camping tips in iceland

How to Make your Camper Van Journey in Iceland Awesome

You are travelling with a camper van in Iceland with your dearest friends, family or a spouse. Magnificent landscape, free range sheep running all over the fields and elves telling you stories about their hidden lives under the lava rocks. Life is beautiful!

Well, to make it be that way you gotta plan your trip well ahead and prepare yourself to dive into the mystical Iceland’s wilderness. This post includes campground listing, gas stations, grocery stores, clothing tips and many other essential information that will help you to make your camper van journey in Iceland awesome.

Plan the route ahead of arrival to Iceland

When you dream, everything seems to be effortlessly perfect. In real life, it is not exactly that way.

To have a good journey you gotta plan things ahead and Iceland is not exception for that. Driving long distances with out sign of life will require you to plan your gas station stops and do the grocery shopping well in advance.

Here is the list of maps with various type of useful landmarks that you can use to draw your own map:

Map of campgrounds around Iceland – Good for general overview.

Campground listing in Iceland – Detailed information about each campground. Possibility to search campground by name or region.

Gas stations around Iceland

There are plenty of gas stations around Iceland. However, if you travel South, there are fewer of them. If you click on a gas stations icond, you will get to see the name of the gas station and approximate cost per litter. For your knowledge, most of the remotely located gas stations only offer self-service payments. Having a credit card on you will be very useful.

Map of Gas Stations in Iceland by TripCreator

Grocery stores around Iceland

If you come in August you might find some blue berries and mushroom growing in the wild. Besides that, getting food from the grocery stores would be better way to fill up your belly needs. While many grocery stores in Reykjavik are open until 20-21 o’clock, the ones in the country side closes around 18-19.

Book best fitting camper

Even though you will be using it mainly for driving and sleeping, after many days of travelling, it becomes like your second home. For the best comfort it is good choose the camper van that is slightly bigger than smaller in size. At Rijo Campers we offer campers that accommodate from two to five people. They are in different sizes and has different features in accordance to the size of the group.

Choose clothes according to Icelandic weather

Weather in Iceland is always changing. Sometimes you can get sun, rain, wind and snow within one hour frame. To safe yourself from unneeded cold and sickness, here is the list of clothing items that you definitely bring with you:

  • Water proof jacket and pants – It is quite unusual that we get heavy rain in Iceland. However, there are some days when it extremely windy and rains all day long. While water-resistant clothing would do for short sightseeing stops, for a longer hikes it is highly recommended to wear water proof clothes.
  • Hiking boots – I know it is quite uncomfortable to stay in those while you’re driving. But trust me, while walking/ hiking it might save you from getting some serious injuries.
  • Woolen sweater – or any other warm sweater which will keep you warm during the chill summer days (almost all the time). If you haven’t got one, in Iceland there is wide selection of Lopapeysa, traditional Icelandic woolen sweaters sold in almost any tourist related store. If you want to avoid tourist masses of down area, you can visit: Hand Knitting Association’s shop (Address: Borgartún 31) or Álafoss (Address: Álafossvegur 23). Some producers are producing their products outside Iceland, so make sure to check the tag if it was knitted in Iceland.
  • Thermal underwear – Average temperature in Iceland is 5-10°C (41-50°F). Thermal underwear is very useful, especially if you’re not used to chill weather.
  • Swim suit – Iceland is famous for geothermal pools. Mostly people go to public swimming pools, but there are also some i hidden in the country side. You gotta try to bath in at least one of them.

Purchase camping card

If you’re planning to camp for three days or longer, best thing is to purchase camping card. Price for such a card is 149€ (173 USD), it hold deposit of 28 nights and allows you stay at 41 campground all around Iceland. One camping card is valid for two adults and four children up to the age of 16. It includes camping spot (if available), public restrooms and fresh running water. It does not provide free access to other services that the campsite may offer. Camping cards can be purchased at the campsite on the spot, post offices, tourism information center and 10-11 grocery stores and on the Campercard.is.

If your stop in Iceland is for few days, than purchasing single day admission to the campground would be a wiser thing to do. Single day access to the camp ground varies from 16-25 €  (19-28 USD) per person.

Check road condition regularly

This is something that is often overlooked. Don’t worry, it is very unlikely that some volcano will erupt. But there is likelihood that some flood outburst might happen (especially in the South), road fixes or simply some accident that would shut the road for hours.. To avoid getting stuck in the traffic, it is good to check the forecast each morning before you hit the road.

Latest road conditions can be find on Road.is or by calling 1777. All other safety alerts can be found on Safetravel.is.

Get a local SIM card

Yes I know, you’re traveling in the wild west where you prefer to get disconnected from the virtual world and etc. BUT it is way better to be connected in emergency, rather than to feel sorry.

Síminn is the biggest telecommunication company in Iceland, with the widest network coverage. Prepaid starter pack cost 2.900 ISK (24€ / 27$). It includes 5GB data, 50min. talk and 50 text messaging. Sim cards can be purchased either online or at any gas station and post offices all around the country.

Hopefully this post was helpful for you and you will have an awesome time during your camper van journey in Iceland! 🙂

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