Free Campsites in Iceland: Top 15 Free and Cheap Options

Iceland's campsite in the Highlands

blog authorBy Samuel Hogarth shield verificationVerified Expert

    During your time in Iceland, it’s a good idea to maximize your time outdoors. After all, you’re coming here to experience the island’s incredible natural features, right?

    The chance to see gorgeous waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes, and lava fields produce memories you’ll cherish forever. So if you’re visiting in summer, why not take it a step further and camp while you’re here?

    While staying in hotels and hostels is a great way to travel, campsites in Iceland add more thrill to the adventure. In this way, you’ll be even closer to the country’s natural world, falling asleep and waking up to the sounds of wildlife. Campsites are also more affordable than indoor accommodation.

    Let’s take a look at the top free and cheap campsites in Iceland, and what to expect when camping in the Nordic nation. Since some of the campsites are remotely located, you’ll need a vehicle to reach them. Hire yours at Campervan Iceland today!

    Free Camping in Iceland

    For those who don’t know, free camping is generally defined as camping outside of a designated campsite. This can be done in rest stops, car parks or on wild land. Whether or not this is legal and what the limitations are depends on the country you’re traveling in.

    While free camping in Iceland is technically legal, there are so many restrictions that it’s really not worth doing. Among other things, travelers must be a certain distance from a registered campsite and not situated on cultivated/private land.

    It’s too much trouble to go to for a one-or-two-week camping trip, so it’s best to stick to official campsites. The restrictions on free camping don’t mean that you can’t find places to camp cheaply or for free, you just have to know where to go, and decide on what facilities you want access to. Actually, some of the free and cheap campsites you'll see listed in this page also made it into our list of the top 7 campsites in Iceland

    Iceland's campsites: free & cheap

    Best free Campsites in Iceland

    Most free campsites are not developed campgrounds. However, they do provide a safe place to stay at night. These parking spots are usually surrounded by beautiful nature and sights, so they are still worth it! Since these camping spots usually do not offer many amenities, make sure you arrive prepared and check our ultimate guide to camping in Iceland while planning your trip

    Before jumping into details, here's the summary of the campsites we will address:

    Campsites Location Price
    Gata Camping South Iceland Free
    Hornstrandir Westfjords Free
    Hellissandur Snæfellsness 1500 ISK / USD 11
    Þingvellir Thingvellir NP 1300 ISK / USD 9
    Skaftafell Vatnajökull NP 1800 ISK / USD 13,8 
    Svínafell Vatnajökull NP 1700 ISK / USD 13
    Skógar South Iceland 1500 ISK / USD 11
    Vík Campsite South Iceland 1750 ISK / USD 13,4
    Höfn Campsite Southeast Iceland 1800 ISK / USD 13,8
    Camp Egilsstaðir East Iceland 2000 ISK / USD 15
    Atlavík Campsite East Iceland 1800 ISK / USD 13,8
    Höfðavík Campsite East Iceland 1800 ISK / USD 13,8
    Landmannalaugar The Highlands 2000 ISK / USD 15
    Þórsmörk The Highlands 2600 ISK / USD 19
    Reykjavík Campsite  Reykjavík 2850 ISK / USD 21

    1. Gata Free Camping

    Gata Free Campsite on the south coast is available without charge by the farmers who own the land. You can find its location here.

    If you want to donate to thank the owners for their provision, there is a donation box on-site. Duck eggs from the farm and showers are available, for a fee. You can pitch a tent or sleep in your campervan here, and the ocean is only a short walk away.

    2. Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

    Outside of the Highlands, Hornstrandir is the most remote area of Iceland. Located at the top of the Westfjords (the north-west), the nature reserve contains no permanent residents.

    People will only venture here in the summer, to hike through the phenomenal landscape which features artic foxes that roam freely without fear and wildflowers that grow in abundance.

    There are thirteen campsites in operation by the Environmental Agency in Hornstrandir which are all free to stay at. Check them out here. They are very basic, with only an outhouse, so you will need to bring all supplies with you, including a tent and all food and water for the journey.

    Iceland's campsites with low prices

    3. Hellissandur Camping Ground

    There are three massive national parks in Iceland, all featuring campgrounds at their edges. This means great access to the wonders contained inside the parks.

    Hellissandur is found just outside of Snæfellsjökull National Park, in west Iceland. It’s actually placed on a lava field, known as Sandahraun. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see the nearby glacier.

    The price per adult to stay at Hellissandur is ISK 1.500, and electricity is extra.

    Iceland's campsites: free camping

    4. Þingvellir

    Another gem from the Icelandic national parks collection, Þingvellir contains two campsites: Leirar and Vatnskot. The price is ISK 1.300 per night, but electricity for vehicles costs extra.

    Þingvellir is popular for being the site of the country’s parliament until the late 1700s. It also features some of the clearest water in the world, in the form of Silfra fissure.

    You can snorkel in this cold fissure, or hike through the park. You’ll easily spot the gap created as Iceland splits in two as a result of tectonic plate movement.

    5. Skaftafell Camping

    Skaftafell lies within Iceland’s largest national park, Vatnajökull. Here you’ll find glacial rivers and waterfalls, numerous hiking trails, and Europe’s largest glacier.

    The campsite itself is huge, accommodating more than 400 tents, with a separate area for campervans. Head to the Visitor’s Center when you arrive to register your stay before heading out to explore.

    Skaftafell charges ISK 1.800 per night, per person to pitch a tent.

    6. Svínafell Campground

    Svínafell campsite is another option in Vatnajökull National Park, not far from the above-mentioned Skaftafell. Both campers and those staying in the on-site cabins have access to the big service building, Skáli.

    Note that electricity is not available for vehicles here. The price is ISK 1.700 per person to park your vehicle and/or pitch a tent.

    7. Skógar Campsite

    Skógar campsite is ideally located right next to one of Iceland’s most popular attractions, Skógafoss. This breathtaking waterfall along the south coast has been featured in both Game of Thrones and Vikings, which makes it one of the favourite campsites of those travelling along the popular Game of Thrones itinerary in Iceland. There’s a big car park only a short walk from the waterfall, with the campsite on the field between.

    Skógafoss marks the beginning of one of Iceland’s most famous hiking trails, Fimmvörðuháls. The steps alongside the waterfall take you over it and into the highlands. The campsite charges ISK 1.500 per person, per night.

    8. Vík Campsite

    Vík is another popular spot for those traveling along the south coast. This tiny town is next to the famous Reynisfjara black sand beach, with its Reynisdrangar rock formations. The town has a pleasant vibe, with plenty of places to eat and activities to take part in.

    The Vík campsite is located 1km outside of the town and can accommodate 250 people. The cost is ISK 1.750 per person.

    Iceland's campsite: Vik

    9. Höfn Campsite

    The town of Höfn is located on a small peninsula in southeast Iceland and is a lovely place to visit. It’s location makes it a good rest stop between the south coast and Eastfjords.

    The campsite is in the town, and there’s a gas station and supermarket nearby to stock up on everything you’ll need. With views of the ocean to the south and the glacier to the north on a clear day, it’s a must-visit.

    Höfn campsite is open most of the year and costs ISK 1.800 per person.

    10. Camp Egilsstaðir

    Camp Egilsstaðir claims it is ‘possibly the happiest campsite in Iceland’. It’s found in the center of the small town of Egilsstaðir in the east of the country.

    With access to the island’s largest forest and some wonderful waterfalls, you’ll certainly be happy during your stay. The campsite is one of the best open-all year-round campsites in Iceland., and the cost is ISK 2.000 per adult, per night.

    11. Atlavík Campsite

    Atlavík campsite lies within Iceland’s largest forest, Hallormsstaðaskógur, located on the shores of the Lagarfljót lake.

    Here you’ll have many hiking trails at your doorstep, as well as views of Lagarfljót and surrounding mountains. The price is approximately 1,800 ISK per person.. Keep in mind this campsite has no electrical outlets for vehicles.

    12. Höfðavík Campsite

    Höfðavík is another campsite within the massive forest mentioned above, and is very close to Atlavík. The price is also ISK 1.800 per person, but this campsite contains electrical outlets.

    Both campsites feature a barbecue, playground and outdoor chairs and tables. If the weather is good, these campsites are the perfect place to be outdoors and are well-suited for families.

    13. Landmannalaugar

    Landmannalaugar is a popular campsite in the Highlands. It provides access to long and short hiking trails beginning at this hub. The hut facilities are only accessible to those staying on-site, but there are toilets and showers available for all. Since you won’t be far away from a natural hot spring, remember to bring your towel and swimming costume.

    The weather can get rough up in the highlands, so make sure you also pack a tent that’s sturdy and windproof. Camping at Landmannalaugar costs ISK 2.000 per person, per night. If you’re embarking on the Laugavegur Trail or Fimmvörðuháls, there are campsites along the multi-day routes.

    Iceland's campsite: Landmannalaugar

    14. Þórsmörk

    A campsite in the low highlands, Þórsmörk serves as the beginning or end of the Laugavegur Trail or Fimmvörðuháls.

    You’re very close to two glaciers here, and have access to showers and a sauna. There is a cooking hall in this campsite but you’ll need to bring your own equipment if you want to whip up some homemade meals. You’ll have some of the country’s best scenery around you while you do so!

    Þórsmörk, like all of the Highlands, is only open and accessible in the summer months. The price is ISK 2.600 per night.

    15. Reykjavík Campsite

    While Reykjavík Campsite is the most expensive campsite on this list, it’s still cheaper than a hostel or hotel stay. You’ll pay 2.850 ISK per person, per night or 2.590 ISK when booking online. It’s ideally situated close enough to downtown Reykjavík for easy access but far enough away for some space.

    At Reykjavík Campsite, there is room for parking your campervan or motorhome and a field for pitching a tent. Fortunately, here the campsite is open all year round.

    Camping in Iceland for cheap

    If you're a budget traveler planning a camping trip in Iceland, buying the Iceland Camping Card is a must-do. With this card, you'll get further discounts on your camping night rate, and it includes over 40 campsites across the country! So despite what you hear about Iceland being expensive, the country’s campsites are relatively cheap, making it possible to travel on a smaller budget.

    By camping in Iceland, you’ll not only have a more intimate nature experience, but you’ll also free up money for excursions. Whether you stay in a campervan rental, RV rental or tent, campsite stays are a great way to disconnect from modern noise.

    Book your campervan today to guarantee yourself a rental for your Iceland campsite adventure.

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