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Sep 21 2016

Camping in Iceland: Is it a Good Idea?

Camping in Iceland: Is it a Good Idea?The short answer is, YES!  This is the long answer…

Until I went to Iceland, I had never been on a camping holiday and hadn’t camped on my own.  When I realised how expensive it would be for me to stay and travel around Iceland for a couple of weeks in the summer, I had no choice but to camp.  That was, of course, unless I was willing to spend more than my budget on accommodation.

Camping in Iceland made sense money wise, but it seemed like a crazy idea to me and to those who knew what I was about to do.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about this holiday.  You can probably tell that from the post I wrote before I left.  I was excited about going to Iceland, but really nervous about the way in which I would be travelling around the country, and especially my accommodation.  I honestly wasn’t sure if I would camp for the whole time.  I wasn’t even sure if I would stay in Iceland for the whole two weeks, which is why I bought a one-way ticket.  My concerns about camping were the weather, camping on my own for such a long period of time, having the right equipment, lugging it all around, and finding campsites.

With all my concerns, this turned out to be one of the best travel experiences I have ever had.  That’s saying something because I have had a lot of travel experiences!  Camping as I travelled around this incredibly unique country made it extra special.  Here’s why:

Travelling my way

It enabled me to travel my way.  Camping facilitated that because I didn’t need to book accommodation in advance.  I could just turn up at any time, pitch my tent, and pay.  Most campsite attendants weren’t fussed when I packed up.  That meant, I could go hiking for the day and decide, in my own time, what to do next – pack up and go, or pay and stay.

Picturesque settings

Often, campsites are located in picturesque settings, so you’ll be staying in some pretty spectacular places.  To give you an idea:

  1. I stayed by a gorgeous lake in the north,
  2. a waterfall in the south,
  3. a glacier in the south east, and
  4. close to the place where Jules Verne got his idea for ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ in the west.

Convenient locations

Apart from being in picturesque locations, campsites tend to be conveniently located, close to bus stops and near public swimming pools.

A community of campers

There will be a community of crazy people doing the same as you – camping and getting around by bus, bike, or car.  When I arrived at the first campsite in Reykjavik, I was astounded by the number of tents and people camping.  That’s when I realised it wasn’t crazy at all.

A unique, challenging experience

I had never been on a holiday like this before, so it made it really unique and challenging.  Considering all the concerns I had before I left, I camped for all the 16 nights I was there, and I stayed at 11 different campsites.  I put my tent up in the dark twice and once when I thought it was going to blow away before I pegged it down.  I took it down in the dark once and once when it was pouring with rain.  Having said that, I was very fortunate because, according to locals I spoke to, 2016 was the best summer they have had in years.  If it had rained for the majority of my time there, I might have felt differently about camping in Iceland.

To sum up, I don’t think that camping is a good idea; I think it’s a fantastic idea.  I’m not saying that just because it keeps the cost of the holiday down.  It helps you get closer to the incredible natural world that makes Iceland such a unique country.

Have your say

Are you thinking of camping in Iceland?

About the author

Teresa Keane

Teresa has been to almost 60 countries. She started travelling independently at the age of 38 when she gave up her job, rented out her house, put her possessions in storage and spent a year travelling the world. It changed her life. She now creates, publishes, & promotes online travel content and is an experienced freelance trainer & EFL teacher.

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