When most people start planning their trip to Iceland, they assume it’s going to have the usual elements. Things like renting a car to drive around the island, staying in hotels, eating at restaurants, etc. Sounds like a pretty standard vacation, right? But after doing some digging, you might start to see a trend for Iceland’s visitors: Many of them go camping. Before your head starts to fill with images of a tent in the middle of a forest, let me stop you. Camping in Iceland actually takes many forms. Yes, one of them is tent camping (although you won’t find any forests in a land filled with volcanic activity). But traveling via campervan and even motorhome are also considered forms of Icelandic camping. Not only that, but staying at campsites is actually one of the preferred options for many of the 2.2 million tourists who visit Iceland annually.
Camping is a popular option both for travelers and for locals. The country has a thriving camping culture and a robust infrastructure of campsites and camping gear rentals stores for campers. Not only that, there are a large number of campervan and motorhome rental companies to serve your needs. With the wide selection available, you’ll be able to find the RV that is perfect for your trip. So let’s look at some of the advantages of camping in Iceland and well as the different types.
Advantages of Camping in Iceland
The main and most practical advantage of an Iceland camping trip is money. You’ll save so much dough by staying at campsites! With standard hotel rooms in downtown Reykjavik ranging from $150-400, it’s no wonder so many people choose the more economical option of camping. Imagine how much you would rack in in hotel charges alone if you stayed in Iceland for a 7-day itinerary. Campsites are much more feasible. If you’re a traveler on a budget, staying at campgrounds are definitely the better option. Campsites in Iceland range from $7-$15 per person per night. Of course, you also have to factor in that renting a campervan or motorhome will cost more than just renting a car, but after tallying all of the costs, choosing to camp is still much cheaper.
Type of Camping in Iceland
There are four general types of camping in Iceland. It’s important to choose the one that best fits your travel style. Wild camping isn’t for everyone, and neither is traveling in a motorhome. Let’s check them out.
Tent Camping in Iceland
This is the more “traditional” style of camping. Many of our readers associate this type of outdoor adventure with the word camping. You find a spot in the woods, set up a tent, and get a campfire going so you can roast some marshmallows. Outside of the United States, “camping” is a little different. Of course, you still have to set up a tent, but it’s almost always within the confines of a campground. There are showers set up, cooking and washing facilities, and some campsites even have Wifi. It all takes place at the campground, and you find a spot for setting up your tent among other campers.
Wild Camping in Iceland
Wild camping is what Americans tend to think of as camping. You head out into the woods and walk until you find a spot you like. This is actually illegal in many countries (Iceland included) because you can’t just go onto someone else’s property and do as you please. Even national parks are off-limits if it’s not a designated camping zone. The good news is that many campsites are quite expansive. There’s almost unlimited space, and it’s easy to get far away from other campers and feel as though you are camping in the wild.
Renting a Campervan
Renting a campervan is the third type of camping in Iceland. You still have to stay at campsites, but you don’t need to bother with setting up a tent or worry about bad weather. With a camper, you have not only your transportation but also your bed, kitchen and dining area all in one. They are like mini, stripped-down versions of motorhomes and could be the perfect option for your camping trip.
Renting a Motorhome
This is the most luxurious option for camping in Iceland. Motorhomes are spacious and genuinely feel like a home on wheels. You’ve got all the benefits of staying at a hotel (running water, a hot shower, comfortable bed) in addition to a kitchen. Being able to cook your own meals is a huge money saver in Iceland. You’re able to cook in a campervan, but motorhome kitchens are better equipped. If you want to travel in comfort and style, then a motorhome is for you. Be aware that motorhomes can’t go on F-roads (mountain roads) so you’ll need another option if you were planning on exploring the highlands.
Should You Go Camping in Iceland?
I say yes, you should definitely go camping in Iceland. Not only will you get back to nature (something Iceland is famous for), you’ll also likely save a lot of money. Really the only drawback I can think of is that you won’t have a shower the same way you would at a traditional hotel. But campsites are modern and well-equipped. And if you rent a motorhome, you will have a shower. As a final tip, be sure to take coins with you if you do end up staying at a campsite. You’ll need them for hot water. Enjoy your camping trip and let us know how it goes.
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