Iceland landscape

Iceland Budget and Price Guide

Iceland has a reputation for being an expensive place, and this reputation is not without merit. Iceland prides itself on offering the best and whilst some things can be considered pricey such as food options, the overall quality of experience is worth it. 


Is Iceland expensive?

The definition of ‘expensive’ can be very personal but Iceland is not a cheap destination. Consumer costs here are up to 70% higher than in some other parts of Europe. There are a few reasons for this including the cost of importing products that are not easy to grow or produce in the country – Iceland’s climate means the crop growing season is short.

However, there are ways to manage your budget to keep costs reasonable, particularly planning upfront and therefore knowing exactly what is included before you go. Most importantly though, is that fact that many of the things that make Iceland special including the incredible landscapes are free to enjoy!

What is the best currency to use in Iceland?

Although it is a relatively small country in terms of population, Iceland has its own currency which is called Krona (ISK). It is the only currency that is accepted in Iceland and it holds very little value anywhere else. It’s suggested that you don’t bring too much cash with you as it might be hard to change it back upon departure. 

You can pay with a debit or credit card in the majority of establishments and it is generally the way locals pay for everything – from a coffee to their weekly shop. 


How much does a meal cost in Iceland?

Eating out is seen as a treat in Iceland rather than a nightly occurrence, so restaurant prices are relatively high. A main course might cost between 2000 and 4000 ISK (between £12 and £24) on average, so eating out every single night will add up if you are on a tight budget especially if you include alcohol.

You can expect to pay a lot for a fine dining experience, as with anywhere, so it is a good idea to plan where you would like to go so you can make the most of the Icelandic culinary scene, which has become more and more popular in recent years.

Icelandic food

How much does a beer cost in Iceland?

Beer in one of the many bars in Reykjavik can cost around 1000 ISK (£6-7), and they are a  great place to take in the country’s vibrant bar culture. However, Iceland has some unique rules when it comes to buying alcohol from a shop. Accessibility to alcohol is limited so you are only able to buy it from state-run off licences, which are called Vínbúðin. 


What is the main shopping street in Reykjavik?

Laugavegur is the main shopping street in Iceland’s capital city. It has a wide range of shops, from chic clothing boutiques to souvenir stores full of trinkets to take home with you. There are also a number of vintage shops where you can find unique clothing and jewellery at a fraction of the price.

You can also find some lovely restaurants on the Laugavegur serving all manner of delicious foods, including traditional Icelandic food as well as cuisine from all over the world. There’s also a strong vegan culture in Reykjavik so you won’t struggle if you are meat- and dairy-free.

What can you do for free in Iceland?

Iceland’s nature reserves and landmarks are often free as there are no national park fees or entry costs. You can also find free hot springs to bathe in, as long as you are willing to hike there! Whereas many tourists choose to go to Blue Lagoon, you can find a secluded hot spring around forty minutes’ drive from Reykjavik in Reykjadalur – it’s a thirty-minute hike but well worth it for a tranquil experience away from the crowds.

A lot of the best outdoor and nature experiences can be enjoyed for free, like hiking and birdwatching. You can also visit Reykjavik’s botanical gardens, Nauthólsvík beach, and the Grótta Lighthouse without parting with a penny.


How much is a holiday to Iceland?

The price of your trip will depend a lot on what you want to do, where you stay and how long you go for as well as what you pay for upfront. For instance, all our holiday prices include accommodation with breakfast. Check out our recommended holidays to see the different trips we offer including self-drives and small group adventures. We can also adapt itineraries to suit your budget.

Puffin in Iceland

How much should I budget for a week in Iceland?

Depending on what you want to do, it is recommended to have around £1000 spending money for a week-long trip. Of course, there are options to save money in places (not eating out every night, staying in smaller hotels or guesthouses, for example), so you don’t have to break the bank. With our self-drive trips, for example, accommodation on a breakfast basis and vehicle hire is included in the price, meaning you are free to budget elsewhere where necessary.

However, with so many wonderful things to do – both free and paid for – it’s a good idea to plan thoroughly so you can be sure you can include all your preferred activities on your itinerary.


Looking for an amazing experience in the land of ice and fire? Visit our holidays page to get inspired, or call our team on 01737 214 250.