Are you ready to live a unique experience amidst the stunning Icelandic nature? Camping in Iceland is a fantastic option to explore this beautiful country in a close and authentic way. In this camping guide in Iceland, I will provide you with all the necessary information to make the most of this adventure.

Can You Camp in Iceland?

Yes, you can camp in Iceland. Iceland is definitely a perfect destination for camping enthusiasts and offers several options to enjoy this unique experience. Whether you prefer camping in a tent, with a motorhome, or with a camper or car, you will find various camping options in Iceland that will suit your preferences and travel style.

  • Camping in a tent: It is a popular way of camping in Iceland, and of course, experiencing the country’s nature. There are sites adapted for this type of travelers; nevertheless, remember to bring all the necessary equipment, such as a sturdy tent, warm sleeping bags, and cooking utensils.
  • Camping with a motorhome: Iceland is an ideal destination for traveling in a motorhome. There are campsites specially designed for motorhomes throughout the country, with facilities including parking areas, water and electricity points, and sanitary services. The flexibility offered by renting a motorhome in Iceland is incomparable. It allows you to explore different regions and change location according to your preferences.
  • Camping with a camper or car: If you prefer a more compact and versatile option when camping, you can choose to rent a camper in Iceland or even go with your own car; it’s an excellent alternative. Some campsites offer specific areas for campers and cars, with amenities such as electricity and picnic areas. Remember to bring portable kitchen equipment and make sure you have everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Regardless of the option you choose, you should prepare to enjoy the stunning beauty of Iceland and spend unforgettable nights under the starry sky.
Camping in Iceland

Where to Camp in Iceland: The Law

Iceland is famous for its pristine nature and breathtaking landscapes, so it is important to know the regulations and laws governing camping in Iceland. Camping in nature is allowed, but under certain rules, as it is crucial to respect certain guidelines to preserve the environment and ensure harmonious coexistence with other visitors and locals.
The first thing to consider is that there is no right to wild camping or “freedom to roam” in Iceland; a right that would allow anyone to camp in any public or private area for recreational purposes. The prohibition of camping anywhere came into effect in 2015 due to the damage that tourists themselves were causing to the country’s nature. A pity, isn’t it?

But that doesn’t mean you can’t go camping in Iceland anymore, just that there are other ways subject to the law, such as:

  • Designated areas: To camp in nature, it is recommended to look for designated areas for this purpose. These can be parking areas that allow overnight stays or recreational areas. They usually have few facilities, some even only have the area to set up or park, yet they allow you to enjoy nature while minimizing damage.
  • Campsites: These areas are clearly marked and generally have basic facilities, such as bathrooms and outdoor kitchen areas. By using these areas, you will be following the rules and regulations established to maintain the balance between tourism and environmental preservation.

Camping Law in Iceland
You should avoid:

  • Not camping on private property: It is essential to respect private property and obtain the proper permission if you wish to camp on private land. Make sure to get the owner’s consent before pitching your tent.
  • Free and wild camping: as we mentioned, it is not allowed except under very, very specific conditions. Such as being in remote areas, away from settlements, protected areas, and with no option for camping or designated area. In such cases, you can camp; however, it is essential to follow the following guidelines when practicing this type of camping in Iceland, which is an exception and not the rule:
  1. Set up your tent in non-sensitive areas, avoiding areas with fragile or protected vegetation.
  2. Maintain a safe distance from rivers and freshwater sources to avoid pollution and protect the aquatic ecosystem.
  3. Do not make ground fires. Always use designated fire areas or bring a camping stove with you.
  4. Make sure to take everything you bring with you, including trash and waste. The principle of “Leave No Trace” is essential to preserve Iceland’s natural beauty. Additionally, always respect local indications and maintain a responsible and conscious attitude when camping in Iceland.

Rules for Camping in Iceland

What Are Campsites Like in Iceland?

Campsites in Iceland offer a variety of amenities to meet the needs of campers. Although facilities may vary depending on the campsite, some are extremely luxurious, to the point of including golf courses (yes, you read that right), and others are so basic that they only offer parking areas and little else.
Despite these differences, here are some common features:

  • Bathrooms and showers: Most campsites have bathrooms and showers available for campers. These are usually clean and well-maintained, allowing you to freshen up after a day of exploration.
  • Outdoor kitchens: Some campsites provide outdoor kitchens equipped with stoves, sinks, and picnic tables. These areas are perfect for preparing meals and socializing with other campers.
  • Picnic areas: Many campsites offer designated areas for outdoor dining. These areas typically have tables, benches, and, in some cases, even barbecue grills.
  • Electrical connection: Some campsites have electrical connections for those traveling with motorhomes or campers. This will allow you to charge electronic devices or use appliances that require electricity.

Remember that services may vary between campsites, especially in more remote areas. If you need specific amenities, we recommend always checking the features of each campsite before opting for a particular one.
Camping Prices in Iceland

Map of Campsites in Iceland

To help you plan your camping trip in Iceland, we recommend consulting a map of campsites. We have brought you one created by Happy Campers that can be of great help. In it, you will find the exact location of campsites throughout the country, allowing you to plan a route and choose the campsites that best suit your plans. Additionally, some maps may also provide additional information, such as the services offered at each campsite and associated fees.
Those marked in blue are open all year round, those in green only in summer. The rest are open during the summer, but their opening extends somewhat more during spring or autumn.

Recommended Campsites by Region

Here’s a small table with some of the main campsites in Iceland by region.

RegionRecommended Campsite
Northwest RegionLónsá Camping
Northeast RegionÁsbyrgi Camping
West RegionHellissandur Camping
East RegionHallormsstaður Camping
South RegionVík í Mýrdal Camping
WestfjordsTunguskogur Camping

The best campsites in Iceland are usually located in the southern part of the country; nevertheless, these options from the table will provide you with a good reference, both in terms of location and visitor reviews.

Considerations When Camping in Iceland

When camping in Iceland, there are several important aspects to consider to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Should You Make Reservations?

Most campsites in Iceland usually do not require reservations; it’s simply a matter of arriving and requesting your spot. In the most basic campsites, there probably won’t be anyone, just a box to pay for the overnight stay.
However, if you are traveling during the high season (June, July, and August), we always recommend at least contacting the campsite in advance and having at least two options per area. Sometimes there is so much demand that there may not be availability.

This is more common in the southern region of the country, where most travelers concentrate. So, better safe than sorry, right?

Price of Camping in Iceland

The price of camping in Iceland can vary depending on the location and services offered. Prices generally range between 1,500 and 3,500 Icelandic krona (9-23 €) per person per night.
Some campsites may also charge additional fees for the use of electricity or special services. It is advisable to carry cash, as not all campsites accept credit cards.

Paid Campsites in Iceland

Necessary Equipment for Camping

To enjoy a successful camping experience in Iceland, it is important to bring the right equipment. Some essential items include:

  • Sturdy and waterproof tent: Iceland’s weather is what it is, even in summer.
  • Warm and comfortable sleeping bag: with a wide thermal range in case some nights get colder than expected.
  • Mat or mattress for added comfort during rest.
  • Appropriate clothing for Iceland’s changing weather conditions, including waterproof and thermal layers.
  • Sturdy and appropriate footwear for hiking and varied terrain.
  • Basic cooking utensils, such as pots, pans, plates, cutlery, and cups.

Those traveling with a motorhome or camper in Iceland usually already have this equipment, as rental companies of these types of vehicles usually offer this option. In case you want to go camping around the country but only occasionally, you can also rent camping equipment in Iceland; there’s no need to buy a camping stove in Iceland as soon as you land or even bring the stove from your home country.
There are different companies where you can rent camping stoves, gas canisters, tents, GPS, and everything else you can think of. So, there’s no need to worry about your favorite pot not fitting in your backpack or having it confiscated by Ryanair, ahem.

Camping Equipment

Camping Card

The Camping Card is a convenient and economical option for those who want to camp in Iceland during their trip. This card gives you access to a wide selection of campsites throughout the country at a fixed price. Below is a brief summary; for more information on the conditions of the card and the campsites it includes, we invite you to read our guide on the Icelandic Camping Card.

  • Price and duration: The Camping Card is offered for a maximum of 28 consecutive nights. The price of the 2023 Camping Card is €179.
  • Inclusion of services: The Camping Card usually includes the same basic services offered by participating campsites, such as access to showers and bathrooms, kitchen areas. Some campsites also offer additional services, such as access to swimming pools or discounts on local activities.
  • Validity and restrictions: The Camping Card usually has a validity during the camping season, which generally spans from May to September. The card expires on September 15th each year, and some of the included campsites close before that date. It also only grants access to a family of a maximum of 2 adults and 4 children under 16 years old. If you are more than two adults, you will need another card.

Despite the restrictions, it is considered a cost-effective option for camping in Iceland compared to individual payment per night at each campsite if you are a large group. Be sure to assess your needs and travel plans before purchasing the card to see if it fits your preferences and is really cost-effective based on your group and travel itinerary.
Camping Card in Iceland

When Do Campsites in Iceland Open?

The camping season in Iceland generally starts in May and extends until September. However, keep in mind that the exact opening and closing of campsites may vary depending on the location and weather conditions. When planning your trip, be sure to check the opening and closing dates of the specific campsites you wish to visit.

Campsites Open in Winter

If you plan to visit the country during the colder months, there are some campsites in Iceland that open in winter. These campsites are usually located near popular areas for winter sports and offer basic services for visitors, such as electricity and heating in common areas. We invite you to visit the list of Icelandic campsites that open in winter.
However, keep in mind that weather conditions can be extreme and that some campsites may have reduced hours or limited services during this season.

Campsites Open in Winter in Iceland

Camping Guide in Iceland

With this camping guide in Iceland, you have all the necessary information to enjoy an unforgettable experience amidst the stunning Icelandic landscapes. Whether you choose to camp in a tent, with a motorhome, or in a camper or car, be sure to respect the regulations and designated areas, preserve nature, and fully enjoy the tranquility and beauty of Iceland.
Always remember to maintain a responsible attitude, follow local guidelines, and leave the environment as you found it. Get ready to create lasting memories as you immerse yourself in the majesty of Icelandic nature!