8 Reasons Iceland is For (Road Trip) Lovers

Everytime someone asks about our 8 day road trip in Iceland, I’d say with a sigh: “It was awesome.” Between Iceland’s scenery, quiet roads, and campground networks, I can’t think of a more perfect road trip destination than Iceland.

Here are some reasons of why we think Iceland is perfect for road trip and adventure lovers.

Campgrounds are everywhere in Iceland

Wherever you drive in Iceland, you’re never very far from a campground.

The numbers don’t lie. There are only 38 cities with over 1000 inhabitants in Iceland. At the same time there are 68 campgrounds all throughout the country. This means that, on average, every city in Iceland except for the most itty bitty ones will at least have one campground.

A million dollar view from our tent
A million dollar view from our tent

A road trip in Iceland can be done on a budget

Setting up our 4-person mansion
Setting up our 4-person mansion

In a country not known to be budget friendly, camping in Iceland is surprisingly quite cheap. At about $15 a night, camping in Iceland might be the no-brainer option for those traveling on a budget.

For those on an even tighter budget, there’s always stealth camping (check out Law of Survival) that basically lets you camp on any unused land. We never really did this because:

Campgrounds in Iceland are amazing

These campgrounds are always well maintained and clean. There are no official spots per se and it’s all first come first served. Just pitch a tent wherever there’s space. Some of these campgrounds have a kitchen, hot shower, and even a laundry room. Laundry rooms? Hot water? It’s luxury camping!

Prepping our food in one of the campground's kitchen in Iceland
Prepping our food in one of the campground’s kitchen in Iceland

There are plenty of car rental companies

And therefore prices are competitive. If you’re planning to camp during your road trip and the idea of lugging camping equipment on international flights sounds like a pain (and it is), there are alternatives:

1. Get a campervan. You can then rent additional items as needed.
2. We opted to get a car from Camping Iceland. They rent out regular cars that come fitted with an overhead Thule box stocked with all of the camping equipment you’ll ever need. From a 4 person tent, mattresses, to cooking utensils and stoves.

Driving in Iceland is easy

Jack and I have a love and hate relationship with driving. We love going on road trips, but not so much the driving itself. As Jack likes to put it, “I don’t hate driving, I hate other drivers”.

But driving in Iceland is different because there’s barely anybody on the road. Not until we hit the Eastern and Southern parts of the country did the roads get busier (for Iceland at least).

Not to mention that it’s virtually impossible to get lost in Iceland. The country is tiny and the roads were well-signed.

Adventures can be found right outside the car

NOT the Blue Lagoon. I believe this is actually a pool of toxic remnants from a power plant.
NOT the Blue Lagoon. I believe this is actually a pool of toxic remnants from a power plant.

This is what I loved the most about Iceland. Going on an Iceland road trip is like playing choose your own adventure game. We stopped at any random spots we thought was interesting. It breaks up the monotony of driving, you get to stretch out your legs, and there’s always something interesting to see or experience.

We discovered Canyon of Doomed Birds (depressing stuff), we explored waterfalls, climbed down canyons, hiked up gulleys… the list goes on…

roadtrip in Iceland

Exploring roadside attractions
Exploring Iceland roadside attractions

You get to do creative cooking

Baked beans and pasta.
Baked beans and pasta. Don’t diss it until you try.

Pasta with baked beans. Curry with canned fruit over rice. Those are some of the things we’ve made during our road trip in Iceland. Since food is expensive and are often limited by what’s available at gas stations, creative cooking is not only encouraged. It’s a necessity. So embrace your creative side and play alchemy with your food.

Tip #1: pasta with baked beans – don’t diss it until you try it.
Tip #2: You can pass on the canned fruit curry.

There’s some epic landscape scenery

Iceland is known for its landscapes and what’s a better way to experience it than on a road trip. Every turn on the road revealed a vista worth stopping for.

SEE MORE: Iceland’s Unusual Landscapes

Asbyrgi canyon in northern Iceland

Asbyrgi canyon in northern Iceland

An iceberg lagoon in Iceland
An iceberg lagoon in Iceland

Just your typical Iceland scenery
Just your typical Iceland scenery

Read more information on Iceland road trip here.
Ready to go? Find an Iceland itinerary sampler.

Some places just call out to be explored behind a set of wheels. There are a few things we look for in a road trip adventure: ease of driving, epic sceneries, cheap places to stay, and possibilities of adventures and exploration. Iceland just fits the bill.

(Looking back on it, I think Iceland planted a seed for our upcoming adventure. In case you haven’t heard, we’ll be going on a road trip full time in a converted Sprinter van.)

Where is your favorite place to go on a roadtrip?

Valuable Resources

  • Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders, for those who love anything weird and offbeat.
  • Resource Toolbox: How I find cheap flights, accommodations, and other travel hacks.

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8 Replies to “8 Reasons Iceland is For (Road Trip) Lovers”

    1. Summer is definitely best but also busiest. We went in September which is at the end of the peak season. Weather was a little iffy but car rental rates is cheaper, campgrounds are less busy, so it’s still definitely doable. Hopefully you’ll get to visit soon – Iceland is GORGEOUS!!

  1. Dying to go back there! My only visit to Iceland in 2007 (also for 8 days) was solo so I didn’t do much road-tripping, though my CouchSurfing hosts did take me along the Golden Circle for a day. Would love to do the whole Ring Road at some point.

  2. Just a little comment…..you say: Not to mention that it’s virtually impossible to get lost in Iceland. The country is tiny and the roads were well-signed.

    The country is tiny ? Well it is bigger than England…what is england then? 😉

  3. Iceland looks so beautiful and it definitely seems like the perfect road tripping destination. I’ve read a lot of accounts to that effect, but this is the first post I’ve read that points out how affordable camping through Iceland can be. One of my biggest concerns about visiting has always been the price of the place, but it seems it is possible to do the country on a budget. Now my only worry is about the food—we generally pick our destinations based on where we want to eat our way through next, and I’m afraid that baked beans on pasta just won’t cut it! 😉

  4. Thanks for the beautiful pictures and the nice tipps. I have never been to Iceland so far but found some more or less cheap flights from my city in Germany. The destination looks great, I will probably visit it in summer, when it is more warm 😉

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