Best Free and Cheap Campsites in Iceland

Walk through the heart of Reykjavik, and you’re bound to hear a tourist complaining about the high price tag that comes with staying in the city. I feel you. But there are fun and affordable options that open up Iceland to your doorstep. Camping in Iceland untethers you from conventional accommodations, saves a bundle, and provides unparalleled experiences like waking up to fjords and waterfalls at your door. And in Iceland, you can legally camp for free.

Sort of.

Wild Camping in Iceland

As a general rule, you can set up a tent for one night on any uncultivated public land for free and start exploring Iceland’s hidden gems. And if you want to go camping in Iceland on private property or a farm? You just need express permission from the owner. Sounds good, right? But before you pack up your tent to venture into the Icelandic countryside, you should know a few things. For starters, it’s not always immediately obvious what constitutes uncultivated land, and you need to get into the rugged wild to find a legal spot. That requires 4×4 off-roading, which is generally prohibited in Iceland.

There are also some hidden rules and caveats within that freebie rule about camping in Iceland. For starters, laws can vary between municipalities and are continuously changing with greater enforcement due to the influx of tourism, causing confusion to wayward camping tourists. In addition, you’re only allowed to camp for free on such land if there are no other legal campsites in the area, and you can’t park overnight in a campervan for free.

There’s more.

In the southern part of Iceland, it’s flat-out illegal to camp outside of a designated campsite whether you’re in a tent or not. You also can’t camp out for free, or beyond the designated campsites at Iceland’s three National Parks of Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park, Vatnajökull National Park or Snaefellsjökull National Park.

To sum up, in order to go camping in Iceland for free, you need to:

  • Become an expert on Icelandic land ownership and laws
  • Proficiently understand the gray area of how far law enforcement thinks you should be from a legal campsite
  • Study up on what’s considered cultivated land and what’s not throughout Iceland
  • Know the local municipality laws inside and out
  • Understand the country’s evolving camping regulations
  • Become a YouTube-worthy superstar negotiator with private landowners holding the fate to your free camping spot

So yes, technically, you can set-up a tent and go camping in Iceland for free. But it’s incredibly challenging to do and leaves you exposed to friction with locals and law enforcement. Instead, choose from among the 170 registered campsites in Iceland that are usually affordable.

Cheap Campsites in Iceland

Peak camping season in Iceland stretches from June until mid-September. Expect to pay between $12 and $20 to go camping in Iceland or maybe a little more to park your camper van. During off-seasons, you may even find some campgrounds that are still open but unmanned, potentially making them free. But again, this is a gray area that isn’t worth the legal headache. Campsite amenities also vary, with some being a basic place to park or pitch a tent and others with hot showers, free WiFi, charging stations, and laundry facilities.

Camping in Iceland is a relaxing way to spend your vacation where the country is at your fingertips. Here are ten ideas to kick off your camping adventure with budget-friendliness in mind.

For most of the campsites in Iceland, you do not need to book in advance and can show up on the same day. Some of them are on the Parka website, where you can book in advance. You may also find more details on each campsite on our Campsite Map, phone numbers, and e-mails for each campsite.

1. Gata Free Camping

grey wooden church strandarkirkja in iceland

This is the place to be if you really want to go camping in Iceland for free without turning yourself into a bizarre expert on local Icelandic law. Situated near Strandarkirkja in the Southwest of Iceland, Great Free Camping offers basic amenities like running water, waste disposal facilities, and toilets, all for free. They do charge a small fee for the shower, and you can also find designated BBQ areas to cook up your dinner for the evening.

Gata Free Camping accepts donations, so be a good guest and throw in a few Icelandic Króna to keep this place running. You can get in touch with the campsite at +354-892-7954.

2. Happy Campsite Keflavík

Not only Happy Campsite, Keflavik is the closest campsite to the KEF Airport, making it a perfect spot to start or finish your camping trip in Iceland. The campgrounds are located in Reykjanes peninsula, which is full of hidden gems and spectacular nature – Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark, the hot springs at Seltun, Blue Lagoon, and so much more. Not to mention the hottest attraction in Iceland right now – the Fagradalsfjall volcano is only a short drive away. So, don’t rush from the airport to Reykjavik to start driving the ring road. Take some time to explore Reykjanes

We strongly advise booking a spot with electricity in advance due to limited availability. 

cheap campsite in keflavik near the international airport in iceland

The campsite is open from May until the end of September with a rate of around $12 per person per night. It is free for 16-year-olds and younger children.

3. Thingvellir National Park

thingvellir national park in the fall

A campsite located at the entrance to one of Iceland’s most important sites, surrounded by beautiful nature where the European and North American tectonic plates meet. The campsite offers warm showers, a few power outlets, and stunning scenery. It’s simple and functional.

The campsite is spread across several locations, all within walking distance of the Þingvellir National Park visitor center. It is open all year round. The price is around $13 per person per night. Payment is possible in our Service center at Leirar, which is open from 9 – 17 every day. If you arrive after opening hours, please go on to the campground and enjoy our camping site facilities. It is then simply possible to take care of payment in the morning.

HAM4. Skjól Campsite

aerial view of skjol campsite en route of popular golden circle in iceland
Photo courtesy: Skjól Campsite

A campsite conveniently located between the popular attractions Geysir and Gullfoss. Better yet, they are also open during winter. The campsite is large and not crowded, and they have most of the services you would ever need at a campsite (even free wifi!). The price is around $14 per person per night.

There are many sights close by, such as the waterfall Gullfoss, the hot spring Geysir, the town Laugarvatn, the highland area Kerlingarfjoll, and many more. There are also plenty of activities close by, such as a horse rental on the next farm and an excellent golf course close by.

5. Grundafjörður Campsite

A campsite with beautiful surroundings and a marvelous view, located next to the swimming pool. The famous Mt. Kirkjufell is also visible from the camping ground. Wheelchair-accessible bathroom with electricity for campers.
In wintertime, the campsite offers minimal facilities with WC and electricity. The information center for the campsite is at the swimming pool.

Grundarfjörður is the perfect location for people who wish to camp in one area for a few nights. It is centrally located in the middle of the northern Snæfellsnes peninsula. From here, you can go on great excursions in any direction to visit the beautiful sites of the peninsula and the National Park. The swimming pool is next to the campsite, and there are also nice walking and hiking trails available.

You can also enjoy this beautiful place by engaging in outdoor activities such as horseback riding, kayaking, whale watching, golfing, sea angling, or bird watching by boat. Grundarfjörður is well-known for the still wind and impressive sunsets behind Kirkjufell during summer.

cheap campsite in grundarfjordur in iceland full of motor homes and campervans

Open all year, Grundafjörður Campsite rates run nearly $12 for the night, with an added fee for electricity.

6. Hellissandur Campsite

If you’ve ever wanted to go camping in Iceland and wake up surrounded by stunning lava fields, Hellissandur Camping Ground is your place. Located in Sandahraun, the camping area comes equipped with toilets, showers, and washbins along with electricity to charge-up your devices.

Spend your day strolling the paths or head out to one of the nearby sandy beaches. Make sure to say hit to their neighbor, the glacier Snæfellsjökull.

service house in hellissandur campsite in iceland surrounded by lava fields

Open from 1. May – 30. September, Hellissandur Campsite rates run nearly $13 for the night, with an added fee for electricity.

7. Vík Campsite

Sleep in the southernmost village in Iceland off the country’s main ring road in Vik. The Vik Campsite welcomes up to 250 people in tents, cabins, cars, or caravans and no reservations are required in this oversized campsite. Campers enjoy running water, showers, WiFi, dining facilities, washing machines, electricity and more to make your stay cozy and comfortable.

a view of vik campsite in summer
Vik campsite on a clear summer morning

Open from May 15th until October 31st, Vik Campsite rates run nearly $14 for the night. Expect to pay extra for electricity, showers, washing machines, and dryers, or a cottage stay.

8. Húsafell Campground

Feel like you’re at summer camp again in western Iceland at the popular Húsafell Camping grounds. Their perks extend past robust electricity and working washing machines. Húsafell boasts a swimming pool, golf course, playground, convenience store, restaurant and bar. It’s upscale camping without getting into pricey glamping territory. Rates run out to $13 with add-ons for electricity and other extras.

9. Möðrudalur Campsite

cabins and church in modrudal farm and camping ground

Möðrudalur Campground, you can enjoy the beauty of mountain scenery away from the beaten track, staying at the highest farm in Iceland – 469 meters altitude over sea level. The price rate per person per night is $13.

The campsite offers cooking facilities, showers, waste disposal, electricity, and Wi-Fi. There are many easy walking paths from the campsite that are ideal for exploring nature. During peaceful evening walks, it is possible to see the mountain Herðubreið on the horizon or the mountain Kverfjöll on the glacier Vatnajökull.

In Möðrudal is also the restaurant Fjallakaffi, which offers only products from the area’s farms, with a focus on lamb, reindeer, goat meat, and goose. Very beautiful wool handicrafts are also sold, as well as a photo exhibition of the lava field Holuhraun and more of the Icelandic highlands.
For many, the beautiful church in the area, built by Jón A. Stefánsson in memory of his wife, is an attraction.

10. Stykkishólmur Campsite

view of tent field in stykkisholmur campsite in iceland

Stykkishólmur campsite is perfectly located next to Víkurvöllur golf course, only 5-minute walk to the swimming pool, supermarket, restaurants, and all general services. At the Clubhouse, you can pay the accommodation fee. The rate per night per person is around $12.

There are toilets in two locations at the campsite, in the service hut and in the Clubhouse, including 14 toilets. Washbasins (with cold & hot water) are situated in both facilities, and there are taps to fill water cans. At the camping site, there is also a facility to empty and clean car toilets. 2 outdoor showers with hot water are in the service hut, and access is free of charge for campsite visitors. The washing machine and dryer are available at the Clubhouse/Tourist Information Center. This service is not included in the accommodation fee. Contact the warden for further information. Wardens are at the camping site from 8 am – 10 pm. Electricity boards situated in a few places in the area are available for campers. This service is not included in the accommodation fee. Contact the warden for further information.


Keep in mind that camping in Iceland comes with brisk winters, and rates can change at any time, so check in advance before setting your budget in stone. And let’s all remember something else: Be a gracious guest by leaving nature (and the rest of the country) the way you found it, taking your garbage with you, skipping the open fires, and staying in your designated area.

Camping in Iceland is an inexpensive (and sometimes free) way to soak up the country’s gorgeous landscape and views. Skip the headaches of hunting for free camping in Iceland’s uncultivated wilderness and embrace the budget-friendly convenience of the cheap campsites in Iceland instead.

I’ll meet you there.

Further Reading

Our goal at Happy Campers is to make the most of your trip to Iceland. We do this in many ways, but perhaps most importantly, we ensure you have all the tools, tips, and information you need before your trip. Check out our blog, extensive guides, itinerary builder, and other resources on our website. Here are a few topics you might be interested in:

What is the best season for a trip to Iceland? The truth is, there is no bad season for a trip to Iceland. Each season has its own pros and cons, and it all depends on what you want to see and do.

Iceland Campsite Map. Our most useful resource is our Happy Campers map. The map includes every single campsite in Iceland and is categorized into summer, winter, and hybrid campsites. Each campsite has information about prices, facilities, and more.

Camping in Iceland. We wrote a travel guide on what to expect when camping in Iceland. We are the experts when it comes to camping in Iceland. There are over 200 campsites in Iceland so finding a campsite is usually never a problem. Whether you are camping via campervan or tent, there are lots of things to keep in mind to make your camping trip in Iceland successful.