Iceland Vacation Cost: How Much Does a 4-Day Trip to Iceland Cost?

Iceland budget breakdown for how much Iceland really costs for 4 days.
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How much does a trip to Iceland cost? Figuring out your Iceland travel budget can be grueling, so I want to make this process as painless as possible by providing budget hacks and helping you set realistic spending expectations for your upcoming trip to Iceland. For this Iceland travel cost breakdown, I’ve hoarded all of my receipts from my 4-day trip, and here’s how much it cost me. Since I’ve visited three times, I also included other fun facts here.

Depending on your needs and interests, your Iceland budget breakdown may look different from mine. Nevertheless, this is a great resource for figuring out how much money you’ll need. Although Iceland has a reputation for being an expensive country, I’m confident that if you plan and budget accordingly, you’ll have a blast visiting one of my favorite places in the world.

How expensive is Iceland relative to other countries? According to Numbeo’s Cost of Living Index by Country, Iceland is the sixth most expensive country, followed by the Bahamas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, and Bermuda.

How Much Should You Expect To Spend in Iceland?

Is Iceland expensive?

Based on my three trips to Iceland, the average trip costs between $300 and $400 per person per day, including flights, budget lodging like hostels and Airbnbs, and activities, mostly guided group tours around the country.

This does not include car rentals or gas.

For a detailed breakdown of the cost of a trip to Iceland, keep reading to get a better understanding of the expenses you’ll incur.

Cost of Visiting Iceland: 4-Day Iceland Vacation Cost Breakdown

Round-Trip Flights from NYC + Hostel: $562 USD

I purchased my flight and accommodation package six months ahead of time on Expedia and redeemed a $25 Expedia+ coupon with all my accumulated points.

I flew with Delta Air Lines and stayed at Loft Hostel. Although hostels in Iceland aren’t as cheap as in other parts of Europe, they’re still a cost-effective option. If hostels aren’t your thing, search for hotels and guest houses in Reykjavík here.

I booked my flight and lodging separately for my second trip to Iceland. 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. At the time, this was the cheapest flight 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 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 by finding an amazing flight deal and booking the essentials separately. I recommend signing up for Thrifty Traveler Premium to find incredible flight deals worldwide.

For my third trip to Iceland, I booked flights with WOW Air for $176.76 USD and stayed at Captain Reykjavik Ránargata. Unfortunately, WOW Air went out of business in 2019.

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 onboard. Order your tickets at the counter or confirm your booking online.

Children between the ages of 12-17 pay half price, and children under 11 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

Iceland Transportation Money Saving Tip

I saved 5% on my bus tickets with the promo code “SIGHT5”.

Before booking, Google “Gray Line promo codes” to find other coupon codes and more savings.  

Gray Line Iceland also offers promo codes right on their website. During my second trip to Iceland, I booked a Snaefellsnes Peninsula and Cave Exploration tour and saved 10% with the promo code “LABOR10”.

Average Daily Food Cost: $60-$105 USD

What’s the cost of food in Iceland?

Freshly baked croissants at Brauð & Co. bakery in Reykjavík.

Food in Iceland is extremely expensive.

Even though I saved money on breakfast (included in my hostel stay), I suggest budgeting $20-$35 USD per meal. On the other hand, my roommates bought a lamb stew for $80 USD. I know, crazy, right?

The cheapest lunch I had cost $15 USD. The most expensive dinner was $34 USD.

Check out my Iceland food prices guide for how much things cost at supermarkets, restaurants, and bars.

How much to tip in Iceland?

Tipping isn’t mandatory in Iceland. Icelanders don’t tip because it’s included in the price and taxes. Feel free to tip your server or bartender if you feel they went above and beyond, but there’s no obligation or expectation. You may see tip jars in coffee shops, but you don’t have to tip them unless you want to.

More Money-Saving Tips in Iceland

Remember 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.

Drinking water from the waterfall is totally normal in Iceland!

Press play to listen to this podcast episode, where I share even more tips for saving money in Iceland. These tips are based on my book Iceland: Nature, Nurture & Adventure.

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Considering shopping in Iceland? Here’s how you can get up to 14% off items by claiming a tax-free refund.

Average Activity Cost: $120 USD

Iceland has 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, try extreme motorsports like formula off-roading. 

Landavegur, a major shopping street in Reykjavík.

Things To Do in Reykjavík

  • Hallgrimskirkja Church: $8 USD
  • Admission to Vesturbaejarlaug swimming pool: $8 USD
  • Tip for CityWalk Reykjavik walking tour: $12 USD (set your own price)

CityWalk Reykjavik

CityWalk Reykjavik
CityWalk Reykjavik tour guide.

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 of the tour, set your own price and tip in any currency.

Day Trips from Reykjavík

Day trips in Iceland are pricey, but the good news is that I also found plenty of cheap things to do in Reykjavík if you’re on a budget.

  • Horseback riding: $106 USD 
  • Iceland’s South Coast bus tour: $138 USD 
  • Snorkeling at Silfra (including photos): $205 USD

I booked a snorkeling Silfra tour ahead of time with DIV.IS. If you have a GoPro camera, bring it with you. You can save money by not paying extra for photos and videos.

Snorkeling between the shifting tectonic plates in Silfra.
Crystal clear waters with nearly 100% visibility.

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 were on my own!

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 saw many waterfalls and a glacier tongue, and I even learned about the effects of volcanic eruptions and global warming on the island.

Glacier spotting in Iceland
My first time seeing a glacier!

Average Daily Alcohol Cost: $18 USD

Getting a drink or two in Iceland adds up quickly. A beer costs roughly $11 USD.

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.

A friend introduced me to Ölsmiðjan Bar, a dive bar where beer costs only $5.48 USD or 590 ISK!

Lastly, use the Appy Hour app to find cheap drinks in town. Appy Hour conveniently lists every happy hour in Reykjavík in real time.

Total Cost of Trip to Iceland

How much does it cost to go to Iceland? When I totaled all of my expenses, I spent $1,240 USD for my 4-day trip. I am both shocked and relieved I decided to spend only four days in Iceland. The more time you spend in Iceland, the more you’ll spend. An average trip to Iceland costs approximately $300 per day, including flights and lodging.

Food, alcohol, and activities were the most expensive budget categories, but I’m amazed 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 I got to visit one of the top destinations on my travel wish list.

Would I go back? Ugh….duh! I’m already planning my fourth trip.

How To Save Money In Iceland

Although visiting Iceland isn’t the cheapest, it’s still worth it. With that in mind, here are some quick pointers to help you and your wallet make the most of your Iceland vacation.

  1. Shop Duty-Free. While you can buy alcohol at a local bar or restaurant, alcohol is pricey in Iceland because of taxes. To make matters even worse, alcohol taxes are levied based on the volume of alcohol in a drink. The first piece of advice is: buy your drinks at the airport. If you’re flying into Keflavik International Airport, Iceland’s main airport, stop by Duty-Free Iceland. It has a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages from Argentina to New Zealand and almost anywhere else in between. Keep in mind that each traveler is only permitted six units of alcohol. If it sounds confusing, use this alcohol allowance calculator to see how much beer, wine, and liquor you can purchase at the airport.
  2. The second piece of advice is to make the most of local happy hours. To know which bars have discounted happy hours, download the app Appy Hour. This app sorts out bars and happy hour deals based on proximity and price.
  3. Bring a refillable water bottle. While you can buy bottled water in Iceland, Iceland’s tap water is unbelievably pristine, safe, and never chemically purified. Iceland’s tap water is reported to originate from springs and mountains that are naturally purified through molten rocks, which not only cleanse the water of any bacteria or chemicals but also add minerals and nutrients. So why spend your coin on some of the world’s best water when you can get it from the tap for free?
  4. Ditch cash. Like most countries, Iceland prioritizes plastic, with no need for ATM visits and fees.
  5. Claim your tax refunds through tax-free shopping. Tax-free shopping is a way to save money when traveling to expensive countries such as Iceland. For more on how to claim your tax refund, check out my article, “Tax-Free Shopping in Iceland,” on how to save money and receive a tax refund.
  6. Unlike the U.S., where tipping can go a long way, tipping is not necessary in Iceland. Gratuity is already included in the bill, so while tipping isn’t necessary, it is always appreciated.
  7. Regarding finding reasonably priced items to stock your temporary fridge, Iceland has several options for affordable grocery stores. Of these grocery stores, I suggest Bónus and Krónan for household items, food, drinks, and anything else you may need to comfortably enjoy your time in Iceland.
  8. Prioritize local swimming pools over fancy hot springs. Here, you’ll meet locals and partake in their traditions and customs while also saving money!

For even more helpful tips not covered on the blog, grab a copy of my Iceland travel guide!

Iceland travel guide book for black women by Danielle Desir

In this book, we cover:

Continue planning your Iceland vacation. Read these Iceland articles next:

Caving Adventure in Vatnshellir Cave

Top Blue Lagoon Alternatives

Best of Iceland South Coast Tour

Grab copies of my books on Amazon.

10 replies
  1. NZ Muse says:

    Haha, Iceland is awesome right?! I can’t remember our costs but dang it’s expensive there and the FOOD. Like, not even for anything special…

    We got so lucky and were able to couchsurf for free (what’s more our hosts’s kid gave up his room for us so we got a comfy bed) and their place had a heated bathroom floor (which is common there…). And our host’s partner gave me this lovely necklace…

    Reply
  2. Monica Sharma says:

    Wow! this post sounds amazing.. Iceland looks awesome to explore, there are so many things to do, I love your post and I will be definitely adding to my bucket list..keep sharing!

    Reply
  3. Christian V says:

    Thank you for your post! This helps me figure out what my expenses will be like when I go for the first time. :)

    Reply

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