Magnificent fjords, black sand beaches, wild horses, and the midnight sun. Iceland, the land of fire and ice is otherworldly. Few places compare to Iceland and now is the best time to visit this wild and rugged land. That is why this blog will serve as a guide on camping in Iceland in August.
Iceland is one of the most expensive places on earth, but camping can be done on a budget. The best way to camp is in a rented campervan, although it’s a bit more pricey. Camping in Iceland in August is popular and it can get crowded, so you are well advised to book your camping spot in advance.
This short preview is just a glimpse into our guide about camping in Iceland in August. You will find more info about camping rules, camping food, and what you should pack for camping in the rest of our article. Should you need more inspiration and tips for your camping trips, make sure to also check out our blog. You might like our blog on the best locations and tips for camping in Finland.
Table of Contents
Can you camp in Iceland in the summer?
Yes, you most definitely can. July and August are perfect for camping in Iceland. During these months, the temperatures in the south of the country are usually between 10°C and 15°C. Iceland is notorious for its sudden gusts of wind, which can make camping particularly challenging in the winter. Keep in mind that the weather in Iceland is fickle, so always pack windproof and waterproof clothes.
What should you pack for camping in Iceland?
You can either bring your own camping equipment or rent one in Iceland. Whatever you choose to do, you should go through our list, so you know what you should pack for camping in Iceland. While we are on the subject of camping essentials, take a look at our blog to find out what essentials you should bring for one night of camping.
- A waterproof and windproof tent – as we’ve already mentioned earlier, the weather in Iceland is unpredictable, even in the summer, so make sure that your tent can protect you from all elements that Mother Nature can throw at you.
- A sleeping pad – the ground in Iceland is frozen for almost the entire year, so make sure to buy an affordable sleeping pad for a more enjoyable sleeping experience. Read our blog to learn how to compress a sleeping bag without a stuff sack.
- Waterproof and windproof everything – your jacket, shoes, and clothing should protect you from possible storms, and make sure to bring layers of clothing.
- Swimwear and a quick-dry towel – you will want to take a dip in famous Icelandic hot springs.
- A camp stove – unless you rent a campervan in Iceland, you should pack a camp stove so that you can cook your food while camping.
- Plenty of food and water – keep in mind that restaurants and stores are often sparse in remote areas.
- Spare fuel – you will need spare fuel for your car or camper, as gas stations in remote areas can be sparsely scattered around.
How much does camping in Iceland cost?
Iceland is one of the most expensive countries in the world. That being said, camping in Iceland can be done on a budget. Let’s differentiate between these three different types of camping in Iceland:
- Campervan rental – this type of camping in Ireland far exceeds the others when it comes to comfort and convenience, but it also comes with a hefty price tag. The price of renting a campervan can range from $80 to $200. Campervans have a cooking stove and the back that transforms into a bed. Renting a campervan is easier if you are traveling with a group of friends that you can split the cost with.
- Car camping – this type of camping is more affordable than campervan camping. A car rental typically costs between $50 and $90. A lot of people choose this type of camping since they spend most of their time on the road anyway. Car camping is cheaper than campervan camping but at the cost of comfort.
- Tent camping at the campground – plenty of tourists choose August for camping in Ireland. With that in mind, make sure to book your desired campsite in advance. If you plan to camp at Iceland’s campsites, it is worth getting a Camping Card and it will save you money.
Is wild camping legal in Iceland?
In Iceland, wild camping, aka boondocking or dry camping, is prohibited by law. According to the new conservation legislation, a land owner or a right holder needs to give you their permission to spend the night in tents, campervans, motorhomes, etc. outside registered campsites or urban areas. You need to obtain explicit permission for camping from the land owner in the following situations:
- when you want to camp near places where people live
- if you want to camp near places where there are farms
- when you want to set up more than three tents
- if the land where you want to camp is cultivated
- if you plan to use motorhomes or similar in places that are not urban areas or campsites
Can you have a campfire in Iceland?
No, you cannot build a campfire in Iceland. The reason for this is fairly simple. Iceland has a fragile ecosystem and you shouldn’t do anything to harm it. There are hardly any trees or wood on the island, so even if you wanted to illegally build a campfire, it would be almost impossible.
You can use a gas stove if you are camping in a camper van. You can even rent a portable camp stove or a grill at some of the campsites in Iceland. If you want to learn more about camping etiquette in general, read our blog about the 15 unwritten rules of camping.
What to eat while camping in Iceland?
When you are in the wilderness or road tripping in Iceland, keep in mind that restaurants are far and few between. If you are on a budget, you should also know that going out to eat in Iceland is pricey, to say the least. A simple meal for two, such as burgers, can cost up to $50. You should go easy on the alcohol, as it is mad expensive, as well.
This is one of the reasons why you are well-advised to rent a campervan. A camper van’s cooking accommodation will make it easier for you to prepare your own food, which will save you money. Plus, half the fun of camping is in the cooking. Next, we’ll present you with some classic Icelandic camping food that you can enjoy. If you are a foodie, check out our blog on make-ahead camping desserts that you need to try.
Hot dogs (Pylsur)
Icelandic hot dogs are different from standard American ones. You can either grill or boil them. They are mostly made from lamb and served with either fresh or fried onion, ketchup, and Icelandic hot dog mustard. You should also try a famous remúlaði – a yellow remoulade sauce that tastes great on a hot dog, as well as on any seafood or red meat.
Kleina/Kleinur and Kókómjólk
Kleina, the so-called Icelandic doughnut is a kind of fried sweet dough. This pastry has a hint of cardamom and can be paired with coffee. However, Kleina, together with Kókómjólk, the Icelandic chocolate milk, makes, what we would call a perfect Icelandic camping food combo.
Skyr is a famous Icelandic dairy product, similar to Greek yogurt in taste, but creamier. You can buy Skyr in the US as well, but it is expensive, as it is considered a specialty item. However, it is very cheap in Iceland. You can eat it for breakfast, as a snack, and even as a dessert.
Flatkökur og hangikjöt
Flatkökur og hangikjöt is an Icelandic name for flatbread and smoked lamb. This delicious meal is often served at family gatherings. To make it, you simply butter the flatbread and put slices of smoked lamb on top of it. Finally, you fold the flatbread into a triangle.
Do Iceland campsites have showers?
No two campsites are the same in Iceland, which is why you should look up different campsites before your camping trip. The best campsites have showers, toilets, running water, laundry facilities, and charging stations. Some campsites have cooking facilities too. If you need to take a shower, you can always use the shower in local swimming pools. There is also an option of popular geothermal baths, as well as natural hot pools which you can find all over the country.
If camping in Iceland has been on your bucket list for quite some time, now is the best time to make that dream come true. Our A to Z guide on camping in Iceland in August will prepare you to experience this land of ice and fire and the Northern Lights in the best possible way.
Finally, we should mention the natural phenomenon of the Midnight Sun, which you can also witness when camping in Iceland in August. It happens in the summer when it never gets dark, so you may want to pack a sleeping mask. Endless summer days in Iceland will open endless possibilities for exploration and adventure. If you would like to further check out some amazing camping destinations, take a look at our blog on how to get ready for camping in Portugal.