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  • Lizzie Clawson
  • "What's the cheapest way to camp in Iceland?"

Lizzie Clawson

Issaquah, Washington

What's the cheapest way to camp in Iceland?

My husband and I are planning a one-week trip to Iceland next summer to drive the Ring Road and want to camp to keep our lodging costs down. I've read that if the weather is decent you can just camp in fields off the road, rather than going to designated campsites for a fee. Is this true? And if you've done it, would you recommend it? (Among other things I'm a little puzzled about the, shall we say, restroom situation since I haven't seen much tree cover in Iceland travel photos.)

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2 Answers

  • Justin Schmid

    top answer by

    So free-range camping - within certain limitations - is pretty much OK in Scandinavian and Nordic countries. Some of the exceptions are on hiking trails where they want you to camp in designated areas to protect the scenery.

    I ran into a spot where I'd LOVE to enjoy some free-range camping ... near a town called Kirkjubaejarklaustur, there's a huge field of steam explosion craters that create an incredible landscape. A thick coat of soft moss covers a lot of the ground, which should make it pretty comfortable. I'd advise pitching your tent in one of the small valleys. Here's a photo (the dog is named Dokna - Icelandic for Spot - and she followed us from a hotel where she lives for a 6-mile hike):

    KirkjubaejarklausturI'd also bet that you could climb some of the mountains around Vík í Mýrdal to find some nice camping spots. It's also super-windy up there, so you'll want to look for a sheltered spot.

    Vík í Mýrdal

    About your bathroom question - outdoor, open-air elimination shouldn't be too difficult from a privacy perspective. On the 6-mile hike I mentioned above (which was during high season), we saw 4 sheep, 1 dog and zero humans. A low population density is the best way to ensure privacy. This is, though, yet another reason to be aware of the wind!


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  • Travis Huyghebaert

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    Wild camping is definitely allowed, and can certainly save you some money. There are designated campsites as well (many of which have warm showers, kitchens, and even wifi). If you are planning on using "official" campsites, you would probably want to look into the Iceland Camping Card (http://campingcard.is/) which can make it even more affordable compared to just dropping in to official sites. Utilizing the kitchens could also end up saving a good amount of money as you could buy food in grocery stores.

    Definitely make sure to pack/purchase sleeping bags and a tent that can handle at least some cold...the weather can change in an instant there. I know you can also rent camping equipment in Reykjavik if that is something you would need. You can always also drop in on a hostel if you need to ($30-40 pp if you have your own sleeping bag) if the weather ever gets too bad.

    Driving the ring road is an absolute blast and I'm sure you will have an amazing time. Good luck on your trip!


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