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Sep 28 2016

A Guide to Campsites in Iceland

a-guide-to-campsites-in-icelandCamping in Iceland is a great way to keep the cost down, and it adds a different dimension when exploring the country.  Before I left, I found it difficult trying to find information about campsites and camping, so I really didn’t know what to expect.  Having travelled around on my own for 16 days, and having stayed in 11 different campsites, I thought it would be worth writing a guide on the campsites I stayed at.

There are lots of campsites dotted around the country, so you won’t have trouble finding somewhere to pitch your tent.  You don’t need to book in advance.  Just turn up, pitch, and pay.  Campsite staff are generally pretty relaxed about when you arrive and leave.  There was only one campsite I stayed at that had strict times.

All the campsites had kitchen sinks and toilets, and most had laundry facilities.  Some campsites close at the end of August, so if you are staying beyond September, as I did, make sure you check that.

Reykjavik

Reykjavik campsite

I was surprised but very happy when I found out there was a campsite in Reykjavik.  It tends to be the first and last campsite people stay in when they camp in the country.  That was certainly true for me.  It’s about a 40-minute walk from the centre, but there is a bus stop opposite which will take you into the centre.

When I arrived, I was astounded at the size of the campsite and how busy it was.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I wasn’t expecting that.  It was the most expensive campsite I stayed at in Iceland, but it was one of the best value.  The kitchen is well-equipped.  There are sinks, stoves, pots and pans, cutlery, and crockery.  Obviously, it gets busy in the kitchen, with so many people cooking at the same time.  You’ll see others, sitting outside, using their own trekking stoves.

Even with a sea of tents, you will find somewhere to pitch yours.  There are plenty of toilets and showers.  There is WiFi in the communal area, although it didn’t work well.  There are a couple of computers for guests to use, a few tables and chairs, and a few electric sockets dotted about for you to charge up your devices.  That’s important!  There is also a reception desk.  As it’s often the final campsite before people leave the country, it’s worth checking to see if there are any half-empty gas bottles.  It will save you a bit of cash if there is.

This campsite might not be in the centre of the city, but it is very convenient because Reykjavik Excursions buses stop for airport pick ups and drop offs regularly throughout the day for 2800 ISK, approximately £18, one way.

Akureyri

Akureyri campsite

The campsite in Akureyri is very different from Reykjavik.  It is smaller and not as well-equipped. It is an uphill walk from the bus stop to the campsite, but it’s in a good location.  The kitchen has a couple of sinks and a few tables with benches under cover.  You need your own cooking equipment, including a stove.  There are a couple of sockets where you can charge your devices, but you have to find one that’s free.  There are single-sex toilets.  It costs 1400 ISK per night, plus 300 if you want to use the shower.  I didn’t have a shower.  I walked across the road and used the facilities in the public swimming pool.  I would recommend doing that because, for an extra 400 ISK, you can relax in the hot pots, chat to locals, dry your hair with a hairdryer, and get ready in the warmth.

There is a reception area, you can do your laundry, and it is just a few minutes walk from the town centre.  

Myvatn

Myvatn campsite

There are a few campsites in the Myvatn area.  I stayed in the campsite opposite the petrol (gas) station.  It’s in a handy, yet picturesque location.  It costs 1700 ISK per night, which includes hot showers.  The only extra cost is 100 ISK per device if you want reception to charge them for you.  There is no other way to charge your device, unless you have your own charger.

The kitchen has a couple of stoves, sinks, but there are no lights, so you will need a head torch.  Unfortunately, people have stolen the pots and pans that were there for campers to use, so make sure you have your own.  There are a few tables and chairs, and it’s under cover.  It’s the only communal area, so it gets busy, especially when it’s raining and cold.

The toilets and showers are unisex, and you can do your laundry.  This is the only campsite I stayed at where I had to leave by a set time, which was 12pm.

Siglufjordhur

Siglufjordur

This was my least favourite campsite of all because I camped in a car park that was masquerading as a campsite.  The view is great because it’s a fishing village, and it’s close to everything as it’s in the middle of the town.  Surprisingly, there is WiFi, which works well.  I would say it’s fine for those in camper vans, but not really suitable for people in tents.  It costs 1100 ISK, but there is an additional tax of 100 ISK.  If you want to use the shower, it’s an additional 200 ISK.  You can also do your laundry for an additional cost.

There isn’t a reception desk, so pitch up and someone will come to collect money in the evening.

Stykkisholmur

Stykkisholmur campsite

I stayed here twice.  I have no idea how much it should have cost because I paid a different price both times: 1300 ISK and 700 ISK.  It’s beside a golf course.  You pay at the clubhouse.  The clubhouse is really handy,  You can get out of the cold and rain, have a coffee, and they don’t mind you consuming your own food and drink.  There are laundry facilities, and you can charge your devices.

There are single sex toilets and two outside showers.  The showers have walls but no roofs.  There is a public swimming pool close by if you would prefer to use those facilities.  I did that one day.  This campsite closes at the end of August.

Anarstrapi

Arnastrapi campsite

This was the least well-equipped of all, but the second most expensive campsite I stayed at in Iceland at 2000 ISK.  I have no idea why it is so expensive, but it is.  You need to pay in the restaurant, and then you can pitch your tent.  There was tons of room because I was there near the end of the season.  This campsite closes at the end of August.  The location is fantastic.  You can walk to the glacier, and it’s a pretty town.

You will need all your own cooking equipment.  There is a toilet block but no shower, and there isn’t a public swimming pool. 

Hveragerdi

Hvergerdi campsite

This is probably my favourite campsite of all because it’s well cared for, has excellent facilities, and it wasn’t too full.  It was chilled out.  There is a reception desk and hot showers are included in the price.  There is a small kitchen area, although it’s open.  That’s the communal area.  You can cook, and then sit and eat your food.  The kitchen looked well-equipped, with a new stove as well as pots and pans etc.  It’s well-located for the hot river; bubbling, boiling mud; and shops etc.

Vik

Vik campsite

I loved the location of this campsite.  It’s also pretty big.  There is a round building which has a reception desk, single-sex toilets, showers, and a kitchen area that is also the communal area.  The campsite costs 1500 ISK.  The shower should be an additional charge of 200 ISK, but it’s rubbish.  One guy charges, the other doesn’t.  You need your own cooking equipment, but you there are sinks to wash your dishes.

Skaftafell

Skaftafell campsite

This is in a great location, and there are some wonderful hikes of varying degrees of difficulty.  You need to pay at the visitor centre for the night’s stay.  It costs 1600 ISK per night plus 500 for a hot shower that is limited to 5 minutes.  It automatically shuts off when it reaches 5 minutes.  There are also laundry facilities.  There is a small kitchen area, which has a couple of tables and benches and sinks.  You need your own cooking equipment.

Skogarfoss

Skogarfoss campsite

I came here just for the location.  What could be better than camping by a gorgeous waterfall, close to one of the most amazing hikes?  Depending on the time you get there, you can either pay at reception and pitch or pitch and pay later.  Reception is only open for a few hours in the evening.  Someone will come round to collect the money if you haven’t paid.  It costs 1300 ISK per night plus extra for a shower.  There are single-sex toilets, a couple of tables and benches under cover, and sinks, but you need all your own cooking equipment.  There is very little communal space under cover.

Hvolsvollur

This campsite is in a handy but not a stunning location.  I stayed here on my way back to Reykjavik.  The campsite has a tiny communal area with a kettle, sinks, and toilets.  You need your own cooking  equipment.  There isn’t a reception.  Just pitch your tent, and a woman will turn up in the evening to collect money.  It costs 1250 ISK per night and extra for a shower.  There is a public swimming pool a short walk from the campsite.  If you go in the morning, you can enjoy coffee in one of the hot pots, and then have a shower before you go out for the day.

Location

This is where these towns and cities are in Iceland:

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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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