Iceland is notorious for being ridiculously expensive with gas prices around $8 a gallon, a basic dinner entree costing upward of $30, and a six-pack of local beer setting you back a minimum of $24.
That being said, you still have to pull out your credit card and go! It’s worth every penny! There are plenty of ways to spend wisely and still have a good time. As if to make up for the high cost of virtually everything, many of the attractions are free or ultra-low cost.
To help you plan your own trip I’ve written up exactly what my sister and I spent during our 4-day Iceland Vacation in April 2018.
Note: Airfare is not included as I just wanted to show expenses while we were in Iceland
ICELAND VACATION – Every Dime We Spent!
Toyota Aygo, a manual transmission compact car
|Gas||We drove 905 kilometers total (562 miles)||$105.23|
|Parking - Keflavik Airport||I arrived a few hours before my sister so went back to the airport and parked and went inside to meet her. ||$4.93|
|Bonus grocery store||A box of mashed potatoes, a box of macaroni, pasta noodles, a jar of pasta sauce, and one bottle of water.||$9.94|
|Reykjavik Parking||We parked and walked around near the Opera House and Laugavegur street and grabbed some food waiting to check in to our hostel.||$5.92|
|American Bar||2 lunchtime specials on our first day in Reykjavik. Each special included a cheeseburger with fries, 3 hot wings, and a Gull beer.||$39.28|
|Reykjavik Parking||Our hostel only had street parking so we needed to pay for enough time in the meter to reach 6 p.m.||$5.82|
|Hlemmur Square Hostel - Reykjavik||2 beds in a 12-bed female dorm||$74.29|
|Hlemmur Square Hostel bar ||3 beers at the hostel bar during happy hour||$23.76|
|Eldsmidjan Laugavegi restaurant - Reykjavik||Dinner out at Eldsmiðjan. Medium Pepperoni Doppia pizza and two glasses of water.||$30.21|
|Thingvellir National Park||Parking||$4.93|
|Kerio Crater||2 person admission (Note: In May 2018, most attractions in Iceland charge a flat parking rate. This was the only one we experienced that charged a per person admission rate.)||$6.32|
|Hostel Bakki - Eyrarbakki||2 beds in a 6-bed female dorm. We lucked out and no one else was there so we had it all to ourselves.||$98.06|
|Vinbudin||A 6-pack of local beer, 4 tall Stella cans, two small bottles of red wine.||$49.09|
|Solheimahjaleigha - Guesthouse||A private room with two beds. The kitchen and common areas were communal. This place included free breakfast which is not common in Iceland.||$124.27|
|Blue Lagoon||2 Comfort Level tickets |
(Ticket includes entry to the lagoon, a towel, the Silica mud mask, and one complimentary drink.)
|Blue Lagoon Bar||1 beer|
(We each got one free with our wristband but I ordered a second one.)
|Paddy’s Bar||3 beers. Killing time after visiting the Blue Lagoon since we had to stay up all night for our early flight||$24.65|
|Subway||2 six-inch combo meals||$28.45|
|Miscellaneous||A few small additional charges I forgot to note down. Probably additional parking and/or coffee.||$8.69|
Between the two of us, we were able to split these costs virtually down the middle. My sister ended up paying $460.42 and my portion was $504.55 due to my proclivity for downing two beers to her one.
Tips for Saving Money in Iceland
- Bring food & water in your luggage if you’ve got the space weight-wise.
It’s going to be a lot cheaper. We packed Kind bars and Pop-Tarts so every day except the first, we ate those for breakfast and lunch.
- Make meals at the hostel instead of dining out.
Not only will you save a ton of money, but it’s also way more convenient. A lot of the hostels/guesthouses are in small little towns where your dining options are limited — or even closed by the time you get there.
- Get the cheap stuff at the grocery store.
As a rule, I pretty much stick to the perimeter at the grocery store, eating fresh and whole foods rather than the processed stuff. But in Iceland, my regular staple of 3 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts ($7 US) would’ve set me back more than $20! Also, as we were traveling from place to place rather than staying at one home base, we’d have had to figure out how to store cold items during the day while we were out. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with basic pasta. It’s easy and filling.
More Iceland Vacation Expenses…
I was pretty excited to see this sign for my favorite IPA but then realized it wasn’t in stock. Still, that was probably for the best as that price listed is per can! $4.96 US making a 6-pack a cool $29.76!
In Iceland’s Vinbudin stores everything is priced per can or bottle. So if you feel like purchasing 3 cans, just grab ‘em and go ahead.
A bargain at $20, this lunch special at American Bar in Reykjavik was a great deal! Regular price would have been closer to $35 per person.
Aside from the car and gas, accommodations were the biggest cost as hostels are more expensive than I’m accustomed to in other places around Europe. Still, I found two of the places we stayed to be exceptionally nice so I didn’t mind at all. At Hostel Bakki, one of the nicest hostels I’ve stayed in (I mean heated floors!) we had the entire dorm to ourselves.
The guesthouse experience in Solheimahjaleigha was so beautiful I wished we had a spare day just to relax in the peaceful beauty of the countryside.
For more Iceland Vacation information, visit the T2T Iceland Travel Guide Page.
I’m Mashon Thomas, a former “lot of things” turned entrepreneur and world traveler. Committed to telling the real stories behind my journey I like to travel at my own speed, not counting countries but reveling in making lifelong memories. I also use my career experiences to inspire others to use skills they may not even know they have to create businesses that allow them to work on their own terms and travel the world. Follow along on Instagram @mashonward and get inspired to make your own way at MashOnward.com.