Changed Camping Laws in Iceland, Everything You Need to Know

Changed camper laws

As of June, 2016, the laws concerning where you may camp overnight in a camper van or not have changed. According to us, there was some confusing on the website at The Environment Agency of Iceland but it has now be cleared. To straighten things out, we will copy and paste the answer to the question “May I camp anywhere?” from the agency’s website:

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Wild camping in IcelandThere are various things to keep in mind if you are planning to camp or spend the night outside organised campsites. In November 2015, new conservation legislation came into effect making changes to where it is permissible to camp. For instance, it is now illegal to spend the night in tent trailers, tent campers, caravans, camper vans or similar outside organised campsites or urban areas unless the land owner or right holder has given their permission. Otherwise, the law lays down the following rules for camping: 

Where may I camp?

• 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.  

When must I get the permission of the land owner or right-holder?

• If you plan to camp near places of human habitation or farms.
• If you plan to camp for longer than one night.
• If you plan to pitch more than three tents.
• If the land is cultivated.
• If you plan to use tent trailers, tent campers, caravans, camper vans or similar outside organised campsites or urban areas.

Are there any areas where I may not camp/spend the night?

• Land owners or right holders may restrict or prohibit camping if there is substantial risk of damage to the country’s natural environment.
•If the landowner or right holder has prepared a special camping area on their land, they may direct travelers to it and charge a service fee. Similarly, if there is a campsite in the vicinity, the landowner or right holder may direct travelers to it.
• There may be restrictions on camping in protected areas (see the list of protected areas).  
So you still can camp in the wild but you need to get permission from the landowner. Remember the same rules apply wherever you camp, don’t leave anything behind you, others will follow you and they don’t want to see trash from others. We are all in this together.

Read more: Responsible camping


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