads until the very begging of the summer. Answering the question of When do mountain roads open? is not as easy as it may seems as opening times highly depends on whether conditions that vary greatly from year to year.
The fact that the Icelandic Public Roads administration has authorized the opening of an F-road; it does not mean that it is now as easy to drive as any non f-road. After ice melting, the surface may remain wet and slippery and caution is still required. Some roads will not be opened at all if the traffic in the area is not secure and the weather conditions do not allow it.
For those who are renting a vehicle, it is important to check with your rental company if their vehicles are allowed to go through F-roads. Bear in mind not many insurances companies cover damages for getting the underside of the vehicle wet due to river crossing or any other “hazardous” driving behaviors. To avoid any unpleasant situation, we recommend you in this When do mountain roads open? article to always read through the Terms and conditions of your rental agreement.
How do I know which mountain roads are open? Keep yourself updated!
Do not underestimate nature forces, please be wary and always check the road and weather conditions before starting getting on your way. You can do so by checking:
If you want to enjoy the wildest side of nature of Iceland please remember, it is better to be safe than sorry!
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