Iceland is a tourist destination on the rise, with a population of 350,000 residents, soon will be almost 10 times the number of tourists, and the great majority of them attend in July and August. Accommodation is consequently expensive and scarce, and each year is more expensive and scarcer; The quality / price ratio is very low, and it affects how on advance we must book our stay. For high season, it is recommended to book at least 3 months in advance all types of accommodation except the first described:
Icelanders are campsite fans, and in a country with so much grass and plains, there is at least one in each town:
- They have the advantage of not requiring prior reservation.
- Most close from October to March.
- They cost about 1200 and 2000 kr per person. Most charge showers separately. There is a pass called Camping Card, it costs € 149 and allows 28 camping nights for 2 adults and 4 children, but excludes showers.
- The ground where they settle is grassy, soft enough to set the pegs manually.
- Ideally, you should bring your own equipment, but if we need something, it is better to rent it or buy it in Reykjavik.
- There are from very well conditioned, generally in the cities, to others quite basic, but at least they will have a WC and a cold water tap. It is not allowed to make a fire but gas stoves for cooking. By far, the thread Coleman type is the most widespread in recent years; in its day I used a clip type Campingaz, but it is in disuse.
- Free camping is allowed for cyclists and hikers (not for those who drive any type of motor vehicle), but with restrictions. You have to ask permission from the owner of the land, be away from an official campsite, not put several tents and not camp on cultivated land.
I was in Iceland 24 days and I camped 12. Some days it’s a very comforting experience, but it’s not an easy camping for the whole family; We could be forced to set and remove the tent while it rains and we are hit by intense wind and rain, as it happened to me in Husavik and Ásbyrgi area, when it was raining 3 days without stopping. Now I remember it and I laugh, but I will never forget the unpleasant feeling of having to wear on soaked wool socks from the previous night to continue walking for 14 kilometers in the rain at 3ºC.
MOTORHOMES AND CAMPERVANS
An excellent and profitable option for groups of 3 or more. It ensures transportation and accommodation and allows great freedom. All these advantages make them very popular and booking months in advance is a priority. You can not stop to spend the night anywhere, only in campsites and other designated areas. The prices are the same as for tents and the Camping Card excludes electricity, which costs around 800 kr. There are several companies in Iceland, most of them are based in Keflavik Airport, so we can start our trip from the very first day. By far, the one with the best reputation is Motorhome Iceland / Campervan Iceland; They are two sections of the same company, their official websites are in English, to check motorhomes click this link, and to check campervans click this one.
Staying on farms was an impromptu solution years ago. Farmers offered several options, usually camping areas, shared rooms with or without bedding, or rooms for individual use, with different prices. This has been evolving into authentic rural hotels, and their prices are similar to guesthouses. The bathroom is usually shared. On Hey Iceland website, more than 170 farms are offered, and can also be found on AirBnB.
Most belong to Hostelling International, so being a member is a good idea, since it offers 10% discount, you have to become a member in a hostel assigned in our country of residence. But there are more and more independent hostels, only in Reykjavik there are more than 10, when in 2009 there was only HI. A dorm in the best rated costs from 3000 kr; Many charge extra for bed linen (up to 2000 kr per stay), so carrying sleeping bag is another good idea.
In 2009 as far as I remember, they all belonged to HI. I slept in them in Reykjavik, Lake Mývatn, Akureyri and Stikkisholmsbaer, I have good memories of all, and as I can see on the internet, those that survive still have excellent ratings.
Under that term is included a hodgepodge of accommodation ranging from rooms in private homes (usually with access to kitchen and common room) to small hotels and B&B, with breakfast or half board or full. It is frequent AirBnB territory. In a sleeping bag a bed usually costs from 7500 kr and a double room from 15000 kr in high season. The bathroom is almost always shared.
We will only find them in the relevant cities and towns, and most of them close during low season. The cheapest usually cost from 20,000 kr per double room including breakfast.
In summer, and given the high demand, it is not uncommon for schools, institutes and other buildings to become simple accommodation. The company Edda Hotels is the main responsible for this. I used it in Isafjordur, we slept in a high school where classrooms were equipped with beds, being for practical purposes similar to a hostel, although without a kitchen, and the prices are similar. Some have double rooms and their prices are in this case comparable to hotels, but the quality is much more basic.
Managed by private companies, they offer simple accommodation with a sleeping bag for about 6000 kr. The best ones have kitchens, camping areas and showers. There are more than 40 in all Iceland and the company that manages most is Ferðafélag Íslands, the majority in Landmannalaugar area. Booking in advance is also essential.
They should not be confused with emergency shelters; As its name suggests, it is only allowed to use them in emergencies. They are located in high mountain areas or coasts with difficult access and have blankets, food and a radio. In 24 days in the country I do not remember seeing any.