Icelandic summers are made for camping. I’ve camped all over the world – in the mountains of Patagonia, the jungles of Ecuador, the deserts of the American Southwest, the Italian Alps and on the slopes of many a Southeast Asian volcano. I can say without qualification that nowhere beats camping in Iceland. Whether you just love camping or simply want to immerse yourself in Iceland, pitching a tent is the way to go. There are five simple reasons for this.
Summer in Iceland, at least between late May and early August, averages a cool 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 C). This is perfect weather for camping. Not too hot, and certainly not too cold. You can wrap yourself up in a nice warm sleeping bag at night, and crawl out of it without too much reluctance and pain in the morning. It does rain sometimes during the summer in Iceland, so be sure to bring a tent with a rain cover.
By late June the sun is up 24 hours a day in Iceland. It briefly dips down and kisses the horizon for a few hours around 1 to 3 AM before rising again, but even then it’s a bright twilight. This is truly amazing for several reasons. First of all, it means from about 7 PM to 5 AM its magic hour – the time of day when the sun is low in the sky and giving off atmospherically filtered golden light that is perfect for taking photos. Also, the endless light means you don’t have to worry about it getting dark before you set up your tent. Essentially, you can travel on your own schedule, pull off to the side of the road and set up camp as late as you want.
Literally, you can pull off the side of most any road and camp for free. There are many paid campgrounds in Iceland charging up to 20 dollars per night per camper, and these are worth it every once in a while to shower, wash your cloths and use a proper kitchen. But for the most part, I camped for free and saved a boatload of money. The best part is that the ground was nearly always covered in lush grass or soft moss, the perfect bedding.
Camping in Iceland brings welcome savings for the budget traveler. Iceland is expensive. Car rentals, gas, food, drink, and LODGING are all pricey. A bunk bed in a shared room in a hostel is around 50 bucks, private rooms hover around 100. Camping is a good call
Camping in Iceland is the best way to see the countryside. Really, there’s nothing better than climbing out of your tent in the morning, stretching your arms and seeing this view (time and time again):