Where to stay in Iceland – An Easy Way To Book Accommodation Before Your Trip

waterfall iceland

When you hear about the Northern Lights, what country do you think about? Iceland has become synonyms with green and purple colours dancing across the night sky, making this sublime island an extremely popular travel destination, not to mention, earning itself a spot on pretty much everyone’s bucket list.

This guide for where to stay in Iceland compliments my 2 week road trip itinerary, giving you the best accommodation for every day of your trip around the Ring Road, but it is also helpful for those of you with less time. I’ll help you choose which areas to skip and those not to miss depending on your time frame and help you book all your accommodation for anywhere in the island in literally minutes! Each of the different areas in this guide are separated by around 3 hours of driving on average leaving you plenty of time to stop and see all the sights. 

I’ll narrow down your options of top-rated hotels and accommodations for all of the different areas you must visit on your trip to Iceland! Whether you’re looking for luxurious, mid ranged, or budget, you’ll find it here. Even though it isn’t known to be a cheap travel destination, it doesn’t mean that traveling on a budget in this country is impossible. Hopefully, you’ll get to choose which Iceland hotels are perfect for you. 

So, where to stay in Iceland? Read on and find out.

If you are in a hurry

No time to check everything out? Here are some quick links to the best place to stay in Iceland for each budget that I’ll discuss in this post:

luxury hotel

360 Hotel & Thermal Baths

Best luxury hotel

airbnb

Sunnuhlíð Stay

An Airbnb with amazing reviews

mid-range hotel

Black Beach Suites

Best value for money

budget hotel

Saeluhus Apartments

Best affordable accommodation in the center

Here’s an Iceland map with and areas I will highlight in this post, so you can visualize the best places to stay in Iceland:

Golden Circle
Hveragerdi/Selfoss/Hella
The South Coast
Vik/Skogar
South-East
Skaftafell/Hofn
North ICELAND
Akureyri/Husavik
WEST ICELAND Borgarnes/Husafell
REYKJANES PENINSULA
If you have extra time

NOTE: Because Iceland is a very popular destination I encourage you to book the hotels as soon as possible, because the rooms are booked quickly and prices are never going lower!

1. Reykjavik – your first stop in Iceland

You’ll most likely pass through Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, once you’ve landed at Keflavik International Airport, making it the perfect place to stay at the start of your adventures in Iceland. If you haven’t read my post on everything you need to know about car rentals in Iceland, do yourself a favour and read it too!

The city itself is a must see if it’s your first time visiting! With Mount Esja as the backdrop, enjoy the colorful buildings brightening up the streets as you stroll the shops or enjoy a delicious meal in any of the world class restaurants during your stay in Reykjavik. Don’t miss the chance to see the view of the colorful town center from the top of a modern cathedral, Hallgrimskirkja Church Tower. 

The fun doesn’t end at night as Reykjavik locals know how to have a good time, living up to their vibrant nightlife. Plus, you don’t even have to leave Reykjavik if you want to see the dancing lights of the northern lights (although I recommend you do!). There are several hotspots with less light pollution in the city including the Grótta Lighthouse in the most northwestern point.

I recommend you stay in the capital city of Reykjavik at the start of your trip to dive right into the Icelantic culture. Here are the top 4 hotels in Reykjavik for each budget, but if you are looking for even more options, check out my full guide for where to stay in Reykjavik

Luxury hotel

A boutique hotel with brightly decorated rooms. The location is ideal for walking around Reykjavik, with a shopping street within walking distance. You can dine and drink at their in-house bar and restaurant but have more dining options surrounding the hotel. After a long day, unwind at their spa and fitness center, the best place to stay in Reykjavik

Other hotels in Reykjavik

mid-range

One of the Green Globe certified hotels in Reykjavik with Balinese-style bedrooms and an in-house restaurant

budget

Homey, spacious budget rooms and apartments in a preserved old building, with daily housekeeping service

airbnb

Very luxurious, sophisticated home fit for a family or big group stay in Reykjavik

Things to do in Reykjavik 

  • Shop local finds at one of Iceland’s oldest shopping street, Laugavegur
  • Dive into their culture and visit various museums, like the National Museum of Iceland
  • Snap a picture of the interesting shape of the Hallgrimskirkja Church
  • Check out the interesting sculpture Sun Voyager by the sea. 
  • Head to Seltjarnarnes to try and see the northern lights
  • Enjoy some fine dining at Perlan, a glass domed restaurant. 
  • Feed the birds at Reykjavik lake, Tjörnin
  • Take a day trip for a soak in a geothermal tub at Kvika Foot Bath near Grótta Lighthouse

Looking for more? Check out this list of the Best Things to Do in Reykjavik on a Budget

2. Golden Circle – stay in Hveragerdi, Selfoss or Hella

The Golden Circle is a famous tourist route in Iceland’s South Coast, and a road trip you shouldn’t miss regardless of how much or little time you have in Iceland! This 300 kilometer expedition will take you past three main attractions: Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park, Geysir (and Strokkur) geothermal region, and Gullfoss waterfall. Imagine picturesque landscapes, glacial rivers, black sand beaches, and horse farms – you’ll clearly see this country’s vast richness of nature. You might take a tour, but if you can, renting a car is a much better option!

NOTE: If you have less than a week in Iceland, this leg can be done in as little as a day if you stay in Reykjavik. If you can, make sure to take 2-3 days and spend the night in either Hella, Hveragerdi or Selfoss. I have chosen the best Iceland accommodation overall in this region for different budgets below. If you’re continuing your road trip on the ring road, this will be your first stop for the night and you’ll have plenty of time to stop and check out the incredible scenery of the southern coast of Iceland. 

Make sure to read this post for all the must visit places on the Southern Coast of Iceland where I describe things to visit step-by-step. 

Luxury hotel

A 4-star hotel with mega cozy rooms. Fuel yourself with their buffet breakfast before starting your day. You can also enjoy Icelandic cuisine any time in their on-site restaurant, and grab some drinks at the bar. Every guest has access to their spa including a warm geothermal pool, a sauna, and a relaxing lounge. One of the best places to stay in Iceland

Other accommodation in Hveragerdi, Selfoss & Hella 

mid-range

Colourful, modern self contained apartments with a hot tub and sauna

budget

Well-lit and well-ventilated budget rooms with a sun terrace.They also offer buffet breakfast and free parking

airbnb

A private cottage overlooking a lake and mountains, with a kitchenette and veranda

Things to do in Golden Circle

  • Join a day trip or drive the Golden Circle route and Iceland’s south coast
  • Visit Iceland’s first National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park
  • Marvel at the natural Strokkur Geysir erupting water that shoots 40 meters (131 feet) high every 5-10 minutes
  • Check out the Kerið crater

Want all the details? Check out my ultimate Golden Circle Road Trip Guide

3. The South Coast – stay in Vik or Skogar

Often included as part of the golden circle for those who don’t have enough time to explore the entire country of Iceland, the South Coast of Iceland is a popular area defined by stunning natural beauty. Stretching from the village of Vík to the west to the fishing village of Höfn to the east, the South Coast is lined with black sand beaches, mountains, waterfalls, and glaciers. This is where to stay in Iceland for easy scenic drives, for a hike, or for a swim. 

Since there are so many incredible things to see along this stretch of coast, we will break it down into two stops. For your first night in the south, the best towns to stay in are Vik or Skogar. 

Luxury hotel

Gorgeous modern apartments with sun terraces and beautiful sweaping sea views. Each unit features a kitchenette, deluxe bathroom, terrace, and free private parking. Wake up each morning with an incredible sunrise pouring in through the huge windows overlooking Iceland’s typical jaw dropping Icelandic views.

Other accommodation options in Vik and Skogar 

mid-range

Clean guesthouse with free parking located right next to Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

budget

Modern budget hostel offering private and shared rooms with an onsite bar and mountain views

airbnb

Unique studio with floor to ceiling glass windows in a stunning location near Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Things to do on the South Coast

  • See the northern lights from the black sand beach of Vik
  • Drive to see Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss and Gljúfrafoss waterfalls
  • Snap a pic on the very instagramable Reynisdrangar sea stacks
  • Explore the Dyrhólaey peninsula
  • Admire the Eyjafjallajökull volcano
  • Hike Sólheimajökull Glacier
  • Take a dip in the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool

4. South East Iceland – stay in Skaftafell or Hofn

Many people turn back after they visit the Golden Circle and the South Coast, but if you’re following my road trip itinerary, you’ve only just begun! From here, we will continue to drive the rest of the ring road, the 1000-kilometre-long (621 mile) road that circles the country (also known as Route1). Iceland’s ring road can be driven in less than a week, but there are plenty of stops to take along the way, including some of the most beautiful waterfalls, incredible geological formations, awe-inspiring views of the Icelandic coast and a glacier lagoon or two. If you haven’t checked my guide on car rental tips in Iceland, you should do it now!

South East Iceland is famous for being the home of the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, and the Diamond Beach where icebergs wash up on the shore. So make sure to rug up and put on your sunscreen for your adventures here, it will be cold but it’s worth it! The best towns to stay in for this part of your trip are Skaftafell or Hofn, here are your best options. 

Luxury hotel

Luxurious modern hotel with onsite restaurant and bar. With deluxe rooms featuring huge panoramic windows and super relaxing bathtubs. After a long day of adventures, come home and relax on the terrace or enjoy a sauna at this beautiful 4 star hotel

Other accommodation options in Skaftafell and Hofn

mid-range

Clean, comfortable rooms with great mountain views close to the glacier lagoon. Great for a family

budget

Budget friendly rooms in central Hofn with access to shared living spaces and kitchen

airbnb

Spotless bedrooms with Icelandic views of either the glaciers or mountains, and nearby the downtown area

Things to do in South East Iceland

  • Go for a guided hike on Skaftafell glacier 
  • See the incredible reflections in Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon
  • Check out the incredible Mountain headland of Stokksnes with its black sand beaches and dramatic peaks
  • See the icebergs of Diamond Beach
  • Explore Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
  • Admire the Skaftafell waterfall 
  • Go for a hike in Vatnajökull National Park
  • Visit the Askja crater

5. East Iceland – stay in Egilsstaðir or Seydisfjordur

Ready for more canyons, lava fields and fjords? I hope so because we’re heading up the east coast after covering all of Southern Iceland. You will be heading towards an area best known for its charming fishing villages, amazing wildlife, mountains, and tranquil atmosphere. This is where to stay in Iceland for the chance to get to see reindeers roaming freely in the wild! 

Make sure to go for a hike in the East Fjords to find jaw-dropping waterfalls and discover stunning lava caves. Of course there are tons of hotel options in the east of Iceland but I recommend you stay in one of these ones:

Luxury hotel

Relax in a soothing hot tub whilst enjoying a view of Lake Lagarfljó at this incredibly modern hotel. Each of the rooms here boast mountain views and luxurious ensuites. The onsite bar will ensure you’re never thirsty and it’s secluded location will give you the peace and quiet you are looking for

Other accommodation in Egilsstaðir & Seydisfjordur

mid-range

Beachfront hotel with romantic, antique rooms. Binge on Icelandic dishes for breakfast and lunch

budget

Budget hostel with an option of family rooms. Guests can enjoy their bar and free wifi with good views

airbnb

Newly renovated apartment by the sea with fjord view just a 8 min walk from town

Things to do in East Iceland 

  • Don’t miss the Litlanesfoss waterfall over basalt columns
  • Visit canyon
  • Learn something new at the Skriduklaustur museum
  • Marvel at natural Hengifoss and Gufu waterfalls
  • Explore the gravel roads of the East Fjords 
  • Take a trip to Papey Island

Looking for more info on things to do in the area? Read my post on The East and the North of Iceland Itinerary

6. Northern Iceland 

As you travel north on the ring road, the trip begins to become more flexible with many different options of things to do and places to stay depending on your time and interests. Are you over waterfalls yet? I hope not because there’s plenty more of them to see in Goðafoss as well as the bird cliffs of Dyrhólaey, volcanoes of Lake Mývatn, lava fields of Dimmuborgir, the black beaches of Reynisfjara and not to mention the chance to go whale watching in Husavik!

I have broken down north Iceland into two sections, North East and North West. If you are following the full 2 week itinerary I recommend you choose two places to stay in north Iceland. A stop in both of the areas of the North will reduce your driving each day and give you much more time to fully explore the natural wonders of north Iceland. 

If you have a little less time and you don’t mind driving for longer on one of the days, I suggest staying in the North East part since it has all the activities I mentioned earlier. 

6.1 North East Iceland – stay in Akureyri, Mývatn or Husavik 

As you head north you will be heading towards the second biggest city in Iceland and what locals consider the capital of the north, Akureyri. Art, culture, and history enthusiasts will be delighted by a stay in Akureyri due to the number of museums and galleries in the area, plus there is an extensive selection of hotels and accommodations to choose from here. 


I recommend basing yourself in Akureyri for a couple of nights to explore the city as well as heading even further north to the colourful, coastal town of Husavik for some whale watching. Husavik and Mývatn are also great alternatives to Akureyri if you prefer to spend time outside of the city.

Here are your best hotels and other accommodation options in Akureyri:

Luxury hotel

A relaxing hotel nearby the sea. One of the best places to stay for its tranquil atmosphere. Each room has a seating area and terrace with views of the mountain and sea. Guests can feast on a buffet breakfast before heading out. No worries about being disconnected because this great place to stay has free wifi across the hotel, plus free private parking

Other accommodation options in Akureyri

mid-range

Pristine bedrooms in a family friendly guesthouse with views of either the mountain or river

budget

Self-catered, budget friendly units with a terrace and hot tub, 800 meters away from the town center

airbnb

A modern small house equipped with a kitchen and easy to access from Ring Road

Best accommodation options in Mývatn and Husavik 

Mývatn is another great option for places to stay in North East Iceland if you are looking for somewhere a little closer to nature. Alternatively, if you’re really keen to see some whales, Husavik is the whale watching spot to be! Here are my recommendations for the best places to stay in these two towns:

Things to do in North East Iceland 

  • Take a break from all the scenery and check out Safnasafnið, an Icelandic folk and outsider art museum
  • Rejuvenate in Mývatn Nature Bath, geothermal pool equivalent to the Blue LagooN
  • Chase waterfalls at Dettifoss and be astonished with its beauty and prowess
  • Join a whale-watching boat tour and witness the irresistible creatures put on a show
  • Hike on of Ásbyrgi Canyon’s great trails, and admire the nature reserve from the top
  • Visit a wooden church – Húsavíkurkirkja
  • See the Arctic Henge
  • Go skiing at Hlíðarfjall

6.2 North West Iceland – stay in Skagafjörður or Varmahlid

After you’ve finished watching the whales and exploring the North East, it’s time to move onto the North West. If you’re planning on visiting the West Fjords after this, stopping for a night in either Skagafjörður or Varmahlid is almost essential to cut down your driving time. You also have the option of veering off the ring road here and driving the Arctic Coast Way instead for a bit of a change of scenery. You will find typical iclantic wilderness and gorgeous geothermal pools similar to the blue Lagoon along this incredible stretch of coastline. 

Here are the best places to stay in Skagafjörður and Varmahlid. 

Luxury hotel

A self-catering accommodation 1 kilometer away from a geothermal hot pot outside of Varmahlío Village. Every cottage is equipped with a kitchen, patio, and free wifi. Guests can relax at the communal, natural outdoor hot tub with the fresh breeze on your skin. Plus they are Sustainable Initiatives certified. On of the greatest Iceland hotels

Other accommodation in Skagafjörður & Varmahlid

mid-range

Family run guesthouse in Skagafjörður with incredible panoramic views

budget

Modern budget guesthouse with shared bathrooms, barbecue and hot tub facilities nearby Varmahlio

airbnb

Varmahlio loft in a spacious attic with a contemporary and homey feel, and a peaceful environment

Things to do in North West Iceland 

  • Discover how Icelanders lived for centuries at the well-preserved historical farm, Glaumbær Farm & Museum
  • See the animal shaped rock called Hvitserkur
  • Take a dip in Grettir’s Pool
  • Look for puffins on the coast 
  • Check out Reykjafoss waterfall 

7. Westfjords – stay between Ísafjörður and Patreksfjörður

Many tourists who are short on time simply skip the fjords part and drive straight back to Reykjavik from the north. This is a good option for you if you have less than 2 weeks, but make sure to squeeze in a night at stop number 8, West Iceland and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, if you can! Otherwise, Akureyri to Reykjavik is about a 5 hour drive without stops (which means you will probably miss some truly gorgeous spots!). 

For those of you who are lucky enough to have the time, the Westfjords is a region that deserves so much more recognition that it gets and it is definitely one of the best places to stay in Iceland for its incredible, dramatic landscapes. When looking at a map of Iceland, you may notice the hand shaped piece of land that sticks out to the left. This area is the Western Fjords (the most western point of Europe) and a place that only 10% of Iceland’s tourists visit! This remote area has rougher roads than what you have become accustomed to but I assure you that this incredibly captivating region is something not to miss. 

Note that the reason I say this area is only for those with enough time is that it takes around 6 hours to drive from Varmahlid to the tip of the Westfjords due to the road that zig zags its way around the mountains. (Plus, remember that you have to drive back again to continue on the Ring Road). This is definitely where to stay in Iceland for those who love interesting driving and off-the-beaten path adventures! 

Here are your top choices in the Westfjords.

Luxury hotel

Located just 2km from Pollurinn Hot Spring, this 2 bedroom apartment is your ultimate private luxury retreat in the westfjords. With rustic wooden decor matched with elegant dinnerware and bikes to borrow included in your stay, you really have everything you need in this perfect home away from home

Other accommodation in Westfjords 

mid-range

Family owned bed and breakfast in the sleepy coastal village of Bíldudalur with great views

budget

Cozy, clean bedrooms with, free buffet breakfast, plus barbecue facilities in the WestFjords. Great for budget travellers

airbnb

Set by the coast of the West Fjords, a cosy guest house with handy facilities likes microwaves and fridges in every room

Things to do in Westfjords

  • See the astonishing Dynjandi waterfall
  • Visit the most western point of Europe – Bjargtangar
  • See cute puffins and go on a coastal hike at the Látrarbjarg cliff 
  • Explore all the tiny colourful fishing villages of the fjords and eat some seafood
  • Take a long stroll on the reddish sand beach, Rauðisandura

8. West Iceland – stay in Borgarnes or Husafell

As you start to head south along the west coast, you are now on the home stretch. Moving on you will come across the 100 kilometer-long Snæfellsnes Peninsula bounded by the Borgarfjörður Fjord and full of active volcanoes! Compared to the West Fjords, it’s an easier place to access and closer to Reykjavik so if you’re running short on time for the west, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is the one to choose of the two. Check out my detailed post on this section of the road trip for more details. 

Luxury hotel

This luxurious, modern, 4 star hotel offers a golf course and multiple outdoor hot tubs in an incredibly scenic location. With a delicious onsite restaurant and lush rooms featuring huge glass windows, you may never want to leave this incredible hotel 

Other accommodation in Borgarnes or Husafell

mid-range

Waterfront guesthouse with fully equipped guest kitchen and outdoor hot tub

budget

Clean central budget hostel with restaurant, fitness centre, bar and buffet breakfast

airbnb

Adorable homely studio with an incredible view of the ocean

Things to do in West Iceland

  • Enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
  • Hike to Eldborg Crater and marvel in its beautifully-formed oval shape crater
  • See the active volcanoes in Snæfellsjökull National Park
  • Snap a picture of Kirkjufell mountain
  • See the geothermal pools of Deildartunguhver
  • Relax in the Canyon Baths of Husafell

9. Reykjanes Peninsula – where to stay if you have more time

If you’ve got less than 2 weeks in Iceland, it’s probably time to head back to Reykjavik after an epic trip around the country on route 1. If you’re lucky enough to have more time or it’s your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 50th time visiting Iceland, just wait, there’s more! 

Continue on from the Snæfellsnes Peninsula to Reykjanes Peninsula, the home of the famous Blue Lagoon, and Keflavik Airport, the major point of entry of Iceland. The Icelandic landscape of Reykjanes is what the tourists first see when they touch down in Keflavik Airport. What a beautiful first impression, right? Although nearly every person who visits Iceland passes through here, what many tourists miss is that there’s more to this region than relaxing in the mineral waters of Blue Lagoon. 

As you might have already guessed, this area is full of geothermal activity with an abundance of volcanoes, craters, lava fields, and caves for you to explore. Reykjanes Geopark is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its rugged mountain peaks and sharp ridges offer unique hiking trails to those who dare and if you really just want to relax, you actually have 3 alternative geothermal pools to the blue lagoon to choose from. 

Luxury hotel

A hotel stay in Iceland best known for its first-class amenities. Admire the view of moss covered lava fields from your bedroom. Stock up on food with their breakfast buffet restaurant, and de-stress in their wide-range wellness facilities, like a spa and yoga classes. If you wanna go to the Blue Lagoon, the free shuttle service can bring you there in less than 5 mins

Other accommodation options in Reykjanes Peninsula

mid-range

Modern style rooms in a hotel that have a patio and outdoor hot tubs

budget

Spotless budget bedrooms, with free wifi and parking, you can use of their business facilities and pool

airbnb

Cozy cottage that’s surrounded by nature, with the Atlantic coast line as the view


Things to do in Reykjanes Peninsula

  • Hike the loose, but not too steep terrains of Mount Keilir, a cone-shaped mountain
  • Go on a lighthouse hopping, it outnumbers the number of villages in Reykjanes Peninsula
  • Cross the Bridge Between Two Continents (Europe and North America)
  • Enjoy a relaxing day at the Blue Lagoon
  • Check out the Viking Museum 
  • See the Stekkjarkot cottage
  • Check out the The Icelandic Museum of Rock ‘n’ Roll
  • Walk the Hafnarberg Sea-cliffs
  • Check out the brand new alternative to Blue Lagoon, Sky lagoon

BONUS 1: Unique places to stay in Iceland

With so much to see and do in the country, why not pick Iceland accommodation which lives up to the same standards? Here are some of the most unique places to stay in Iceland to help make a memorable trip, even more magical! 

a) The Retreat at Blue Lagoon

Everyone visiting Iceland knows about the Blue Lagoon but did you know that you can actually stay there? The Retreat is a 5-stay luxury resort with stylish, spacious suites where guests can truly relax with unlimited access to the hotel’s Retreat Spa and Lagoon, plus the Blue Lagoon itself. Go on an adventure and join their daily group hikes, and cool down with a yoga session after.

b) Reykjavik Domes

Tuck yourselves in a romantic, open style dome near Reykjavik. Your home for the night comes with a fireplace, garden, hot tub and terrace along with the perfect windows for stargazing. Choose this romantic escape for something a little different during your stay in Iceland/

c) Stay in an Ice Cave

Not exactly a hotel in Iceland but this winter camping experience has you spend a night in a real ice cave! With different locations every year because of the unknown nature of ice, your guide for the night will make sure you have a memorable experience including a campfire to stay warm and comfortable. 

d) Camping Pods

Get back to basics in a Fossatun Camping Pod. Experience a bit of glamping by sleeping in a wooden arched pod. There are different sizes available for larger or smaller groups and all the pods are heated and insulated, perfect in summer or winter too. Don’t forget to make use of the outdoor hot tubs!

e) Buubble Hotel

You may have seen pictures on Instagram of plastic, bubble looking domes seemingly in the middle of the most scenic locations. Those are Iceland’s 5 million star Buubble hotels. Sleep under the northern lights or suspended in the trees with an uninterrupted view of nature. Surprisingly, the Buubbles are heated so you can have this one of a kind experience, any time of year (even winter)!

BONUS 2: Camping, Campervans and RV’s in Iceland

So you’ve decided to book your trip to Iceland, you’ve picked out your route, and had a look at all the hotels in Iceland on this list but you’re still not feeling convinced? Don’t worry. There is another way for those of you who want ultimate flexibility or are looking for a way to get ever closer to those Icelandic views!

Whether you’re considering camping in a tent, campervan or RV here are some things to consider when planning where to stay in Iceland on your ultimate adventure. 

Wild Camping

Before you get too excited about the idea of renting a campervan and pulling over on the side of the road for the night, wherever you please. It’s important to note that camping anywhere other than a designated campsite is strictly illegal in Iceland. In an effort to preserve the country’s incredible nature, the Icelantic government introduced a law in 2015 which prohibits everyone from spending the night on the side of the road, in a carpark or wherever you may stop regardless of if they are in a car, van, RV, caravan, tent etc.

Campgrounds

Since it’s illegal to camp outside of designated campgrounds, no matter if you decide to rent a camper or simply set up a tent, you will want to purchase a camping card. The Iceland camping card gives you access to nearly all of the country’s campgrounds for an entire summer for the cost of 19,900 KR ($160). One card covers 2 adults and up to 4 children in the same tent/camper/Rv. Note that this card isn’t available in winter. 

Since you will find campsites all over Iceland, where to stay shouldn’t be a problem. The campgrounds are generally open between April-September and whilst it’s always best to check online that each specific campsite you choose is open, it’s not necessary to book in advance since they rarely fill up. Note that you may have to pay a small camping tax or additional fees to use extra amenities such as washing machines. 

Weather 

Another factor to consider when choosing to camp in Iceland is the weather. Iceland’s climate is much cooler than much of the rest of the world (it’s even in the name) and is quite unpredictable. The best months to travel are between May and August but even then, don’t expect brilliant sunshine everyday. Be prepared for days or rain, clouds and maybe even snow, even in the summer months. 

If camping in a tent, be prepared with highly rated sleeping bags and extra clothes. If this sounds a little but much for you, renting a camper van might be a better fit for you but remember it’s not a hotel, you’ll still have to deal with the elements. If you are thinking of visiting in winter, note that camping/caravaning is not advised since the temperatures are much colder and most campsites are closed. 

RVs and Camper Vans 

There are many options to choose from when thinking about a camper road trip around Iceland. You can rent anything from big RV’s to compact campervans or 4×4’s with rooftop tents. Some things to consider when picking your adventure rig include the roads and fuel availability. 

If you are planning on sticking to Iceland’s ring road, you should be fine to navigate the roads in any vehicle you choose. If you are looking for something a little more off the track, note that many of Iceland’s regional roads are a bit more rugged and Rv’s are not advised to travel many of them. If you wish to go even further off the main road, you may want to consider renting a 4×4 to access every inch of Iceland possible. Even if you rent a 4×4, remember that driving off road in Iceland is also strictly prohibited and comes with hefty fines. 

When planning your road trip, always make sure you know where the next gas stations are. You will find long stretches of road without the option to fill up and you don’t want to run out of gas. Carrying a spare jerry can of fuel is also a great idea! Also, if driving at night, make sure not to get distracted by the northern lights. 

Before heading off on your epic summer road trip, make sure to read these 8 Things You ABSOLUTELY Need to Know Before Renting a Car in Iceland.

BONUS 3: Best places to stay near Keflavik International Airport

If you’re wondering if there are worthy hotels and accommodations nearby Keflavik International Airport, there are plenty. Many tourists decide to stay for a night (or two) in this area since it’s close to the popular Blue Lagoon (which is pretty much in every Iceland visitor’s itinerary) or simply if you just need a place to crash for the night while waiting for a flight in the wee hours of the morning. Whatever your reason may be, you definitely have options on where to stay in Iceland! Here are some of the best hotels from luxury, mid-range, to budget, all located near Keflavik Airport.

Luxury hotel

A popular hotel by the sea with spacious rooms and bathrooms. Family rooms are available. You don’t need to go out to dine, since they have an on-site bar and restaurant with a breakfast buffet (and it’s kid-friendly!). Some amenities include free wifi, airport drop-off, and activities like hiking and playing golf just 5 mins drive from the airport

Other accommodation in Keflavik Airport Area

mid-range

Cottages with ultra clean rooms, a kitchenette, outdoor dining area, and hot tub on the terrace. 10km from Airport

budget

Guesthouse with a garden and walking distance to the main street, airport drop-off service (5 min drive)

airbnb

Fully-equipped apartment within walking distance of Keflavik’s shops and restaurants. 3.5km from the airport

Frequently asked questions about Iceland

🚗 Which way to drive the ring road?

Most people drive the ring road counterclockwise since you will see the biggest attractions first. Although you can choose to drive it in either direction, counterclockwise will allow you to take your time exploring the biggest attractions without the risk of having to rush through them at the end of your trip. 

✨ Where to stay in Iceland for Northern Lights?

Since the entire country is located above 64° north, aside from cities, you essentially have the chance to see the Northern Lights from anywhere in the country during winter (September – April). With the right atmospheric conditions, a dark, cloudless night and a lack of light pollution, turn off your lights, step outside and look up!

🇮🇸 Where to stay in Iceland on the Golden Circle? 

The best place to stay on the Golden Circle is either Selfoss, Hella or Vik. Any of these towns are in great locations to break up your Golden Circle road trip, giving you plenty of time to see the sites. 

♨️ Best hotels in Iceland with hot springs?

It’s hard to beat staying at The Retreat at the famous Blue Lagoon. If you’re looking for a relaxing hot spring holiday in Iceland, The Retreat is the best choice. 

💵 Is it expensive to stay in Iceland?

It’s no secret that traveling to Iceland is expensive. Although there are budget hotels, hostels, and many savvy ways to save money, you have to brace yourself for costly activities, transportation, food, and alcohol.

Conclusion

I hope this was a useful guide to help you choose where to stay in Iceland, best for you and your family or friends. Traveling here really is full of magical adventures and often feels like you’re living in a fairy tale (especially when the northern lights grace you with their presence). The Land of Fire and Ice definitely lives up to its name and will make you realize why real life is better than fiction. You can say that a trip to Iceland is one for the books!

I already gave you a rundown of the best luxury, mid-range, budget hotels and accommodations across Iceland, but I must say that these are the ones that topped my list:

Planning a trip all across Iceland? Check out our ultimate travel guide for Everything You Need to Know About Iceland

As Iceland isn’t the cheapest travel destination, it pays to book well in advance to get the best deals on some amazing hotels! Have an incredible stay in Iceland! Make sure to leave your questions about Iceland in a comment down below and I will answer them as soon as possible!

Happy travels, 

Yulia

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11 Comments

  1. Allan 21.12.2019 at 15:03
    • Yulia 23.12.2019 at 03:56
  2. jack30hunter 21.11.2019 at 16:58
    • Yulia 24.11.2019 at 22:58
  3. Jennifer 26.08.2019 at 05:15
    • Yulia 26.08.2019 at 22:11
  4. Travellest 18.08.2018 at 01:28
    • Yulia 21.08.2018 at 00:16
  5. atul vora 03.07.2018 at 10:28
  6. Maria 26.06.2018 at 19:46
    • Yulia 26.06.2018 at 21:19

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