Camping In Iceland: The Ultimate Campervan Rental Guide

Morning light dapples your face, fresh Icelandic air fills your lungs, morning coffee steams on a small stove, and only the roads and mountains stretch before you. Sounds enticing, right?

If you’re thinking of visiting Iceland, it’s probably because you’re curious to see flowing fjords, glistening waterfalls and the sheer scale of Icelandic natural beauty. Well, there’s no better way to immerse yourself in Iceland’s rolling landscapes than hiring a campervan.

With a campervan, you can tour the land of Fire & Ice at your own pace, create your own itinerary and sleep easy in the comfort of your own motorhome or roof tent. It’s the flexibility and rawness of camping without the fuss, fear and hassle of a traditional tent. 

Before you get yourself a campervan, you’ll want to check out our complete guide and bookmark it for future reading. Fasten your seatbelt. Here’s everything we’ll drive through:

What’s in this guide:

Aurora hunter - Camping In Iceland

Why camp in Iceland?

Well, first of all, why not? Iceland is renowned worldwide for its natural beauty and stunning scenery. Thousands of people visit the island nation each year to get a glimpse of the Northern Lights or enjoy the curious culture of Reykjavik, take a dip in a thermal spring or tour the famous R1 ring road.

Whatever your plans are for Iceland, a campervan could be the perfect road-trip buddy. At Geysir, we know all there is to know about car rentals in Iceland. We also know some of the best ways to see the land of Fire & Ice, and in our humble opinion, campervan camping is one of the most rewarding and cost-effective ways of visiting Iceland. 
With a campervan, you have the flexibility to decide your own list of awe-inspiring stops, total immersion into Icelandic scenery and affordable campsites to drop into all around the country.

Read more: 19 tips for Traveling to Iceland (2023 edition)

Driving a campervan – an immersive Icelandic experience

Plenty of tourists come to Iceland and hire a car, driving from accommodation to accommodation. Now, whilst this works for some if you really want the freedom of seeing Iceland at its spontaneous best, hiring a campervan is the only way to do it.

The greatest advantage of sleeping in a vehicle is the ultimate freedom and flexibility. You will not need to book your accommodation in advance. You can travel spontaneously without any strict plans, and you can stop at the nearest campsite whenever you feel like it! You also avoid the stress of camping in a traditional tent, where winds and cold are more likely to bite you at night!

Ring Road, Iceland - Camping In Iceland

Where am I allowed to camp?

It can look tempting to just rock up at any nearby waterfall or fjord and set up camp. But one important thing to know is that wild camping is not permitted in Iceland.

Campervans and motorhomes: can only pitch up and park for the night in verified camping spaces or privately owned land with the owner’s permission.

Camping in a traditional tent: is restricted to verified camping spaces or to uncultivated land for one night but only if there is no verified campsite within the vicinity (we told you it’s complicated) and the landowners have not restricted access.

Smart working - Camping In Iceland

Where can I find good camping spaces?

There’s a vast array of campsites and camping spots all around Iceland. The good news is, you won’t have to drive too far to find one. There are so many places around the island nation. Most campsites have sprung up around some truly stunning landscapes, so you’ll really get to experience Iceland’s natural beauty. Check out this great resource from Visit Iceland where you can search by campsite.

The standard of Iceland’s campsites is also pretty consistent; some will have more luxuries than others (there are even some glamping options). But you’ll struggle to find an Icelandic campsite that doesn’t have clean toilet facilities and access to electricity. It’s common to find outdoor barbecue pits and even nearby swimming pools – for a chilly dip!

Read more: Best time of year to visit Iceland

Camper van on a road trip - Camping In Iceland

Which campervan is best for me?

At Geysir, we’ve been servicing Icelandic visitors with car rentals since 1973. In those 45 years, we’ve built a thorough understanding of what our customers need for their trips. We’ve got some fantastic campervan, motorhome and vehicle roof tent options.

For the big family: We have a range of motorhomes at Geysir, like this 6-person motorhome that brings your home comforts to the road. This beast is equipped with 2 double bed seats around the kitchen table that can be modified into a 3rd double bed. There’s also a second option where bunk beds replace one of the double beds.

This motorhome comes equipped with 3 burners, a fridge, a toilet, shows, 2 sinks and every kitchen utensil you could need. Did we also mention it has a heating system for the car and the water? Talk about luxury on wheels.

Read more: Rent a Motorhome 6 persons in Iceland – Geysir Car Rental

For the curious couple: A spectacular motorhome that can actually accommodate up to 4 people but has sleeping arrangements for two. Perfect for a couple’s getaway. This is true freedom on wheels.

Read more: Rent a Motorhome X-van for Two in Iceland – Geysir Car Rental

For adventurous types: For those who really want to be one with nature but also seek the security and flexibility of a vehicle, the Jeep roof tent is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Jeep Wrangler camper roof top tent

Read more: Rent a Jeep Wrangler Camper roof top tent with Geysir Car Rental

What other equipment do I need?

Most people will use their campervan or motorhome as a base to go out exploring across the various stops on their itinerary. Here are some other essential items we’ve learned are useful to pack:

  • GPS, paper maps or a map app on your mobile device. 
  • Warm clothes and undergarments, Iceland is cold all year round, even in summer. 
  • A gas stove and cooking equipment. This only applies to those using the Jeep roof tent; if you’ve got a motorhome, all of your kitchen equipment comes with wheels!
  • Bathing equipment. Iceland is full of spectacular geothermal pools and you’ll want trunks and a quick-dry towel handy!
  • A USB charger and battery bank. Your motorhome will have charging points, but if you venture out for a hike from the campsite, it’s wise to pack one. 
  • A water bottle. Icelandic tap water is one of the healthiest and probably the safest you can find in the world. There is no need to buy plastic bottled water. 

The great news is that with a campervan, motorhome or Geysir vehicle with a roof tent, you’ll swerve the hassle of packing all that bulky camping gear for your flight.

Woman looking at a map on the back of a camper van - Camping In Iceland

What does camping in Iceland cost?

Each campsite can vary because they’re all privately owned. But generally, campsites are inexpensive compared to Iceland’s hotels or retreats. Most camping facilities charge between 1.500 ISK and 2.500 ISK (between appr. 12 and 20 USD) per person and night. Families will be pleased to hear most sites let kids under 12 stay for free.

Additional services like the washing machine, kayak hire or even shower usage (sometimes) aren’t included. 

Read more: All You Need To Know Before You Go Camping In Iceland

Time to hit the road

Armed with these tips and the many other resources at Geysir, you should be all set for your Iceland trip. Remember, get in touch with our team to discuss your campervan rental package, and we’d be happy to help. We’re excited to see you in Iceland!

Start planning your next Iceland trip and explore this beautiful country at your own pace. At Geysir Car Rental Iceland, we have a rental car for all your road trip needs. Learn more about our cars here and book yours today.