How to Plan an Iceland Campervan Trip

How to Plan an Iceland Campervan Trip

James Taylor James Taylor
2. May 2021 ∼ 7 min. read

An Iceland campervan trip is without a doubt one of the best ways to see the country. The ring road loops perfectly around Iceland, taking in all but a few of the regions. It’s readymade for road trips in a campervan.

If you need help starting to work out the details, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll go over the following:

  • Why you should travel to Iceland in a campervan
  • The best time to visit Iceland for a campervan trip
  • How many days do you need to travel around Iceland?
  • Do I need a 4x4 camper for travelling in Iceland?
  • Camping food
  • Campsites around the Icelandic ring road
  • What to pack for your campervan trip?
  • How much it will all cost

Why You Should Travel Iceland in a Campervan

Iceland is a special country that’s seemingly made for road trips in a campervan. With the ring road, you’ll easily be able to take in a lot of the wonderful landscapes you’ve seen in photos.

Aside from that, travelling in a campervan lets you camp out in the middle of all that nature you’re here to see. The campsites (further information below) are for the most part fantastic, offering a quiet and cheap alternative to the pricey hotels. And waking up with amazing views of mountains, fjords, and glaciers from your van is an experience you won’t soon forget.

The Best Time to Visit Iceland for a Campervan Trip

So, when should you travel to Iceland for your campervan trip? The answer to this question varies depending on what you’re after.

In general, we believe the best time to visit Iceland for a campervan trip is in either May/June or September/October.

During these times, the mad rush that is July and August either hasn’t started or has finished. The weather is generally nice, and there’s still a chance to see the northern lights (May, September, October) and the midnight sun (June).

However, July and August also make a pretty good case for themselves. This time of year enjoy the best weather, hopefully with a lot of clear, calm days, and a bit of sun. Long days let you explore as you wish, and it’s also peak time for Iceland’s wildlife. Puffins flock to the cliffs, and whales feed off the coast.

Travelling in the winter is a different beast altogether. If you’re planning a trip during Iceland’s coldest months, check out our articles here to help you decide.

How Many Days Should You Spend in Iceland?

While the final answer will of course be up to you, we strongly recommend spending 7 days in Iceland. This is just the right amount of time for a great trip around the ring road.

Of course, longer is always better. 10-day Ring Road trips let you linger in places you like or explore off the beaten track a bit more. 14-day trips are even better.

Below, we’ve created some sample itineraries for you to get a feel of what you can see and do with how much time you have. Ring road maps included.

Iceland Ring Road Itineraries

Do I Need a 4x4 in Iceland?

You might be wondering whether you need to rent a 4x4 for your road trip in Iceland. If you’re coming in the summer, and are keen to visit the Icelandic Highlands, then yes, you will absolutely need one.

The highlands are traversed by a series of very rough tracks known as the F-Roads. In some places, they’ll bump over lava fields, ford rivers, and zig-zag over heady mountain passes. It’s a challenging area for travel, but immensely rewarding. Legally, 4x4s are the only cars allowed on these roads. Taking a regular car on these roads is not only against the law, but very dangerous.

If your plan is to stick to the ring road with a few detours here and there, a regular campervan will be fine. If you’re travelling in the winter, you might want to rent a 4x4 for your peace of mind.

For those after a glimpse at what an Icelandic Highlands itinerary looks like, click here.

Camping Food in Iceland

Pasta, hot dogs, instant noodles – when you’re on a campervan trip in Iceland, these are the foods you’ll be wanting to focus on. After a long day of exploring, cooking something quick and easy is key, letting you relax and unwind at your campsite.

Our fleet of campervans in Iceland comes with everything you’ll need to whip up quick and easy meals on the go. A gas stove, pan, pot, plates, bowls, and cutlery are all provided.

Again, keeping things simple is key. Fry up some hot dogs, boil some pasta, or whip together some instant noodles with some fresh veggies. Fruit, skyr (Icelandic yoghurt), nuts, and muesli bars are also perfect for a quick bite before heading off on a hike.

There are of course a lot of restaurants in towns around Iceland, letting you sample some of the more modern food. However, food in Iceland can be expensive, so if you’re on a budget, it might be best just to sample only one or two restaurants.  

Read: 10 Popular Icelandic Dishes You Need to Try

Campsites Around the Icelandic Ring Road

Even though you have a campervan, Icelandic law states that you must stay in the campsites. Luckily, there’s a huge number of campsites across the country, meaning that you’ll never be far from one when it’s time to stop driving and sleep.

There are a lot of campsites that are open only during the summer; others are open year-round. Click here to see a map of campsites in Iceland.

Pre-booking campsites in Iceland isn’t necessary at all. Most campsites also accept payments via credit cards.

Icelandic Packing List

Iceland is generally chilly year-round – even if you’re coming in the summer, you’ll need a good jacket. Hiking boots are also recommended.

Click here to see the full list of things you should pack for your camper trip in Iceland.

How Much Does an Iceland Trip Cost?

How much your Icelandic trip will cost depends on what kind of traveller you are. First, if you haven’t already, search through our range of campervans in Iceland to see what’s available for your dates and how much it will cost. This will give you a good baseline for your budget.

Afterwards, you’ll need to think about paying for fuel, campsites, and groceries.

For fuel, prices generally hover around 200–230 ISK per litre. Filling up our Go Camper 2-Pax from near-empty will generally cost around 7,000–8,000 ISK and will last for around 800km.

For campsites, each night usually cost around 1,500–2,000 ISK. Sometimes, the campsite will charge per person and not per campervan, doubling the cost. Some campsites also use coin-operated showers.

Other things you might need to pay for in Iceland:

  • Entrance to pools and geothermal baths (like the Blue Lagoon)
  • Tours on the glaciers
  • Parking in some places (for example at Seljalandsfoss and the Stokksnes Peninsula)
  • Restaurant meals
  • Entrance to museums

Read more: Iceland on a Budget: 10 Ways to Save Money

This information should have given you a good idea how to start planning your Icelandic campervan trip. If you’re ready to book, click here. If there are any questions we didn’t answer in this article, you can check out our FAQs or simply drop us a line.

Góða ferð!

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