From ancient glaciers to bubbling lava, Iceland, known as the land of fire and ice, is a small island with unparalleled beauty, making it the perfect place for a campervan road trip. It appeared on our screens as the filming location for Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and James Bond, where it captured the world's imagination. However, experiencing Iceland in a motorhome is the best way to look at some of the Earth’s greatest primordial wonders firsthand.
There’s constant excitement when touring Iceland in a campervan. Most of Iceland’s highlights are found along the coastal Ring Road and Golden Circle. Here, you will see waterfalls, geothermal activity, volcano craters and a UNESCO world heritage site—Katla Geopark, Iceland's first geopark, a natural wonderland waiting to be explored.
Iceland is the perfect campervan rental holiday location because of its stunning landscapes and unique natural features. The country is also known for its friendly locals and excellent camping facilities, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With its wide open spaces and endless natural beauty, Iceland is where you can truly disconnect from the world and reconnect with nature.
With so many amazing sights dotted around Iceland and an extensive and well-maintained road network, Iceland is primed for a fantastic campervan road trip. And wherever you roam in Iceland, you’re never far from a friendly countryside campsite!
Camper Champ helps to ensure you find the best deal and camper for your holiday. You can save money by comparing motorhome rental prices across popular brands, making visiting this stunning country more possible.
Campervan holidays are gaining much popularity the world over, and here’s why:
Experience unbeatable freedom: Travelling with your bed in the back means freedom and flexibility to choose where you roam during the day. Although you can guarantee a campsite if you book in advance, there are always plenty of pitches if you travel during the off-season, allowing for daily spontaneity!
Get in touch with nature: Experience Iceland authentically when you camp in rural farmlands or on the edge of a coastal cliff. Hotel rooms are the same in every country, but campervans let you experience the wild side of the island.
Everything you need is right behind the driver’s seat: Travel with all the necessities you might need during your trip when you go by campervan! Depending on the vehicle, this could include a hot shower, a kitchenette, and (of course) a comfortable bed.
Save money on accommodation: Hotel and Airbnb prices can reach staggering heights in Iceland. Add car hire to the mix, and a travel budget can get quickly out of hand. Instead, keep your wallet happy by renting a motorhome and combining the two.
When driving in Iceland, remember these important tips:
Iceland is famous for its remarkable glacier hikes, and summer is the best season for it as you will have more daylight hours to explore! The best glaciers to visit are Sólheimajökull near Reykjavik, Svínafellsjökull in Skaftafell, and the Vatnajökull Glacier Park. Never walk on a glacier trail without an experienced guide!
The Golden Circle is a 140-mile drive, starting and ending in Reykjavik, that loops between three of Iceland’s best landmarks. The perfect campervan day trip, the Golden Circle’s famed stops are the Thingvellir National Park, the exciting Geyser geothermal area and the roaring Gullfoss waterfall. Additional gems along this route include the Kerið Crater, the Langjökull Glacier, and the small villages of Skálholt and Sólheimar.
One of Iceland’s most accessible endemic animals is the friendly Icelandic Horse. This small breed has a unique stride for smoother rides, unlike regular horses. So if you have spare time, spend it astride a purebred steed as you ride through the Icelandic wilderness. Riding Tours can be found around Reykjavik and all along the coastline.
You can’t visit Iceland without spending time in one of nature’s bubble baths. While the Blue Lagoon is the most well-known hot spring, it is artificially heated. Luckily, countless natural springs can be found around the coastline. The best natural hot springs in Iceland are Gamla Laugin, Kerlingarfjöll, Hvammsvik, and the Reykjadalur Steam Valley.
Iceland has three main National Parks worth visiting for the unique geography and plentiful hiking trails they provide. The biggest park, covering a whopping 13% of Iceland, is Vatnajökull. Included within Vatnajökull is the smaller Skaftafell National Reserve. Just over half of Vatnajökull is covered by an immense ice cap, but the remaining half is filled with volcanoes, craters, lakes, mountains, forests, and black sand beaches. Thingvellir is the closest park to Reykjavic and is one of the best spots to see Iceland’s tectonic rift. Snæfellsjökull is an otherworldy park formed of ancient lava fields.
Your best chance to see the Northern Lights is to visit Iceland between September and April. The dazzling display of colour is worth organising your trip around. Head to Northern Iceland or the West Fjords and look at the sky on clear nights between 11 pm and 2 am to see the lights. If you’re staying in the south, you can also find some great views from the friendly town of Vic.
Don’t be afraid to let loose for a night in Iceland’s vibrant capital! Most of Reykjavik’s best bars and clubs are downtown around Laugavegur Street. Enjoy a dish and drink at the brightly-coloured Bravó or sample Icelandic beer at the Skúli Craft Bar. Clubbers will have a night to remember at Reykjavik’s biggest and oldest nightclub Austur, and everyone is welcome at the retro-themed Kíkí Queer Bar!
Alongside the brilliant glacier hikes, Iceland is also known for its mesmerising Ice Caves. These mystical pockets of swirling blue hues are unlike anything you’ve ever seen, so you must see them here! The largest one is the Crystal Ice Cave in Vatnajökull National Park, though you may prefer to visit the fire-and-ice combo of the volcanic Katla Ice Cave. If you’re in Skaftafell National Park, don’t miss out on the stunning Skaftafell Ice Caves!
Iceland is covered in vast glaciers, and the run-off water from these blocks of ice warming up in the summer forms magnificent waterfalls. The most breathtaking falls are Seljalandsfoss,Svartifoss, Gullfoss, and Skogfoss. Don’t worry if you’re travelling to Iceland in the winter. Although you won’t get to see some of the cascades in action, you do have the chance to catch an incredible frozen fall. The best of these is horseshoe-shaped Goðafoss.
Iceland’s warm and cold currents provide the perfect temperature balance for migrating whales. If you go on a whale-watching boat tour from Reykjavik, you have the chance to see mink whales, harbour porpoises and white-beaked dolphins all year round, with humpbacks passing through as the temperature heats up. If you’re hoping to spot a blue whale, take a boat from Husavik in the summer to test your luck. The East Fjords is a popular spot for passing orcas looking for a snack.
Here are the top 10 places to park your campervan overnight in Iceland:
in Jökulsárgljúfur: Great Northeastern rural site with laundry and shower facilities.
in Borgarfjörður eystri: Sleep on the Eastern edge of Iceland in this coastal campsite with cooking and laundry services.
in Selvogur: Free rural camping on private farmland. Donations welcome.
in Akureyri: Perfect stopover for northern Iceland travel, with cooking facilities and miles of hiking trails.
in Borgarfjörður: Fun-filled campsite featuring a swimming pool and trampolines, with cooking and laundry facilities.
in Mosfellsdalur: A peaceful site with showers and a kitchenette near hiking trails and a golf course.
in Reykjavik: Best campsite near Reykjavik with WiFi and an optional breakfast buffet!
in Öræfi: Easily accessible site with a restaurant and amenities, close to glaciers and waterfalls.
in Tunga: Friendly beachside campsite with a pool and restaurant in the enchanting West Fjords.
in Southern Region: Stay here, in the southernmost village in Iceland, at this rustic campsite complete with WiFi and dining facilities.
Iceland experiences constant underground volcanic activity, leading to countless hot springs and streams scattered around the country. You can visit the many geothermal pools throughout the island, a pastime revered by locals and tourists alike. The most famous Blue Lagoon is known for its baby-blue waters but is popular with attracting large crowds. The Mývatn Nature Baths, located in Northern Iceland, is also known for its baby-blue hue and can be a less crowded and cheaper option.
If you visit Iceland to see the famous Glacier Ice Caves, note that this is only possible during winter. Tours run from mid-October to March. The Northern Lights are also seen most prominently around this time of year from September to March. After a day of sightseeing, travelling by motorhome affords the comforts of settling under the stars to watch this brilliant display. What better way to finish up a day in Iceland?
Ice caves are located all over the country as well. Two ice caves can be visited at any time of the year—the Katla Ice Cave, situated beneath Kotlujokull Glacier and the man-made ice cave tunnel at Langjökull Glacier. You can even walk across time-hardened lava fields and traverse the famous Reynisfjara Black-Sand Beach on the south coast. Iceland is the only place on Earth where you can stand and swim between two continental crusts!
But these are not the only things that make Iceland so unique. The country’s wildlife includes Icelandic horses, bred exclusively on the island for over a millennia, and a year-round stream of migrating whales. It’s also the only place in the world, outside Antarctica, with no mosquitos.
On top of its raw natural beauty, Iceland is also packed with interesting cultures and traditions. You’ll have the chance to sample the famous Icelandic Fish, usually cod or haddock, that’s been left to dry for weeks in the salty sea air. In addition, Iceland’s more unusual museums, like the Sea Monster Museum, the Nonsense Museum, or the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft, are worth visiting.
Some car rental companies in Iceland offer a rooftop tent as a substitute for a motorhome. This can be a cheaper option than a campervan; however, it is less convenient, especially in cold or windy weather, which can occur in Iceland throughout the year.
Most land in Iceland is privately owned, and parking a campervan overnight outside of a registered campsite is strictly prohibited without prior approval from the landowner.
There are plenty of campsites in Iceland. They are relatively cheap, starting at around 1447 Icelandic króna per night.
Most campervan rental companies in Iceland have vehicle options that allow child/baby seats and booster seats.
However, not all vehicles may be compatible with a child seat, and not all companies have seats available to rent. Please check the features of the vehicle when booking.
Home to the country’s best-known volcanoes and glaciers, Iceland’s interior highlands can only be accessed by F-roads, indicated by a letter F in front of the road number on the map.
These mountainous and backcountry roads require a 4WD vehicle and are not advised for inexperienced drivers.
Always check whether F-roads are open, as the summer season is not long. Even then, be aware that conditions may be challenging – large rocks in the road, unbridged rivers, mud, and snow in all seasons.
Be aware that mobile reception is poor in Icelandic highlands, and there is only one gas station, in Hveravellir.
All motorhome rental providers have their depots in Keflavik, which is a short drive from Reykjavik and is the gateway for most visitors to Iceland via Keflavik International Airport.
Iceland is encircled by a Ring Road (Route 1) which connects many popular sights and is in suitable condition for standard vehicles. The road is just over 1,300 kilometres long – roughly thirteen hours of drive time – yet many visitors find that they’ll spend more than a week exploring the sites along the way.