One of the most scenic drives in the world is the 4WD Road F208 Iceland through the Central Highlands. The variety of landscapes and colors is just mind-blowing. At every turn you just gasp for air because you discover another stunning valley. Below is my guide to show you how beautiful it is.
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About road F208 though the Central Highlands
F208, also called Fjallabaksleid Nyrdi, is a 4WD access only road that leaves the Ring Road along the South Coast and drives through the Central highlands reaching the famous Landmannalaugar Iceland with its painted mountains and hot springs. From the North it starts at the powerplant and goes through a drier area before reaching Landmannalaugar.
There is only 20 km of that road that I have not driven.
I discovered the northern part with my photography tour.
After that, as I was alone without any experience in 4W driving, I hired a driver and its superjeep. I was quite expensive but it was well worth the money. Which such a scenic road, I was glad to be able to stop whenever I wanted!
If you can drive 4WD and cross rivers, this is a fantastic addition to your Iceland road trip.
PLANNING TIPS - Road F208 Iceland
Road F208 Iceland - location and condition
- From Road 1, F208 heads North 50km East from the town of Vik
- From Road 26, F208 heads South East of the Power Plant
- This is an F-road so it is only open in Summer - opening dates vary based on conditions - check out road F208 condition on Vegagerdin (zoom on the region)
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Driving the Icelandic F208 Road
- Difficulty: From the South all the way to lake Frostadavatn, in September we did not have big river crossings. However this is very dependent on the weather and glacier conditions. The South part of F208 can be very wet.
- Moreover this is not the most driven road to Landmannalaugar so not many people to help if you are stuck. You should not venture by yourself without 4WD driving experience. To give you an idea there is a video on youtube about the Southern part of F208.
- If you turn on F224 to reach Landmannalaugar, there are big 'ponds' to cross
- The Northern part of F208 does not require any river crossingq
- The road is bumpy but well maintained and clearly marked
- Regulations forbid you to drive this road with a vehicle that is not 4WD
If you don't have any 4WD experience like me, splurge for a driver in a Superjeep - it is so worth it - Check out this tour similar to mine
Holaskjol: a waterfall along F208
The beginning for F208 as we turn North from the Ring Road is nice but without anything spectacular. The first stop was at Holaskjol where I went for a short walk and discovered one of my favorite waterfalls in Iceland. I dedicated a full post to Holaskjol if you want more info and planning tips.
Iceland F208 Road - Southern part
Right after Holaskjol we started admiring incredible scenery, and the landscapes became more irregular. At each turn and each valley, I was amazed and thought it could not get prettier than that, but it always did! I especially loved the shapes with dark and green patches. the contrasts were mesmerizing.
The only problem is that it was beautiful in every direction and it was difficult to take it all in!
Below is a picture of my favorite point of view on road F208; I asked the driver to stop here for a while and took the time to admire each details of the landscape. The mountains we see here reach 1000 meter to 1100 meter height.
I am not sure exactly where it is on F208 but I think the loop of the road down is at 63.978091, -18.893792;
Detour to Landmannalaugar
A little while later we turn into F224 to reach the famous Landmannalaugar and its famous colorful mountains. I will be dedicating a post to this location with many more pictures
Lake Frostastadavatn along F208
The lake of Frotastadavatn was my next stop along F208.
On one side I really enjoyed seeing the flow of lava recovered by moss entering and stopping the lake. It is one of those place where I was able to really imagine the big flow of lava and realise the power of it. The rest was also stunning with patches of red, green and black.
This smaller lake is Ljotipollur, a bit off Road F208 East of Frostadavatn.
Northern portion of Road F208 Iceland
On my Superjeep drive I quit road F208 to head to Hekla.
However I covered a portion of the northern part of F208 during my photography tour the week before.
During our lunch break we visited the amazing Sigöldugljúfur canyon for which I have written a dedicated post with many photos and planning tips.
Alternative end - F225 Landmannaleid
If you are short in time, you don't have to to the northern section of F208, you can turn on the Landmannaleid road (F225) towards Hekla. It cuts back to road 26
And you can even quit the main track to go really off road in the lava field around the volcano Hekla.
Want to see more of Iceland's beauty?
I know Iceland is beautiful everywhere,
But this drive is the most scenic, don't you think?