Over the years here at Happy Campers I have helped a lot of customers to plan their trips and answer their questions. Many travelers are curious about the mystery campsite Þakgil, which is located in the south part of Iceland. I have probably been asked about it over 1000 times and I always enjoy giving them some good tips. People always ask about the road 214 that takes you to Þakgil. Here are some examples of the kind of questions I get:
- Is it accessible with all campers or only 4×4?
- Is it open all-year around?
- Do you need to drive on an F-road to get there?
- How is it compared to other campsites in Iceland?
Me, my family, and some friends took a weekend trip to Þakgil in beginning of August. I wanted to show them this place since none of them had been there before. We decided to go on Friday afternoon and the plan was to spend 2 nights at the Þakgil campsite.
In this post, I’ll be answering the questions above and sharing my experience of Þakgil and what it has to offer – so here we go!
Traveling from Reykjavik to Þakgil
Þakgil campsite is located in the south part of Iceland, close to Vík í Mýrdal. It takes you around 2 hours and 30 minutes to drive to Vík. It’s a 186km drive. When you pass Vík, you continue for about 4km before you need to make a left turn to road “Kerlingadalur” (road 214). From there, you’ll be driving 14kms on a difficult gravel road and tricky conditions. It’s very important to drive carefully, since you will find a lot of holes and rocks there that can damage any type of car if you don’t drive with care. Damage to the undercarriage and flat tires are the most common things that can occur. Although this is only a 14km route, you can easily expect to be 30-40 minutes driving due to the conditions.
This particular drive is also one of the highlights of the trip since the scenery and view along the way is truly amazing. Luckily, this is not an F-road so it can be enjoyed by anybody driving a regular car, although I would recommend only driving there in a well-equipped car in good condition. The route offers a mixture of mountains, rivers, sand, grass and everything in between. All kinds of colors are dancing around. It’s one of the very few places where people can get a taste of the Icelandic highlands without needing to drive on any F-roads.
The things that make Þakgil campsite unique in my opinon:
- -Plenty of space
- -Breathtaking landscape
- -The CAVE
- -Amazing hikes
And here is an overview of their facilities:
- Hot water
- Cold water
- Hiking paths
- Mobile home waste disposal
- Dogs allowed
Plenty of space
Þakgil campsite is very big compared to most other campsites in Iceland. It’s super easy to find a spot where you don’t need to be right up to the next tourist so if you are person that likes privacy, Þakgil is the right place for you. As I’m sure you know, Icelandic camping laws requires travelers to spend the night at designated campsites. However, this campsite is a worthy attraction in its own right and makes the law easy to abide by.
Although it’s a big area, you are never far away from the facility they have. Restrooms and showers are open 24/7 for you to use. They are very well maintained and kept clean every single day by a person who is always on duty over the summer time (1st of June – 15th of September). Þakgil campsite is NOT open all year around.
What can you say about the landscape besides it’s truly amazing. You are surrounded by mountains which are mostly covered in grass and moss, along with stones and sand. You shouldn’t be surprised if you would see some mountain sheep up there as well. When my family went there in early August, we could see a lot of them hanging there having a nice meal (grass and more grass).
One of many beauties about Þakgil is that the mountains around it take most of the wind so it’s not always windy as like everywhere else in Iceland. Once you’ve been to Iceland you will know exactly what I mean, but us locals always appreciate a situation where there is no wind. That is very rare.
The dinner facility they created is fantastic. It’s a big cave that they have designed as the self service restaurant. It features 2 BBQ charcoal grills, picnic tables and chairs for up to 30-40 people easily. Around 17:00 – 18:00 every single night they light up a lot of candles for extra cozy feeling that surrounds the cave for lightning. On top of all that, they have added a homemade fireplace to keep it warm for a few hours while people are cooking/eating their dinner. I bet you can’t find a more cozy, relaxed environment with your family to grill up your burgers. Amazing setup that they have created which I can’t recommend enough for everybody to check out.
You are surrounded by beautiful hiking paths and there is something for everybody. All from very short and easy ones that everybody can do, up to longer and more advanced hikes. On this picture below you see road 214 that leads you up to Þakgil campsite. There, you can see some interesting hiking trails for people to walk. You can find amazing attractions like Remundargil, Mælifell and Austurafréttur for instance. Check out this link for more info about hiking in the area. All these 3 hikes are from 10-17km long and are for more advanced hikers.
There is also a beautiful waterfall that appears when you climb a short distance up the gully to the far right. It’s just a short hike but definitely worth to check out.
Traveling with children
Both families were travelling with two toddlers and were a little nervous that there was not too much going on for them for a weekend trip. Þakgil is quite isolated from everything else and it’s not like you jump away for a few minutes to go to the swimming pool or to the gas station. It takes you 45 minutes to get back to VÍK so you need to plan a little ahead. To make a long story short, there was no need to worry! The kids loved the nature and found other things to play with which is both healthy and fun for them. Finding new things in the nature to play with, throwing rocks into the river was one of the funniest things that they did. Plus, throwing the football in it so I needed to run after it and pick it up (that was actually the most fun part for them I assume). They have also installed a sandbox in the middle for the children to play. They kids absolutely loved the place.
Overall, Þakgil is a great place for families, couples or anybody that wants to enjoy a beautiful area in the highland of Iceland without needing to drive on any F-roads. It has everything that an adventurous person looks for. Many of these things you have in Þakgil is something that you won’t experience or find anywhere else, so it offers something truly unique. They charge 2.300 ISK per person for the night which includes 1 shower per day. It’s free for children up to 12 years old. It’s not the cheapest campsite in Iceland but in our experience, it’s definitely worth it. They offer unique scenery and experience that no other campsite can offer.
It was a great weekend trip where we had a lot of fun, ate a good food, took some nice hikes and mostly just enjoyed being outside in the nature. Þakgil will get a full recommendation from 2 local families in Iceland.