From glacier hikes to thermal lagoon bathing, Iceland has its unique perks as a travel destination. That draws ever more tourists to explore the Land of Ice and Fire. But how much does it cost to enjoy a holiday in Iceland?
Planning a trip to Iceland can be exciting, but also overwhelming when it comes to budgeting. The cost of travel and accommodation can vary greatly depending on the season, location, and type of activities you want to do. Here, you’ll find a guide to food, accommodation, gas and attraction admission prices. It'll help you work out your total Iceland trip cost and plan your dream vacation.
Is Iceland Expensive?
You may have heard that Iceland is an expensive country to live in or visit as a tourist. The island's remote location and heavy reliance on imported goods contribute to the high cost of living in Iceland. Additionally, a hefty import tax and growing demand with low supply also play a role in driving up costs in Iceland.
Along with this relatively expensive cost of living comes a high standard of living in Iceland, made possible by high pre-tax salaries. The lowest income bracket in Iceland is way better off than most other countries, which is reflected in consumer prices.
While prices in Iceland may be relatively high, there are definitely ways that you can enjoy all this unique island nation has to offer on a budget. In terms of currency, keep in mind, the Icelandic Krona to USD exchange rate is currently 1 Icelandic Króna (ISK) for roughly 0.007 USD. That means that 1 USD is ISK 142.
Iceland Trip Cost Breakdown
Let’s break down the various costs you can expect on your trip to Iceland, so you know what to expect. We’ll cover Iceland hotel and hostel prices, food prices and eating out, the cost of gas in Iceland and attraction admission fares.
Cost of Accommodation: Iceland Hotel Prices
Are you a 5-star, all-inclusive kind of traveler, or a “give me a tent and a bottle of water” kind of visitor? How expensive Iceland is to visit is up to you, with accommodation being the main cost you can expect to encounter on your trip. If you are on a budget and want to save money on something, accommodation is most likely the easiest option.
Iceland hotel prices per person per night can be as low as 15,000 ISK (110 USD). However, they are likely to be around 20,000 ISK (140 USD) depending on where exactly in the country you are. Hostels are good options, with the lowest price per night being around 8,500 ISK (60 USD).
If you’d prefer a more rural experience, have a look at the many cottages and cabins available in Iceland. These can be expensive, but will give you the opportunity to enjoy the Icelandic countryside. Prices can be between 8,000 ISK and 21,000 ISK (56 to 150 USD) depending on location and amenities.
If you’re looking for a cheap stay, we recommend making your Iceland adventure a camping trip. There are many free and cheap camping sites in Iceland. Most camping grounds are fully equipped with everything you need, including free Wi-Fi. Why not rent a campervan in Iceland to explore the island with freedom and flexibility?
Iceland Food Prices and Eating Out
Iceland food prices are generally expensive, especially when eating out. You’ll find prices vary greatly depending on the restaurant you choose and the area you’re in. Expensive places can go sky-high in terms of their prices, but there are also budget-friendly options. A general ballpark figure for a three-course dinner out for two is around 10,000 to 15,000 ISK (70 to 105 USD). This average is for a mid-range restaurant in any of the larger towns or cities.
If you stay at a hotel or similar, you will likely have breakfast included. Many hostels and camping grounds have a place nearby that offers some sort of breakfast or lunch buffet. Keep an eye out for deals like this to lower your overall Iceland trip cost.
Of course, cooking for yourself is the cheapest alternative. However, most of us don’t go on vacation to spend time cooking! A quick fix for a cheap price is to try a traditional Icelandic hot dog, which is full of flavor and only costs around 450 ISK.
Cost of Gas in Iceland
A budget-friendly trip to Iceland often involves renting your own car or campervan. Apart from the daily rental fee, which varies depending on the season, gas will be your biggest expense in this category.
The cost of gas in Iceland will most likely be higher than you’re used to at home. Current gas prices in Iceland at the time of writing are 337.50 ISK per liter, which is about 2.45 USD.
It’s a good idea to budget a bit more than you normally would for gas. Especially if you plan on taking some longer road trips to discover all the natural wonders Iceland has to offer!
Attraction Admission Prices in Iceland
Iceland is a nation of adventure, covered in incredible sights to discover. You’ll be happy to know that you can have a lot of amazing experiences in Iceland without paying anything.
For a budget-friendly holiday, you can explore Icelandic hot springs, scenic nature, caves, beaches, free art galleries and museums. There is no price of admission to waterfalls, glaciers and volcanoes, although you’ll likely have to pay for parking at certain locations.
Depending on what you wish to do, admission to certain sites and attractions can range from 2,800 ISK to 8,000 ISK (20 to 56 USD) per person.
If you plan to explore the Icelandic capital, you can buy a Reykjavík City Card online. It will give you free entry to a wide variety of amazing cultural attractions. That includes museums, galleries and thermal pools, as well as unlimited bus travel in the center and a free ferry trip to Videy island. There are three different City Card tariffs:
- 4,400 ISK (30 USD) for 24 hours
- 6,120 ISK (42 USD) for 48 hours
- 7,520 ISK (53 USD) for 72 hours
Total Iceland Trip Costs
Now we’ve explored each area in more detail, here’s a breakdown of some common prices you might want to include in your total Iceland trip cost estimate:
- A hostel or budget hotel: 8,500 – 21,000 ISK (60 to 150 USD) per night
- A good meal with a beverage: 3,000 ISK (21 USD) per meal
- A sandwich meal at Subway: 2,000 ISK (14 USD) per person
- An excursion or average tour: 15,000 ISK (105 USD) per person per tour
- Gas: 337.50 ISK (2.45 USD) per liter
- Transport: 7,000 to 10,000 ISK (50 to 70 USD) per day
Although Iceland’s expensive prices may surprise you compared to your home city, don’t worry. Traveling Iceland on a budget is definitely possible! Now you have an understanding of the different costs you’re likely to encounter, you can plan your trip and make the best budget decisions for you.
Iceland Trip Cost-Cutting Tips
If you’re wishing to find ways to save money during your Iceland trip, we have some top tips for you. These Iceland trip cost-cutting tips will help you have the best possible time exploring Iceland, without breaking the bank.
- Make the most of duty-free. One of the best ways to reduce your total Iceland trip cost is to go alcohol-free, due to the expensive liquor prices in Iceland. In Iceland, you can expect to pay 1,400 to 2,100 (10 to 15 USD) a pint. However, if you’d like to enjoy an alcoholic beverage on your trip, we recommend buying any alcohol at duty-free in the airport to save on the hefty taxes. The cheapest booze prices in Iceland can be found in duty-free at Keflavik International Airport. If you really want to check out the bar scene in Reykjavík, apps like AppyHour will help you find special deals, such as happy hours and discounts.
- Rent a car or campervan. Excursions can be expensive, so renting a car, campervan or motorhome in Iceland is the best option for traveling on a budget. Our favorite way to explore Iceland is by campervan. It also happens to be one of the cheapest options in terms of accommodation and travel, helping to keep your Iceland trip cost low. With the freedom to explore to your heart’s content and take your home with you, traveling by campervan means you never have to worry about hotel prices.
- Visit Iceland during the low season. A surefire way to save money on your Iceland trip is to visit this enchanting country during the low tourist season in winter. You’ll save an average of 30-50% of your total Iceland trip cost compared to summer. Additionally, you will find it easier to secure accommodation, a rental vehicle and any excursion tickets you like.
Get Ready for Your Iceland Adventure
As you can see, your Iceland trip cost can vary depending on how you like to travel and the choices you make in terms of accommodation and food. Traveling in Iceland will likely cost between 14,000 to 28,000 ISK (100 to 200 USD) per person per day, depending on the season.
Inspired to travel Iceland on your own terms? Hop in your Iceland campervan rental, ready for your once-in-a-lifetime journey across this magical island. All that’s left to do is pack your suitcase, plan a fun-packed itinerary and take to the skies bound for the Land of Ice and Fire!