Prices in Iceland: how much does it really cost?

Tips on how to travel in Iceland on a budget

|July 25, 2019
Kristina has been writing for the internet of things since 2010. She enjoys writing about adventures in nature just as much as embarking upon them herself.

Wondering what the ongoing prices in Iceland are? Well, you're in luck. Find out why NOW is the best time to go to Iceland.


Tourism in Iceland has been growing steadily each year for the past decade. It’s one of the country’s main industries. 

This year, though, tourism numbers have been less than in previous years. Some experts speculate this is in part due to the collapse of WOW Air and its budget tickets. 

But there’s a silver lining:

  • More airlines are now offering flights to Iceland
  • Fewer tourists means fewer crowds and better access to all prominent attractions.
  • Icelandic krona fell by 0.6% since last year, which means you can get more bang for the same amount of bucks.

With all this, there's never been a better time to travel to Iceland than right now!

There are other ways to keep the costs of travel down in Iceland, from where to stay to what to eat and what to do. 

Marked Iceland With Flag In Map

Marked Iceland with flag in map

Transportation Prices

In Iceland, there are loads of ways to get around.

You can rent a car or campervan, or base yourself out of Reykjavik. 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 - you can get pretty much anywhere around Reykjavik by city bus. Bus prices in Iceland haven’t changed much since last year and a local one-way bus ticket will cost you about $4.  
  • Rental Vehicles - The best prices for car rentals in Iceland will start at around $230 for a two-wheel compact car for a week. A camper van should be around $400. 
  • Hitchhiking - The cheapest means of transportation. Hitchhiking in Iceland is fairly popular among 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.
Person is traveling with rental Jeep

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).

Gass Station in Iceland & Prices

Gas station in Iceland

Iceland Hotel Prices

Compared to last year, the price for a hotel night in Iceland has 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%.

 

  • Airbnb - There are many apartments rented out as Airbnb in Iceland. Expect anywhere from $20 to $200 per night
  • Hotels - Hotels in Reykjavik’s city center can cost you anywhere from around 14,000-78,400 ISK ($100-$600) 
  • Hostels - Iceland prices for hostels 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). 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 in Iceland

Camping with mountains view in Iceland

Iceland Food Prices

Most produce is imported. To give you a sense of prices for groceries in Iceland: 

  • 1L Milk: 147 ISK, $1.18
  • Loaf of Bread: 338 ISK, $2.72
  • 1kg Apples: 296 ISK, $2.38
  • 1kg Oranges: 303 ISK, $2.44
  • 1.5L Water: 217 ISK, $1.75
  • 1kg Potatoes: 272 ISK, $2.19

Other tips to avoid spending a fortune on food during your holiday:

  • Cook dinner at your apartment 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 Burger, juice, sandwiches

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.

Reykjavik Iceland Restaurant Prices

How much does food cost in Iceland?

Eating out in Reykjavik's restaurants will be more expensive than cooking at home. But often it's one of the best ways to sample Icelandic cuisine. Opt for lunch, when prices are cheaper than dinner. Lunch might set you back around $20. Dinner will go upwards from $50 per person.

Breakfast: 

  • Yoghurt with muesli and fruit at your hotel: $8
  • Crepe at Cafe Babalu: $12

Lunch: 

  • Baejarins Beztu Pylsur: the best place to get hot dogs in Iceland. Two hot dogs + coke: $10.
  • Noodle Station, tasty, bone-warming pho: $15.

Dinner: 

  • Grillmarkadurinn: Smoked Arctic char: $25. Grilled lamb fillet: $48. 
  • Dill, the first Michelin-starred restaurant in Iceland, set menu of New Nordic cuisine: $111. 

Cost of Most Popular Activities 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 otherworldly landscape.

Here are the costs of some of Iceland's most popular activities:

  • Blue Lagoon - starts at around 4800 ISK ($38) for entrance. 
  • Guided hike through Landmannalaugar - From 12990 ISK ($104) for a full day. 
  • Ice Cave TourDepends on the ice cave and how far it's from Reykjavik, but a guided tour to the Katla Ice Cave starts from 17990 ISK ($144). 
  • Golden Circle Tour - you can book a full day with Secret Lagoon from 11900 ISK ($96)

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 Nature Hiking Trail

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!

Related tours

Related blog posts