Exploring Iceland by campervan is a magical way to enjoy the country, especially if you haven’t been there before. In fact, many people will argue it’s the only way to do it! You can travel around as much as you want, visit destinations that are off the beaten path, and experience all the natural wonders of the country.
Note: This is a guest post by Crystalyn Rose. You can read about her below.
The open road, fresh air, and the country’s raw beauty will conquer your heart. Iceland is a country of contrasts. On one hand, you have glaciers with snow-covered mountains and on the other hand, you have volcanoes with steaming hot springs. There are lush green valleys and rocky deserts. It’s a country where you can see the midnight sun in June, when it’s never truly dark, or spot the Northern Lights on very long winter nights.
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Traveling Iceland by campervan
Icelandic roads are quite spectacular and driving a campervan is a very popular way of getting around. The Ring Road, the main road that circles Iceland, connects many interesting towns and natural attractions. It’s quite simple to find camping areas anywhere along this route. There are also several Iceland waterfalls that are easy to access from the ring road.
The country has an excellent network of campgrounds. Some are simple with just a toilet, and others are more luxurious with hot showers. Yes, hot showers are considered a luxury when you are camping! Many campgrounds also have excellent amenities such as swimming pools, hiking trails, playgrounds, laundry, and Wi-Fi.
Travel Tip: If you are looking to travel off the beaten path, it is important to have an experienced driver who knows how to handle conditions on highland roads.
How much does it cost to camp in Iceland?
Prices for campgrounds typically vary from €10 – €30 per person. While some campsites include the price of showers in their entrance fee, many of them charge extra. It won’t take long for you to appreciate a hot shower at the end of an adventure-filled day.
The Iceland Camping Card gives you access to over 30 campsites in Iceland at a flat rate. The card is valid for 28 days, making it a great option for longer trips. Keep in mind that not all campsites in Iceland are included on the card. If you are planning a shorter trip, I would suggest mapping your campsites out ahead of time and paying as you go.
The cost for camping in Iceland will be a bit less if you choose not to rent a 4×4 vehicle. However, I recommend spending the extra money on a vehicle that can travel on F-roads, which are rougher than the Ring Road. Rental car companies don’t allow you to take 2-wheel drive cars onto these roads.
Another item worth spending extra on is a portable Wi-Fi router. This was an essential item for our travels, as we used Google Maps to plan our entire trip. You’ll also be able to search for nearby grocery stores, gas stations, and attractions. Some companies include the cost of the Wi-Fi router in their camper. Other companies charge a bit extra (about €15 a day).
If you plan on eating out for dinner every day in Iceland, you may want to think again. The price of meals can add up significantly. If you are camping in Iceland, your best bet is to prepare food from the grocery store. Some simple food options are oatmeal, skyr (Icelandic yogurt), soups, energy bars, fruit, and sandwiches. When it comes to water, just fill up from the tap! There is no need to purchase bottled water in Iceland.
Best campervan rentals in Iceland
When it comes to choosing a campervan in Iceland, it’s important to do your research. Make sure your rental includes everything you will need during your trip. For example, does the price include a portable stove? Where will you store your food? Is there room for luggage and camping gear? These are all important things to consider when choosing which company to go with.
Travel tip: If you are planning to take your campervan off-road to explore the highlands, make sure you rent a 4×4 vehicle.
Here are some of the best campervan companies in Iceland:
- Happy Campers – Happy Campers is one of the most popular campervan rental companies in Iceland. The colorful vans are fully equipped with GPS, Wi-Fi, heating, linens, and cooking supplies. This company even offers an F-road compatible campervan. This is important if you plan on exploring any areas of Iceland that may be off the beaten path (the highlands). Another bonus? They offer free airport transportation so you can focus your time on planning and exploration.
- Mink Campers – This cozy teardrop camper is a bit different from your standard campervan. This clever camper hitches on to the back your vehicle and has everything you need for your adventure. The back of the teardrop camper flips open to a well-equipped kitchen with a gas burner, plates, cups, and utensils. We loved the unique design of the Mink Camper and chose this company for our trip.
- KuKu Campers – This quirky company has many camper options to choose from. You can rent a Suzuki Jimny 4×4 with a rooftop tent, or a classic campervan with some extra room. Their rental rates are competitive, and the customer service is outstanding. If you’re not sure which items you will need on your trip, allow them to stock your camper with all the necessities!
- Go Campers – Go Campers is one of the best-rated camper companies on the island. Their campervan options come complete with everything you need for your Iceland adventure. They also have a few camper options that are safe to drive in the highlands. From travel tips to useful maps, the Go Campers website is also full of valuable information for campers.
- Snail Campers – This family-run company includes everything in their price, so you don’t have to worry about any additional costs. Their campers are practical and equipped with all the necessities, including kitchenware, linens, and an independent heater. Because they have fewer vehicles in their fleet, this company books up quickly.
More and more people are traveling to this incredible island every year. Be sure to book your campervan well in advance!
Best Campsites in Iceland
There are many beautiful campsites to choose from when visiting Iceland. While some campsites are free, it is not uncommon to be charged a small amount for a hot shower or laundry machines.
While summer is the busiest period for travel in Iceland, there are still plenty of fantastic sites to see in the off-season. Some campgrounds are open year-round, while others close in winter. You’ll want to check the website of each individual campsite to inquire about operating hours, rates, or amenities. One of the best resources you can use for finding campsites in Iceland is the Go Campers Campsite Map.
- Reykjavik Campsite: The Reykjavik campsite is a great place to start or end your camping adventure in Iceland. This campsite is open year-round and has everything you need, from hot showers to a fully equipped kitchen. The grocery store is a short walk away so you can stock up on food before your journey. What I most appreciated was the “free shelf”. This is a useful spot for campers to leave behind any food, condiments, or camping gear they cannot take home with them. A quick bus ride will bring you into downtown Reykjavik.
- Vik Campsite: Located right off the ring road, the Vik campsite is in a beautiful location across from the black sand beach. This campsite has cozy dining facilities, showers, and even a few washing machines if you need to do laundry. The communal areas can get quite busy, so plan accordingly if you intend to do any cooking in the kitchen. Keep in mind, this campsite is closed during the winter months.
- Skaftafell Campsite: If you’re looking for a campsite surrounded by hiking trails and beautiful views, look no further. This year-round campsite has everything you need to unwind after a long day of exploring. You’ll have access to hot showers, a kitchen, and modern facilities. The campsite fee also includes access to the national park.
- Grindavík Campsite: The Grindavík is one of the highest rated campsites on the entire island. It is close to the airport, making it the perfect place to end or begin your travels. The well-maintained facilities have everything you need for a comfortable stay before catching a flight home.
Travel Tip: Many campsites are in rural areas. While grocery stores and gas stations are scattered around the island, it is important to plan!
More tips about traveling Iceland by campervan
- Only camp in marked campgrounds – wild camping is illegal in Iceland except with explicit permission of landowners.
- Never drive off-road, even in a 4×4: the moss in Iceland is very fragile and slow-growing. The same goes for hiking: stay on the path!
- If you stop along the road, make sure to pull entirely off it in a paved shoulder or side road. People drive quite fast on the Ring Road and you need to give them space.
- Also, if you stop on the road, hold onto your car door’s handle when you open it. It’s not uncommon for gusts of wind to damage car doors when they’re opened!
- Once you leave the “Golden Circle,” i.e. the most traveled part of Iceland, towns are quite far apart. Fill up your tank and pick up your supplies whenever you get the chance.
- If you travel in winter, plan carefully. The weather can be extremely harsh and the daylight is extremely short. Know where you are going and how to get there. Make sure you have all the supplies you could possibly need.
Exploring Iceland by campervan is an unforgettable experience. Iceland’s natural landscapes and spectacular scenery are unlike anywhere in the world. Whether you’re traveling in the summer or winter, the campsites are perfect for any type of traveler.
Traveling by camper gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace without being tied down to a strict schedule. Take your time to visit the famous sites and camp in some of Iceland’s best spots. The beauty of seeing Iceland by camper is that you never know what natural wonder you will come across next!
About the author
Crystalyn Rose is a freelance writer who loves traveling to beautiful, unique destinations. When she’s not traveling or writing, she’s busy gardening or spending time with the people she loves. Her true mission is to inspire wellness and healthy personal growth. You can read more from her on her blog, Mello Woman.