Iceland is famous for its stunning landscapes, and driving the F35 road, also known as the Kjölur route or kjalvegur road, is one of the best ways to see its raw beauty. This mountain road offers an unforgettable adventure through the heart of Iceland, filled with geothermal wonders, breathtaking views, and plenty of natural attractions. Renting a car from Hertz Iceland will ensure you have the right vehicle for this exciting journey.

Understanding the F35 Road (Kjölur Route)

The F35 road, or Kjölur route, cuts through Iceland’s central highlands, connecting the south and north of the island. This route has been used for centuries, dating back to ancient times when it served as a vital pathway between different regions.

Today, it’s a popular route for travelers looking to experience Iceland’s remote and rugged landscapes. As you drive, you’ll encounter hot springs, glaciers, and vast, open spaces that seem to stretch on forever.

F35 Road Map (Marked in bright blue colour)

Preparing for Your Journey

Choosing the Right Vehicle

Driving the F35 road requires a sturdy 4×4 vehicle. The road is unpaved and can be challenging, especially in wet or icy conditions. Hertz Iceland offers a range of reliable 4×4 vehicles perfect for this kind of adventure. Their vehicles are well-maintained and equipped to handle the rough terrain, ensuring a safe and comfortable journey.

Icelandic Law: Mandatory 4WD for F-Roads

In Iceland, it is not just recommended but legally required to drive a 4WD vehicle on F-roads, including the F35. These roads are marked with an “F” because they traverse mountainous and highland regions with challenging conditions.

The law is in place to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers, as well as to protect the environment from damage that can be caused by vehicles not suited to these rugged terrains. Renting a 4WD vehicle from Hertz Iceland ensures you comply with these regulations and can navigate the F35 road safely.

F-roads map of Iceland

Planning Your Itinerary

The best time to travel the F35 road is during the summer months, from late June to early September, when the road is open and accessible. Here’s a suggested itinerary with some must-see stops along the way:

  • Hveravellir Geothermal Area: A geothermal field with hot springs and fumaroles, perfect for a relaxing soak. The Hveravellir hot springs offer a unique bathing experience in the midst of nature.
  • Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Range: A beautiful area for hiking, with colorful rhyolite mountains and geothermal activity. This nature reserve is a haven for hikers and nature enthusiasts.
  • Gullfoss Waterfall: One of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls, located near the start of the route.

The entire route is about 200 kilometers (124 miles) long, and you should allow at least a full day to enjoy it, though many travelers prefer to take two days to fully explore.

Checking Weather and Road Conditions

Before setting off, always check the weather forecast and road conditions. Iceland’s weather can change rapidly, so it’s essential to be prepared. Websites like the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration (road.is) provide real-time updates on road conditions and weather forecasts (vedur.is).

the Hveravellir Geothermal area in the North Iceland

Driving the F35 Road: Tips and Safety Measures

Essential F roads Driving Tips

Driving on the F35 road requires some special techniques to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. Here are some detailed tips:

Gravel Roads: The F35 road is mostly gravel, which can be loose and slippery. Drive slowly and carefully to avoid skidding. It’s important to brake gently and steer smoothly to maintain control. Reduce speed when approaching bends or if you see oncoming traffic to prevent accidents caused by loose stones.

River Crossings: Some sections of the F35 involve crossing rivers, which can be hazardous if not done correctly. Always check the depth and current of the river before crossing.

If you are unsure, wait for another vehicle to cross first, or look for a safer point upstream. Drive slowly and steadily through the water to avoid creating waves that can flood the engine. Never cross if the water appears too deep or fast-moving.

Speed and Distance: Maintain a safe speed at all times, typically no more than 40-50 km/h (25-30 mph) on gravel roads. Keep a good distance from other vehicles to avoid flying gravel and ensure you have ample time to react to any obstacles or changes in road conditions. Always be prepared to stop suddenly for wildlife or unexpected hazards.

Car river crossing

Safety Precautions

Safety should always be your top priority when driving the F35 road:

  • Safety Gear: Carry essential safety gear including a first aid kit, warm clothing, and enough food and water for at least a couple of days in case you get stranded. The weather in the highlands can be unpredictable, so being prepared for all conditions is crucial.
  • Emergency Contacts: Have a list of emergency contacts, including the local police, emergency services, and your car rental company. Download useful apps like 112 Iceland, which allows you to send your location to emergency services quickly.
  • Breakdown Procedures: If you break down, stay with your vehicle. Use your emergency contacts to call for help, and if you have to leave the vehicle for any reason, ensure it is visible to rescuers. Leaving your vehicle can be dangerous due to the remote and harsh conditions of the highlands.

Staying Connected

Staying connected is vital for safety and navigation:

  • Mobile and Satellite Phones: Mobile coverage can be spotty along the F35 road. Ensure you have a working mobile phone, and consider renting a satellite phone for emergencies. These devices can be lifesavers in areas without cell service.
  • Navigation and Safety Apps: Use reliable apps like Google Maps for navigation and 112 Iceland for emergencies. These tools can help you stay on course and provide a quick way to call for help if needed. Download offline maps before you go, as internet access can be unreliable.

By following these detailed tips and precautions, you can ensure a safer and more enjoyable adventure on the F35 road. Always remember to respect the natural environment and adhere to Icelandic regulations to protect both yourself and the beautiful landscapes you are exploring.

a happy traveler in an Icelandic rental car

Experiencing the Natural Wonders of the F35 Road

Geothermal Wonders

The Hveravellir Geothermal Area is a must-visit. Here, you can see bubbling hot springs and even take a dip in a natural hot pool. Just remember to test the water temperature before getting in!

Hiking Opportunities

Kerlingarfjöll offers some of the best hiking trails in Iceland. The scenery is otherworldly, with colorful mountains and steaming geothermal vents. Be sure to pack sturdy hiking boots and plenty of water.

Wildlife and Flora

Keep an eye out for wildlife like Arctic foxes and various bird species. The flora along the Kjölur route is unique, with hardy plants that survive in the harsh highland conditions.

Guide to hike in Iceland best and updated

Exploring the Surroundings: Glaciers and Lava Fields

As you drive along the F35 road, you’ll have the opportunity to see the majestic Langjökull Glacier, Iceland’s second-largest glacier. This glacier, also known as Glacier Langjökull, offers stunning views and the chance for glacier hiking or ice cave tours. Additionally, the route passes through several lava fields, adding to the diverse and dramatic landscapes you’ll encounter.

Estimated Opening Time for the F35 Road

The F35 road typically opens for travel from late June to September, depending on weather conditions. This window is when the road is most accessible and safe for travel. Outside of these months, the road is often impassable due to snow and ice. Always check the latest updates on road conditions before planning your trip to ensure a smooth journey.

Practical Tips for Your Journey

Gas Stations

Before heading into the highlands, make sure to fill up your tank. There are no gas stations along the F35 road, so it’s essential to start your journey with a full tank. The last gas stations before entering the highlands can be found along the Ring Road, which circles the entire island.

Food and Supplies

Pack enough food and water for your trip, as there are NO facilities along the Kjölur road. It’s also wise to bring extra supplies in case of unexpected delays.

gas station guide in Iceland

Why Rent a Car from Hertz Iceland?

Benefits of Choosing Hertz Iceland

When planning your journey on the F35 road, choosing the right car rental company is crucial. Hertz Iceland stands out as the best choice for several compelling reasons:

  • Wide Selection of 4×4 Vehicles: Hertz Iceland offers a diverse range of 4×4 vehicles specifically suited for the challenging terrains of Iceland, including the F35 road. Whether you need a robust SUV or a more compact 4×4, Hertz has the right vehicle to meet your needs. These vehicles are well-maintained and equipped to handle gravel roads, river crossings, and steep mountain paths, ensuring a safe and comfortable journey.
  • Expertly Equipped Vehicles: Hertz Iceland ensures that all their vehicles are equipped with the necessary features for off-road driving. This includes reinforced tires, advanced suspension systems, and additional safety gear. This preparation means you can drive with confidence, knowing your vehicle is ready to tackle Iceland’s rugged landscape.
  • Excellent Customer Service: Hertz Iceland is renowned for its excellent customer service. Their team is knowledgeable about Iceland’s unique driving conditions and can provide invaluable advice and support before and during your trip. Whether you need route recommendations, weather updates, or emergency assistance, Hertz’s customer service is there to help.
  • Convenient Locations and Services: With locations across Iceland, including major cities and airports, Hertz Iceland makes it easy to pick up and drop off your rental vehicle. This convenience is particularly beneficial if your itinerary includes multiple destinations around the island, allowing for a seamless travel experience.
  • Reputation and Reliability: With a long-standing reputation for reliability and quality, Hertz Iceland is a trusted name for over 50 years in Iceland car rentals. The peace of mind that comes with renting from a reputable company cannot be overstated, especially when navigating Iceland’s remote and sometimes challenging roads.
  • Sustainability Efforts: Hertz Iceland is committed to sustainability and environmentally friendly practices. By choosing Hertz, you’re supporting a company that prioritizes reducing its environmental impact through initiatives like a green fleet of low-emission vehicles and responsible resource management.
Hertz Iceland is proud of our Camper van's condition

Be safe and enjoy your trip on F35 road!

Driving the F35 road in Iceland is an adventure like no other. From geothermal wonders to stunning landscapes, this route offers a unique glimpse into Iceland’s natural beauty.

Renting a reliable 4×4 vehicle from Hertz Iceland will ensure you have a safe and enjoyable trip. So, why wait? Rent a car from Hertz Iceland and start your adventure on the F35 road today!


FAQs about the F35 Road in Iceland

Is the F35 road open year-round?

No, the F35 road is typically open from late June to early September, depending on weather conditions. Always check current road status before planning your trip.

Can I drive the F35 road with a regular car?

No, you need a 4×4 vehicle to drive the F35 road safely. The terrain is challenging, and a regular car would not be suitable.

Are there accommodations along the F35 route?

Yes, there are several huts and guesthouses along the F35 route, such as the Hveravellir hut and Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort. It’s a good idea to book in advance.

What should I do if I encounter difficulties on the F35 road?

If you encounter difficulties, stay with your vehicle and call for help using your mobile phone or a satellite phone. Use the 112 Iceland app for emergencies and follow safety guidelines.

Best 4WD rental car for F35 Road Iceland

4wd land rover defender hire in iceland

Land Rover Defender or similar | Automatic | 4×4

PFAN | Group: G6 (PFAN)

  • 5 Seats
  • Automatic
  • Airconditioning
  • 5 Doors
  • 3 Large Luggage
  • Petrol or Diesel

Suitable for highlands, Please read the Terms & Conditions. You must be 25 years of age to drive this vehicle.

Additional Features
  • 4 Wheel Drive
  • 234 C02 g/km
  • Adjustable Steering
  • Cruise Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • ABS
  • Bluetooth
  • USB
  • Power Steering
  • Power Windows
  • Remote Locking
  • Airbags
  • Fog Lamps
Land cruiser 5 seater rental in Iceland

5 seats Toyota Land Cruiser or similar| Automatic | 4×4

FFAR | Group: I (FFAR)

  • 5 Seats
  • Automatic
  • Airconditioning
  • 5 Doors
  • 5 Large Luggage
  • Petrol or Diesel

Suitable for the highlands. Please read Terms & Conditions. You must be 23 years of age to drive this vehicle.

Additional Features
  • 4 Wheel Drive
  • 251 C02 g/km
  • Adjustable Steering
  • Cruise Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • ABS
  • Bluetooth
  • USB
  • Power Steering
  • Power Windows
  • Remote Locking
  • Airbags
Iceland 4x4 camper rental

Toyota Hilux Camper or similar | Manual | 4×4 | Sleeps 3

SHMN | Group: S (SHMN)

  • 5 Seats
  • Manual
  • Airconditioning
  • 4 Doors
  • 3 Large Luggage
  • Petrol or Diesel

Suitable for the highlands. Please read the Terms & Conditions. You must be 23 years of age to drive this vehicle.

Additional Features
  • 4 Wheel Drive
  • 242 C02 g/km
  • Adjustable Steering
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • ABS
  • Bluetooth
  • USB
  • Power Steering
  • Power Windows
  • Remote Locking
  • Airbags
Rent a Kia Sorento PHEV in Iceland

KIA Sorento or similar | Automatic | 4×4

SFAN | Group: O2 (SFAN)

  • 5 Seats
  • Automatic
  • Airconditioning
  • 5 Doors
  • 4 Large Luggage
  • Petrol or Diesel

Suitable for the highlands. Please read Terms & Conditions. You must be 23 years of age to drive this vehicle.

Additional Features
  • 4 Wheel Drive
  • 164 C02 g/km
  • Adjustable Steering
  • Cruise Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • ABS
  • Bluetooth
  • USB
  • Power Steering
  • Power Windows
  • Remote Locking
  • Airbags
new Dacia Duster rental car in Iceland

Dacia Duster or similar| Manual | 4×4

CFMN | Group: E2 (CFMN)

  • 5 Seats
  • Manual
  • Airconditioning
  • 5 Doors
  • 3 Large Luggage
  • Petrol or Diesel

Suitable for the highlands. Please read Terms & Conditions. You must be 20 years of age to drive this vehicle.

Additional Features
  • 4 Wheel Drive
  • 139 C02 g/km
  • Adjustable Steering
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • ABS
  • Power Steering
  • Power Windows
  • Remote Locking
  • Airbags
Toyota-Land-Cruiser-7-seater rental in Iceland

Toyota Land Cruiser 7 seater or similar | Automatic | 4×4

FVAN | Group: H (FVAN)

  • 7 Seats
  • Automatic
  • Airconditioning
  • 5 Doors
  • 2 Large Luggage
  • Petrol or Diesel

Suitable for the highlands. Please read Terms & Conditions. You must be 23 years of age to drive this vehicle.

Additional Features
  • 4 Wheel Drive
  • 252 C02 g/km
  • Adjustable Steering
  • Cruise Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • ABS
  • Bluetooth
  • USB
  • Power Steering
  • Power Windows
  • Remote Locking
  • Airbags