Iceland, a land of unparalleled natural beauty, offers some of the most scenic campsites in the world. Car camping in Iceland is an adventure like no other, allowing you to immerse yourself in the land of fire and ice at your own pace. From volcanic landscapes and geothermal hot springs to majestic waterfalls and rugged fjords, these nine campsites provide the perfect settings for an unforgettable camping experience. Whether you’re nestled under the midnight sun or the dancing Northern Lights, each campsite presents a unique opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy Iceland’s stunning vistas. Here are the first three of the most scenic campsites in Iceland, ideal for car camping enthusiasts seeking beauty, tranquility, and adventure.
1. Þakgil Campsite: Hidden Gem in a Green Valley
Þakgil Campsite, located in a secluded green valley surrounded by towering mountains, is a true hidden gem for campers. Accessible via a scenic drive through rugged terrain, this campsite offers a peaceful retreat in the heart of nature. The unique landscape around Þakgil, characterized by its green moss-covered hills and dramatic rock formations, provides a perfect backdrop for hiking and exploring. The campsite features basic facilities, ensuring a comfortable stay while maintaining a sense of wilderness adventure. At night, the absence of light pollution offers a clear view of the starry sky, making Þakgil an ideal spot for stargazing enthusiasts.
2. Skógafoss Campsite: Majestic Waterfalls and Serene Meadows
Located near the iconic Skógafoss waterfall, the Skógafoss Campsite offers a serene camping experience amidst the sound of cascading waters. This campsite is situated in a lush meadow, providing ample space for campers to set up their tents or park their cars. The proximity to Skógafoss allows campers to enjoy the waterfall’s beauty at different times of the day, away from the daytime crowds. The area also serves as a starting point for several hiking trails, including the famous Fimmvörðuháls trek. The campsite is equipped with essential facilities, making it a convenient and comfortable base for exploring the surrounding landscapes and the nearby Skógafoss Museum.
3. Landmannalaugar Campsite: Geothermal Paradise in the Highlands
Landmannalaugar Campsite, set in the colorful rhyolite mountains of the Icelandic highlands, is a haven for nature lovers. This campsite is an excellent choice for those who hire a car in Iceland, as it serves as a gateway to some of the most spectacular hiking trails in the country. The area is renowned for its natural geothermal hot springs, where campers can unwind and soak in the warm, mineral-rich waters. The striking contrast of the rainbow-colored mountains against the green valleys creates a surreal and photogenic landscape. The campsite offers basic amenities, and its remote location makes it a perfect spot for those seeking solitude and a close connection with Iceland’s raw beauty.
4. Vík Campsite: Coastal Charm and Midnight Sun
The Vík Campsite, located in the quaint seaside village of Vík, offers campers a unique experience by the Atlantic Ocean. This campsite is not only known for its stunning coastal views but also for its proximity to the famous black sand beaches and basalt sea stacks of Reynisfjara. The area’s rich birdlife, including puffins and guillemots, makes it a paradise for birdwatchers. Campers at Vík can enjoy the sight of the midnight sun setting over the ocean during summer, creating an unforgettable spectacle. The village of Vík, with its friendly locals and charming amenities, is within walking distance, offering an opportunity to explore local Icelandic culture and cuisine. The campsite itself provides comprehensive facilities, including hot showers, a communal kitchen, and a laundry room, ensuring a comfortable stay amidst the natural wonders of Iceland’s south coast.
5. Asbyrgi Campsite: A Haven in a Glacial Canyon
Nestled in the heart of the Asbyrgi canyon, this campsite is a hidden gem within the Vatnajökull National Park. Asbyrgi, known for its horseshoe-shaped canyon formed by glacial flooding, offers campers a serene and sheltered environment surrounded by steep cliffs and lush vegetation. The area is rich in folklore and believed to be the meeting place of the gods in Norse mythology. Hiking trails lead through the birch forests to stunning viewpoints overlooking the canyon and the surrounding landscapes. The campsite itself provides excellent facilities and spacious pitches for car campers, making it an ideal base for exploring the diverse ecosystems and geological formations within the national park.
6. Kirkjufell Campsite: Iconic Landscapes at Your Doorstep
Situated near the base of the famous Kirkjufell mountain on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, this campsite offers an iconic Icelandic camping experience. The mountain, known for its distinct shape, is one of the most photographed landmarks in Iceland and provides a spectacular backdrop for campers. The nearby Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall adds to the beauty of the site, offering picturesque views and tranquil sounds of flowing water. The campsite is a perfect spot for photographers and nature lovers, with easy access to various hiking trails around the mountain and along the coastline. Facilities at the campsite include well-maintained restrooms and shower facilities, ensuring a comfortable stay in one of Iceland’s most scenic locations.
7. Akureyri Campsite: Urban Camping with Northern Charm
Akureyri Campsite, situated in Iceland’s northern capital, combines the convenience of urban amenities with the charm of the Icelandic countryside. This campsite is an excellent choice for those engaging in self drive tours in winter, as it offers easy access to Akureyri’s winter attractions, including ski resorts and winter festivals. The campsite boasts a range of facilities, including heated service buildings, which are particularly appreciated during the colder months. Despite its location within the city, the campsite offers a peaceful environment, with views of the surrounding mountains and fjords. Its proximity to Akureyri means that campers have easy access to shops, restaurants, and cultural activities, making it a versatile choice for those who want to combine outdoor adventure with urban exploration.
8. Thingvellir National Park Campsite: Camping in a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Thingvellir National Park Campsite offers an opportunity to stay in one of Iceland’s most historic and geologically significant locations. Situated within a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this campsite is surrounded by the raw beauty of the Thingvellir rift valley, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. The area is steeped in history, being the site of Iceland’s first parliament, and offers numerous hiking trails and diving opportunities in the Silfra fissure. The campsite itself is well-equipped with necessary facilities and is an ideal spot for those who wish to immerse themselves in Iceland’s natural and historical heritage.
9. Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon Campsite: A Front Row Seat to Glacial Beauty
Located near the breathtaking Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon in southeast Iceland, this campsite offers a front-row seat to one of the country’s most mesmerizing natural phenomena. Campers can enjoy views of icebergs floating in the lagoon and may even spot seals swimming among the ice. The nearby Diamond Beach, where icebergs wash ashore on black sand, provides another stunning location for exploration and photography. The campsite offers basic facilities, allowing campers to focus on the natural beauty and tranquility of the area. It’s a perfect spot for those looking to experience the magic of Iceland’s glaciers up close.
Car camping in Iceland opens up a world of adventure and natural beauty, with each of these nine scenic campsites offering a unique way to experience the land of fire and ice. From the tranquil shores of Vík to the historic plains of Thingvellir and the glacial wonders of Jokulsarlon, these campsites provide the perfect settings for an unforgettable camping experience. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or an adventurous exploration, Iceland’s campsites offer something for every camper, surrounded by some of the most stunning landscapes on the planet. With the flexibility of a car, whether it’s your own or a hired vehicle, you have the freedom to explore these wonders at your own pace, creating memories that will last a lifetime in the majestic landscapes of Iceland.