The Best Routes for a Campervan Trip in Iceland

The Best Routes for a Campervan Trip in Iceland

James Taylor James Taylor
28. Feb 2023 ∼ 9 min. read

Embark on a remarkable journey through Iceland's breathtaking landscapes with our expertly curated guide to the best routes for a campervan trip. Discover the unparalleled beauty of the country while enjoying the freedom and flexibility that comes with a camper van Iceland rental. Our fleet is tailored to provide you with the ultimate road trip experience, allowing you to explore the hidden gems and awe-inspiring sights that Iceland has to offer. From the dramatic waterfalls of Skogafoss to the mesmerizing geothermal wonders of Hveragerdi, our campervan rental services ensure that your Icelandic adventure is both comfortable and memorable. Navigate the diverse terrain and picturesque vistas with ease, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Experience the true essence of Iceland's natural wonders by choosing the perfect route for your campervan journey, complemented by the convenience of our top-notch camper van rental services.

Hit the Open Road: The Top Campervan Routes in Iceland

Iceland is a stunningly beautiful country, with a veritable feast of breathtaking landscapes, including glaciers, waterfalls, volcanoes, and geysers. The country's natural wonders and unique attractions make it a perfect destination for a campervan trip. Traveling by campervan allows you to explore Iceland's remote and rugged areas at your own pace, without being tied to a strict itinerary or schedule. It’s the freedom to do what you want and go where you please.

One of the great advantages of traveling by campervan is that you’re not tied down to a hotel reservation. Campsites are found throughout the country, often in incredibly scenic places.  With a campervan, you can wake up to the sound of waterfalls, catch the northern lights from your window, and witness the stunning Icelandic sunset without having to worry about finding accommodation or transportation.

In addition to its natural wonders, Iceland has a rich cultural heritage, with unique traditions, cuisine, and folklore. By taking a campervan trip, you can explore the country's small towns, interact with locals, and get a glimpse of Icelandic life beyond the tourist hotspots.

In this article, we’ll go over the top campervan routes in Iceland, letting you know the most common ways to go about enjoying your campervan trip in the country. And if you don’t have time to plan, remember that you can always have a customized itinerary drawn up by our local expert for your trip.

1.    The Ring Road

Recommended time: 7–15 days. Accessible year-round.

Route 1, also known as The Ring Road, is the most popular route for a campervan trip in Iceland. This is Iceland’s main highway, a circular road that runs around the entire island, covering approximately 1,332 km. On show throughout this campervan route is diverse landscapes to gape at, including glaciers, volcanoes, waterfalls, black sand beaches, and fjords. And the best part about doing it all in a campervan is that you can stop where you want, experiencing the natural beauty of Iceland at your own pace.

Starting from Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital city, the ring road covers essentially all of Iceland’s most popular sights. From the Golden Circle to waterfalls and black sand beaches of the south coast to the volcanic north, the ring road in Iceland offers an easy way to see Iceland’s most spectacular attractions.

It also covers some of the remote areas of the country, such as the East fjords, where historic fishing villages and giant fjords offer plenty of off-the-beaten-track adventure.

For a sample of some ring road itineraries, check out our pre-made itineraries here! You can also have a customized itinerary made for your campervan trip by a local expert.

2.    The Golden Circle & South Coast

Recommended time: 3–7 days. Accessible year-round.

Another one of the most popular campervan routes in Iceland is to drive along the south coast and back. This is an ideal trip for those who don’t want to rush around the ring road, as you’ll still see plenty of Iceland's awe-inspiring landscapes.

This iconic route begins by driving around the Golden Circle, where you’ll see Thingvellir National Park, the erupting Geysir, and the thundering waterfall Gullfoss. From here, you’ll make your way south to link up with the ring road, continuing your journey along the south coast to take in some of the country’s most popular sights.

Iceland’s south coast is filled with stunning black sand beaches, towering glaciers, and incredible waterfalls like Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss. As you drive further east, Vatnajökull National Park awaits, home to some epic hikes in Skaftafell and the world-famous Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. It’s also the best place in the country for a tour on the ice, such as a glacier hike or an ice cave tour if you’re visiting in winter. 

3.    Snæfellsnes Peninsula & the Westfjords

Recommended time: 5–8 days. Difficult access during winter.

For those seeking a more off-the-beaten-path adventure, or who have already done the ring road before, a road trip around the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and Westfjords is a great option. Starting from Reykjavik, you’ll head north along the ring road before branching off west to tour around the long finger that is the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Often referred to as ‘Iceland in miniature’, this small region boasts a lot of big sights, from the black sand beaches to the twisted lava fields to the glacier itself, Snæfellsjökull.

From here, the route takes you up further north into the Westfjords, Iceland’s least-visited region. This is an area of the country that’s home to the biggest landscapes; giant fjords dwarf the tiny villages that cling to the coast, and the rugged mountain passes provide sensational views over it all.

In the Westfjords, you’ll also find plenty of hot springs, and will have a good chance at spotting wildlife, such as whales, seals, Arctic foxes, or puffins. A highlight of this route is the waterfall Dynjandi, one of the most impressive waterfalls in the country. Ísafjörður provides a touch of civilization in the region, but other than that, you’ll essentially be alone in Iceland’s wild and untouched landscapes, far from the crowds of tourists on the ring road.

4.    North Iceland & The Arctic Coast Way

Recommended time: 10–15 days. Difficult access during winter.

The North Iceland and Arctic Coast Way route is a true adventure that will take you on a rugged and unforgettable campervan journey. Beginning in Hvammstangi in north Iceland, the route traces along the northern coast of Iceland, taking you through villages, Akureyri, past Lake Myvatn, and into the remote northeast corner.

Along the way, you’ll be treated to plenty of awe-inspiring views. From epic sea cliffs to giant fjords and windswept beaches, this campervan route has it all. You’ll also discover plenty of hidden gems, like the picturesque village of Siglufjörður, and in the northeast, the ghostly Langanes Peninsula complete with an abandoned NATO radar station and the remains of an old fishing settlement.

For travelers seeking a truly unique and off-the-beaten-path experience that connects them with Iceland's untamed natural beauty, the North Iceland and Arctic Coast Way route is an absolute must-see.

5.    The Icelandic Odyssey – The Entire Country

Recommended time: 15+ days. Some regions are difficult to access during winter.

If you’re coming to Iceland for a long trip, then you might be eyeing a trip around the entire country – an Icelandic Odyssey. This is the ultimate adventure for campers, offering a taste of everything that Iceland has to offer, from the popular sights to the underrated gems. Bonus points if you rent a 4x4 and come in the summer, as then you’ll be able to venture into the Highlands as well.

From the famous Ring Road to the remote Westfjords, you’ll experience it all. There are glaciers to hike on, waterfalls to admire, hot springs to soak in, and plenty of welcoming villages along the way to camp.

With a campervan trip around Iceland and plenty of time to explore, you can really enjoy the freedom that comes with camping and discover the country's diverse landscapes at your own pace. This once-in-a-lifetime adventure will leave you with unforgettable memories and a sense of wonder that will stay with you forever.

6.    The Highlands of Iceland

Recommended time: 4–10 days. Accessible in summer only.

One of the most adventurous and challenging campervan routes in Iceland is to tackle the Highlands. This is Iceland at its most powerful, with uninhabitable landscapes, unpredictable weather, and all of it at such a grand scale that you can’t find anywhere else in the country. Are you up for an adventure of a lifetime? Then a route around the Highlands is for you.

Only open during the summer, you’ll need a 4x4 campervan to drive in Iceland’s Highlands. The F-Roads are rough tracks that will cross rivers, but the challenge is worth it. You’ll be awestruck by the surreal landscapes, lava fields, geothermal valleys, and windswept desert plateaus. There’s Landmannalaugar, one of the country’s most famous highland destinations, but also places like Askja caldera and Kerlingarfjöll. Wherever you go, you’ll be awestruck by the sheer magnitude of one of the wildest places left in Europe.

Undertaking this campervan route is no joke; you’ll need to rent a 4x4 camper to navigate through the challenging terrain. To get an idea of what kind of trip you can put together, we’ve created a sample Icelandic Highlands itinerary.

Iceland is a destination that should be on every traveler's bucket list, and exploring it by campervan is undoubtedly the best way to experience all that it has to offer. From the famous Ring Road to the remote and rugged Highlands, there is no shortage of epic landscapes, breathtaking scenery, and unforgettable experiences to be had.

Whether you're a seasoned camper or a first-time adventurer, Iceland's natural wonders are sure to leave you in awe. So, pack your bags, rent a campervan, and hit the road for an adventure of a lifetime in Iceland.

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