Hotels, guesthouses, farmhouse accommodation, youth hostels and campsites can he found in most places around the country. It's not a complete list of all service providers, as you have to pay to be registered there. Cheap sleeping bag accommodation is widely available if you can't afford the luxury of a hotel room.
There are about 150 campsites in Iceland, including one in almost every village. They are usually open, grassy areas often only with toilets and cold water. Often there is no reception where you pay before you camp but someone who comes around morning or night and charges you a small fee. If you are in doubt you can ask around at the local gas station.
Here in Iceland we have heated swimming pools also in most villages and that is where we go for the hot shower and to exercise those non-cycling muscles at the same time followed by relaxation in the hotpot or sauna afterwards so make sure you bring your swimsuit. You can leave your moneybag in the reception for security; many swimming pools don't have lockers in the changing rooms.
Some areas are protected areas where your must camp at designated campsites. Elsewhere you can usually rough camp almost anywhere except on cultivated or fenced off land, provided you don't leave any marks or litter. Ask permission if you think the spot is privately owned land.
In November 2015, new conservation legislation came into effect making changes to where it is permissible to camp. The Environment Agency of Iceland has listed up what to do and not to do when it comes to camping. Visit their website for further information
Where may I camp?
- Along public routes in inhabited areas, you may pitch a traditional camping tent for one night on uncultivated land, provided there is no campsite in the immediate vicinity and the land owner has not restricted or prohibited access, passage or stay within the area by means of signs on gates and walking paths.
- Along public routes in uninhabited areas, you may pitch a traditional camping tent on privately owned land or national land.
- Away from public routes, you may pitch a traditional camping tent, either on privately owned or national land, unless otherwise indicated in special rules which may be applicable to the land area in question.
When must I get the permission of the land owner or rightholder?
- If you plan to camp near places of human habitation or farms.
- If you plan to camp for longer than one night.
- If you plan to pitch more than three tents.
- If the land is cultivated.
- If you plan to use tent trailers, tent campers, caravans, camper vans or similar outside organised campsites or urban areas.
Are there any areas where I may not camp/spend the night?
- Land owners or rightholders may restrict or prohibit camping if there is substantial risk of damage to the country’s natural environment.
- If the landowner or rightholder has prepared a special camping area on their land, they may direct travellers to it and charge a service fee. Similarly, if there is a campsite in the vicinity, the landowner or rightholder may direct travellers to it.
- There may be restrictions on camping in protected areas (see here).
Download the Campsites in Iceland 2016 bochure here: Campsites PDF