The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Iceland


The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Iceland

The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Iceland

By: Hulda Dís - Our CEO
Sat, 23 Mar 2024
Reading time: 8 min

In this ultimate guide to camping in Iceland, we’ll delve into everything you need to know to make your outdoor adventure unforgettable. From the stunning landscapes to the practicalities of camping, we've got you covered.

Why Camp in Iceland?

1. Affordability:

Camping in Iceland is a budget-friendly option compared to traditional accommodations, allowing travelers to allocate their funds towards experiences rather than lodging expenses. With the relatively high prices in Iceland, camping offers a cost-effective solution for those seeking to explore the country without breaking the bank. This affordability aspect is invaluable to travelers on a budget, enabling them to extend their stay or partake in additional activities.


2. Independence and Immersion:

Experience the true essence of Iceland's landscapes by camping amidst its diverse scenery, offering a unique perspective and an unparalleled connection with nature. Unlike staying in traditional accommodations, camping grants travelers the freedom to immerse themselves fully in Iceland's natural beauty. From waking up to the sound of the breeze rustling through fields to feeling rejuvenated by the crisp morning air, camping provides an authentic and immersive experience that is unmatched by any other lodging option. It allows travelers to escape the confines of urban life and embrace the tranquility of Iceland's great outdoors, fostering a deeper appreciation for the country's awe-inspiring landscapes.

When to Go Camping in Iceland


Summer Camping (May-August):

Ideal for warmer temperatures, extended daylight hours, and exploring under the mesmerizing midnight sun. Summer camping in Iceland offers the perfect opportunity to soak up the country's natural wonders in favorable weather conditions. With longer daylight hours and milder temperatures, travelers can make the most of their outdoor adventures, whether it's hiking through lush valleys or marveling at cascading waterfalls. Additionally, the midnight sun phenomenon, where the sun sets late or not at all, allows for extended exploration and sightseeing, creating magical moments that linger long into the night. Check out this list of campsites in Iceland.

Winter Camping (September - April)


While winter camping in Iceland presents its challenges, such as unpredictable weather and shorter daylight hours, it also offers unique rewards. With fewer tourists and a quieter atmosphere, travelers can enjoy a more intimate connection with Iceland's landscapes, free from the hustle and bustle of peak-season crowds. Plus, the opportunity to witness the captivating dance of the Northern Lights adds an extra layer of enchantment to the camping experience, making it truly unforgettable. Here is a list of campsites open during the winter months.

The Easiest Way to Go Camping

Renting a campervan is the easiest and most convenient way to experience camping in Iceland. With a campervan, travelers have everything they need for their journey, from sleeping accommodations to cooking facilities, all in one vehicle. This eliminates the hassle of setting up tents and carrying heavy equipment, allowing travelers to focus on enjoying their Icelandic adventure to the fullest. Additionally, campervans that have 4x4 capabilities offer the flexibility to explore remote locations and off-the-beaten-path destinations, like in the Icelandic highlands. This provides for a truly immersive camping experience.

Tent Camping:


A budget-friendly option but requires careful planning and consideration of Iceland's unpredictable weather. While tent camping may require more preparation and flexibility than renting a campervan, it offers a more traditional camping experience that appeals to adventurous travelers. With the right equipment and mindset, tent camping allows travelers to connect with Iceland's landscapes on a deeper level, immersing themselves in the natural beauty of the country. Plus, camping in a tent provides a sense of freedom and independence that is unmatched by other lodging options, allowing travelers to truly embrace the spirit of adventure.

Purchasing a Camping Card:

Whether you rent a campervan or camp in a tent, purchasing a Camping Card is a wise investment for budget-conscious travelers. The Camping Card provides access to a network of campsites across Iceland, offering discounted rates and guaranteed accommodation for cardholders. This not only saves money on camping fees but also provides peace of mind knowing that you have a secure place to rest after a day of exploration. Additionally, the Camping Card supports sustainable tourism initiatives, ensuring that campers can enjoy Iceland's natural beauty responsibly.


How to Choose the Right Campsite for Your Adventure in Iceland


Explore a multitude of campsites offering varied amenities, from basic fields to fully-equipped locations. Iceland boasts a diverse range of campsites, each offering its own unique charm and amenities. From scenic beachfront sites to tranquil countryside retreats, there's a campsite to suit every traveler's preferences. Many campsites offer essential facilities such as showers, bathrooms, and electricity, while others provide more luxurious amenities such as restaurants and shops. Whether you prefer a rustic camping experience or a more comfortable stay, Iceland's campsites cater to all tastes and budgets, ensuring an enjoyable and memorable camping experience.

Always check availability and services before embarking on your journey, especially during peak seasons and festivals. With Iceland's growing popularity as a tourist destination, campsites can fill up quickly, particularly during the summer months and special events. It's essential to plan ahead and book your campsite in advance to avoid disappointment. Additionally, be sure to research the services and amenities offered at each campsite, as they can vary widely depending on location. By staying informed and prepared, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable camping experience in Iceland.


Staying Safe While Camping

Be mindful of Iceland's unpredictable weather and plan accordingly. Iceland's weather can be notoriously unpredictable, with sudden changes in temperature, wind, and precipitation. It's essential to check the weather forecast regularly and pack accordingly, including warm clothing, waterproof layers, and sturdy footwear. Additionally, be prepared for potential road closures or delays due to inclement weather, and always exercise caution when driving in adverse conditions. By staying informed and prepared, you can minimize the risk of encountering weather-related challenges during your camping trip.

Before setting out on your camping adventure, familiarize yourself with the local terrain, road conditions, and emergency services available in the area. It's also essential to brush up on basic camping skills, such as setting up a tent, using a gas cooker, and practicing Leave No Trace principles. This includes packing out all trash, avoiding damage to vegetation, and refraining from disturbing wildlife. By leaving the landscape as you found it, you can help preserve Iceland's natural beauty for future generations to enjoy. 

Wild Camping Regulations

Adhere to designated campsites to preserve the wilderness and respect local regulations. In recent years, Iceland has implemented stricter regulations regarding wild camping to protect its fragile ecosystems and minimize environmental impact. It is now illegal to camp outside of designated campsites without written permission from the landowner, and wild camping is prohibited in certain areas, including national parks and protected lands. To avoid penalties and legal consequences, travelers should obtain written permission from landowners before camping on private property. While this may require some additional planning and coordination, it helps foster positive relationships with local communities and promotes responsible tourism practices.

Additionally, travelers must refrain from lighting open fires, driving off-road, or disturbing natural habitats while engaging in outdoor activities. It's crucial to respect these regulations to preserve Iceland's natural beauty and ensure the safety of both visitors and the environment.


Tips for Camping in Iceland

Prepare for the unique aspects of Icelandic weather and daylight conditions. Iceland's weather can be unpredictable, with rapid changes in temperature, wind, and precipitation. Travelers should pack accordingly, including warm clothing, waterproof layers, and sturdy footwear. Additionally, be prepared for long daylight hours in summer and limited daylight hours in winter, adjusting your itinerary and activities accordingly. 

  • Bringing a sleeping mask in summer can help mitigate the effects of extended daylight hours, while planning for shorter days in winter can ensure you're prepared for early sunsets.
  • Plan ahead and book campsites in advance, especially during peak seasons and festivals. With Iceland's growing popularity as a tourist destination, campsites can fill up quickly, particularly during the summer months and special events. Many campsites allow online reservations, making it easy to secure your spot before you arrive. By planning ahead, you can ensure a stress-free camping experience and focus on enjoying all that Iceland has to offer.
  • Utilize local resources for laundry and other amenities. While some campsites offer laundry facilities, they may not be available at every location, so make sure to check which ones have that option.
  • Additionally, be prepared to bring your own toiletries and other essentials, as amenities may vary depending on the campsite. By planning ahead and utilizing local resources, you can ensure a comfortable and convenient camping experience in Iceland.
  • Stay informed about road conditions and travel advisories. Iceland's rugged terrain and unpredictable weather can present challenges for travelers, especially when driving in remote areas. Before embarking on your journey, check the latest road conditions and travel advisories to ensure safe and efficient travel.
  • Embrace the spirit of adventure and flexibility. While careful planning is essential for a successful camping trip in Iceland, it's also important to embrace the unexpected and remain flexible in your itinerary. Weather conditions may change, road closures may occur, and opportunities for spontaneous exploration may arise. By maintaining a positive attitude and embracing the spirit of adventure, you can make the most of your camping experience in Iceland and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Have an Epic Camping Experience in Iceland

Camping in Iceland offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature, explore breathtaking landscapes, and create unforgettable memories. Whether you're camping under the midnight sun in summer or witnessing the Northern Lights in winter, Iceland's natural beauty never fails to inspire awe and wonder. From tranquil beaches to rugged mountains, Iceland's diverse landscapes offer endless opportunities for outdoor adventure and exploration. So pack your gear, rent your campervan or car, hit the road, and embark on the camping experience of a lifetime in Iceland. We'd love to hear about your adventures and experiences in Iceland. Tag us on social media as you explore the country.

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