If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, you may have heard that you need a camping card to be able to stay in campsites around the island. That is not exactly true. While you can purchase a camping card in Iceland, it’s not a requirement. So, do you need a camping card in Iceland? No. Should you buy one? Well, that depends, and in this blog post, I will go over the main things to consider before purchasing the camping card.
Camping in Iceland with a Campervan
Traveling around Iceland with a campervan is an easy, affordable, and convenient way that gives you freedom and flexibility. To start, I would highly recommend checking out our extensive guide on camping in Iceland. It will give you a lot of useful information on how to prepare and what to expect.
Most importantly, remember, wild camping with a campervan is not allowed in Iceland, and you must spend the nights in an organized campsite.
Most campsites do not require pre-booking, so you can simply pull up at the end of the day and find a spot. Although, more and more campsites offer to book and/or check-in online via Parka App or their website. It is very handy, especially if you are arriving when reception is closed. The instructions may vary from campsite to campsite, so check their website or look for some signs at the campsite with more info.
What is a Camping Card, and How Does it Work?
Camping card (Utilegukortið) holders can stay at selected campsites during the summer months. The current price is 179 EUR (approx. 195 USD) for one card. The Camping card is valid for 2 adults (16 years and older) and 4 children (under 16 years old), and one tent/campervan. You can order it online or buy it at selected places.
Pros and Cons of the Camping Card
In some cases, Camping Card can help lower the total cost you’d spend on campsite fees, but from our experience, that is not guaranteed. The average price for a campsite is 1.000-2.000 ISK per person per night. The camping card is approx. 27.000 ISK. So, if you are staying in Iceland for more than a week, you might want to consider getting it.
However, please note that not all campsites accept camping cards. There are over 200 campsites in Iceland, and a camping card works only in 30-40 of them. So, you might have to plan in which campsites you’ll stay. Given that one of the main reasons people choose to rent a campervan is freedom and flexibility, some find the camping card campsite network quite limiting. Also, a camping card does not guarantee availability if the campsite is full (extremely rare in Iceland) or temporarily closed.
Moreover, having a camping card does not mean you won’t have to pay for anything. You will have to pay the overnight tax (333 ISK/unit), and you might have to pay for showers and other amenities if they are not included in the base price.
The last thing to remember is that the camping card is only valid from 1 May or 15 May to 15 September each year. Some campsites do not open before June or close earlier, so keep it in mind if you are traveling in May/September. Meanwhile, if you are traveling outside during the summer months – getting a camping card is not an option.
Finding Nearby Campsites in Iceland
In conclusion, to answer if you need a camping card in Iceland, depends on your travel plans. It is quite popular among campers, but it is not required, nor is it a great deal for everyone.
If you want to learn more about the Camping Card, visit campingcard.is for more information, you can also contact the company directly if you have any questions.
Meanwhile, if you are looking for information about all campsites in Iceland, bookmark Happy Campers Campsite map, an easy-to-use tool to find the nearest campsite on the road.
Need more help planning your trip? Our goal is to give you all of the tools and information needed before and during your trip so you can have the best time in Iceland. Check out more of our resources, including blog posts, comprehensive guides, camping community, and much more.