Is it Possible to Travel During Wintertime With a Campervan?

Updated: Aug 19

A trip to Iceland or a holiday in the Land of Fire and Ice is a bucket list item for many. After doing some quick research, you’re likely to discover that renting a car while staying in hotels is not the only way to see the island. In fact, renting a campervan or motorhome can be just as popular, if not more so, as a way to travel in Iceland. The country’s growth as a tourism destination has grown exponentially over the last decade. While many visitors come in the summer, coming during winter and the offseason has also become more fashionable. This naturally begs the question if it’s possible to travel during wintertime with a campervan. It’s definitely a possibility but there are some prerequisites that need to be met before you can hit the road. We’ll cover those as well as some winter driving tips for Iceland.

Is it Possible to Travel During Wintertime With a Campervan?

Renting a campervan and traveling in Iceland during wintertime is no problem at all. It’s usually the tech specs that are more of a concern than anything. While they usually take care of this anyway, double check with your campervan rental company that your vehicle comes equipped with snow tires for extra traction on those slippery roads covered in ice. And obviously, you’ll want to inquire about how well-insulated your camper is, weatherproofing, etc. I would also highly recommend renting a model with 4WD, such as the VW California or Mercedes Marco Polo. The added control of your vehicle could help when facing dangerous conditions such as black ice.

The campervans for rent in Iceland usually also come standard with a Webasto heater. You’ll be nice and toasty all night. Just make sure you drive for at least three hours during the day to keep the battery on the heater fully charged (it’s separate from the battery that powers the engine of your campervan).

One of the benefits of traveling around Iceland by campervan in winter as opposed to summer is that you’ll find deep discounts. Companies often offer 30-50% off their regular high-season prices. This is due to the lower demand in the months from November to March, which is typically considered Iceland’s winter. Not surprisingly, a recent survey showed that 60% of travelers preferred visiting in the winter. You won’t be alone in your bargain hunting! Plus some of the country’s coolest outdoor activities like Northern Lights excursions or glacier hikes in Vatnajökull are at their best during the colder months.

Things to Be Wary of with Wintertime Campervan Rental in Iceland

There is one big downside to renting a campervan in Iceland, especially in January or February. Most people who rent campers and motorhomes do so because they enjoy having cooking facilities. They are able to make homecooked meals and save some money in the process. What they might not realize is that sometimes temperatures drop so far below 32 ºF (0 ºC) that the pipes in their vehicle freeze. You had been hoping to wash some dishes in your sink, but no water comes out! There are some measures in place to prevent this from happening, but nothing is foolproof or perfect. Unfortunately, you may just have to wait until temperatures rise to a suitable level.

Iceland Winter Driving Tips

Most of the winter driving tips for Iceland are just plain common sense: drive slowly, pay attention to the road, etc. But you may not have also thought about checking the weather forecast, keeping an eye on storms, and asking the locals for advice. There is so much snow and ice on the ground that you really need to be careful of slick conditions. And winter storms can wreak havoc on your travel plans. Check the weather forecast multiple times a day on the Iceland Meteorological Office website, especially if you are planning on driving to another city. Don’t be afraid to turn back if you see conditions worsening or to pull into the nearest town or campsite. You don’t want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere with no snowplows in sight. If you need it, the emergency number in Iceland is 112.

Is it Possible to Travel During Wintertime With a Campervan?

You can definitely travel during wintertime with a campervan. Just make sure you hire a 4x4 vehicle with snow tires and constantly check the weather. I would not, however, advise renting a motorhome during this time period. It's better to explore with either a car or a camper. Winter is a magical time in Iceland, so come enjoy it in all its glory.


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