Updated: Apr 23, 2019
If you plan on taking an Iceland road trip by camper van, there's plenty to know. In our previous post, we talked about the advantages of doing a campervan road trip. If you're convinced, now it's time to start planning your epic Iceland adventure. There are several things to keep in mind when designing a route around Iceland by camper van. We'll talk about the different factors to keep in mind so that you can have the best trip possible. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you prepare for your road trip in Iceland.
What is the Best Time of Year to Go to Iceland?
This is a fundamental question and the one you want to answer first. That’s because the month or time of year that you decide to go will have a direct impact on the types of activities you do in the places you will visit. Peak season for tourists are the summer months June, July and August. It's important to keep in mind the prices will naturally be higher on everything from accommodation to restaurants to car rental to excursions. You’ll also need to book things pretty far in advance you come during the high season.
Things heat up during this time of year, and the country comes alive with outdoor summer festivals, lush green landscapes, and the seemingly endless daylight of the Midnight Sun. The benefits of visiting Iceland in the summer are twofold. Not only do you leave behind the snow and the cold of winter, but you also have nearly 24 hours of sunshine per day. This leaves plenty of time for outdoor pursuits like hiking Skógafoss waterfall or exploring the Golden Circle route in depth.
By contrast, if you come during off-season or shoulder season, prices are lower and the types of activities you can do change. On one hand, you’re finally able to see Iceland’s Northern Lights. Due to lack of darkness in the summer, they are only visible from mid-September to mid-March. So one of the benefits of coming to Iceland and winter is the Aurora Borealis. A major drawback, however, is the weather. Iceland's climate is unpredictable and strong winter storms might derail some of your travel plans for a couple of days. Many suggest visiting Iceland during the transitional months between summer and winter. September, October, April, and May are considered to be ideal months for a trip to Iceland.
How Many Days Should I Stay in Iceland?
The answer to this question is definitely not a one-size-fits-all. It depends on a wide variety of factors ranging from budget to vacation days to itinerary preferences and much more. A typical trip to Iceland is usually a 5-day, 7-day, or 10-day itinerary. Some say that five days in Iceland is too short a period to drive around the Ring Road and I wholeheartedly agree. If you have limited vacation days, it's much better to explore one specific part of the island, such as the South Coast, rather than trying to cram everything in and spend your entire vacation rushing around.
The minimum amount of time for driving around Iceland Ring Road is 15 to 20 hours. I suggest giving yourself at least a week, if not more, if this is the route you decide to take. Some people take longer, giving themselves a few weeks or even up to a month to explore Iceland by campervan in depth. Places like Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the Westfjords, or the Diamond Circle can add multiple days to your itinerary.
Do I Need a 4x4 Rental in Iceland?
Now that you've decided what time of year is best for your trip as well as how many days will be spending here oh, it's time to think about selecting a camper. Many people wonder if they need a 4x4 camper rental in Iceland. It really depends on your route and preferences. If you plan on exploring Iceland Highlands, by law you need to have a four-wheel drive camper van to drive on Iceland's F-Roads. If you're only going to circumnavigate the Ring Road, the vehicle does not need to be a 4x4 camper. If, however, You're planning on coming in the winter I would like a little more control over your vehicle on icy roads you can rent a four-wheel drive just to have extra peace of mind.
Iceland is a tourism hotspot, so it's advisable to reserve your campervan sooner rather than later. The further you book in advance, the better selection of vehicles and prices you will have. The demand is quite high for a limited supply of campers, so book as soon as you possibly can.
A Travel Guide to Iceland by Campervan - Part Two: Planning
Now that you’ve Got a good idea of how to prepare for your Iceland campervan trip, you can start purchasing plane tickets and booking your Iceland camper van rental. Let us know where you decide to go and if you have any questions about planning your dream trip.