One of the highlights of my Iceland trip was camping. Halfway through my trip we exchanged our rental car for a camper van. We slept under a lighthouse by the ocean, cooked outside on a gass bottle and woke up with the best views. You won’t get any closer to nature!
Camping in Iceland by tent or camper van?
The two options for your camping trip are those of the tent or camper. Fortunately you can rent both with all equipment in Iceland, so that makes your camping trip a lot easier. The choice depends on your budget and your need for comfort.
Iceland is quite expensive, but camping makes it a lot cheaper, especially if you choose a tent. It is not only cheaper to rent a tent and car instead of a camper van. Fuel is also pricey and a car obviously uses less fuel than the heavy and sometimes old camper vans. A good option to rent your tent equipment is Iceland Camping Equipment.
I opted for a little more comfort and rented a Happy Camper. That way you have a small (indoor) kitchen and you don’t have to pitch your tent every night. The super friendly staff, nice campers and great camping experience from Happy Camper were great. Highly recommended!
Overview map of all campgrounds in Iceland
It is wise to choose campsites in Iceland and not to camp wild. When I went to Iceland, wild camping was allowed in some places (but certainly not in the national parks), but I read that this was about to change soon. I therefore advise you to opt for a stay at an official campsite. You then usually also have the comfort of a toilet, hot shower and electricity.
Check out the Camping Iceland Map below to find out exactly what campsites are open all year round or perhaps just in summer. If you click the map, it will open in Google MyMaps.
The best campsites in Iceland
Do you need help to choose the must-see’s from all those beautiful campsites? These are the five most beautiful that I have visited or wanted to visit!
#1 Camping Garður
This site is super convenient near Kevlavik International Airport and the Blue Lagoon, a perfect first or last camping stop in Iceland. But it is not only the convenient location that makes this campsite a must. The area is beautiful as well! You’ll sleep on the coast at the westernmost tip of the peninsula where the airport is located. So you’ll fall asleep under a lighthouse with a great ocean view. Tip: it can therefore be very windy and cold here, so be prepared for that.
#2 Camping Hamragarðar
One of the best camping locations in Iceland is this campsite. Sleeping under one of the famous waterfalls on the island, isn’t that cool? This campsite is therefore the perfect starting point for your mini road trip along the most beautiful waterfalls in southern Iceland. Want to know more about that? Read this blog!
#3 Camping Þakgil
I would have loved to visit this campsite! This campsite is close to the town of Vik. You have to take a gravel road from the Ring Road, but no worries: a 2WD is good enough to get here. Your effort will be rewarded with beautiful, green mountains. You can make beautiful hikes along waterfalls and caves. There are also cabins for those who prefer to skip the camping experience.
#4 Camping Skaftafell
Camping with a beautiful mountain view, in the middle of the Skaftafell National Park with its beautiful glaciers. Doesn’t that sound good?
#5 Camping Hofsós
You will find this hidden gem in the north of Iceland. Just like almost all campsites, the scenery here is beautiful, but this campsite has just a few extras. How about an infinity hot pool with a view of the northern fjords?
Practical camping tips for Iceland
#1 Campfires are not permitted. Your rental camping equipment will probably have a gas cylinder for cooking so you don’t need an open fire for that. But if you bring your equipment yourself, make sure to bring one.
#2 It can be quite cold at night, so be prepared. Make sure you have a thick pajama and – if you can choose your own sleeping gear – a good sleeping bag. We even slept in April / May with a hat and scarf, brrr!
#3 Bring a sleeping mask in the summer. It hardly gets dark in June. So if you are a light sleeper, it cuold be nice to have with a sleeping mask at night.
#4 Book your tent or camper well in advance. Particularly in the high season, it is hardly anywhere possible to arrange something last minute.
#5 Check in advance if the campsite of your choice is open. I traveled to Iceland in April / May, so just before the high season. Many campsites were not yet open at that time, so it wasn’t always easy to find a place to sleep. We were able to sleep on closed campsites though , but the facilities were simply not open. This site offers a handy overview of campsites that are open all year round.
#6 Consider a camping card. If you are camping in Iceland for a long time, a camping card could be a budget-friendly option. Read on this site how it works exactly and which campsites are working with the card.