Having visited Iceland in 2018, a lot of our friends ask “How much does a trip to Iceland cost?” having previously heard the exorbitant prices of the country. It’s true that seeing the beauty of Iceland comes at a cost, however, that shouldn’t be a reason not to visit.
There are many ways you can save money on a trip to Iceland, without compromising on the quality of your experience. So while we cover how much a trip to Iceland costs in this post, we’re also going to be sure to share our hints and tips with you on how to save money in Iceland so you can see that a trip to Iceland is attainable.
Iceland is a stand-alone country just south of the Arctic Circle. Which means the majority of tourists arrive in Iceland by plane. Iceland has one major international airport; Keflavík International Airport which is situated 50km from the capital Reykjavík.
Flights From Within Europe: $40 – $250+
Of course, Europe is a huge place, so the margins here are likely to depend on your distance from Iceland and the number of budget flight operators within your country.
Tip: Consider catching a flight, bus or train to another country or airport to maximise the discounts available for budget flights to Iceland from elsewhere within Europe. For example; flights from central Spain cost approximately $250 return. However, if you’re willing to get a budget flight to London with the likes of Ryanair before boarding a budget flight to Iceland then you could be paying as little as $100 return instead.
Budget airlines operating flights from Europe direct to Iceland include;
Other airlines to offer direct flights from within Europe to Iceland include;
When booking your flights from within Europe we recommend using the search aggregation website Skyscanner. It’s completely free to use and allows you to find the cheapest travel dates to and from your location.
Flights From The USA: $200 – $600+
Over the past five years or so there’s been a huge increase in budget airlines flying direct from the east coast of the USA to Iceland. These flights can be purchased for as little as $100 one-way if you’re willing to compromise on the time of year you travel, airline and departure airport.
The most affordable airline offering direct flights is WOW Air. Our friends Victoria and Terrance from Follow Me Away have shared their experience on this budget airline which they’ve had the pleasure of using multiple times for trips to Iceland.
If you’re looking for something a little more upper-class then the national flag carrier of Iceland, Icelandair also offers direct flights from multiple departure points on the east coast. These flights will set you back nearer $300 one-way and come with minimal differences when compared to the budget experience of WOW Air.
Flights From Everywhere Else: $600+
If you’re planning on visiting Iceland from elsewhere in the world then you’re likely to have to fly to either the USA or Europe before catching a connecting flight to Iceland. Use the information above to find the best budget airline from your likely transfer point to save as much money as possible on your flight.
Airport Transfers: $45+
Tip: This will only apply if you’re not planning on hiring a car during your trip to Iceland. Due to the monopoly cost of this transfer if you are hiring a car then we would always recommend picking it up and dropping it off at the airport.
One thing Helen and I never planned for (totally our rookie mistake) was getting from Keflavik Airport to the capital of Iceland, Reykjavík. Since then we’ve learnt from our mistake and wrote a lengthy article to help you find the best way for you to get from the airport to the capital (the place in which many of us start our Icelandic adventure)
A basic return transfer from Keflavik Airport to 5,500ISK per person which is approximately $45 at the time of writing. However, the cost can increase significantly should you require a more luxury transfer or specific drop off point within Reykjavík city centre.
Accommodation: $22+ (Per Night)
In central Reykjavík, you can pick up a dorm room for as little as $22 per night (price is based per bed so perfect for solo travellers) or a budget hotel room for as little as $65 per night (price based on a double room).
Outside of Reykjavík, you’ll find that there’s not as much availability when it comes to accommodation so the prices can vary much more significantly with some places selling out very quickly during peak season.
For the best family accommodation in Iceland or places to stay outside of Reykjavík we’d suggest Airbnb. Here you’ll gain access to cooking facilities which should, in turn, reduce the cost of your food bill as you’ll be able to use food from the supermarket rather than eating out.
Car Hire: $25+ (Per Day)
If you’re planning on exploring Iceland independently, travelling to various villages and towns on the island and spending an extended period of time there then you’re going to need to hire a car.
While there are many great tours running for half-a-day right through to multiple nights, you will be on their schedule and expected to follow their programme. There’s also a limited amount of public transport from outside Reykjavík so travelling by public transport between towns and villages is virtually impossible.
Tip: If you’re a confident driver then consider doing a 2-in-1 and renting a camper van and driving and sleeping in the van as you travel around Iceland. This can work out cheaper and more convenient for many travellers but due to the size of the vehicle, it will cost you more in petrol. This is exactly what vloggers The Way Away did during their visit…
Petrol: $50+ (Per Day)
Aside from the car hire cost, you’re also going to have to think about the cost of petrol when renting a car in Iceland. This is as you might expect, high… With the price varying by up to 20% depending on your location within Iceland and the petrol station brand.
Of course, the amount you spend on petrol is going to depend on how far you plan on travelling in the car, the size of the car and the duration of your trip but a good rule of thumb is around $50 per day.
Tip: If you’re put off by the cost of petrol or not planning on using a car much during your trip then it might work out more economical for you to rely on private transfers from the airport and use the money you would have spent hiring a car plus the cost of petrol and going on a guided tour instead.
Our friends at Follow Me Away have some great advice if you’re planning on hiring a car during your trip to Iceland.
Iceland is just south of the Arctic Circle which means… It’s cold. Like really, really cold. To stay warm, healthy and enjoy your trip you’re going to need certain clothing. We’d always recommend getting the clothing before your trip to Iceland as clothing is as expensive in Iceland as everything else.
How much you spend on clothing for your trip to Iceland is totally up to you and will vary significantly based on how much winter equipt clothing you currently have and the level of brand/quality you’d like to invest in.
Prior to our trip Helen and I each purchased a pair of waterproof walking boots which in total set us back around $40 each. Luckily, we had the remainder of the clothing we needed from previous trips to the likes of Norway.
If you’re unsure about what clothing you’ll need to pack for your trip to Iceland we have a great post with a free printable packing list that should help you.
Food: $15+ (Per Day)
Food isn’t as expensive as you might think… That is if you’re willing to shop in supermarkets and cook food in your hotel/apartment. Therefore minimising the cost of a meal out. In fact, most supermarkets in Reykjavík are on par with the prices in the UK / USA. As this is probably our most common topic when we’re asked “How much does a trip to Iceland cost?” we’ve written a specific article on Supermarkets in Iceland including how much staple items cost, and the different supermarket brands you’ll find in the country.
Tip: Food is more expensive at gas stations and out of Reykjavík as they know you’re choices are limited.
The closest we got to eating out during our trip to Iceland was a trip to one of the local coffee houses while we waited for our hotel room to be ready. As a result, we saved around $250 per person. That said if you are wanting to experience the experience of dining out in Iceland we recommend doing your research online prior to visiting so you’re aware of the prices in advance.
Tours & Attractions: $200
Some tours of Iceland can cost more than your flights or accommodation. That said, you’ve come all the way to Iceland to experience its beauty, and part of its beauty involves getting out there and exploring all the country has to offer.
If you’re hiring a car then one free and amazing thing to do is visit all the amazing waterfalls in Iceland. There are multiple waterfalls around Iceland that are simply breathtaking. A trip to at least one of these waterfalls is included on the majority of guided tours.
As we weren’t confident enough during our visit to drive around Iceland ourselves we opted to go out on a tour of the South Shore with Gateway to Iceland. This tour lasts 10 hours and costs around $115 per person – there are discounts and offers available for multiple tours and group tours on the Gateway To Iceland website that we’d recommend checking out.
Of course, there are other experiences within Iceland that you can take part in with or without a tour including a trip to see the northern lights or the Blue Lagoon. We recommend booking these attractions and tours prior to your trip to avoid disappointment as they can quickly become fully booked up.
So, based on our experience how much does a trip to Iceland cost?
Well if you’re from within Europe you could spend 5 nights in Iceland from as little as $500 per person. If you’re coming from the USA the price for a 5 night trip to Iceland is likely to start at around $800 per person.
Of course, that’s a budget trip to Iceland. The true cost of a trip to Iceland is as much as you make it… If you plan on hiring a car, going on all the best tours, buying souvenirs and eating all your meals at luxury restaurants then you can expect that price to increase tenfold.
As always we’d love to know your answer to the question of how much does a trip to Iceland cost? Have you got some awesome hints and tips on how to save on a trip? Do you have an amazing budget Icelandic experience to share? Let us know in the comments below.