Can I camp in a roof top tent anywhere?
Exploring the highlands of Iceland can be as easy as a walk in the park, but are you allowed to camp in the wilderness?
In short, no, you can’t. However, if your heart is set out on not being bound to the 160 camping grounds that Iceland has to offer there are areas where you can take your car with a rooftop tent and spend the night.
All over Iceland, you will find a camping areas that will suit your needs. Lots of effort has been put into making the camping areas pristine and full of all the amenities that one could need while camping. Shower, bathroom, washing facilities and barbeque pits are a few of the pleasures you can expect to find in Icelandic camping areas. But if you want to head out and be on your own in the true embrace of Iceland's beautiful nature, then there are a few things you need to know.
Camping in the Icelandic highlands.
The highlands of Iceland hold some of nature’s treasures that not everyone is brave enough to go and witness. You will need a 4x4 vehicle to access these places safely and surely without risking getting stuck or causing damage to your car.
Camping in the wilderness of Iceland is easier said than done due to constantly changing rules and laws regarding camping and camping in cultivated areas. Knowing which areas in Iceland are categorized as uncultivated is no walk in the park, and you won't find the answers here. As a rule of thumb, you are allowed to camp your car with a roof top tent in an uncultivated land for one night at a time, but it is hard to know the ownership of each land you may come across as you won’t find any clear markings stating that.
In the south of Iceland, it is forbidden to camp anywhere other than within a specific camping area. The same applies to Iceland’s national parks, where park rangers regularly patrol the area. The ideal solution would be to locate a farm nearby to which the land most likely belongs and ask the owner for permission to camp on their land, do plenty of research regarding municipality laws and regulations, or stay in the nearest camping area.
Considering the various amenities and facilities that Icelandic campsites offer and the low price they charge per night, staying at a camping area during the night and driving the highlands during the day may be a more reasonable way to go.