Iceland does a very good job of maintaining the natural beauty of the country by not allowing the tourism industry to drastically change its landscape. There are few large hotels or resorts in Iceland, and we only saw those few closer to the more touristy locations.
Since there were so few places to stay, we rented a three person camper van from Kuku Campers. We were able to pull up to a campsite at night and hop in the back to cook or go straight to bed. It was also really nice to not have set reservations, because most nights of our eight-day trip across the country we got a lot farther than I had originally planned.
Because the population on the island is so sparse, available hotels are expensive and book up fast. Airbnbs are no exception. We would have to find a campsite each night, but we were always successful.
We got lucky our first night outside of Reykjavik and got a very nice and inexpensive Airbnb in Hafnarfjörður. We had the whole downstairs apartment to ourselves with a queen and twin size bed.
Our second night in Iceland really spilled over into the morning of our third day, because we didn't arrive at The Hellissandur Campsite until almost 2 am. The bathroom was nice and the accompanying hostel seemed popular. We woke up pretty early to do things on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, so I didn't get a picture.
Varmahíld Campsite Across the River was our home the third night in the northern region. The sweet woman who owned the property had a wonderful setup. Her backyard was turned into a giant campground suitable to park a van or pitch a tent on. She also had a full kitchen, basketball hoop, hot tub, and clean facilities.
Egilsstadastofa Campsite was where we stayed on the fourth night after our furthest day of travel. We had a full day in the Lake Myvatn area and pushed through into the night so that we could wake up closer to the puffins at Borgarfardarhöfn. We all showered and washed the dishes in the nice, public facilities. We had good coffee from the neighboring coffeehouse before another long drive.
Haukafell Campground was a little difficult to find after a late-night dinner at Hafnarbúdin. We finally found this campsite tucked away behind someone's farm. Waking up at the mouth of Vatnajökull glacier was a great way to excite us for our Glacier Hike later that day.
Vik Camping was a great place to recharge our camera gear and ourselves. We were then fully prepared for a busy day on the beaches of Vik. After showers and a good breakfast, we went climbing on the basalt column and the Sólheimasandur plane wreck.
Selfoss Camping was unexpectedly nice to pull up to at 11 pm. We cooked a quick meal and charged our things before crawling into our camper to try to rest after a long day of driving and Geysir watching.
Hafnarfjödur Camping was our last campsite in Iceland. We pulled up to a fairly empty campsite and watched some other campers practice their fly fishing while we packed up our gear to fly home the next morning.
Overall, we seem to have made the right decision in choosing a camper van over expensive hotels or planned Airbnbs. It might not have been the best quality of sleep every night, but our campsites had amazing facilities and were affordable for the three of us.