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In a couple of years I hope to cross Iceland east to west through the centre. I understand the roads in central Iceland are only open in the summer. Is that for vehicles only or for walking as well? I looked around but most info is about (4x4) cars and other vehicles.

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    Since Iceland has the "right to roam" similar to other Nordic countries, you're basically allowed to go wherever you are. You probably won't even be able to see the road due to the snowcover, so it would be weird if you could go everywhere except there :) so I wouldn't worry. – gerrit Nov 21 '12 at 13:58
  • @gerrit I'd turn that comment into an answer personally - seems like a perfectly sensible one! – berry120 Nov 22 '12 at 11:50
  • I actually shouldn't have said winter. I was thinking about spring or autumn. As the roads are closed to cars from september until may I wondered of walking outside those months would raise an eyebrow from authorities. Not being very familiar with the conditions I could imagine them not being to keen on rescuing yet another unprepared or overconfident hiker. – eblonk Nov 22 '12 at 13:03
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    @EBV2010 Whether it's strictly speaking legal, and whether it's a sensible thing to do are two different questions. If you're in doubt then regardless of the legality, I wouldn't do it! – berry120 Nov 26 '12 at 11:22
  • @eblonk, keep in mind that especially in spring after/during snowmelt the rivers will be torrents that will often be virtually uncrossable by any means, let alone on foot. AFAIK this is also a part of why they close certain roads at certain times - they're just not very passable. – fgysin Oct 11 '17 at 15:48
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Hiking in the Iceland highlands/roads when there's snow on the ground is certainly allowed, although you'd find travel much easier on skis. Be aware in the winter/spring the roads and marker / sign posts are totally buried in snow.

The mountain rescue service in Iceland will be happy to rescue you should you get into trouble - register with ICESAR in Reykjavik before you head out (They will also rent you a PLB if you want

There's no need for rescue insurance in Iceland, they don't charge for rescue.

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    that's really nice of them! – njzk2 Oct 1 '17 at 5:10
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Since Iceland has the "right to roam" similar to other Nordic countries, you're virtually allowed to go wherever you want. You probably won't even be able to see the road due to the snowcover, so it would be weird if you could go everywhere except there :) so I wouldn't worry.

Even when there's no snow, there's very little traffic. The busiest highland roads may get >100 cars/day, but some remote mountain tracks don't even reach 10 cars per week in summer, much less outside summer. I've walked on some of those more remote mountain tracks for a couple of days and I've never seen a car there.

As Simon says, rescue is not normally charged.

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