Living Off The Grid in Iceland – What You Need to Know!

For those seeking an extraordinary and eco-friendly lifestyle, Iceland beckons with its off-grid living opportunities.

Uncover the magic of living off the grid in the Land of Fire and Ice.

We’ll guide you through the unique challenges and rewards of this sustainable way of life in Iceland’s pristine natural surroundings.

Whether you’re an aspiring homesteader or a sustainability enthusiast, our insights offer a glimpse into the possibilities of living off the grid in Iceland, one of the world’s most captivating environments.

Join us on this green journey.

The Population of Iceland?

Total Population: Iceland had an estimated population of around 366,425 people.

Population Size: Iceland had an estimated population of approximately 366,425 people in 2022. It’s important to note that Iceland’s population is relatively small compared to many other countries.

Population Distribution: Most of Iceland’s population is concentrated in the southwestern part of the country, particularly in and around the capital city, Reykjavik. Reykjavik and its metropolitan area are home to a significant portion of the country’s residents. The distribution of the population becomes sparser as you move away from the southwestern region.

Demographics: Iceland is known for having a relatively homogenous population. The majority of the population is of Icelandic descent. Immigration has increased in recent years, with people from various countries coming to Iceland for work or other opportunities. This has contributed to a growing diversity in the population.

Urban vs. Rural Population: The majority of Iceland’s population is urban, with most people living in cities and towns. Rural areas are less densely populated, and some remote regions have very low population densities.

Life Expectancy: Iceland has a high life expectancy, with people living well into their 80s on average. The country’s healthcare system and overall quality of life contribute to these longer lifespans.

Migration: Iceland has seen an increase in immigration, with people from various countries coming to work, study, or join family members in Iceland. Migration trends can impact population dynamics and cultural diversity.

Is It Legal To Live Off The Grid In Iceland?

Living off the grid in Iceland, like in many countries, is a complex matter and subject to various regulations and considerations.

Iceland has unique environmental and legal factors that can impact living off the grid.

Here are some key points to consider:

Land Ownership: In Iceland, much of the land is privately owned or controlled by the government. If you want to live off the grid, you typically need to have access to land where you can establish your residence. Acquiring land for this purpose may involve purchasing it or obtaining permission from the landowner or government, depending on the land’s status and location.

Environmental Regulations: Iceland places a strong emphasis on environmental protection and sustainability. Building and living off the grid may be subject to strict environmental regulations, particularly if your activities could impact the natural surroundings, such as fragile ecosystems, geothermal areas, or protected areas.

Building Codes and Permits: Construction and building standards in Iceland are regulated to ensure safety and adherence to environmental guidelines. If you plan to build a dwelling or structure off the grid, you may need to comply with these building codes and obtain the necessary permits.

Utilities and Services: Living off the grid typically means you won’t be connected to municipal utilities like water and sewage systems, but you’ll need to ensure you have a sustainable source of water and manage waste responsibly. Additionally, you may need to generate your own electricity, which can be done through renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar power.

Zoning and Land Use Regulations: Iceland has zoning regulations and land use plans that dictate what can and cannot be done in specific areas. It’s essential to understand these regulations and whether your off-the-grid lifestyle aligns with the zoning requirements in your chosen location.

Residency and Immigration: If you are not an Icelandic citizen or resident, you’ll need to consider visa and residency requirements to live in Iceland legally. These requirements may vary depending on your nationality and intended length of stay.

It’s crucial to do thorough research, consult with local authorities, and potentially seek legal advice if you are considering living off the grid in Iceland.

While it is possible, it’s important to ensure that your off-grid lifestyle complies with Icelandic laws, respects the environment, and does not infringe on the rights of landowners or the state.

Regulations and requirements may change, so staying informed and obtaining the necessary permissions and permits is essential.

East fjords in Iceland

Iceland has become increasingly popular in recent years for a variety of reasons.

Here are some of the key factors contributing to Iceland’s popularity as a travel destination:

  1. Natural Beauty: Iceland is renowned for its stunning and diverse natural landscapes. The country boasts otherworldly features like geysers, waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes, hot springs, and vast lava fields. The combination of fire and ice makes Iceland’s scenery unique and captivating.
  2. Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis): Iceland is one of the prime locations in the world to witness the spectacular Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis. Tourists are drawn to Iceland for the chance to see this breathtaking natural light display.
  3. Geothermal Wonders: The country’s geothermal activity results in geysers, hot springs, and natural baths like the Blue Lagoon, which provide unique and relaxing experiences for travelers.
  4. Adventure Activities: Iceland offers a wide range of adventure activities, including hiking, glacier walking, ice climbing, horseback riding, snowmobiling, and more. The rugged terrain and natural features make it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
  5. Wildlife: Iceland is home to diverse birdlife, and it’s also a great place for whale watching. Puffins, in particular, are a popular sight among birdwatchers.
  6. Safety: Iceland consistently ranks as one of the safest countries in the world for travelers. Low crime rates and a strong social safety net make it an attractive destination for those seeking a peaceful and secure experience.
  7. Clean and Pure Environment: Iceland is known for its clean air, pure water, and pristine environment. The country’s commitment to sustainability and environmental protection appeals to eco-conscious travelers.
  8. Cultural and Historical Attractions: Iceland has a rich cultural heritage with a history dating back to the Viking Age. Tourists can explore historical sites, museums, and contemporary Icelandic culture, including music and literature.
  9. Accessible Capital: Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, is a vibrant and accessible city with a thriving arts and dining scene. It serves as a convenient base for exploring the country’s natural wonders.
  10. Game of Thrones Filming Locations: Fans of the popular TV series “Game of Thrones” are drawn to Iceland because it served as the backdrop for many scenes in the show, showcasing its otherworldly landscapes.
  11. Icelandic Cuisine: The country’s cuisine has gained recognition for its fresh seafood, lamb dishes, and unique traditional fare like fermented shark and skyr (a dairy product similar to yogurt). Foodies are drawn to explore the Icelandic culinary scene.
  12. Adventure Tourism: Iceland is an adventure traveler’s paradise, offering opportunities for glacier trekking, lava cave exploration, and snowmobile tours, among other thrilling activities.

Overall, Iceland’s blend of natural beauty, adventure, safety, and unique cultural experiences has made it a popular destination for travellers from around the world.

It continues to attract visitors seeking unforgettable experiences and the opportunity to immerse themselves in a one-of-a-kind environment.

Benefits Of Living Off Grid In Iceland

Skogafoss Waterfall – South Iceland

Living off the grid in Iceland can offer a unique and rewarding lifestyle with several benefits.

Here are some of the advantages of choosing an off-grid life in this picturesque country:

  1. Sustainable Living: Off-grid living in Iceland allows you to reduce your environmental footprint. You can generate your own renewable energy, use sustainable building materials, and practice eco-friendly living, contributing to a more sustainable future.
  2. Self-Sufficiency: Off-grid living fosters self-sufficiency. You’ll learn essential skills like gardening, food preservation, and energy management, reducing your reliance on external resources.
  3. Cost Savings: By generating your own power, collecting rainwater, and growing your food, you can significantly lower your monthly expenses. Off-grid living can lead to long-term cost savings on utilities and other amenities.
  4. Privacy and Serenity: Off-grid properties in Iceland often offer increased privacy and seclusion. You can enjoy a quieter, more peaceful environment away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
  5. Closer to Nature: Living off the grid in Iceland means being surrounded by pristine natural landscapes. You’ll have easy access to hiking trails, forests, and mountains, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature.
  6. Clean Air and Water: Iceland is known for its clean air and abundant freshwater sources. Off-grid living ensures you have access to clean and pure resources, contributing to your health and well-being.
  7. Reduced Energy Dependence: Off-grid systems typically rely on renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines. By reducing your dependence on fossil fuels, you can contribute to a cleaner environment.
  8. Customisation: Building your off-grid home in Iceland allows you to design it according to your preferences and needs. You have the freedom to create a unique, energy-efficient, and sustainable living space.
  9. Resilience: Off-grid living promotes resilience in the face of power outages or disruptions in utility services. Your self-sustaining systems provide an uninterrupted source of energy and resources.
  10. Connection to Seasons: Living off the grid encourages a deeper connection to the changing seasons and natural cycles. You’ll become more attuned to the rhythms of nature, which can be spiritually fulfilling.
  11. Sense of Accomplishment: Successfully managing an off-grid lifestyle can be immensely fulfilling. Overcoming challenges and achieving self-sufficiency can boost your confidence and sense of accomplishment.
  12. Reduced Environmental Impact: Off-grid living reduces your environmental impact, which is particularly relevant in a country known for its pristine natural beauty.

It’s important to note that while off-grid living offers numerous benefits, it also comes with challenges.

The challenges of living off the grid in Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland

While rewarding, a lifestyle off the grid in Iceland comes with its own set of challenges and considerations.

Here are some of the challenges you may face when choosing this lifestyle:

  1. Initial Setup Costs: Setting up an off-grid system can be expensive. You’ll need to invest in solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and other equipment to generate and store power. Additionally, creating a self-sustaining water supply and waste management system can also require a significant upfront investment.
  2. Limited Access to Modern Amenities: Off-grid living often means limited access to modern amenities such as high-speed internet, cable television, and digital entertainment. Depending on your location, you may have to rely on alternative solutions for communication and entertainment.
  3. Isolation and Social Interaction: Off-grid properties in Iceland are often located in remote areas, which can lead to isolation. Maintaining a social life may require more effort and travel, especially if you’re far from urban centres.
  4. Resource Management: Efficiently managing resources like water and energy can be a daily challenge. You’ll need to monitor and conserve these resources to ensure they last through all seasons.
  5. Food Self-Sufficiency: While Iceland offers opportunities for farming and gardening, producing enough food to sustain your household year-round can be challenging. You may need to adapt your diet and food preservation techniques accordingly.
  6. Waste Management: Proper waste disposal and management can be more complex off the grid. You’ll need to consider composting, recycling, and responsible disposal of waste materials.
  7. Healthcare Access: Depending on your location, access to healthcare facilities and services may be limited. It’s essential to have a plan for medical emergencies and routine healthcare needs.
  8. Regulatory Compliance: While Iceland may not have specific off-grid living regulations, you may still need to comply with local building codes, zoning laws, and environmental regulations. Ensuring your off-grid setup is legal and safe is crucial.
  9. Energy Reliability: Your off-grid energy system’s reliability can be affected by weather conditions and seasonal variations in sunlight and wind. Having backup systems or energy storage solutions is essential to maintain a consistent power supply.
  10. Learning Curve: Living off the grid requires acquiring new skills, such as maintaining renewable energy systems, gardening, and resource management. The learning curve can be steep, especially if you’re new to these practices.
  11. Security: Securing your off-grid property from theft or vandalism can be challenging, especially if it’s located in a remote area. Implementing security measures is essential to protect your home and belongings.
  12. Cultural Adaptation: Adapting to the local culture and customs, especially if you are an expatriate, can take time. Building positive relationships with neighbours and the community is important.

Despite these challenges, many individuals find the benefits of off-grid living, such as sustainability, self-sufficiency, and a deeper connection to nature, outweigh the difficulties.

Careful planning, preparation, and a willingness to adapt to a simpler way of life can help you navigate these challenges successfully.

Average Temperature In Iceland

Iceland’s average temperature varies significantly depending on the season and region.

The country has a subarctic or cold oceanic climate, and its weather can be quite unpredictable.

Here are some average temperature ranges for different seasons and regions in Iceland:

Summer (June to August):

  • Coastal areas: The average temperature ranges from 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F).
  • Inland areas: Temperatures can be slightly higher, averaging around 13°C to 15°C (55°F to 59°F).
  • It’s the warmest time of the year, and daylight can last for almost 24 hours in some parts of the country.

Winter (December to February):

  • Coastal areas: Average temperatures range from 0°C to 3°C (32°F to 37°F).
  • Inland areas: It can get colder, with temperatures averaging around -10°C to -2°C (14°F to 28°F).
  • Winter days are short, and in some parts of Iceland, there are only a few hours of daylight.

Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November):

  • Coastal areas: Temperatures during these transitional seasons generally range from 3°C to 7°C (37°F to 45°F).
  • Inland areas: It can still be quite chilly, with temperatures averaging around -2°C to 5°C (28°F to 41°F).

Keep in mind that weather conditions in Iceland can change rapidly, and it’s important to be prepared for various weather conditions regardless of the season.

Additionally, the temperature can be influenced by factors like ocean currents and wind patterns, making it quite variable.

For the most up-to-date and location-specific weather information, it’s a good idea to check with a reliable weather forecasting service or consult local sources when planning a trip to Iceland.


With some forethought and planning, though, living off-grid can provide a unique experience, unlike any other – full independence with unparalleled access to all of Mother Nature’s gifts right outside your door!


  • Zero & Zen

    Dedicated to the cause of sustainability and eco-friendliness, our mission is to raise awareness about the importance of eco-conscious living.

    We firmly believe that individual actions can spark collective change and recognise the need for sustainable living to be tailored to your unique circumstances and pace.

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