The tourist gold rush taking place in Iceland usually bodes badly for visiting foreigners. Prices have skyrocketed and new rules and regulations have been mercilessly added to squeeze as much money from you guys as is possible.
A case in point are the car rental agencies in the country. All of them have tightened their rules considerably and nowadays one cannot hire a 2wd vehicle for anything much more than city driving. All the highland roads, marked by F on maps, are off-limits for all 2wd vehicles in spite of a number of highland roads being no harder to drive than many regular country roads here.[blockquote type=”blockquote_line” align=”right”]From your perspective this is a horrible deal[/blockquote]
From a business perspective this makes great sense. You want to see the beautiful highlands on your travel so you are forced to rent a 4×4 vehicle which will often double the already expensive rental price and the gas bill will be astronomical. The car rental makes double its money and even keeps its cars from getting dirty or scratched. It is what business books call win-win.
From your perspective this is a horrible deal. A large chunk of the attraction of this island is the magnificent highland area but even one slight visit off the Ring Road will cost hundreds of thousands of local kronas if forced to rent a 4×4.
A case in point is the tiny piece of F-marked road you need to take to reach the beautiful Aldeyjarfoss waterfall in Bardardalur in the North of the country. The distance from the end of the regular country road to the waterfall is about 30 minutes drive. Last two summers team Total Iceland has gone this route and not once noticed much difference between those two roads. At the very least not a difference to make such inflexible rules applicable.
One could in theory drive a 2wd all the way to Aldeyjarfoss in our opinion without an incident or much troubles in a small vehicle. But this could make you liable to fork out heavily for fines from the car rental companies.
A better way is to rent a 2wd and buy good walking shoes. Then drive to the end of the country road in question, road 842, and park the vehicle. Then hike the rest of the way and follow the Skjalfandafljot river. This might take you an hour or two depending on weather and conditions but is worth it since this area is all very nice and quiet. You get a nice exercise and nicer memories than by driving and best of all you will not be breaking any rules and not paying an arm and a leg for a 4×4.
Sjá Road to Aldeyjarfoss in Iceland á stærra korti