Camping in Iceland: Costs, what to pack, where to stay, and more

tent camping in iceland at sunrise

Camping in Iceland is truly one of the best ways to experience the beauty and magnitude of the country's outdoor wonder. I know, I know, not everyone is into camping. If you like camping and have some gear already, this is a huge way to stick to a budget while in Iceland! Not to mention it gets you up close and personal to some of Iceland’s most amazing, iconic spots.

While many people opt for camper vans, we found them to be too expensive to justify on this trip. We already owned a small backpacking tent, sleeping bags, and sleeping bags, so we packed a backpack with our camping gear and saved hundreds of dollars camping instead of staying in hotels. The average tent spots in Iceland range from $10-30 USD. Most have hot showers, toilets, kitchen sinks, and even laundry. Sometimes laundry and showers are an additional charge, but usually very affordable at around $2 per use. Some campgrounds are even set up like hostels with kitchens, heated common areas, wifi, and more to keep campers comfy when the weather gets iffy.

Another perk of camping: you’ll get far closer to the iconic spots on the island than you would if you were staying in a hotel. Most of the best glaciers, volcanoes, and hot springs are a bit outside of towns, but the campgrounds are oftentimes located right next to the attractions!

Looking for something specific? Jump to a section using the links below.

Hotels vs. camping in Iceland

I get it, I love a good, comfortable hotel, bonus points if it's aesthetically pleasing, too. When you're on vacation, having a nice place to stay can make or break the trip. On the other hand, sometimes hotels are pretty far removed from the places you're hoping to see while on said vacation. Iceland is one of those places that's really pretty remote, and camping gets you a lot closer to the places you're traveling thousands of miles to see. Hotels are often in cities, but campgrounds are generally very close to Iceland's most iconic spots.

If you're like us and trying to see and experience as much as possible while traveling, camping just might be the way to go! And, if you've never camped before, Iceland is the perfect first camping experience because the campgrounds we stayed at were the nicest we've ever experienced!

What to pack for camping in Iceland

* If you're planning to camp in a campervan or RV there's a good chance your rental company will provide many of these items. Be sure to check with your specific rental company before you pack to see what your rate does and doesn't include.

Unless you're an avid four season camper, you're going to need to put some thought into what to pack for camping in Iceland to ensure you're comfortable and warm enough to enjoy the experience. Here's the gear we used while in Iceland:

Our sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and tent on a cold morning camping in Iceland
Our sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and tent on a cold and rainy morning camping in Iceland


Why we love the Big Agnes Cooper Spur HV UL2 Bikepack Tent: we love cycling and want to get into bike-packing, so when we needed a new tent this past summer we snagged this backpacking tent since it's also perfect for bike-packing because of the way it easily fits between the handlebars of your bikes. It's compact, lightweight, super easy to set up. It can also be set up anywhere so if you don't have the right type of ground to secure your tent with the spikes, it can work freestanding, too!


Sleeping bag

Chris and I have different sleeping bags but I'm linking the one that I (Sara) use because I can't seem to find Chris'. I know he has one by Marmot, but I think it's since been discontinued. I absolutely love my Sea to Summit sleeping bag. I'm a naturally a very cold sleeper and this one has kept me warm down to around 35 degrees (but mine is rated to 23 degrees). It's cushy, comfy and the perfect amount of cozy in a tent! I can't seem to find my exact model, but this is almost the same but is rated down to 15 degrees.


Sleeping pad

Before this year we both had pretty cheap sleeping pads we got on clearance. While they served us well during some really warm summer nights, we knew it was time to invest in some good sleeping pads that would be good for cold weather camping since we had this Iceland trip on the agenda. If you're newer to camping, don't underestimate the importance of a good sleeping pad! I don't just mean how comfortable it is, but how insulated it is. The difference this new sleeping pad made for me using the same sleeping bag is incredible. This sleeping pad packs light and is plenty comfortable and has an R rating 6.9. Highly recommend!



While I love the outdoors and camping, I really love sleeping in a comfortable bed. One thing I miss most when camping is the comfort of my pillow and neck support. I recently found this camping pillow and it's changed the game for how my neck feels when I wake up in the morning. This pillow is big enough to be comfortable enough but small enough to fit in the head of my mummy-style sleeping bag which keeps it from sliding around. It even has a softer front side which feels much better against my face when sleeping, and it packs nice and small which is perfect even for airplane travel.


Stove and fuel

Okay, so we opted to not pack a camping stove. If you'd like to pack one, do it. Fuel tanks are easy to find in Iceland to purchase when you arrive, but if you're not planning to camp in the backcountry, I'd recommend just sticking to stove-less meals (a.k.a. pb&j), or choose campgrounds that have communal kitchens. It's just easier.


Cooking pot/pan

Obviously bring pot/pan if you bring the stove, otherwise just leave it home.



Even if you opt not to pack your own camping stove, it doesn't hurt to bring your own utensils. They pack small and it's likely campgrounds won't provide them, so bring your own just in case.



We always travel with our Miir 12 oz Flip Travel Tumblers. These are the perfect, packable size and they keep coffee warm for hours. They feel great in your hand and they (usually) fit in car cupholders.


Lantern or flashlight or headlamp

We packed two different lights for camping in Iceland: Our trusty Black Diamond headlamp and our solar powered Luci light lantern. We generally hang the Luci light from the ceiling of the tent then use the headlamp for midnight bathroom breaks and setup/tear down in the dark. Both pack small and are great to have on hand.


First aid kit

It's always a good idea to pack a first aid kit just in case because you never know what could happen. This first aid kit packs small and has all the essential for smaller injuries.


Garmin InReach Mini 2

This is a new addition in our gear closet and I can't believe how long it took us to splurge on this essential piece of gear. This little piece of technology can literally save your life with the click of a button. In short, it's a 2 way satellite communication device that allows you to communicate with loved ones of send out an S.O.S. signal for help. Yes, it comes with a price tag + monthly subscription, but the subscriptions start at just $15 USD/month and they can be paused whenever you don't need it.


Best seasons for camping in Iceland

The best season for camping in Iceland truly depends on your appetite for adventure. Most campgrounds are open during the warmer summer months, from late May to early September. This is when you can experience Iceland's famous midnight sun and milder temperatures. However, for those who have a real knack for the wild and aren't afraid of a bit of cold, there are a select few campsites that remain open all year round, giving you the chance to perhaps catch the magical Northern Lights. But remember, Iceland’s weather can be unpredictable, so pack accordingly and stay safe.

Spring (April to June): Spring camping in Iceland offers a chance to witness the country's landscapes come back to life after the harsh winter. The weather is generally mild, with temperatures ranging between 37°- 50° F (3° to 10° C). This period offers longer days, fewer tourists, and the possibility of seeing early blooming flora and fauna. Do note that some campgrounds might still be closed or inaccessible due to snow.

Summer (June to August): This is the peak camping season in Iceland, thanks to the milder temperatures 50° to 60° F (10° to 15°C) and the extraordinary phenomenon of the midnight sun. All campgrounds are open, and popular attractions are easily accessible. Expect to enjoy activities such as hiking, bird watching, and whale watching.

Autumn (September to November): Autumn brings a spectrum of colors to Iceland’s already stunning landscapes. The weather can be a bit unpredictable with temperatures dropping to around 32° to 50° F (0° to 10° C), so pack for all conditions. This season also offers a good chance of spotting the Northern Lights and fewer tourists mean emptier campgrounds.

Winter (December to March): For the brave-hearted, winter camping can be an unforgettable experience. Be prepared for temperatures below freezing and shorter daylight hours. However, the potential reward of witnessing the Northern Lights makes it worth the challenge. Only a handful of campgrounds remain open during this season, so planning ahead is crucial.

rental car and tent camping at a national park in Iceland
Our rental car and tent camping at a national park in Iceland

Camper van and RV rentals in Iceland

For those not quite ready for tent camping, camper van rentals offer an excellent alternative. They provide the mobility of a vehicle combined with the convenience of an accommodation, making them a popular choice for exploring the stunning landscapes of Iceland. Companies such as CampEasy, Cozy Campers, and Happy Campers offer a range of vehicles to suit different needs and budgets.

Whether you're a solo traveler or a family of five, there's a camper van for you. These vans are equipped with basic necessities such as a bed, a hob for cooking, and sometimes even a small bathroom. But remember, it's not all about comfort—opting for a camper van gives you the freedom to follow your own schedule and the flexibility to change your plans based on the unpredictable Icelandic weather!

Before you embark on your camper van adventure, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with Iceland's camping rules. Wild camping in a campervan is strictly prohibited, so you'll need to stay at designated campgrounds. These sites often come with amenities such as showers and laundry facilities, and they are located across the country, giving you plenty of options.

If you're planning to camp in Iceland, you can rent a camper van or RV. Camper van rentals start at around $70 per day and RV rentals start at around $100 per day. Unfortunately, by the time we got around to booking our camper van reservation, costs were closer to $300 USD per day which was way more than we were willing to pay. So, instead we tent camped (more on tent camping below). While we've certainly had our fair share of van life experiences having lived in a van for almost 4 years in the USA, Iceland is unfamiliar territory for us, so we'd recommend you checking out this blogpost for more specific campervan rental info.

The best campsites in Iceland

With its diverse landscapes, Iceland houses an array of campgrounds that cater to every kind of outdoor enthusiast. Whether you fancy waking up to a cascading waterfall, the sight of towering glaciers, fjord views, or the serene tranquility of moss-covered lava fields, there's a campground for you. Each site has its unique charm and many provide facilities such as washrooms, kitchen areas, and Wi-Fi. Some even have hot showers, a true luxury after a long day of exploring. Remember, in Iceland, every season paints a different picture, so the same campground can offer a radically different experience depending on when you visit. And yes, you might just get lucky and be camping under the Northern Lights or the Midnight Sun! Just remember to respect the land, keep your site clean, and follow the campground rules.

There are over 200 campsites in Iceland. Campsites typically cost around $10-30 USD per night. All of the campgrounds we stayed at were impeccably clean and well maintained. They weren't always fancy (although most of them were still far nicer than your average public campground in the USA), but they were always clean.

Some of the most popular campsites in Iceland include:

Þingvellir National Park Campsite

Þingvellir National Park Campsite is located within one of Iceland's most iconic natural parks, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The campsite provides visitors with the opportunity to dwell amidst Iceland's raw wilderness, surrounded by lush greenery, crystal clear streams, and stunning geologic formations. Facilities such as toilets, showers, and picnic areas are available for comfort and convenience. The location also serves as an ideal base for exploring the wider area, which includes attractions like the Alþing, the site of Iceland's ancient parliament, and the boundary between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. A stay at this campsite guarantees an immersive experience in the heart of Iceland's natural and cultural heritage.

Address: 7WH5+5MX, 806 Thingvellir, Iceland | Google Maps

Skógar Campsite

Located near the famous Skógafoss Waterfall, Skógar Campsite is another popular camping spot in Iceland that nature enthusiasts should not miss. The campsite offers awe-inspiring views of the majestic waterfall and the surrounding lush landscapes. An added bonus for history buffs is the close proximity of the Skógar Museum, where you can delve into Iceland's cultural and architectural history. The campsite is equipped with basic amenities such as toilets, showers, and electricity. Whether you're pitching a tent or parking a camper van, Skógar is an idyllic spot to unwind amidst nature's grandeur.

Address: GFHP+5WP, 861 Evindarhólar, Iceland | Google Maps

Ásbyrgi Campground

Tucked away in the vast landscape of the Vatnajökull National Park, the Ásbyrgi Campground is a hidden gem. Known for its unique horseshoe-shaped canyon, this campsite offers a tranquil retreat amidst towering cliffs and lush woodland. Hiking trails abound, leading you to captivating viewpoints and the tranquil Botnstjörn pond. The site provides basic amenities such as showers, toilets, and electricity, making it a comfortable base for your camping adventures. Whether you're listening to the whispering leaves, watching the playful dance of the Northern Lights, or exploring the mysteries of the canyon, Ásbyrgi promises an unforgettable camping experience.

Address: Ásbyrgi, 671 Kópasker, Iceland | Google Maps

Skaftafell Campground

Skaftafell Campground is a hub of outdoor activities, nested right in the heart of the Vatnajökull National Park. This site offers a spectacular view of the Skaftafell glacier, making it one of the best places to camp in Iceland. Boasting well-maintained facilities such as showers, toilets, and a service center, the campsite ensures a comfortable camping experience. Tourists can indulge in exciting activities like glacier hiking, ice climbing, and exploring the region's wildlife. The campground serves as an excellent base camp for visiting the nearby Svartifoss waterfall and the glacier lagoon, Jökulsárlón. It's a must-visit for those who love to blend adventure with nature's tranquility.

Address: 785 Skaftafell, Iceland | Google Maps

Vík Campsite

Vík Campsite is perched beautifully in the quaint village of Vík, known for its iconic black sand beaches and striking rock formations. The campsite offers basic facilities, including toilets, showers, and cooking facilities, ensuring a comfortable experience for campers. With its proximity to the beach, it offers an authentic camping experience alongside one of Iceland's most renowned coastal landscapes. And if you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the magnificent Northern Lights painting the night sky. The campsite also serves as a great base for exploring local attractions like the Reynisdrangar sea stacks. For adventurers, bird watchers, and beach lovers alike, Vík Campsite is a perfect choice.

Address: Suðurvegur 5, 870 Vík, Iceland | Google Maps

Hellissandur Campground

Hellissandur Campground is among the top-rated campgrounds in Iceland, known for its peaceful environment and breathtaking landscape. Nestled within the Snæfellsjökull National Park, this campsite offers stunning views of the nearby glacier and the endless Atlantic Ocean. It also gives campers the chance to explore the region's natural wonders, such as lava fields, lush bird cliffs, and diverse flora and fauna. The campsite facilities include showers, a kitchen, a washing machine, and a playground, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay for families and solo campers alike. Hellissandur Camping Ground is a haven for nature lovers and a gateway to the enchanting wilderness of Iceland.

Address: 360 Hellissandur, Iceland | Google Maps

Seyðisfjörður Campground

Seyðisfjörður Campground is a charming escape into the picturesque eastern fjords of Iceland. This campsite is renowned for its serene location and its close proximity to the artistic town of Seyðisfjörður. It offers basic amenities such as showers, toilets, and a cooking area, ensuring a comfortable stay for all campers. The surrounding area is a dream for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a variety of activities, including hiking, cycling, and bird-watching. The campsite's location also provides easy access to the town's quirky art scene and historical architecture. Seyðisfjörður Campground offers a unique blend of natural wonder and cultural exploration, making it an ideal choice for any camper visiting Iceland.

Address: Ránargata 5, 710 Seyðisfjörður, Iceland | Google Maps

Húsafell Campsite

Húsafell Campsite is a family-friendly campsite located in the lush Húsafell area, a gateway to the Icelandic highlands. This campsite features all basic amenities, including toilets, showers, and cooking facilities, making it a convenient option for camping in Iceland. Its unique selling point is its close proximity to many natural wonders, including lava fields, glaciers, hot springs, and hiking trails. The campsite also offers access to the Húsafell swimming pool, which is heated year-round with geothermal energy and offers a great way to unwind after a day of exploring. With its natural beauty and comfortable facilities, Húsafell Campsite provides an enjoyable camping experience for families, groups, and solo travelers.

Address: Húsafell, 320, Iceland | Google Maps

Landmannalaugar Campsite

Landmannalaugar Campsite is a true gem tucked within the Icelandic highlands, known for its vibrant rhyolite mountains and geothermal hot springs. This campsite is your gateway to the Landmannalaugar region's dramatic landscapes, featuring a kaleidoscope of colors, lava fields, and endless hiking trails. The campsite itself is quite rustic, offering basic amenities such as toilets and showers. Do note that there are no food stores or restaurants available on-site, so remember to pack enough provisions. With its unique geological features and breathtaking sceneries, Landmannalaugar Campsite is the perfect place for those seeking an adventurous and authentic camping experience in Iceland.

Address: Landmannalaugar, 851, Iceland | Google Maps

When planning your trip, keep in mind that some campsites require advance reservations, so be sure to check before you go. That being said, most campgrounds in Iceland do not accept reservations and spots are first come first serve. Most campgrounds are large enough to more than accommodate the demand, so even a planner like me didn't stress about whether or not we'd get a spot. I ended up loving that we didn't make reservations ahead of time because it gave us the freedom to move at our own pace and stay wherever looked good along the way.

Seyðisfjörður, Iceland with foggy mountain and lake reflection
Seyðisfjörður was our favorite town in Iceland! We highly recommend driving out of the way for the campground right downtown.

Can you camp anywhere in Iceland? (Is wild camping legal in Iceland?)

While the untouched landscapes of Iceland may tempt you to set up a tent anywhere, it's essential to know that wild camping, or camping outside designated camping areas, is largely prohibited in Iceland. This regulation, effective since 2015, applies to tents, RVs, camper vans, or any sort of sleeping cars. The rule is put in place to protect the fragile Icelandic nature from the impact of tourism. However, there are exceptions if the land is uninhabited and does not belong to a protected area; in such cases, you are allowed to camp for one night. Always remember, it's imperative to respect local rules and nature while you enjoy the stunning beauty of Iceland. If you're unsure if something is legal or not be sure to ask a local official who will likely be able to guide you towards safe and legal campsites in the area.

What to expect at campgrounds in Iceland

Most campsites in Iceland have basic amenities like toilets and showers. Some also have laundry facilities, kitchens, wifi, and even heated common areas. Be sure to check the website of the campsite you're interested in for more information. There are plenty of campgrounds providing these amenities that if they are important to you, you can certainly find a more amenity loaded campground in just about every corner of the country. Some campgrounds even have hot tubs and swimming pools, perfect for relaxing after a long day of exploring.

In terms of costs, camping in Iceland is relatively affordable compared to other accommodation options. Prices range from around $10-$30 USD per person per night, depending on the location and amenities provided. Plus, camping gives you more flexibility in terms of your itinerary and budget. You can choose to cook your own meals at the campsite, saving money on dining out, and you have the freedom to stay in different areas every night without having to worry about booking expensive hotels or guesthouses.

One thing to keep in mind while camping in Iceland is the weather. It can be unpredictable and harsh at times, so make sure you come prepared.

How to make camping reservations in Iceland

If you're planning to camp in Iceland, always check to see if the campgrounds you're hoping to stay at accept reservations. Most do not accept reservations so don't stress about this too much, but for the ones that do accept reservations, be sure you have this information ready for them:

  • The dates of your stay
  • The number of people in your party
  • The type of camping unit you'll be using (tent, campervan, etc.)
  • Your credit card information

Cancellation policies vary by campsite, so be sure to check before you make your reservation.

Waking up to mountain views on a rainy morning while camping in Iceland
Waking up to mountain views on a rainy morning while camping in Iceland

Best apps for camping in Iceland

Navigating the camping landscape in Iceland is a breeze thanks to technology! Cell service is widely available in Iceland, so downloading apps is a great way to plan ahead where you want to stay along your route. There are several apps available that can turn your smartphone into your very own camping guide. However, two stand out above the rest: Campingcard and NorCamp. These apps are like a trusty sidekick, providing you with a wealth of information at our fingertips. From campground details and their amenities, to real-time weather updates, and even the best spots to catch the Northern Lights. It's like having a seasoned local campsite guru right in your pocket. Remember, however, while technology is a great tool, nothing beats the real-life experience of stepping out of your comfort zone and learning through adventure. So, download these apps, but don't forget to embrace the unpredictable and magical nature of camping in Iceland.

These apps can help you find campsites, make reservations, and get information on amenities and activities.

How much does camping cost in Iceland?

Campsites in Iceland typically cost around $10-30 USD per night, but if you'd like to have electricity at your site (for campervans and RVs), it's usually an additional $5-10 USD charge per night.

Considering hotels run for $150-300 USD per night in Iceland during peak season, camping is certainly the way to go if you're on a budget.

Save money, get Campingcard

If you’re visiting Iceland during peak season and plan to camp multiple nights, definitely consider getting a Campingcard. For a one time fee of €159, you’ll get camping for 28 nights at participating campgrounds. Most campgrounds on the island that we saw participated in this program, so if we go back and camp again, we’ll definitely be getting this!

A couple of things to note about the Campingcard: it expires on September 15th each year and it only covers (1) family (two adults and up to four kids). While it would be nice to pack a family size six person tent and just split the cost with a bunch of friends, Campingcard won’t go for that so don’t try. :)

Looking for more help planning your trip to Iceland? Check out our other Iceland blgoposts!

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Hi! We're Chris and Sara a husband and wife video making, storytelling, travel loving duo with a passion for sharing travel tips, tricks, and inspiration with others.
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