๐Ÿ’ฐ Trip to Iceland Cost: 2024 Budget Breakdown

A big waterfall going down a ridge of a valley.

Known for its breathtaking nature, Iceland is an expensive country that can be visited with a budget of $90 to $200 a day.

My one-week trip to Iceland during the high season 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 is a popular destination and one of the most expensive countries to visit in Europe. The island country relies on imported goods and has a high cost of living, with many locals earning a high wage (90% of the population is part of a labor union), which drives prices up.

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

Iceland is the most expensive vacation I’ve taken. Here’s how my Iceland trip cost compares to the cost of other popular destinations I’ve visited:

DestinationDaily Budget
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ Iceland$306
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ท Costa Rica$233
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Hawaii$208
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฟ Belize$207
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ท Puerto Rico$182
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ช Peru$156
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain$155
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan$145
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy$131
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ Cambodia$123
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Singapore$122
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น Portugal$116
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ผ Taiwan$102
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ณ Vietnam$86
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ Thailand$77
Daily Travel Budget for Popular Destinations

How Much Is a Trip to Iceland?

Depending on your travel style, here’s how much money you can expect to spend in Iceland on a daily basis and during a one-week trip.

๐ŸŽ’ Iceland Trip Cost for a Budget Traveler

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

To travel on a budget in Iceland, here are some things you can do:

  • Accommodation: Stay at a hostel for about $40 or a budget hotel for $60 a night. The average price of accommodation will go up by $10 to $20 during the peak season in the summer. Private rooms at hostels and guesthouses will be similarly priced as a low-budget hotel.

It’s a good idea to book accommodations at least two months in advance if you’re traveling during the peak season, or else you’ll run out of options.

  • Food: Food prices are generally expensive, so a great way to save while visiting Iceland is to buy groceries to cook your own food. 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 surprisingly good. I ended up having several of them at different gas stations.

  • Transportation: Instead of booking expensive tours that leave from major cities and towns, rent a car orย camper vanย and take a road trip around Iceland to the different attractions.

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

  • Attraction: Take advantage of Iceland’s many free attractions that don’t even have parking or entrance fees.
  • Shopping: Don’t buy a SIM card in Iceland; you can rely on the country’s free Wi-Fi infrastructure instead. Also, bring a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water. Iceland has some of the cleanest water in the world.
  • Travel Season: Avoid visiting Iceland during the peak summer season. The best time to visit Iceland to save money is during the winter (you’ll also get to see the northern lights).
A large waterfall in the winter falling out of an icy mountain.
Iceland in the low season. (Photo by my friend, Cindy Tian.)

๐Ÿ’ฐ Iceland Trip Cost for a Mid-Range Budget Traveler

A mid-range budget traveler, such as myself, can expect to spend approximately $200 per day or $1,400 for one week of travel in Iceland, excluding flights.

I break down my Iceland travel expenses by category below. You’ll see that my daily budget is much higher than $200. I booked my trip at the last minute (i.e., a month before traveling in August, which is peak season) and faced the consequences of much higher prices.

The blog author is milky-blue water under an open sky.
The famous Blue Lagoon in Iceland.

About My Iceland Trip

To give context to the expenses below, hereโ€™s what you need to know about my trip to Iceland:

โ˜€๏ธ Peak season. I traveled to Iceland in August, which is in the high season so things are more expensive on average.

Learn how to prepare for Iceland during the peak season.

๐Ÿ—“ One week. I spent one week in Iceland and thoroughly explored the South Coast. I spent minimal time in the capital city of Reyjkjavรญk.

โœŒ๏ธ Two travelers. I traveled with one other person, so I was able to split the campervan rental, gas, parking, and entrance fee costs.

๐Ÿš Campervan traveling. Iceland is a great place to travel by campervan, even for inexperienced campers such as 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’ฐย Mid-range budget. I donโ€™t aim to travel on a budget, but Iโ€™m thoughtful about how and where I spend and consider myself a mid-range budget traveler.

๐Ÿ’ต US dollars. 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.

Woman standing on a rock and looking out at colorful mountains with some snow.
Stunning views in Iceland.

Total Iceland Trip Cost: $2,690

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

My trip’s highlights are featured in this epic one-week Iceland itinerary.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Cost Breakdown for Iceland

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

CategoryCost% of Total CostCost Per Day
โœˆ๏ธ Flights$55020%
๐Ÿš Campervan$1,30048%$186
๐Ÿ›ข๏ธ Gas$903%$13
๐ŸŒญ Food$2007%$29
๐Ÿ—ป Activities$53520%$76
โญ Fees$151%$2
Iceland Trip’s Cost Breakdown

๐Ÿ’ต Daily Budget in Iceland: $306

My Iceland trip cost $306 per day, excluding flights.

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

A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend $200 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 some tours.

โœˆ๏ธ Flight Cost to Iceland: $550

My round-trip direct flight between Keflavรญk International Airport (KEF) and the east coast of the United States 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 of the United States.

The cheapest month to fly to Iceland from the United States is January, according to Skyscanner. A direct, round-trip flight that is below $200 is considered cheap.

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.

If you book a campervan about four months in advance (which is not what I did; I booked mine at the last minute), you can travel around Iceland in a campervan for closer to $100 a day.

Cost Per PersonCost Per Day
Campervan Rental$1,060$151
Campervan Insurance$140$20
Iceland Trip’s Campervan Costs

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.

A gray campervan parked at an isolated flat campsite.
The campervan I rented for a week in Iceland.

๐Ÿ  Accommodation Costs in Iceland

If you’re not sleeping in a campervan like I did, you can expect to spend, on average, $140 per night on mid-range accommodations in Iceland. This can increase by about $20 per night during the high season.

Luxury hotels in Iceland are usually in the $300 to $700 per night range.

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 fromย $40 to $200 a dayย on a rental car in Iceland. Here are some things that will impact your rental car cost in Iceland:

  • Season. Iceland’s high season is in the summer, from June to August, and its low season runs from September to May. A small, standard car can drop to $40 per day if you’re renting in a month like November.
  • Vehicle’s size. An SUV in Iceland can increase your per-day cost to over $100 per day.
  • Four-wheel drive (4WD). 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 or manual transmission. Most vehicles in Iceland are manual. Due to the high tourist demand and low supply, automatic cars are slightly more expensive than manual ones in Iceland.
  • Booking timing. Booking in advance is especially important when traveling during Iceland’s peak season. In the summer, car rental costs can almost double if you book at the last minute (about a month ahead) compared to three months ahead. I know this because I tried to book a rental car at the last minute.

โ›ฝ๏ธ Gas Cost in Iceland: $90

My average cost of gas in Iceland was $13 per day. The gas total 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 Iceland, gas can add more than $400 to your trip’s budget.

A campervan parked next to an Iceland gas station pump.
Gas station 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, which is the budget option
Kronan, which has a wider selection
Netto, which has a smaller selection

Bread, pasta, ham, yogurt and other grocery items on the back of a campervan.
What $27 worth of groceries looks like in Iceland.

Cheapest Meals in Iceland

Here are the cheapest meals I had in Iceland:

Hot dogGas station$6
Cured salmon sandwichCafรฉ Bryggjan$6
Coffee & 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 had in Iceland:

Reindeer burgerรslenski barinn$30
Pad thaiWok On$17
Sandwich & 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 eat and learn about Icelandic cuisine on this food tour with over 10,000 five-star ratings.

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 activities and guided tours 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. The best way to keep your Iceland budget low is by visiting Iceland’s free natural attractions and skipping the tours.

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

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

Learn more about hiking Vatnajรถkull, the largest glacier in Europe.

The blog author wearing crampons in between two glaciers taller than her.
On a glacier hike in Iceland.

Free Things To Do in Iceland

Many of Iceland’s natural attractions are free, but a handful will have parking and bathroom fees.

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

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).

Green lights in the sky over a city at night.
The northern lights over Reykjavรฌk in the winter. (Photo by my friend, Cindy Tian.)

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 volcano 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

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

A woman standing near the edge of a crater with blue water filled at the bottom.
Kerid crater.

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.

Here are some tips on 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 only need to 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.

With my Iceland itinerary, the only place that I visited that required cash was the Hrunalaug hot spring, but they now accept card payment through a QR code.

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

Although it’s not rude to leave a tip, and some service workers will appreciate it, tipping is not customary or mandatory in Iceland.

See other essential Iceland travel tips before visiting.

Iceland Trip Planner

To make your travel planning easier, download the trip planner below and use it as a starting point. The planner has country-specific travel information, an itinerary, a packing list, and a map with key places pinned.

The trip planner is built on Notion, which I use for all my travel planning (I genuinely love this tool). If you don’t have Notion, 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.

If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave a comment below.

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