Kristina has been writing for the internet of things since 2010 and has recently moved from tech-themed op-eds to outdoor adventure writing. She enjoys writing about adventures in nature just as much as embarking upon them herself.
Iceland has long been known as one of the more expensive countries in the world. But this year, it's more affordable than it has been for ages. Find out why NOW is the best time to go to Iceland.
Why Is Now the Best Time to Visit Iceland?
Tourism in Iceland has been growing steadily each year for the past decade. It’s one of the country’s main industries. That is, until this year.
In 2019, only a little over 2 million visitors have traveled to Iceland so far—that’s 2.7% less than last year.
Factors like the sudden collapse of WOW Air and the lure of other up-and-coming destinations might be to blame for the recent decline in tourism.
But there’s a silver lining:
More airlines are now offering flights to Iceland. They might not be as cheap, but there’s still a chance to visit this land of contrasts.
Fewer tourists means fewer crowds and better access to all prominent attractions.
Fewer travelers pose a lesser negative impact on nature, preserving it for future generations.
Icelandic krona fell by 0.6%, which means you can get more bang for the same amount of bucks.
With all this, there has never been a better time to travel to Iceland. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before you go that might save you from spending a fortune.
Marked Iceland with flag in map
Getting Around Iceland
With such a high number of transportation options at hand, it’s often hard to choose which suits your needs the best and also is cost-effective. Last year, most travelers chose to rent a car or a camper van. Good news here is, last winter, campervan and rental car prices dropped by around 33%.
You can also book a vacation package with included pick-ups and drop-offs straight from Reykjavik and not worry about transport at all.
Here are a few other ways you can get around the country:
Public Transportation - the infrastructure is there, and you can get pretty much anywhere by a local bus, however, prices haven’t changed much since last year and a local one-way bus ticket will cost you about $4.
Rental Vehicles - To rent a two-wheel compact car for a week will cost you around $230 and a camper should be around $400.
Hitchhiking - The cheapest means of transportation. Hitchhiking in Iceland is fairly popular amongst younger travelers as it’s very safe and you can hitch a ride in a few minutes. Be aware, some drivers might expect you to pitch in for fuel or lunch.
Rental car prices dropped in Iceland
Gas Prices in Iceland
All gas stations have the same gas prices and they are similar to prices in Scandinavia and Britain. Also, they haven’t changed much since last year and for a gallon of gas, you’d expect to pay around 839 ISK ($6).
Gas station in Iceland
Where to Stay in Iceland?
Compared to last year or even a few years back, prices of accommodation in Iceland have gone down. In 2018, for a room in a hotel you’d expect to pay around $120 and up, now, prices start at $100. Also, it’s worth noting that if you choose a place outside of Reykjavik, you can cut your expenses by 30-50%.
Hotels - Hotels in Reykjavik’s city center can cost you anywhere from around 14,000-78,400 ISK ($100-$600)
Hostels - Prices of dormitory-style hostel accommodation have also dropped. A twin room in a nicer hostel in the center of Reykjavik can cost you up to 20,500 ISK (around $160) whereas a dorm-style room with four or more other travelers will usually cost you between 5600-9700 ISK ($44 - $77)
Guesthouses - Some guesthouses offer similar facilities to those at a hotel and some might also have guest kitchens, where you can save money and cook your own food for the duration of your trip. For two people staying at a guesthouse, the price can vary between 6500-13,500 ISK (around $50-100). In contrast, rooms hit around the 14,300 ISK ($117) mark!
Camping - Camping is the cheapest way to stay in Iceland, though the weather and conditions can be unpredictable. There’s a huge number of official campsites across the country but if you find yourself far away from one, you can try to camp out in somebody’s backyard — just make sure you ask for permission before you pitch your tent!
Camping with mountains view in Iceland
Iceland Food Prices
Most produce is imported. So naturally, this results in fairly expensive daily shopping trips. There are a few ways to avoid spending a fortune on food during your holiday.
Cook dinner at yourapartment rental, if possible. One of the most enjoyable experiences in a foreign country is the local cuisine and you can’t leave Iceland without a taste of famous local dishes. However, if you’re on a budget, restrain from eating out every day as it might cost you anywhere from 8000-16,000 ISK ($63 - $127) for a standard 3-course meal. Go to the grocery stores and cook at your vacation rental if it has a kitchen.
Don’t shop at 10/11.The supermarket is a part of a chain and will add a whopping 50% extra to the bill compared to the amount you’d pay at Bonus or Netto. It’s also notorious for increasing its prices in the evening and at night.
Shop in Reykjavik. Village, countryside, or roadside shops tend to be more expensive than the markets and grocery stores in Reykjavik.
Street food is known to reflect not only the local cuisine but also the culture of the country. It’s always a good idea to pop by a food truck on the side of the street or a food stall in the market.
Don’t buy water. Iceland’s tap water is one of the cleanest and purest in the world. There’s no need to spend extra on bottled water when you can fill up your reusable water bottle as much as you need to.
Food in Iceland
Price of Beer in Iceland
The price of beer in Iceland varies from bar to bar, however, it might cost you somewhere between 900 and 1,500 ISK (around $7-12). To save an extra buck or two during your trip to Iceland, purchase all your alcohol at the airport duty-free.
What to Do in Iceland?
If you’ve decided to travel to Iceland, chances are, you’ll want to hit the lava fields, glaciers, waterfalls, and other natural wonders. Nature in Iceland has always been free of charge and you’re always welcome to enjoy the otherwordly landscape.
Here are a few free activities for you to do while you’re here:
Soak in natural hot springs. Iceland is dotted with natural hot pools for everyone to enjoy. Some of the most prominent hot springs are located in Landmannalaugar, Hveravellir, Reykjadalur, Seljavallalaug. Remember to read up and follow the rules and etiquette of bathing in natural hot springs.
Hunt the Northern Lights. Iceland is one of the best places in the world to watch Northern Lights. If the conditions are right, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking light show across the winter sky.
Go on a short hike. Iceland is renowned for being a hiker's paradise. The weather here can be very unpredictable and while you shouldn’t be embarking on multi-day hikes without a guide or proper gear, it’s possible to explore the backcountry on a few shorter day hikes in Thingvellir or Fimmvorduhals.
Self-drive tours. For those of you renting a car or camper, the easiest and cheapest way to travel the country is on self-drive tours. The fee for an itinerary is minimal and you’re able to go hiking on a glacier, try out ice climbing, go rafting, or even explore an ice cave or two!
Count all the waterfalls.Due to geological forces over the millennia, Iceland is home to about 32 waterfalls. Some are easily accessible, some are harder to access. But all of them are astonishing and worth a visit!
Landmannalaugar hiking trail In Iceland
So what are you waiting for? The time to discover Iceland is Now! Save an extra penny or two by booking one of our multi-day guided tours!