Posted on 30/05/2017

Roof tent tours: where am I allowed to camp?

Ísafold Travel now offers a selection of tours in Iceland with roof tents, mounted on ÍSAK‘s Land Rovers. Travelling around Iceland in a Land Rover with a roof tent is a great way to see the country on the move, combining transportation and lodging in a fun and adventurous way. And most importantly: there’s no need to stick to a fixed schedule. Feel like lingering a bit longer by that waterfall? You can just camp elsewhere that night without feeling the pressure of having to reach your accommodation for the night.

Now you might ask: where am I allowed to camp in Iceland? Can one camp anywhere? We have noticed there is a lot of confusion around this matter and decided to clear it up once and for all.

© Ben Simon Rehn
© Ben Simon Rehn

The most frequent question regarding camping in Iceland is: “Can I camp everywhere?“. The short answer is “no“. In November 2015 the law was changed prohibiting camping outside of designated campsites and urban areas, unless the landowner or property right holder has given explicit permission to do so. There are some exceptions if you’re only camping in a tent, i.e. not in a camper van, roof tent, etc.

The guidelines are the following: 

  • 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.  

“Doesn’t this limit my options when travelling around Iceland with a roof tent?” No, definitely not. There are plenty of campsites in Iceland, and you would not need to drive very far to reach the next one during your trip. Staying overnight at a campsite is a rather inexpensive way to travel around, and most campsites are well equipped, and some offer free WiFi and free use of showers. 

For those of you who like to plan ahead, there’s also the possibility of purchasing a Camping Card. You can purchase the card in advance and it allows you to stay overnight at certain designated campsites.

If you require any extra information in regards to our roof tent tours, please feel free to contact us. 

© Ben Simon Rehn

Source and more information: Umhverfisstofnun

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TAGS: 2017 around iceland camp camping camping card campsite campsites highlands iceland information outdoor activities responsible tourism roof tent roof tent tours tours west fjords