Daily Travel Costs in Iceland on a Shoestring Budget
US$75 | 8500 Icelandic Krona
Iceland is a country high up on many a bucket list but its isolated location makes it somewhat difficult to fit into any other trip. The bad news for shoestring travellers is that Iceland is getting expensive again after a brief hiatus when the country’s three main banks all went bust during the economic crisis and Iceland suddenly became somewhat more affordable.
For starters there is the cost of getting to Iceland which can be quite high given it’s closer to Greenland than continental Europe and that isn’t even factored into our high suggested Iceland backpacking budget of US$75/day. A good chunk of that goes on accommodation which is very expensive and the cost of eating and drinking out is at least in line with any expensive country on mainland Europe. Then there is the cost and hassle of using the limited public transport. Given the population of Iceland is little over 300,000, the services are far from regular and quite costly so many travellers prefer to rent out a car to explore the island, which has many advantages in that you can stop off at any of the abundant natural wonders that catches your eye.
The only real good news for budget travellers in Iceland is that almost all the main places to see are free to visit. If you are travelling as a group, you might be able to get by on less than $75/day by renting out a car and preparing your own food. Camping and perhaps hitch-hiking are also good options in the warmer months and doing a fair bit of that could see you slip well below $75/day but it’s not for everyone.
See where Iceland ranks on our World Budget Travel Table.
More Comfortable Iceland Backpacker Budget
US$100 | 11400 Icelandic Krona
To see the best of Iceland, you really want to be renting your own car for a few days, which certainly if you are a solo traveller is going to be expensive. Many of the best places to visit are some way off the main highway and not linked by public transport. On a budget of $100/day even a solo traveller, should be able to afford to do that for a few days at least to explore the more remote parts of the island and then perhaps spend a bit more time based in Reykjavík without a car and doing trips to the nearby places of interest that are more accessible.
Sample Prices in Iceland
Car Rental with full protection – from 8500kr/day (€60) + petrol
Large beer in Reykjavík bar or restaurant – 1000kr (€7)
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant – 2000kr (€14)
Camping in a designated campground (there are many) – 1500kr/night (€11)
Dorm bed – from 3500kr/night (€25)
Budget private double or twin room – 10500kr/night (€75)
Entrance to Þingvellir National Park – Free!
Currency – Icelandic Krona
£1 = 139 Krona
€1 = 120 Krona
US$1 = 114 Krona
(All exchange rates are correct as of January 2017)
Some shops that cater to tourists do accept Euros and maybe US Dollars but it’s unlikely to be at a very good rate so get yourself some krona!
Possibly the cheapest dorm beds in Iceland at a fraction under €20/night are found at the Grábrók Hotel and Holiday Homes near to the crater of the same name. A good option if you’d rather stay in natural surroundings than in the capital.
Share your Travel Costs!
If you’ve been to Iceland recently, please let everyone know your typical daily costs by commenting below 😉
This article was published in June 2016. Exchange rates were updated in January 2017.