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 road trip in Iceland can be done on a budget
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!
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
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…
You get to do creative cooking
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
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?