Iceland Mag

1 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


Camper troubles: one parked outside the presidential residence, another one was blown into a ditch

By Staff

  • Presidential camper This camper was parked outside the residence of Iceland's president last week (it was windy and wet). Photo/Friðrik Brekkan

If you are planning to rent a camper (motorhome) and travel around Iceland there are a few things to keep in mind. One is, don’t park on the parking lot outside Bessastaðir, the residence of Iceland’s president, although it’s empty and offers a fantastic view in many directions.

This is exactly what a British couple did last Friday when they spent the night in their camper just outside where Iceland’s newly elected president, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, lives with his family, on Álftanes peninsula in the capital area.

Friðrik Brekkan, a local tour guide, was on a tour with his clients when he noticed the camper. According to local news site Vísir, which spoke to Friðrik, it was 9.15 in the morning and he decided to knock on the door of the camper and talk to its residents. “Did I wake you up?” he simply asked.

According to Friðrik the British couple said that they were already up and told him that they were very happy having spent the night in such a lovely place, however the night had been quite windy, which has disturbed their sleeping.

We can laugh for now, but guys please don’t do this. Campers have to be parked in designated areas, if not a permit must be obtained from landowners.

A new legislation came into effect in Iceland in November 2015, making changes to where it is permissible to camp. 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 landowner or rightholder has given their permission.  See more about the rules for camping here.


Seek shelter When the wind is extreme large vehicles are in danger both on the move and when they have been parked.

Another thing to keep in mind when you travel in a camper around the country, is that you have to follow the weather forecast very carefully. The wind can become extreme and we have many examples of large vehicles being swept off road while on the move.

It’s not even enough to park the camper to escape trouble. When it starts tearing up, you have to seek shelter. If not the camper can become airborne.

A fresh example is from last Friday when a camper was blown into a ditch in West Iceland. Thankfully the couple who had rented the camper were staying in a hut, because they judged the conditions rightly not good enough to sleep in their motorhome. When they woke up they found the camper on its side.

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