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Visit Iceland with Motorhome

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Israel
posts: 4
Visit Iceland with Motorhome

Hi,

I am planning a visit with my family in Iceland during August 2011, and would like to check the possibility of renting a caravan (motorhome).

I have no experience in driving a motorhome and a bit concerned about it. Can anybodu let me know how difficult it is to driver such a motorhome (we are a family of 5 persons).

Also I am interested to know where does a motorhome usually park during over night stays. I assume I can not park anywhere, and that there are special places where some facilities are provided. Is there a list of such places?

In addition, what would be the average cost per night for the motorhome? Is it per the motorhome or per person? What are the usual services that we can get in such parking places (using a shower......)

I thank you for the information and the assistance.

Wishing you a nice and warm evening.

Itai

Reykjavik, Iceland
posts: 2,699
reviews: 66
1. Re: Visit Iceland with Motorhome

I think you'll find that these links will answer most of your questions :

http://www.happycampers.is/en/forsida/

www.visiticeland.com/Accommodation/Camping/

http://www.geysir.is/main.html

http://www.camper.is/vehicles.html

http://www.holdur.is/en/

New York
posts: 2
reviews: 16
2. Re: Visit Iceland with Motorhome

Itai,

We saw your message a few weeks ago, when we were doing our own research. Well we have just returned from 1 week of motorhoming around Iceland - and it was a wonderful experience. So we thought we would share our perspectives and insights!

The motorhome itself is not cheap, but we have 4 kids (family of 6), so it probably works out okay compared to hotels. We paid around 1750 Euros for 7 days, which included the best possible insurance (for collisions, damage, gravel damage etc.). We didn't have any problems as it happens - but the peace of mind was welcome.

In terms of driving, all the motorhomes are manual transmission (not automatic). They are easy enough to drive - they're not so large, and they are easy enough to steer. There were no roads so small that the motorhome felt awkward. So don't worry too much about that.

For our itinerary, we went from Keflavik (the airport) to the Golden Circle (Thingvellir, Geysir hotsprings, Gulfoss waterfalls), and then down to the south coast (Route 1). We headed out through Selfoss, Vik, Skaftafell (the huge national park/glacier), and as far as the Glacier Lagoon (Jokulsarlon). That took around 3 days. The scenery was stunning - waterfalls, huge and small, along the way - many of which you can stop at and have a short hike - beautiful farms, volcanic landscapes, the ocean, birdlife, and so on.

For the second half of our week, we headed back (along the same road), and up the west coast to Arkajanes. The town hasn't much that is special, but it was a good pit stop (we went to the library to check our email, found a supermarket, and took the kids to the local swimming pool - heated of course by natural geothermal energy). We then headed down for an afternoon in Reyjavik (the hardest place to park a motor home - but achievable if you head 5 minutes away from the city centre), and down onto the southwest peninsula. We took a gravel road, Route 42 (the only roads you cannot use are marked 'F' - and we didn't see a single one - I think they are mainly in the interior of the country), down through some more volcanic terrain - a huge lake (Kleifarvatn), geysers etc. We headed to the fishing village Grindavik, and up the west coast of the peninsula all the way to the top (Gardskagaviti). Then back to Keflavik for our flight home.

Before we left, our biggest question was where we could stay overnight. As we discovered, you are able to park at any of the campsites on the island. But in almost all cases you will pay - variously between 500 ISK per person (generally 14+, with younger kids free), and 30000 ISK (a flat fee for the motorhome). The advantages: you get access to proper toilet and shower blocks (though most of the showers required coin operation - so they weren't free!); proper washing-up facilities (for dishes etc.); and you can hook up to mains electrics (normally for 500 ISK per night). Some of them also have kids playgrounds and things. However .... you really don't need to do this. The motorhome has water, shower and toilet (all are basic - but usable). And if you can keep the kids off electronic games/computers, then you don't really need mains electrics. The motorhome itself has a liquid natural gas bottle (to power the fridge and heater for periods that you are stationary), and a second battery (for periods you are on the move). And when the kids needed to let off steam, we stopped by a waterfall, or even a school yard to let them run around and expend some energy.

So we didn't use a campsite once! We stayed in all sorts of random places. You really can just pull up wherever you want (within reason), and set up for the night. We stayed a couple of nights on the outskirts of small towns - in a picnic area, by a sports field, in a bus stop. We stayed one night in the parking lot/car park of a tourist information office. For our last night, we did stay at a free campsite in Gardskagavtiti, which was great - right by the ocean, in the shadow of the lighthouse.

If you do it the way we did it, you will have to find places to fill up with water, and to dump your toilet and your 'grey' water tank (i.e. shower/sink). The grey water was pretty easy - most petrol/gas stations have car washing areas. You can back up, and let the water go right down the drain (no cost). At many of the gas stations you will also find a water hose to fill up your water tank. Iceland water is so clean that you can just go straight from the hose to the motorhome's tank, and have no fears. Emptying the toilet was harder. Some petrol/gas stations have special dumps (also no charge), but many do not. We found a few campsites that we were able to sneak onto to do it, so it was okay, but definitely the hardest part of having the motor home.

Anyway, hope that is useful. If you do rent a motor home, you will love it. Nothing is too far away, no hugely long drives, lots of freedom. The nights are so short that you can drive late if you choose to, and still be in daylight.

Final helpful tip: despite what might be advertised with your rental, take a sharp knife, bottle opener, dish cloth, bin/trash bags, tea towel, and dish soap - they might not be in the motor home, and you will need them!

Good luck!

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 108
reviews: 7
3. Re: Visit Iceland with Motorhome

Doesit - thanks for your very helpful information. Motorhoming sounds like a fun adventure in Iceland. What was your gas consumption/cost like for the week?

New York
posts: 2
reviews: 16
4. Re: Visit Iceland with Motorhome

The motorhome was pretty good on gas usage (actually diesel). So we didn't have to fill up often, and we were also pretty inconsistent when we did it. But we just did the math, and believe it cost us around $350 (USD) for the week. Obviously depends on a range of variables though - how heavy footed are you on the gas peddle (you can't drive these things too fast mind you!), how far will you travel, what will happen to gas prices, what will the exchange rate be like, and so on. But we didn't think it was too bad - though much more expensive than the US (where we currently live).

Now seems to be the time to go to Iceland though. Our guidebooks (of a couple of years ago) had the exchange rate as 62 ISK to the US dollar. We got 115 ISK, which was great.

Eating out (which we didn't do) was expensive!! The supermarket was comparable to US prices (though fresh produce - fruits/veggies - were not great quality, presumably because they are all imported). We used the supermarket chain "Bonus" which was good. And there were plenty of them in the main towns - though not out in the deeper countryside. So worth stocking up on bread, yoghurts, chips etc.

Good luck!

scotland
posts: 1
reviews: 1
5. Re: Visit Iceland with Motorhome

Great info, Can I just clarify one thing, you say that the cost of staying at a campsite is ISK 500 per person but that the motorhome costs ISK 30000. the 30000 seems an awful lot of money, did you mean ISK 3000 per night maybe?

Thanks

Terence

Reykjavik, Iceland
Destination Expert
for Iceland
posts: 1,613
reviews: 2
6. Re: Visit Iceland with Motorhome

That 30.000 is definitely a typo.

Check out http://tjaldsvaedi.is/index.php/en/camp-sites You will find a link to each region of the country on this page, and from there you have lots of informations about each camping site.

7. Re: Visit Iceland with Motorhome

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Removed on: 11:35 am, March 23, 2012
Salisbury, United...
posts: 3,435
reviews: 98
8. Re: Visit Iceland with Motorhome

Halide, this post is a year old, it's not worth answering as the OP has visited.

Edited: 11:15 am, March 23, 2012
Inverness, United...
posts: 1
reviews: 7
9. Re: Visit Iceland with Motorhome

Hi

What company did you rent from and would you recommend them?

posts: 18
reviews: 12
10. Re: Visit Iceland with Motorhome

We just loved using Snail for our motorhome rental. They were amazing people, family run, and treat you like it. They even included an airport pickup at Reykjavik and put us up in their home the night before we hit the road. They didn't pull any extra charges and gave us a fully stocked vehicle.

We wrote all about it in our blog of our trip:

…blogspot.com/2013/07/counting-sheep_30.html