Winter Campervanning in Iceland, for Budget Travelers!

Winter Campervanning in Iceland, for Budget Travelers!

As far as dream vacations go, Iceland has always been at the top of our list. How could you not want to visit a country with incredible landscapes, extreme adventures and natural hot springs? That being said, these unique sights come with a huge price tag, including flights, hotels, rental cars, tours, experiences and restaurants. Don’t worry budget travelers: Guillaume and I found a loop hole! We adventured through Iceland in the winter season (taking advantage of the off-season prices) and went campervanning to save money on a rental car and hotels!

Winter Campervanning in Iceland

Campervanning

It’s a sin to visit Iceland without exploring the countryside. You HAVE to get outside of the city and, unless you book a pricey tour, you’ll need to rent a car. Many of the country’s most impressive landmarks are located just a few hours from Reykjavik. My suggestion? RENT A CAMPERVAN and take a few days to self-drive the famous Golden Circle. You’ll save hundreds of dollars on hotel fees and you’ll sleep under the northern lights!

Guillaume and I rented a campervan from Go Iceland for four nights for $454.90.

Go Iceland Camper Van - 0006

Is it too cold to campervan in winter?? 

Nope! Our campervan was outfitted with two heavy duty sleeping bags and an electric heater. The outdoor temperature in late November was flirting between +1°C and -1°C. At night, I curled up inside my sleeping bag and slept comfortably. Although, I must admit, it was difficult to emerge from my cocoon in the morning!

Go Iceland Camper Van - 0013

What amenities does the campervan include?

Our campervan was equipped with a gas camping stove, utensils, small water tank, full size bed, heater, and two sleeping bags.

Go Iceland Camper Van - 0007

What about bathrooms? 

Sorry folks, campervans aren’t as fancy as tiny homes. We had to “do our business” outside or visit a public restroom. I wasn’t overjoyed about dropping my pants in the freezing cold, but it’s a small price to pay for the adventure. As for showers, we used wet wipes or visited a public hot spring.

Go Iceland Camper Van - 0008

Where do you park/camp? 

In the summer season there are campgrounds available with amenities, but in the winter you can pretty much pull off anywhere on a rural road.

What are the best sights to see on the Golden Circle?

Check out my suggested 3-day itinerary for campervanning the golden circle in Iceland in winter!

Go Iceland Camper Van - 0012

The best part about winter campervanning in Iceland?

Chasing the Northern Lights! If you’re lucky enough to have clear skies on your visit, you can find a secluded campsite and watch the green glow twirl across the night sky. Unfortunately, Guillaume and I were cursed with clouds during our trip. We never saw aurora’s ribbon dance, but we still tried to catch a glimpse every evening.

Go Iceland Camper Van - 0010

Watch a short video about our campervanning adventure:

*Thanks to GO ICELAND for helping us rent a campervan. As always, the opinions expressed in this article are our own. 

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20 Comments

  1. Robert
    October 9, 2017 / 8:19 am

    Hi Jenna,

    Thank you so much for this inspirational article ! My girlfriend and I are planning a very similar trip : 3 nights in a campervan beginning of November. Would you have the details of what you did each day and where exactly you slept? It would give us an idea of what is feasible and a baseline to build our project !

    Thank you so much in advance for your help,
    Robert

    • October 9, 2017 / 8:47 am

      Hi Robert,

      In November you’re only going to have 4-5 hours of sunlight per day, so be sure to see the sights and move on a quick as possible! Here is an itinerary for a 3-day trip in November that I highly recommend: https://tinyhousegiantjourney.com/2016/01/22/golden-circle-in-winter/

      As for sleeping, in November a lot of the businesses are closed and the small towns are pretty sleepy. We simply pulled off on a rural road and camped. Never had a problem. I expect in the summer that you’d need to stay in the allocated campgrounds.

      Have a great time!

  2. Jimie
    August 20, 2017 / 1:34 pm

    Thank you so much for creating a blog on this vacation. My husband and I plan on doing the same trip to Iceland and renting a campervan as well. We are going to do it over New Years. During the times that you would shower in the springs, would you take soap or was it a quick rinse off? What do you wish you would have known before going? What do you wish you would have taken that would have been useful to you on the trip? How do we pack and what do we not waste our time packing?

    • Julia
      September 4, 2017 / 4:53 pm

      Hey – I am looking at a Campervan around that time frame, who did you rent from?

    • September 7, 2017 / 1:21 pm

      You can’t really use soap in the springs because it’s not natural. I would use wet wipes after a soak if I needed to spruce up. Before going, I wish I would have planned our days better. There is very limited daylight, so you really need to be on schedule or you will miss things. Pack a cooler with food in it to save time on lunches. You may be cold at night, so make sure to bring adequate clothing. Have fun!

  3. Lisa
    March 27, 2017 / 9:31 am

    Hello, I am thinking of campervan camping in April 2017. Is it required to park at a campground or is it still allowed to pull off and park anywhere? How is the weather around mid April?

    • March 27, 2017 / 11:44 am

      Hi Lisa, I’m not sure about the regulations. In the wintertime, it’s pretty laid back. In spring and summer they may require you to stay in a campground. The weather should be warmer in April, but I would check with weatherchannel.com

  4. kayticlayton
    March 9, 2017 / 10:41 pm

    So I was actually thinking about doing a campervan around Iceland in the last week of December but I’ve heard from a lot of locals that the weather conditions (namely wind) during that time making driver camper vans dangerous. And a lot of rental companies don’t even offer them at those times. What was your experience with the driving conditions?

    • March 10, 2017 / 8:24 am

      I went campervanning in Iceland in mid-November and mostly stayed in the south – around the Golden Circle. It was a bit windy, and the temperature stayed around the freezing point the entire time (32F). The roads are well paved and maintained on the Circle, so driving was no problem. I can’t say whether companies stop renting during December. Your best bet is to reach out to one – I used Go Iceland – and ask. Thanks for the comment. Keep in mind you will have limited daylight hours in winter and make sure to get a campervan that has a heater and hefty sleeping bag. 🙂

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