Exactly what is the cost of visiting Iceland?
Many factors such as when you go, where you stay, and what you eat will all influence how expensive your vacation will be.
Whether your are touring the waterfalls with a group, enjoying the city life in Reykjavik, or jumping in a camper van, you will want to have a budget in mind before you go.
Here are a few things to consider along with some money-saving tips for when you travel to Iceland.
How expensive a trip may cost is always relative.
The expense of a vacation to New York, London, or even Disney World may be on par with the cost of a visit to Iceland.
There are two main factors that influence prices.
1. The weather makes agriculture challenging.
2. The isolation of the country increases the cost of importing.
Consequently, it is more difficult and expensive to obtain and transport goods in Iceland.
Practical Money Tips While in Iceland
The monetary unit in Iceland is the Krona- ISK.
Normally, when I travel abroad, I head to the nearest ATM with my international fee-free card and take out some local currency.
Not necessary when we arrived in Reykjavik.
Like many Western European countries I have visited, Iceland has the technology of taking your money down to a science.
In the 8 days we were there never once did we use cash, in or out of the city, it was never necessary.
Everywhere took a credit card and preferred it that way.
Tipping is not expected, so no need to factor that into your overall travel budget.
Transportation Costs in Reykjavik
The city center is about 45 minutes from the Keflavik Airport.
Shuttle buses are a comfortable option and regularly transport back and forth throughout the day.
The cost starts at about $21 and will take you to the main bus terminal or directly to your hotel.
Cars and Vans
Car rentals are available at the airport.
Reserving in advance is recommended.
Keep the season in mind if you plan to rent because winter driving in Iceland can be treacherous.
Also, note that some rentals have manual transmissions, so double-checking on that, is also a good idea.
Expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $1500 for the week, plus fuel and insurance.
For summer travel, camper vans and RVs are also an option.
Price and availability will vary by company. I suggest the earlier you book, the better the price you are likely to get.
Getting Around Town
Walking is the cheapest and healthiest way of getting around downtown Reykjavik. There are plenty of hotels, shops, restaurants, and points of interest all within 1.5 miles of each other.
For destinations that are too far to walk, or when it feels too windy and cold, the public bus system is Strætó. It has extensive routes throughout the city.
You can download the app to buy tickets directly. Bus drivers do not take credit cards or give change so this is very convenient.
Here is the website with routes and info.
Outside of the buses, there are no trains or Metro system.
Types of places to stay in Reykjavik are similar to most capital European cities.
Hotels range from budget to luxury.
Hostels and Airbnb rentals are also available. Prices will be higher during the summertime and less expensive in winter.
Prices range from a $50 hostel dorm bed to over $500 a night hotel in the center of town.
Traveling the Ring Road
Ring Road is the main highway that forms a circle, or ring, around the entire perimeter of the country. You might be traveling the entire ring, or just heading out from the capital and back.
Staying outside of Reykjavik brings new choices of accommodations. Hostels, hotels, and home rentals will still be a choice, only farther and fewer in between.
In addition to these family-owned guesthouses and campsites are possibilities.
The farther you stray from Ring Road the fewer options you are likely to have.
Where you decide to stay will be based on your budget and comfort level.
Is it Cheaper to Camp in Iceland?
Campsites may seem relatively inexpensive compared to the price of a guesthouse or hotel room.
But, keep in mind that you paid more for a campervan or RV than a traditional rental car. In addition, gasoline is expensive in Iceland.
Probably twice the price you are used to paying if you come from the United States.
The cost of fuel will be higher with a bigger vehicle as well, so in the end, it may just balance out.
Sharing the expense with a few friends can make it more budget-friendly.
Of course, sleeping beside an amazing waterfall can be truly priceless.
What Does Food Cost in Iceland?
You must certainly include food purchases in your vacation cost when visiting Iceland.
As you would expect, the extreme weather and location of the country makes eating in Iceland more expensive than most countries.
Types of restaurants vary from fast food to fancy meals. A delicious meal of soup and bread maybe $15 and a larger meal as much as $100.
You could grab a delicious meal of fish and chips or sit down to multiple courses.
The difference in price would be the same as in any city.
While eating in Reykjavik you will have more flexibility in your budget.
For such a small city, Reykjavik has a surprisingly large choice of price ranges and cuisine.
There will be less options as you travel away from the capital to small communities and towns.
Of course, if you choose to eat 3 meals a day at a restaurant, expect your budget to be higher.
Shopping at the local grocery store is a great way to save on the cost of food.
That doesn’t mean buying food in the grocery store in Iceland is cheap. it just means that it’s less expensive than eating every meal in a restaurant.
Some grocery stores charge way more than others. Bonus is a good choice. It will have everything you need while traveling. The store 10-11 has longer hours and adds convenience but avoid it if you want to save some money because prices are much higher.
So how much a day does it cost to eat in Iceland?
I would say plan on budgeting anywhere from from $30 to $100 a day.
It ultimately depends on how often you eat at restaurants and what level of service you want.
You have flexibility to control your food budget in Iceland with some advanced planning.
Here is some information about eating in Iceland to help you out.
If you plan to drink alcohol in Iceland then there are plenty of bars to partake in Reykjavik. You can find many Happy Hours to save a bit on the cost.
Alcohol is available with your meal at many restaurants as well.
It is not available at the grocery store though, if thats what you are used to. The beer you see on the shelf has barely any alcohol, by law less than 2.2%.
Some people buy alcohol duty-free at the Keflavik airport on their way in to the country.
How Much Will it Cost to Explore Iceland?
Your flights, transportation, lodging, and food are the necessities that will comprise the cost of your visit.
But will you still need to spend money to do things once you get there?
Sites, attractions, and museums may be free or charge a fee. Guided tours will cost you as opposed to self guided.
How expensive it is to explore will be up to you.
Don’t miss reading the weird and wonderful things about Iceland for inspiration.
First time traveling abroad? Make sure to read this guide for first-time international travelers for some great tips.