Camping in Iceland

  • In Iceland you are not allowed to camp anywhere - it is not legal.
May 14 2017

If you want to keep your cost to a minimum when traveling in Iceland, you have some choices despite the popular believe that Iceland is expensive.  One thing you need to do though is spending some time preparing and looking carefully into many options for transportation, accommodation, and food.  The more you prepare and the better your organize your vacation, the less expensive it will be. One option is to take advantage of the many campsites around the country to lower your accommodation cost. You can stay in a tent or a camper which is a good way to combine accommodation and transportation.

Over 200 campsites around the country

Iceland is probably one of the best countries in the world to camp, and there are good camping sites everywhere around the whole country; even in some of the most remote areas.  There are approximately 200 good quality camping sites in Iceland with all the necessary facilities and electricity to hook up a caravan.  Also, there is usually a swimming pool nearby.  This is part of an infrastructure Icelanders started to build decades ago.   Most of the camping sites are owned and maintained by local communities and prices are always much lower than a hotel or a guesthouse.  Most of those camping sites are quite convenient and a good option for accommodation.

Camping anywhere is not allowed

There are many articles on the internet wrongfully stating that Iceland is a country where you can camp anywhere.   You just need to take a turn a bit from the road and pitch your tent, park your camper, caravan or campervan. This is far from the truth and has not been an option for many years. This kind of "free spirit" camping was possibly an option around the seventies in the last century, but even Icelanders had stopped doing this long before tourism started to increase.  But unfortunately, some of our visitors have the misconception that this is allowed.  There are many reasons why this is not possible.  One reason is ownership of land, and the responsibility landowners have when they permit camping on their land.  Other reasons are practical, like sanitary and garbage reasons.  It would be impossible to clean up the garbage and human waste if everyone started to camp anywhere outside camping sites. It would be very disrespectful to other visitors, to Icelanders and the landowner.  So Hit Iceland encourages everyone who is traveling in a camper or staying in a tent to use the some of the many great camping sites around the country and not stopping just anyplace and pitch a tent.

Read this important article written by a local expert before you choose a car.