Iceland camping bookThere are around 125 registered campsites in Iceland and many other un registered campsites, there is a good map of the campsites in Iceland on the Nordic Adventure Travel site here. You will have to plan you route carefully as the sites can be spread apart. Usually we found that most campsites were of a great standard and provided fine facilities. Most sites provided good pitches, a sheltered place to cook, good wash-rooms with hot water and good un-metered showers that were usually included in the price, with only a few sites charging for showers. There is a free booklet with details some but not all the sites in Iceland, it is available from most tourist offices.
Although accommodation usually in Iceland is expensive, camping is relatively cheap and much cheaper than you would pay in the UK. Prices start at around 800kr per person for a basic cold water site and for an average site with showers included it is 1000 – 1200kr per person. The most expensive sites we stayed in were 1500kr per person.
If you are fond of an early night be prepared for a certain amount of noise at some campsites into the late evening especially with the light nights in mid summer. Often in the campsite rules the ‘Quiet between’ times can be quite late, at one site it stated ‘No noise between 01.00 and 8.00!
Wild camping is not actively encouraged due to the fragile nature of most of the terrain, although the UST site does say on public rights that:
“Camping with no more than three tents is allowed on uncultivated ground for a single night, unless the landowner has posted a notice to the contrary. However, campers should always use designated campsites where they do exist. Do not camp close to farms without permission. If a group of more than three tents is involved, these campers must seek permission from the landowner before setting up camp outside marked campsite areas”
It is prohibited to camp in the National parks unless on the designated campsites and we understand that Park Rangers may well impose a fine on those caught.
There is a network of mountain huts in Iceland, they are usually small and offer basic sleeping bag accommodation and run by various touring and outdoor clubs. There is a good map which shows them on the NAT site here. In the summer months they are popular and you will usually need to book your accommodation in advance. The Iceland Touring Association has 13 mountain huts situated mainly in the interior.
Iceland map imageThe best maps for cycling are the Ferdakort maps. At a scale of 1:250,000 you get the whole of Iceland on 3 maps. They have contour shading with contour intervals of 50m. Road distances are given in km between most major intersections and there is good information detail with the petrol stations, accommodation and most of the tourist points of
interest marked. The road surfaces are marked with red for tarmac, brown for gravel roads and yellow for gravel back roads.
Although these maps come in a plastic wallet unfortunately they are printed on thin paper and tend to split easily on the fold lines if repeatedly folded and unfolded, if you are not careful you can end up with ribbon maps, so you will need to take care of them.
The maps are readily available in most book shops and tourist information centres in Iceland.
GPS maps for Iceland
You can download maps for your GPS from the following sites:
OSM Map On Garmin
Iceland mapIceland Cycling Map
There is an Iceland cycling map available from this website cyclingiceland.is and it can be downloaded as a pdf to a smartphone or tablet to have with you. It has a wealth of information on all the services available in the various areas in Iceland, including campsites, shops, distances, indication of different road surfaces, bike shops and much more. On the back there is a more detailed map of the Reyjavík area with singed cycle routes, an information map of the public transport system, useful web-links and much more information on cycling in Iceland.
The website cyclingiceland.is is also worth a look as it has a wealth of general information on cycling in Iceland including information on accommodation, roads, equipment, weather, health and cycle regulations in Iceland.
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