Updated: Jan 23
Who wants to be tied to one place when you can have the freedom of the open road? If you prefer to leave your route and your itinerary flexible, then renting a motorhome or camper van might be just the ticket. Let us tell you a bit more about the advantages of driving a camper in Iceland.
Discover the joys of being spontaneous
The trouble with booking a hotel room or apartment is that unless you get yourself fixed up in advance, the best accommodation is likely to have sold out. What’s left can often be expensive, or have a less central location. Booking hotels is all well and good if you know exactly where you want to be and for how long. But what if you aren’t one of life’s über-organized planners? For those of you who prefer leaving your options open, or don’t get around to planning your trip until the last minute, a camper rental could be the answer you’re looking for.
Can you park up anywhere in Iceland?
With plenty of motorhomes or camper campsites scattered across Iceland, finding a place to spend the night isn’t a problem. Most have showers and toilets; some have laundry facilities as well. Availability varies from season to season; some close after the peak summer season. By the way, don’t be tempted to park on private land. Since late 2015, it has been illegal to camp in tents, trailers, caravans, campervans or motor homes outside a designated campsite. If a private landowner says you are welcome to use his land, you’ll need written permission.
Is renting an RV in Iceland better compared to organized trips and agencies?
Many converts to campervanning and motorhoming would say yes, definitely, it’s a better option than an organized tour. Let’s say you got carried away by that scenic hike, spending hours longer than you expected beside remote waterfalls and in hidden valleys. No problem: simply find a pitch for your campervan. There’s no need to drive late into the night as you try valiantly to stick to your itinerary. What about if you’d discovered a wild and windswept beach but were surprised by a sunset that wasn't forecasted? Your luxury motorhome in Iceland could double as a roadside kitchen instead of you having to make an inconvenient dash to make your restaurant reservation. Park up beside the coast, and who knows, you could even go whale watching without leaving your seat.
Whatever the season, a campervan or motorhome rental can pay dividends
Summer travelers will enjoy light evenings, but during a longer trip, a series of long days of sightseeing might be tiring. But if you’ve rented a camper van or motorhome, you’re carrying a bed around with you, so it’s easy to pull over and take a nap. Conversely, in winter, if you’re keen to chase the Northern Lights, not only can you drive out into the countryside far from light pollution, but you also have somewhere warm and cozy to hunker down in while you wait for the Aurora to make an appearance. With the right motorhome or campervan rental in Iceland, you could wake up to a world-class view every morning, and elevate a humble picnic to the most unforgettable meal you’ve ever had.
Beat the tour groups
In high season, and sometimes outside it as well, many of Iceland’s must-see sights are packed with tourists. You’ll have to jostle for position to photograph Jökulsárlón’s glittering icebergs and will struggle to grab a selfie at Strokkur or Skógafoss without having someone else unwittingly stray into the shot. But tour groups move on pretty quickly. Having your own transport means that you have the luxury of hanging around for a while. You still might have the place entirely to yourself, but you can have a pretty good try at finding yourself room to enjoy Iceland without the crowds. Camping sites are plentiful, well set up, and clean; finding a pitch is a cinch.
Why should travelers rent a motorhome or campervan in Iceland?
There are several rental options to consider. When choosing between a motorhome and a campervan, think about how much space you realistically need and also what kind of facilities will make or break the trip. Budget is also a factor, of course. Renting a motorhome or camper combines accommodation and transport, so you’re likely to make savings compared to what you’d have spent if you had to budget for a hotel and car rental on top.
Motorhome vs. campervan
Motorhome rentals are more popular with those who are seeking comfort and space than a humble camper van might provide. Campervans tend to be compact and budget-friendly, well suited to solo travelers or couples. However, that smaller size is likely to mean that you probably won’t have the range of facilities that a motorhome can offer. When you’re working out which is the right choice for you, think about what gear you’re carrying and how much space it’s likely to take up. If you’re planning to take a ton of hiking gear or enough camera equipment to pass yourself off like a pro, you might be better off with a more spacious vehicle.
Motorhome camping in Iceland
Motorhome camping in Iceland is anything but basic. Equipped with a toilet, shower, seating, and kitchen, vehicles are comfortable and convenient. The trade-off is that these larger vehicles are unlikely to be able to tackle the interior’s F-roads, which are often narrow. But the ring road is a great starting point, particularly if this is your first visit to Iceland. Many of the country’s most spectacular sights are close to this road or a short detour off it. Even if you’ve chosen a vehicle that’s best suited to main roads, you’re not going to be disappointed.
Whichever you choose, be mindful of your impact on Iceland’s fragile environment, and remember never to stray onto private land without permission. But so long as you show respect, the advantages of renting a campervan or motor home make this a smart choice for a memorable holiday.