If you are planning your next trip in Iceland, this post may interest you :). We are providing a lot of details on the costs of our entire road trip and described our key expense categories. It should give you a good overview of how much will cost your future trip.
In total, we stayed 5 days in Iceland in summer 2018. Some travellers skip Iceland from their bucket list because of how expensive it is. It is true that Iceland is not a budget destination. You have probably already figured it out if you are planning your next trip in this country. And yes it is very likely, even if you are careful, that the total cost for your trip will be more expensive compared to other destinations.
However, it should not be a reason to miss it. There are some tips to limit your budget. For example you can buy food from the supermarket and prepare your diner and breakfast yourself. And you can also save on your accommodation by booking as early as possible. We planned this trip only about 2 months ahead. So the choice of accommodation was already very limited, especially because it was the peak season.
Despite the fact it costs more than your other trips, you have to keep Iceland in your bucket list. You can’t be disappointed – Iceland is one of the most majestic and unique destination in the world. In this post, we are telling you everything about our budget. We also summarised all our expenses in a chart.
Our budget at a glance
We detailed below a lot of information regarding our budget. Just for information, we prepared almost all our meals. Hence we bought the majority of our food from supermarkets. On the opposite, we chose to sleep in confortable cabins rather than on cheap bunk beds.
The local currency is the Icelandic króna – ISK. The rate was about £1 = 139 ISK; €1 = 124 ISK ; $1 = 107 ISK as of end of August 2018.
Our total cost was 233,000 ISK = 1,675 GBP for 5 days for the two of us, including our European flights from London.
The average cost per day once in Iceland was about 18,650 ISK = 135 GBP / day / person. This doesn’t include the flights.
See the detail of our expenses by category:
Transport expenses – 110,785 ISK (£800)
The transport accounted for 47% of our full budget, so it means almost half of our total budget. But it is not surprising as it was a road trip! If you plan a trip of 5 days in Iceland we highly recommend to rent a car. Otherwise you will be really limited if you have to rely on bus. We stopped several times per day along the road. For example to say hi to the Iceland horses, to look at some cool waterfalls along the way or drive on tiny scenic roads. But you have to be prepared, renting a car in Iceland is very expensive!
46,565 ISK (£335) – European flights. We flew with Wizz and Wow Air, which are 2 low cost companies.
47,260 ISK (£340) – Car rental. It is really important to take time before booking a car, especially for a road trip. And you will notice the prices vary a lot depending of the season and will increase if you book in the last few months before your trip.
We suggest not to limit you search to the prices. For example, it is also important to consider the feedback from other customers. Don’t forget to check what kind of insurance are included (e.g. tyres, windscreen and glass etc), especially in Iceland. It is a pretty desert country and you want to be cover if you have a problem with you car in the middle of nowhere ;(.
Also to note the car you rent in Iceland are usually older/more used cars than other destinations. Ours had 150,000km on the odometer. We finally booked our car with a local rental company – Iceland Rental Car – as they were providing a good value and insurance for us. We recommend it as the car was good and the service very smooth.
14,595 ISK (£105) – Gas. We drove about 1,000 kilometres during this trip.
Accommodation expenses – 67,830 ISK (£490)
The accommodation accounted for 29% of our full budget.
As you plan your trip, you will quickly understand the prices for hotel really depend on location but also if you are travelling on a peak season or not. There are not so many accommodations especially if you drive to remote places. And the sooner you book the better, especially if you plan to explore Iceland in summer.
Surprisingly the most expensive accommodation was not in Reykjavík, but in the middle of nowhere. And it cost us about 19,500 ISK (£141). We didn’t find any night below 14,000 ISK (£100). However, it is because we booked our hotels late and we travelled in August. If you are travelling in summer, we really recommend that you book your different nights several months in advance.
Food expenses – 34,330 ISK (£247)
The food accounted for 15% of our full budget.
Food is quite expensive in Iceland, especially at the restaurants. As a result we comprised a little our comfort by buying the majority of our food in supermarkets and prepare our own meals. We rented several cottages with everything you need to prepare basic meals while enjoying a nice view from the terrace :). So finally it was a pretty cool experience ! You will probably stop at one of those 3 most popular and budget supermarkets along your road trip – Bónus, Krónan and Nettó.
We also treated ourself at the end of our trip with some restaurants in Reykjavík. To be honest, at that point it was so good to change from sandwiches for some hot meals ;). And of course during the road trip we also did some breaks almost every day at a coffee shop just to enjoy some pastries and a hot chocolate, tea or latte.
Note – you have to try the well-known hot dogs. You will find them as street food in Reykjavík or in any gas station.
The Blue Lagoon – 19,980 ISK (£140)
Our visit in the Blue Lagoon accounted for 9% of our full budget.
If you are planning a trip in Iceland – it is pretty sure that you have already heard about the Blue Lagoon. And if you are reading this post you are likely wondering whether you should add it to your trip. This hot springs with milky blue colour is one of the most popular attraction in Iceland. We spent a really enjoyable moment to relax with a mud mask and a cocktail in such amazing hot thermal pool! The timing was perfect because it was only a few hours before taking off back to London.
We read contradicting comments on the Blue Lagoon on different blogs. True it is a very expensive experience as we paid 9,990 ISK/person. And yes it is a touristy spot. So is it worth it anyway? Absolutely yes, especially if you are here only for a few days. Check out our dedicated post about the Blue Lagoon. We give you plenty of tips to spend a very relaxing in this amazing spot.