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Google, Wikipedia, and my paper maps, all classify the road from (near) Gullfoss to the ring road between Blönduós and Varmahlíð as an F-road (F35), which requires a 4WD and on which "normal" rental cars are not permitted (due to insurance reasons). However, Openstreetmap and more importantly Vegagerðin describe it as a regular road 35 with no F-prefix, and the Kerlingarfjöll tourist destination states that it is with good conditions accessible in all types of cars (despite Vegagerðin still considering the last 10 km on route F347 to be a mountain road). Openstreetmap tags state ref=35, old_ref=F35. Google Streetview indicates it is F35, but dates from September 2013. Elsewhere I've read that this road has no more unbridged river crossings.

Is route (F)35, Kjalvegur, over Kjölur, presently classified as a mountain road or a regular road, between Gullfoss and the ring road between Blönduós and Varmahlíð? Are regular rental cars permitted to travel on this route? Has this changed recently?

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The road number has actually changed from F35 to 35, as you can read on Iceland Wikipedia:

Kjalvegur taldist til fjallvega til skamms tíma og bar þá númerið F35 (og áður F37).

Kjalvegur used to count as a mountain road until a short while ago and had then the number F35.

This remark is from November 2009, so the renaming is quite a while back. Some other online map services, e.g. wego.here.com uses the correct road number. Bing Maps does not designate the road with a number, but only uses the common name Kjalvegur.

The road is however still listed by the Icelandic Road Administration as a mountain road (fjallvegur). It also runs through the geographical area, in which passenger rental cars are not allowed independent on the road number or designation.

If I understand it correctly, the F prefix or the fjallvegur classification does not necessarily mean that the road is only suitable for 4x4 drive vehicles. The car rental companies have learned their lessons from unexperienced foreign drivers, who are not used to the poor road conditions on Iceland and are restricting the use of their rental cars far beyond the actual legal requirements.

The Kjalvegur has indeed been upgraded a lot in the last 10 years or so and all river crossings have been bridged. It is neither impossible, nor by law prohibited to pass it with a passenger car, but it is a bumpy gravel road and by all standards in a relatively poor state.

  • I see. So mountain road is not identical to F-road? – gerrit Jul 8 '17 at 12:35

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