Iceland winter travel in a camper van

It is pretty much mild all year.  Sure, at first, Iceland winter camping may not sound appealing, but when you can rent a van and travel across Iceland, it is super appealing and with that extra Webasto heating system it is very warm and cozy during the winter nights. If you’re a nature lover, then driving around in a campervan in Iceland would be alike a dream come true, and there are also many campsites in Iceland. During your camper van travel in Iceland, the following tips will come in handy …

Route 1, also referred to as the Ring Road is the road that circles the entire part of Iceland – that is the road you will be traveling down during your Iceland winter camping adventure.

Have an Itinerary

The Ring Road is probably self-explanatory, but we’re going to go over it with you. This is a road that covers the entire country. The entire route will take around 16 hours if you were to drive non-stop. Why would you want to drive non-stop anyways? Now is the time to stop and smell the fresh “roses” …

It is almost impossible to create the perfect Ring Road Itinerary. We suggest that you take it slow and travel at a pace you feel comfortable with. It doesn’t matter how slow you choose to go, and if you feel like missing some sights along the way, that is perfectly fine. Just make sure you are happy and comfortable with the pace you’re traveling at. We recommend taking this adventure when you have one to two weeks to spare. We have some friends that went for a total of 10 days and they felt like it was the perfect amount of time. When they left, they felt like they wanted more camping in Iceland adventures, but on the same note, they never got bored during the trip.

When you are planning your itinerary, you need to map out all of the spots you plan on stopping. However, even after you plan the itinerary, you’re going to find some unplanned stops and that is why we say no itinerary is going to be perfect.

Don’t Forget to Get Some Sleep

Sleep is good for you! We understand that you will be excited during your camper van travel in Iceland adventures, but this doesn’t mean that you can skip out on sleep – your body won’t appreciate that very much. We offer campervans that have heaters in them that you can run all night long, so you can be nice and warm while you sleep. Also, the beds are very comfortable, and you will get a good night´s rest every night and wake up full of energy the next day. When you park for the night to get some sleep, there are many campsites in Iceland that you can choose from in the winter.  We will list important information at the bottom of the article regarding sights and campsites.

Choose the Right Van

The first step to planning your Iceland camping trip is to select the right van with your rental company. As a good rental agency we will answer to any questions you may have about renting one of our camper or motor homes. The camping van should come with everything you need for a fun camping trip in Iceland. Take note that most of the campervans you come across in Iceland are manual, so it is important that you know how to drive a manual. If you cannot drive a manual, then you need to speak with the rental company and see about booking an automatic well in advance. You also need to consider the size of the campervan you’re renting as there are many different size options you can choose from. Some may only fit two person, while the others can fit three, and up to a total of six persons.

Prepare Yourself for High Winds

During your camping adventure in Iceland, make sure you’re prepared for some high winds. When you open up the van door, make sure you hold on to it!  This is the most common damage people encounter in Iceland, when the wind grabs your door and blows it wide open.  Park your vehicle up-wind if possible or make sure you hold on tight when you open the door.

Fuel Stations

You cannot forget about gas …you know, that is kind of required if you want to travel across Iceland in a camper van. For this reason, you need to make sure you know about the distances between fuel stations, but thankfully, they’re not far apart from each other. Also, take note that at some of the stations, American credit cards aren’t accepted.

Choose a Nice Camping Spot

In Iceland, you can’t just camp freely in a camping van. By law, you will need to have permission from the landowner, or a receipt when you’re camping. Don’t worry, because finding a good camping spot won’t be hard, because there are so many different campsites you can stay at in Iceland. The campsites in Iceland are usually nice and clean with facilities like toilets, showers, washing machines, and some of them may even have WiFi. The availability of the campsites will all depend on the time of the year you’re going.


During your camper van travel in Iceland, make sure you take the above tips into consideration. Camping in Iceland can be a whole lot of fun, because there is just so much for you to see and do in the little island of Iceland. 

For winter camping please check out the winter campsites here.

Remember to check the sky every night for the northern lights in the winter time.  They are frequently there but you will have to look up :)

Must see places and travel tips.

Start with the Golden Circle on your way towards the south coast route.  Check out the Lava center in the town* of Hvolsvöllur and 15 minutes from there you will reach Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrabúi waterfalls almost side by side.  Skógarfoss waterfall and the infamous plane wreck on Sólheimasandur is a must see.  The hike to the wreck is about 30 minutes from the main road so dress in warm clothes. 

Dyrhólaey is up next but in the winter time the area is closed for a good reason.  It is far too dangerous to wander up in the hills there in icy conditions. Dyrhólaey can be viwed from the black sand beaches in the area.  Fjarðárgljúfur canyon got it´s fame from the music video by Justin Bieber.  This spot is one of Icelands hidden gem. Skaftafell national park by Europe´s largest glacier is up next in its majestic surrondings. If you have the time, check out Svartifoss, the hike up there is about 35-40 minutes. 

Hofskirkja church is well worth the visit, located right in the middle of Skaftafell park and the glacier lagoon.  Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon is a must stop and below the bridge on route one is the diamond beach.  Have your camera gear charged and social media gadgets fully loaded as you will be at a spot that is very unique.  As you wonder north, through the east fjords, keep those places in mind, Lake Mývatn, Dimmuborgir, Grjótagjá canyon, Hverfjall, Dettifoss and Asbyrgi. 

We recommend taking a dip in to the Lake Myvatn nature baths and also a whale watching tour in the town of Husavik.  On the way from Husavik to Akureyri, the capitol of the north, you will find Goðafoss waterfall, very close to the road.

*Yes, we consider few houses a town… haha