The Many Advantages of Driving a Motorhome in Iceland
Updated: Jun 8
There are many ways and means of exploring Iceland. But one of the best has to be a leisurely self-drive tour in a comfortable motorhome. There are all sorts of vehicle rental options open to visitors to Iceland. These include motorhome or campervan hire as well as car rental. Each one has its own set of pros and cons to consider. Which one you choose depends very much on your personal travel style. But if you like the sound of a relaxed pace and plenty of creature comforts hiring a motorhome could be for you.
Motorhome camping in Iceland
When it comes to motorhome rentals one of the biggest plusses you get is having the luxury of space. The whole experience is very far removed from classic tent camping. There’s no crawling into bed at night or sleeping surrounded by your unpacked luggage. In fact it is almost like having your own travelling hotel room with added benefits. Here are a few of the main advantages of driving a motorhome in Iceland.
Cooking in a Motorhome - Your own kitchen!
All motorhomes come equipped with a compact kitchen and dining area. These include inbuilt fridges and cooker tops as well as cooking equipment. You’ll have a dining table and comfortable seating. In short everything, you need to cook up a storm. All very civilized indeed!
Not only is this really convenient but it is can also save you money on eating out. Iceland can get quite pricey if you are dining out for every meal. So being able to prepare a quick lunch or dinner is one huge bonus of hiring a motorhome. There’s nothing quite like enjoying your first-morning cuppa looking out at the changing Iceland scenery. This also means that you can save your money and splash out on a few special meals out.
Another substantial benefit of a motorhome hire is that you can use it as a space for socializing. A night out in Iceland hits the credit card hard if you are bar hopping. So buying a few bottles of Iceland beer or your favorite tipple in advance is a great money-saving tip.
You might opt to have a drink or two at home base before heading out on the town. Or you could simply stay in and enjoy the scenery. You will be able to keep your beers cool and enjoy drinks with spectacular views from your campsite. All without the need for a designated driver or a taxi home.
Space to play on rainy days
If you are travelling as a larger group or with a family the extra space offered by a motorhome is invaluable. Kids will be able to play games or draw at the table while other family members cook or get some shuteye in the bedroom. A motorhome is versatile and allows for a few different private spaces. Much better than being packed all together in a draughty or damp tent. A motorhome makes all the difference on a family travel in Iceland
The weather in Iceland is known to be very changeable and often times quite wild. So having a space to wait out a storm is a great bonus. If it’s raining outside then your motorhome is a true refuge. You won’t need to go looking for a café to shelter in for the day.
Weathering the storms
Which brings us neatly to our next point. A motorhome offers great protection from the elements. Both a motorhome or camper van have heating systems installed as standard. Such as the webasto diesel heater to keep you snug at night. However that chilly night-time dash to the bathroom block is avoided in a motorhome. …It’s the little things!
Keeping the show on the road
If you are planning on exploring Iceland at leisure then the comfort of a motorhome makes all the difference. A campervan or tent might be all well and good for a week or two. But after that the lack of space to stretch out might start to become a little tiresome.
You need to keep everything very much in order if you are camping in a smaller space. With a motorhome there is plenty of storage space to hide things away in. The extra roominess and the separate living spaces just make it a lot better suited to a longer and leisurely paced trip.
Best motorhome road trips in Iceland
Many of the best routes for exploring by motorhome are in the south. Heading along the south coast of Iceland is the classic road trip. Starting from Reykjavik and following the famous Ring Road route east to the edge of the Vatnajökull National Park. There is a wealth of sights to see along the way. You could easily spend ten days, two weeks or even more exploring the route.
Another great short road trip is around the Golden Circle not far from Reykjavik. This famous trio of superlative sights consists of Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and the Gullfoss waterfall. You could easily tack this on to a South Coast adventure too.
Alternatively, head northwest from the capital to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. This is a wonderfully scenic peninsular just a two-hour drive from Reykjavik. There is so much to see and do within a relatively small geographical area here. In fact it is often referred to as Iceland in miniature with its mountains, waterfalls, and rugged volcanic coastline.
If you are keen to explore the north then it is possible to drive the full Ring Road by motorhome. However, this should only be taken on if you have plenty of time for your trip. You won’t want to have to drive long distances all in one go in a motorhome. You should also only attempt the full Ring Road in summer. The winter months are not ideal for long drives in a motorhome.
Alternatively, for a summer trip, you could hire a motorhome in north Iceland and set out from there. It is easy to hop on an internal flight from Keflavik International Airport up to Akureyri. From there you could head out to explore the Diamond Circle and enjoy whale watching from the town of Husavik.
Iceland motorhome campsites
Iceland is extremely well set up for camping. And all types of camping are catered for at its many camping sites right across the country.
If you are traveling by motorhome then there is some maintenance required. In order to enjoy hot and cold running water, you will need to top up your water tanks. The same goes for electric heating and light. And you will also need to empty the wastewater canister and toilet capsules.
This might not sound ideal but it is actually really simple to do. Most campsites and some gas stations have water tank filling points and grey water disposal areas. It is clean, easy, and simple to do so there’s no need to be concerned.
Even though you are extremely self-contained in a motorhome, it is vitally important that you only overnight at campgrounds. It might be tempting to pull over and spend the night at a beauty spot or parking lot. However, camping and parking up overnight should only be done in designated campsites. This is a new Iceland camping law that was brought in during the last decade.
In the past, it was possible to camp or park where you wanted. But as Iceland became more popular this became unsustainable. This is partly down to the fact that Iceland’s flora is extremely delicate. That beautiful soft moss you see creeping over the verges and rocks is very slow-growing. So if damaged it can take years to recover. Because of this, you should be careful where you pull up on the roadside. There are actually regular rest stops built into most roads. This means that you can easily and safely pull over when you spot the next great photo opportunity. Of which there are many!
Luxury motorhome rental in Iceland
For the ultimate in roaming, luxury opt for one of the larger modern motorhome rentals. These new vehicles have been elegantly designed for optimum comfort and convenience. Stylish interiors and full-size beds with high-quality bedding keep you warm and comfortable. Heating systems along with hot and cold running water all add to the experience.
Which motorhome you choose to go for depends on the size of your group and your budget. The larger modern motorhomes are a little higher in price to rent. But if you are traveling in a group of five or more it is well worth the extra.