Iceland Mag

10 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


Foreign traveler runs out of money, spends night in abandoned farm, gets evicted by Police

By Staff

  • Hópsnes lighthouse The little peninsula has a number of interesting ruins of fishing camps and stranded ships. Photo/Diego Delso, Creative Commons

Every once in a while we encounter these strange stories about foreign visitors who camp out at unexpected or outright outrageous spots. In many cases the travelers in question have simply made an honest mistake. In other cases travelers are engaged in illegal and deeply troubling behavior which cannot be brushed off as a misunderstanding.

The case of an unidentified traveler who camped out on a travel median in front of Harpa concert hall falls into the first category, while the story of two French travelers who pitched their tent in a private yard in Reykjavík falls into the second category.  

Read more: Worst or best camping spot in Reykjavík? Traveller camps on a downtown traffic island

Read more: French travellers surprised to learn you cannot camp in people's backyards in Reykjavík

Other cases are harder to pin down. Take the story of a traveler who was evicted from an abandoned turf house near ruins on the outskirts of Grindavík village on Reykjanes peninsula. Police had been notified that what some locals suspected was a drifter appeared to have made a makeshift home in the small turf house, little more than a shed. 

Couldn't afford to pay for accommodation
According to a statement from the Police in Suðurnes district the man had put up his sleeping bag and backpack in the hut and had apparently planned to stay there. When asked about his intentions and travel the man explained that he had been staying in Iceland for three months, and had run out of money and could therefore not afford to stay anywhere else.

The officers explained to the man that he could not camp out inside the shed, and had to find better and more suitable accommodation. The officers intend to check back on the shed to ensure the man understood the orders and doesn't return. 

Camping sensibly
It goes without saying that when camping inside town limits you must stay on designated campsites or get permission from the home- or landowner. You can always camp in wilderness areas, and on uncultivated land outside urban areas. South Iceland is the only exception where camping is only permitted on designated campsites or in wilderness areas (mountains or heaths far from roads or structures). 

It is also never ok to squat in houses or structures. Breaking into holiday homes or cabins to save money on accommodation is not acceptable. There are emergency cabins in the Central Highlands on on mountain trails, but these are only to be used in emergencies. 

Read more: New stricter rules on camping and camper vans now in effect in South Iceland

Beautiful spot
Hópsnes is a small peninsula at the entrance to the Grindavík harbour. A lighthouse stands on Hópsnes, as well as several ruins of farmhouses and fishing camps, as well as the ruins of stranded ships which bear witness to the rich history of the area and its long connection to the sea.

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