๐Ÿ’ฐ My 2024 Iceland Trip Cost: A Budget Breakdown

A woman partially submerged in an outdoor pool with milky blue water.

Iceland, a country famous for its surreal and breathtaking nature, can be visited with a budget of $90 to $250 a day.

My one-week trip to Iceland cost a total of $2,690. In this post, I share:

  • ๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected travel costs
  • ๐Ÿ’ก Budgeting tips
  • ๐Ÿ’ต How much cash to bring
  • โœˆ๏ธ My trip’s costs by category

Planning a trip? Here’s what to know about Iceland.

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Is Iceland Expensive To Travel To?

Iceland ranks as one of the most expensive countries to visit in Europe. The island country relies on imported goods, has a high cost of living and tax rates, and is an extremely popular tourist destination, with tourists far outnumbering locals annually.

Along with Switzerland and Norway, Iceland is among the five priciest European countries for travelers.

However, with advanced planning and the willingness to forego certain experiences, Iceland can be visited on a tighter budget.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Trip Daily Budget for Countries in Europe

For comparison, I visited these countries in Europe within a year of visiting Iceland, and here’s how much I spent per day at each one:

CountryDaily Budget
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ Iceland$306
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain$155
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy$131
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น Portugal$116
Daily Travel Budget for Countries in Europe

See all my daily budget for each destination I’ve visited.

How Much Is a Trip to Iceland?

This section covers estimated trip costs depending on your travel style. I share my actual travel expenses further below.

๐ŸŽ’ Budget Traveler โ€“ Iceland Trip Cost

A budget traveler can expect to spend approximately $90 per day or $630 for one week of travel in Iceland, excluding flights.

Here’s what a budget traveler’s cost breakdown can look like:

CategoryCost per Day
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$40
๐ŸŒญ Food$20
๐Ÿš™ Transportation$20
๐Ÿ”๏ธ Entertainment$10
Total$90
Iceland Daily Budget for a Budget Traveler

Traveling Iceland on a Budget

To travel to Iceland on a budget, here are some things youโ€™ll need to do:

  • ๐Ÿ  Accommodation โ€“ Accommodations in Iceland are expensive, especially during the peak season. Hostels cost about $40 per night, and budget hotels cost about $60 a night in Reyjkavรญk.
A simple room with multiple bunk beds and lockers.
Reyjkavรญk hostel. (Photo by my friend, Wendy.)

One of the cheapest ways to see Iceland is to camp in a tent or campervan. Campsites are well-maintained and average about $15 a night.

  • ๐ŸŒญ Food โ€“ Food prices are also generally expensive (a sandwich or burger can cost $10 to $15), so buying groceries is a great way to save while visiting Iceland. You can save more than $100 a week on food this way.

One of the cheapest things you can eat in Iceland is a $2 hot dog at the gas station. Unlike the hot dogs in US gas stations and stadiums, the ones in Iceland are good. I ended up eating several of them throughout my trip.

  • ๐Ÿš™ Transportation โ€“ Instead of booking expensive tours that leave from major cities and towns, rent a car or campervan to take a road trip around Iceland to the different attractions.

During the summer months, you can use Iceland’s public transportation (i.e., public and private bus companies) to get around the country. However, no single bus will take you around the entire country.

  • ๐Ÿ”๏ธ Entertainment โ€“ Take advantage of Iceland’s many free attractions that don’t require a guide or have parking or entrance fees.
  • โ˜€๏ธ Travel Season โ€“ Avoid visiting Iceland during the peak summer season from June to August. The best time to visit Iceland to save money is during the winter (you’ll also get to see the northern lights).

Iceland is very crowded during the summer, and accommodation options quickly disappear as early as two months in advance (this happened to me). If you’re considering visiting during the high season, plan at least four months ahead.

A large waterfall in the winter falling out of an icy mountain.
Iceland in the low season. (Photo by my friend, Cindy Tian.)
  • ๐Ÿ’ง Shopping โ€“ Don’t buy a SIM card in Iceland; you can rely on the country’s free Wi-Fi infrastructure. Also, bring a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water. Iceland has some of the cleanest water in the world.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Mid-Range Budget Traveler โ€“ Iceland Trip Cost

A mid-range budget traveler like myself can expect to spend approximately $250 per day or $1,750 for one week of travel in Iceland, excluding flights.

I break down my Iceland trip expenses by travel category below. I consider myself a mid-range budget traveler, but youโ€™ll see below that my daily budget in Iceland is higher because I booked my trip at the last minute during peak season.

About My Iceland Trip

To give context to the expenses below, here’s what you need to know about my trip:

  • โ˜€๏ธ Peak season โ€“ I traveled to Iceland in August, which is the end of the high season, so things are generally more expensive.

Learn how to prepare for Iceland during the peak season.

  • ๐Ÿ—“ One week โ€“ I spent one week in Iceland and thoroughly explored the South Coast. I spent minimal time in the capital city of Reyjkjavรญk.
  • โœŒ๏ธ Group travel โ€“ I traveled with one other person, so we were able to split some costs, such as campervan and gas.
  • ๐Ÿš Campervan traveling โ€“ Iceland is a great place to travel by campervan, even for inexperienced campers like myself. I rented a campervan, which can be more economical than staying at hotels and Airbnb.

See tips on renting and staying in an Iceland campervan.

  • ๐Ÿ’ฐ Mid-range budget โ€“ I consider myself a mid-range budget traveler, and these expenses reflect that. I donโ€™t aim to travel on a budget, but Iโ€™m thoughtful about how and where I spend.
  • ๐Ÿ€ Self-funded โ€“ My trips areย self-funded,ย so I paid for everything listed below. None of my excursions or experiences are sponsored.
  • ๐Ÿ’ต US dollars โ€“ All costs listed in this post are per person and in US dollars, converted from Iceland’s local currency, the Icelandic Krรณna.

The exchange rate was $1 USD = 137 ISK at the time of writing.

A woman standing on a rock and looking out at colorful mountains with some snow.
View on Landmannalaugar.

Total Iceland Trip Cost: $2,690

My one-week trip to Iceland cost a total of $2,690, including flights.

See the highlights of my trip in this Iceland itinerary.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Cost Breakdown for Iceland

Here’s a quick overview of my expenses by travel category:

CategoryCost% of TotalDaily Budget
โœˆ๏ธ Flights$55020%
๐Ÿš Campervan$1,30048%$186
๐Ÿ›ข๏ธ Gas$903%$13
๐ŸŒญ Food$2007%$29
๐Ÿ”๏ธ Entertainment$53520%$76
โญ Fees$151%$2
Total$2,690100%$306
Iceland Trip’s Cost Breakdown

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ Daily Budget in Iceland: $306

My Iceland trip cost $306 per day, excluding my round-trip flights from and to the United States.

Daily Budget
Excluding flights$306
Including flights$384
Iceland Trip’s Cost Per Day

A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend $250 per day in Iceland. This generally entails booking things two to three months in advance if you’re traveling in the summer, staying at mid-range hotels that cost approximately $90 per night, and paying for guided tours.

โœˆ๏ธ Flight Cost to Iceland: $550

My round-trip flight from the East Coast of the United States to Keflavรญk International Airport in Reyjkavรญk was $550.

I flew Play, a budget Iceland airline that flies to and from Europe and North America. I donโ€™t usually fly budget internationally, but it was very manageable given that Iceland is only six hours away from the East Coast.

A round-trip flight between the US and Iceland that costs under $300 is considered cheap; international flights typically cost over $500.

๐Ÿš Campervan and Campsite Costs in Iceland: $1,300

My average cost for campervan and campsites in Iceland was $185 per day. I was able to split my campervan costs with another person.

Iceland campsites have a per-person camping fee averaging $15 per night.

Cost Per PersonCost Per Day
Campervan rental$1,060$151
Campervan insurance$140$20
Campsites$100$14
Iceland Trip’s Campervan Costs

If you book a campervan four months in advance, you can travel around Iceland in a campervan for closer to $100 a day. I booked mine at the last minute.

A gray campervan parked at an isolated flat campsite.
Campervan I rented in Iceland.

Iceland is an amazing country to visit by campervan for many reasons, and it’s a great option even for first-timers.

Read tips on reducing the cost of a campervan rental.

๐Ÿ  Accommodation Costs in Iceland

If you’re not sleeping in a campervan like I did, you can expect to spend about $140 per night on a mid-range hotel in Iceland. During the high season, this increases to about $160 per night. Luxury hotels in Iceland typically range from $300 to $700 per night.

If you plan to visit Iceland between July and August, it’s important to book accommodations at least two months ahead. Otherwise, you will have few housing options, as tourist demand is very high in the summer.

I tried to book housing about one month ahead in August and was barely able to find any budget, mid-range, or high-end accommodation. This is why I ended up renting a campervan (and loving it).

A red building with a snowy mountain background.
Accommodation in Iceland. (Photo by my friend, Wendy.)

๐Ÿš™ Rental Car Costs in Iceland

If you’re not traveling around Iceland by campervan like I did, you can expect to spend about $60 per day on a car rental, excluding the cost of gas.

Depending on several factors, you can spend anywhere from $30 to $200 a day on a rental car in Iceland. Here are some things that will impact your rental car cost in Iceland:

  • Season โ€“ Renting a small, standard car can be as cheap as $30 per day during the low season.
  • Vehicle size โ€“ An SUV in Iceland can increase your per-day cost to over $100 per day.
  • Four-wheel drive (4WD) โ€“ Iceland has unpaved mountain roads called F-roads, and you’re required to have a 4WD to drive on them. Rental companies will not allow you to drive a standard car on F-roads, and a 4WD increases the cost of a car rental.
  • Automatic vs. manual transmission โ€“ Most vehicles in Iceland are manual. Due to the high tourist demand and low supply, automatic cars are slightly more expensive than manual ones.
  • Booking timing โ€“ Booking in advance is especially important when traveling during Iceland’s peak season. In the summer, car rental costs can double if you book a month ahead compared to three months ahead.

โ›ฝ๏ธ Gas Cost in Iceland: $90

My average cost of gas in Iceland was $13 per day. The total gas cost was $180, but I was able to split the gas with my partner, so the gas cost per person was $90.

Make sure to budget for gas when traveling in Iceland, as gas prices are among the highest in the world. If you decide to do the entire Ring Road, the main road wrapping around the island, gas can add more than $400 to your trip’s budget.

A campervan parked next to a gas station pump with mountains in the background.
Gas station pump in Iceland.

๐ŸŒญ Food Cost in Iceland: $200

My average cost of food in Iceland was $29 per day. My total cost for groceries was $45. My total cost for dining out was $155, which averaged $19 per meal.

Iceland food is expensive. Food is where you can save money by shopping at grocery stores instead of dining out. The popular grocery stores in Iceland are Bonus (budget option), Kronan (has a wider selection), and Netto (has a smaller selection).

Groceries that can keep like granola, pasta, vegetables, and peanut butter.
Groceries in Iceland.

Cheapest Meals in Iceland

Here are the most affordable meals I ate during my trip:

MealLocationCost
Hot dogGas station$6
Cured salmon sandwichCafรฉ Bryggjan$6
Coffee and pastryKaffi Krus$7
Cheapest Meals in Iceland

Alcoholic drinks in Iceland are also expensive due to the high tax rate and import costs. Besides not drinking in Iceland, you can also save money by getting alcohol at the Duty-Free Store at the airport or by taking advantage of happy hours at local bars.

Most Expensive Meals in Iceland

Here are the most expensive meals I ate during my trip:

MealLocationCost
Reindeer burgerรslenski barinn$30
Pad thaiWok On$17
Sandwich and drinkHja Hollu$17
Most Expensive Meals in Iceland

I ate at รslenski barinn because the restaurant is known to serve hรกkarl, a fermented shark delicacy in Iceland. You can learn about Icelandic cuisine on a food tour.

A piece of white, cube meat, resembling soft potato.
Hรกkarl, a delicacy in Iceland.

๐Ÿ”๏ธ Entertainment Cost in Iceland: $535

My average cost of entertainment in Iceland was $76 per day.

Iceland has many expensive activities you can do, including $100+ tours that take you whale watching, glacier hiking, and snorkeling between tectonic plates.

Here are all the activities and attractions I paid for and how much each cost:

ActivityCost
Vatnajรถkull glacier hike guided tour$230
Landmannalaugar hike bus$115
Blue Lagoon$80
Vรญk Icelandic horse riding guided tour$80
Secret Lagoon$22
Hrunalaug hot spring$8
Iceland Trip’s Entertainment Costs
A woman hiking on a glacier, surrounded by ice in all directions.
Vatnajoฬˆkull glacier hike.

Free Things To Do in Iceland

Iceland is known for its natural beauty, so there are many free outdoor activities and attractions available.

Below are some of Iceland’s most popular free attractions. Some have bathroom and parking fees (usually less than $5), but none have an entrance fee.

  • The Golden Circle โ€“ This is a 190-mile tourist route featuring three of Iceland’s top natural attractions: Gullfoss, Geysir, and Thingvellir National Park.
  • Northern lights โ€“ The world-famous northern lights are a colorful display of light in the night sky that occurs in Iceland, mainly during the winter, from September to April. Seeing them is completely free unless you want to pay for professional photos.
Green lights in the sky over a city at night.
The northern lights over Reykjavรฌk in the winter. (Photo by my friend, Cindy Tian.)
  • National parks โ€“ Two of Iceland’s three national parks are free: Thingvellir National Park and Snรฆfellsjรถkull National Park.
  • Waterfalls โ€“ Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss, and Skรณgafoss are some of Iceland’s most iconic waterfalls on the South Coast, and they’re all free.
  • Beaches โ€“ The famous Diamond Beach and Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach do not have parking or entrance fees.
A woman holding a crystal-like ice chunk with black sand beach in the background.
Diamond Beach.

Most natural hot springs in Iceland will have an entrance fee, but there are a few that are free and are usually more challenging to get to (e.g., Seljavallalaug, Landmannalaugar).

๐Ÿš™ Entrance and Parking Fees in Iceland: $15

My average cost for entrance and parking fees in Iceland was $2 per day.

AttractionTotal CostCost Per Person
Reykjavรญk parking $7$3.50
Fagradalsfjall parking$7$3.50
Kerid crater entrance fee$6$3
Kvernufoss parking$5$2.50
Seljalandsfoss parking$5$2.50
Iceland Trip’s Entrance and Parking Fees
A woman standing near the edge of a crater with blue water filled at the bottom.
Kerid Crater.

Most of Icelandโ€™s natural attractions donโ€™t have parking or entrance fees, but they may have small bathroom fees.

Do You Need Cash in Iceland?

Iceland has an excellent credit card infrastructure, and I found that even remote campsites take credit cards. You don’t need cash in Iceland most of the time.

Below are tips on bringing and using cash and credit cards in Iceland.

๐Ÿ’ณ 1. American Express is not widely accepted in Iceland.

Bring a Visa or Mastercard credit card to ensure you can use a card in Iceland.

๐Ÿง 2. Carry less than $40 worth of cash in Iceland.

Cash is rarely needed in Iceland, so you need to only carry a small amount in case a card machine is broken or for a few cash-only places.

The US dollar is not accepted, so you need to withdraw cash in the local currency, Icelandic Krรณna.

During my Iceland trip, the only place I visited that required cash was the Hrunalaug hot spring, but they now accept card payments.

๐Ÿ’ฐ 3. Tipping is not customary in Iceland.

Tipping is appreciated in Iceland, but itโ€™s completely optional. Although it’s most often expected from tourists and businesses that serve visitors, I found that tipping is not the norm.

See other essential travel tips for Iceland before visiting.

Iceland Trip Planner

Iceland Trip Planner 2024

To make your travel preparation easier, download the trip planner below. It has destination-specific travel information, itinerary, map, and packing list.

My trip planners are built on Notion, which I use for all my travel planning. I genuinely love this tool and creating an account is free.

Three Notion template screenshots are shown: travel information, itinerary, and map + packing list templates.
Preview of Iceland trip planner for 2024.

Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below.

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