Top 10 Tips for Camping in Iceland in Summer

If you’re wondering where, how and when to go camping in Iceland, this article will surely make your life easier!

Camping in Iceland

blog authorBy Johanna Sigurðardóttir shield verificationVerified Expert

    The Icelandic summer months are the perfect time to go camping in Iceland. But before you grab your gear and head out, read our article filled with tips and tricks for your Icelandic camping trip.

    Iceland is a country that’s geared toward camping (which might seem counterintuitive considering that the country experiences mostly winter all year round). But that’s why you should take advantage of all this island has to offer those camping in Iceland during the summer months.

    When is the Best Time to Go Camping?

    We’ve already established that summer should be your go-to when camping in Iceland. This includes June, July and August. During those months, Iceland's weather is nice and warm and you’re less likely to experience some of the infamous Icelandic blizzards! With winds that bring a cold that creeps deep into your bones and feels like your tent is going to be ripped from the ground. Days are also long and if you go mid-summer you’ll get to experience the midnight sun phenomenon.

    Camping in Iceland

    Our Top 10 Tips for Camping in Iceland in Summer

    As with anything in a foreign country, there might be things that you haven’t thought about or you might have fallen prey to common misconceptions. With our top 10 tips for camping in Iceland, you’re bound to have the best summer camping trip you can possibly have.

    1. Things Have Changed in Iceland

    Many still come to Iceland with the notion that free campsites Iceland abound in the form of any open patch of land. This might’ve been the case years ago, but things have changed. You can no longer pitch your tent or park your campervan wherever you find an open spot. 

    If it’s private property, you’ll need to have a letter from the owner giving you permission. Other than that you’ll need to stick to demarcated camping sites. This is very important if you don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of the law by accident.

    2. There are Super Affordable Ways to Camp in Iceland

    Since 2015 you’ll be hard-pressed to find a free campsite in Iceland. But there is a way to do it very cheaply. By purchasing the Iceland camping card for only €159 you can get access to several campsites all across Iceland for you and your entire family (up to 2 adults & 4 children). This card gives you the right to stay for up to 28 nights.

    Obviously, if you're looking for fancier campings and are ok with paying a premium price, there are also many glamping options in Iceland.

    3. Take the Road Less Travelled

    So many visitors stay in and around Iceland’s Ring Road. But by doing that, you’re missing out on some truly unique and magical Iceland sights and experiences. One of the must-visit spots when camping in Iceland during the summer is the Westfjords. Just keep in mind that you will have to rent a 4x4 vehicle in Iceland to be legally allowed to take on those Westfjords routes. Some other places to visit include Dettifoss, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and Landmannalaugar.

    Landmannalaugar camping in Iceland

    4. Give Yourself Enough Time

    Many visitors make the mistake of allocating too little time for their Iceland adventure. Yes, you can do the Golden Circle in just one day, but you’ll have too little time for all the sights and attractions you can visit on the way. You also definitely, don’t want to rush your Icelandic experience.

    We recommend giving yourself ample time for stops along the road. And then ample time to scour the area around your campsite. It’s a good plan to grab Google maps and just see what some of the interesting spots and activities around your campsite are and plan how long you’ll stay according to your to-do list.

    5. There is a Bit of a Public Bathroom Problem

    In general, Iceland’s not big on public bathrooms. Your campsite might be equipped with an ablution block, but whether it’s enough to comfortably serve all the campers could be debatable. And on your way to the campsite, you should just learn to expect no public bathrooms along the way. You don’t want to get caught not knowing what to do when you have to go number two.

    6. The Summer Months are Busy

    When you’re planning on going camping in Iceland during the summer months you need to be prepped long before you arrive. From rental vehicles to camping spots and activities – you’ll need to make sure that you book well in advance. For example, our Dacia Duster rentals in Reykjavik usually get all booked very early because the Duster is one of the cheapest 4WD vehicles in the market, whereas more expensive models, like the Land Rover Defender, remain available for longer.

    With so many tourists flocking to Iceland in the summertime, it’s easy to be bitterly disappointed when you’re left stranded in the capital with no vehicle or there’s no more availability left for that bucket list activity you were so excited for.

    Highlands camping in Iceland

    7. Respect the Moss

    This is something no visitor will ever think of. Iceland is practically covered in moss. The moss is crucial to the Icelandic ecosystem and incredibly fragile. Stepping on it, yanking it out from the ground, walking all over it etc. are absolute no-gos. It can take up to 70 years for it to grow back, so if you want to avoid being the most hated person in Iceland, you’d better stick to admiring these mossy patches from afar when camping in Iceland.

    8. Absolutely No Campfires Allowed

    Before you start getting out the S’mores starter kit, you need to keep in mind that campfires are not allowed when camping in Iceland. Unless you’re planning on toasting those marshmallows over a designated barbeque pit, you’re out of luck.

    9. Making a Packing List Might be More Crucial Than You Think

    If you’re planning on going camping in Iceland, you need to be prepared for the area you’re visiting. It’s all fair and well to pack the basics and simply pop into a market or a shop to stock up on supplies when in a populated area. 

    But, if, for example, you’re camping in the Westfjords you’re going to find yourself in a Bear Grylls situation if you haven’t packed enough supplies or forgot essentials at home. You can use our essential road trip packing list as a good starting point.

    10. You Don’t Need to Constantly Pack and Unpack

    Many who want to do proper camping in Iceland where they travel around the island, hit some of the best campgrounds and visit some of the most famous attractions, don’t want the hassles of constantly packing and unpacking campsites. 

    And with the uncertainty in regards to certain amenities, the safest and most comfortable way to camp in Iceland is to rent a campervan. Not only is your campsite pretty much all set up wherever you go, but the van also comes equipped with everything you’ll need while camping in Iceland.

    Camping in Iceland with a campervan

    Easy camping in Iceland!

    By following our helpful advice, tips and tricks in this article, you’ll have your express ticket to “Camp Easy Iceland”. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!

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