Figuring out your travel budget can be a grueling task so my goal is to make this process as painless as possible by helping you set realistic spending expectations for your upcoming trip to Iceland. For this Iceland budget breakdown, I’ve hoarded all of my receipts from my 4-day trip and here’s how much it cost me. Now depending on your needs and interests, your Iceland budget breakdown may look different from mine. Nevertheless, if you’re considering a trip to Iceland, this Iceland budget breakdown is a great place to figure out how much money you’ll need. Although Iceland has a reputation of being expensive country, I’m confident that if you plan ahead and budget accordingly you’ll have a blast visiting one of my favorite places in the world!
For how much things cost at supermarkets, restaurants and bars, check out my Food and Drinks Prices in Iceland Guide.
I’ve also recently gotten back from my third trip to Iceland so I’ve added updates wherever possible. Okay, let’s get started!
4 Day Iceland Budget Breakdown
Cost of 4 Days in Iceland
(As of May 2016 + Updates from September 2017 & May 2018)
Round-trip Flights from NYC + Hostel: $562 USD
I purchased my flight and accommodation package six months ahead of time on Expedia. Also, I redeemed a $25 Expedia+ coupon from all the points I accumulated.
I flew with Delta Air Lines and stayed at Loft Hostel. Hostels in Iceland aren’t as cheap as other parts of Europe but it’s still a cost-effective option. However, if hostels aren’t your thing, search for hotels and guest houses in Reykjavík.
Update September 2017: For my second trip to Iceland, I booked my flight and lodging separately. I flew with Icelandair and booked my flights three months before departure. My round-trip ticket to Reykjavík from New York City cost $273.45 USD. This is the cheapest flight that I’ve ever seen to Reykjavík on a non-budget airline. Also, flying with Icelandair meant that the first checked bag was free!
The average flight to Reykjavík from New York City costs well over $400 USD.
During this trip, I stayed at Kex Hostel Reykjavík in a six-bed female dorm for 6,800 ISK or $63.11 USD per night. I saved $36.10 USD this time around by finding an amazing flight deal and booking the essentials separately.
2016 vs. 2017 Cost Comparison Calculation
Iceland Trip May 2016: Combined Round-trip Flight + Hostel: $562 USD
Iceland Trip September 2017: Separate Round-trip Flight (Fare Sale) + Hostel: $525.90 USD
Cost Difference: $36.10 USD
Update May 2018: For my third trip to Iceland, I booked flights with WOW Air for $176.76 USD and stayed at Captain Reykjavik Ránargata.
Shuttle Bus to/from Keflavík International Airport: $32 USD
Gray Line Iceland Airport Express is one of the most convenient ways to get to Reykjavík from Keflavík International Airport. The bus ride takes 45 minutes and there’s free Wi-Fi on board. Order your tickets at the counter or confirm your booking online ahead of time.
Children between the ages of 12-17 pay half price and children under 11 years old travel free. Departures are scheduled 25-45 minutes after arriving flights so even if you arrive late at night or early morning, there’s always a bus available. Flybus is another shuttle bus alternative. It is slightly more expensive.
With Gray Line Iceland Airport Express, you have two options. The “Terminal to Terminal” service takes you to the Gray Line Bus Terminal at Holtagarðar 10. The “Door to Door” service drops you off at your hotel or near your guesthouse.
Airport Express Terminal to Terminal Costs
2,400 ISK one-way or $19 USD
3,900 ISK round-trip or $31 USD
Airport Express Door to Door Costs
2,900 ISK one-way or $22.86 USD
4,900 ISK round-trip or $45.72 USD
Money Saving Tip
I saved an extra 5% with the promo code “SIGHT5”.
Before booking, Google “Gray Line promo codes” to find other coupon codes and more savings!
Update September 2017: Gray Line Iceland also offers promo codes right on their website. During my second trip to Iceland (September 2017), I booked a Snaefellsnes Peninsula and Cave Exploration tour and saved 10% with the promo code “LABOR10”.
Average Daily Food Cost: $60-$105 USD
Food in Iceland is extremely expensive.
Even though I saved money on breakfast (included in my hostel stay), I would suggest budgeting $20-$35 USD per meal. On the other hand, my roommates bought an $80 USD lamb stew – I know crazy right!
The cheapest lunch I had cost $15 USD. The most expensive dinner was $34 USD.
FREE BONUS: FOOD & DRINK COSTS ICELAND
GET A LIST OF FOOD AND DRINK COSTS FROM SPECIFIC RESTAURANTS IN ICELAND. (JUST IN CASE YOU’RE STRUGGLING TO THINK OF HOW MUCH TO BUDGET).
How much to tip in Iceland?
Tipping isn’t mandatory in Iceland. In fact, Icelanders don’t tip at all because it’s included in the price along with taxes. If you feel like your server or bartender went above and beyond, feel free to tip them but there’s no obligation or expectation.
Update September 2017: You may see tip jars in coffee shops but of course you don’t have to tip unless you want to.
Money Saving Tips
Also, don’t forget that you don’t need to buy bottles of water in Iceland. The water is pure and you can get it free anywhere. My tour guide encouraged me to drink water from a glacier lagoon – and that’s normal.
Considering shopping in Iceland?
Here’s how you can get up to 14% off by claiming a tax free refund.
For more money-saving food tips, Follow Me Away shares the best budget grocery store to shop at in Reykjavík and how to do Iceland on a budget.
Average Activity Cost: $120 USD
Reykjavík Activity Details
Iceland has so much to offer, especially if you’re looking for adventure. There are waterfalls to walk behind, glaciers to climb and you can even go inside a volcano or snorkel between continental plates. If you’re feeling really adventurous you can try an extreme motorsport like formula off-roading.
- Hallgrimskirkja Church: $8 USD
- Admission to Vesturbaejarlaug swimming pool: $8 USD
- Tips for CityWalk Reykjavik walking tour: $12 USD (set your own price)
CityWalk Reykjavik offers free walking tours in Reykjavík. They also lead pub crawls, running tours and private tours. The free “History and Culture Walk” is a great introduction to the city, Icelandic culture, and history. Best of all, the tour guides are witty Icelandic historians.
During the walking tour, you’ll walk through the most historic parts of town including the oldest neighborhood and the oldest cemetery. I would have missed so many hidden gems if I skipped this tour. At the end, set your own price and tip in any currency.
- Horseback riding: $106 USD
- Iceland’s South Coast bus tour: $138 USD
- Snorkeling at Silfra (including photos): $205 USD
Day trips in Iceland are pricey, but the good news is that I also found plenty of things to do in Reykjavík for under $15 USD.
If you want to see Iceland’s landscape, it’s worth visiting the countryside. Lots of people recommend renting a car in Iceland, but taking a guided tour was informative and convenient. I would have missed so much if I was on my own!
Deciding On Activities In Iceland
In planning my Iceland trip, I decided to skip the Blue Lagoon and other popular attractions like the Golden Circle. But I knew that I wanted to snorkel Silfra and tour the South Coast of Iceland. How many people can say that they swam between the shifting Eurasian and North American tectonic plates? Not many!
I booked a snorkeling Silfra tour ahead of time with DIV.IS. If you have a GoPro camera, bring it with you. That way you can save money by not having to pay extra for photos and videos.
I also booked a last-minute South Coast sightseeing tour with Sterna Travel. Sterna Travel offered the cheapest South Coast bus tour and the value was incredible! I got to see so many waterfalls, a glacier tongue and I even learned about the effects of volcanic eruptions and global warming on the island.
Average Daily Alcohol Cost: $18 USD
Getting a drink or two in Iceland adds up quickly! It’s roughly about $9 USD (now $11 USD as of September 2017) for a beer.
Loft Hostel has one of my favorite bars in Reykjavík. They offer a variety of Scandinavian beers and you can jam out to live music on Fridays. Their rooftop patio is also a great place to scope out the city skyline.
Update September 2017: A friend introduced me to Ölsmiðjan Bar, a dive bar where beer costs only $5.48 USD or 590 ISK! Conserve money in your Iceland budget breakdown by using the Appy Hour app to find cheap drinks in town. Appy Hour conveniently lists every happy hour in Reykjavík in real-time. Use it to bar hop or discover cool watering holes.
Final Thoughts on Cost of 4 Days in Iceland
How much to budget for Iceland? How much money for a trip to Iceland?
Well when I totaled all of my expenses from my Iceland budget breakdown, I spent $1,240 USD for my 4-day trip. I am both shocked and relieved that I decided to only spend 4 days in Iceland!
Food, alcohol, and activities were the most expensive budget categories and I’m amazed that Natasha over at The World Pursuit spent a week in Iceland and only spent $100 USD!
Nevertheless, I have no financial regrets whatsoever about my trip. I’m happy that I got to visit one of the top destinations on my bucket list.
Would I go back? Ugh….duh! I’m already planning my fourth trip to Iceland in 2019!
Was my Iceland budget breakdown cheaper or more expensive than expected?
Other Destination Budget Breakdowns:
Iceland Budget Breakdown - Excel Spreadsheet
FREE spreadsheet download of my May 2018 expenses during my 3rd trip to Iceland. You'll also get regular emails by joining the list.