How much does a trip to Iceland cost? Figuring out your Iceland travel budget can be a grueling task so I want to make this process as painless as possible for you 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. Since I’ve visited a total of three times, I also included some other fun facts here as well. 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 an 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 even more helpful tips not covered on the blog, grab a copy of my Iceland travel guide.
My Iceland Trip Cost Spending Breakdown
4 Day Iceland Vacation Cost
Round-Trip Flights from NYC + Hostel: $562 USD
I purchased my flight and accommodation package six months ahead of time on Expedia. I also 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. If hostels aren’t your thing, search for hotels and guest houses in Reykjavík here.
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. At the time, this was 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.
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 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
Iceland Money Saving Tips
I saved an extra 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
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.
For how much things cost at supermarkets, restaurants, and bars, check out my Iceland food prices guide.
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. You may see tip jars in coffee shops but you don’t have to tip unless you want to.
More Money Saving Tips in Iceland
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.
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.
Considering shopping in Iceland?
Here’s how you can get up to 14% off by claiming a tax free refund.
Average Activity Cost: $120 USD
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 extreme motorsports like formula off-roading.
Things to do in Reykjavík
- 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 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. That way you can save money by not having to pay extra for photos and videos.
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!
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 $11 USD 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.
A friend introduced me to Ölsmiðjan Bar, a dive bar where beer cost 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 that I decided to only spend 4 days in Iceland. The more time you spend in Iceland, the more you’ll spend.
Food, alcohol, and activities were the most expensive budget categories but 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 travel wish list.
Would I go back? Ugh….duh! I’m already planning my fourth trip.
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