Iceland, a land of stark contrasts and breathtaking landscapes, offers an unparalleled camping experience. Whether you're a seasoned camper or a first-timer, the allure of Iceland's natural beauty is irresistible.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the best camping spots, rules, and tips to make your Icelandic adventure unforgettable.
Free Camping in Iceland
While the idea of setting up a tent amidst Iceland's stunning vistas is tempting, it's important to know that free camping in Iceland comes with certain restrictions. Wild camping is not permitted, and camping in camper vans and motorhomes is restricted to designated camping spaces or privately owned land with the owner's permission.
Tent camping is allowed on uncultivated land for one night, provided there's no campsite nearby and no restrictions from the landowner.
Best 15 Cheap Campsites in Iceland
Gata Free Camping (Westfjords)
Gata Free Camping, set in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula's wilderness, is a rare find for free camping in Iceland. This site, embraced by mountains and fjords, offers a serene escape into nature.
Ideal for those seeking solitude, it's a perfect spot for stargazing, hiking, and enjoying Iceland's raw beauty. The absence of a nightly fee makes it an attractive option for budget travelers.
Hornstrandir Nature Reserve (Westfjords)
Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, accessible only by boat, is a haven for rustic camping enthusiasts. This untouched reserve, with its rich biodiversity, offers an authentic wilderness experience.
Ideal for trekkers and wildlife watchers, it's a place to disconnect and immerse in nature. Camping is free, but getting there requires a boat trip, which incurs a cost.
Hellissandur Camping Ground (Snæfellsnes Peninsula)
Hellissandur Camping Ground, near the town of Hellissandur, offers a comfortable stay at an affordable price, typically around 1,500 ISK (approx. 12 USD) per night.
This campsite, with its basic amenities, is a budget-friendly option for exploring the Snæfellsnes Peninsula's attractions, including nearby glaciers and lava fields.
Þingvellir National Park (South Iceland)
Camping in Þingvellir National Park, a site of immense historical and geological significance, costs about 1,800 ISK (approx. 15 USD) per night. This UNESCO World Heritage site, known for the Alþingi, offers a unique blend of history and natural beauty. Campers can explore the park's rift valley and enjoy the stunning views of Lake Þingvallavatn.
Skaftafell Camping (South Iceland)
Skaftafell Camping, within Skaftafell National Park, is a hub for glacial adventures, priced around 2,000 ISK (approx. 16 USD) per night. This campsite is ideal for those eager to explore glaciers, waterfalls, and hiking trails.
Its location in the park provides easy access to some of Iceland's most breathtaking landscapes, including the famous Svartifoss waterfall.
Svínafell Campground (South Iceland)
Svínafell Campground, near the stunning Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, offers a unique camping experience for about 2,000 ISK (approx. 16 USD) per night. This site, set against a backdrop of glacial landscapes, is perfect for those who want to experience Iceland's icy wonders up close.
The campground's proximity to the glacier lagoon makes it an ideal spot for photographers and nature enthusiasts.
Skógar Campsite (South Iceland)
Skógar Campsite, located near the powerful Skógafoss waterfall, charges around 1,800 ISK (approx. 15 USD) per night. This campsite is a dream for hikers and waterfall enthusiasts, offering easy access to one of Iceland's most iconic natural attractions. It's an excellent base for exploring the nearby hiking trails and soaking in the breathtaking views of the southern coast.
Vík Campsite (South Iceland)
Vík Campsite, in the heart of the quaint town of Vík, is priced at about 2,000 ISK (approx. 16 USD) per night. This campsite allows visitors to immerse themselves in local culture while being surrounded by unique natural landscapes, including the famous black sand beaches and Reynisdrangar sea stacks.
It's a perfect spot for those who want to blend cultural exploration with nature's beauty.
Höfn Campsite (East Iceland)
Höfn Campsite, situated in the lively fishing town of Höfn, offers a stay for approximately 1,800 ISK (around 15 USD) per night. This campsite provides a glimpse into Iceland's maritime culture and is a great base for exploring the scenic eastern coastline.
It's ideal for seafood lovers and those interested in experiencing the unique landscapes and cultural vibes of East Iceland.
Camp Egilsstaðir (East Iceland)
Camp Egilsstaðir, in East Iceland's largest town, Egilsstaðir, charges about 1,500 ISK (approx. 12 USD) per night. This campsite serves as a perfect starting point for exploring the region's diverse landscapes, including nearby highlands and tranquil lakes.
It offers modern amenities and is ideal for those looking to discover the hidden gems and natural beauty of East Iceland.
Stykkisholmur Campsite (West Iceland)
Stykkisholmur Campsite, set in the picturesque fishing village of Stykkisholmur, is a gateway to the Westfjords. This campsite offers a unique blend of local charm and access to stunning natural landscapes.
With nightly rates around 1,500 ISK (approx. 12 USD), campers can enjoy the village's cultural and historical sites, as well as embark on excursions into the wild Westfjords.
Fáskrúðsfjörður Campsite (East Iceland)
Fáskrúðsfjörður Campsite, nestled in a town known for its Scandinavian heritage, offers a culturally rich camping experience. Priced at about 1,500 ISK per night (approx. 12 USD), this campsite allows visitors to delve into the unique history and charm of Fáskrúðsfjörður, while being surrounded by the tranquil beauty of East Iceland's coastline.
Bakkafjörður Campsite (North Iceland)
Bakkafjörður Campsite, located in a serene fishing village, is perfect for a peaceful retreat. With a modest charge of around 1,200 ISK per night (approx. 10 USD), it offers a quiet escape in North Iceland. This campsite is ideal for those seeking to unwind and enjoy the simplicity of rural Icelandic life, away from the hustle of tourist spots.
Húsavík Campsite (North Iceland)
Húsavík Campsite, in the heart of Iceland's whale-watching capital, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. For approximately 1,600 ISK per night (around 13 USD), campers can engage in various activities like whale watching, hiking, and exploring the natural wonders of North Iceland, all while enjoying the amenities and vibrant atmosphere of Húsavík.
Akureyri Campsite (North Iceland)
Akureyri Campsite, located in North Iceland's largest city, combines urban convenience with natural beauty. Charging about 1,800 ISK per night (approx. 15 USD), it offers easy access to Akureyri's cultural attractions and city amenities, while still being close to the stunning landscapes and outdoor activities that North Iceland is famous for.
Camping Rules and Tips for an Enjoyable Stay
Camping in Iceland is not just about finding the perfect spot; it's about respecting the environment and local regulations. Here are some key points to remember:
Camping Fees: Most campsites charge between 1,500 ISK and 2,500 ISK (approximately 12 to 20 USD) per person per night. Children often camp for free.
Camping Equipment Rental: For those traveling light, renting camping gear in Reykjavík is a convenient option.
Seasonal Considerations: Most campsites are open from May to September. Remember, Icelandic weather is unpredictable, even in summer.
Winter Camping: Some campsites are open year-round. Winter camping in Iceland is a unique experience, especially with a campervan equipped for the cold.
Camping in Iceland is an experience like no other. It's a journey through a land of fire and ice, where nature's wonders are just a tent flap away.
Check out Camper Rental Iceland for a range of options that suit every preference and budget. From fully-equipped motorhomes to practical campervans, find the perfect companion for your Icelandic road trip.
Whether you're seeking solitude in the Westfjords or adventure in the South, Iceland's campsites offer something for everyone. Remember to respect the land, embrace the adventure, and most importantly, enjoy every moment of your Icelandic camping experience. Happy camping!