So, how much does it cost to visit Iceland?
This is the number one question we get asked about our trip to Iceland is ‘how much did it cost?’, so we have decided to put together this handy breakdown of exactly what we spent during our time there.
Bear in mind though that we went for our mini-moon, so there were some luxuries we allowed ourselves to indulge in which we perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise. For example, we stayed exclusively in 4* hotels, rented an upgraded vehicle, and booked everything through a specialist travel agency.
In any other situation, we would have been all over Airbnb, driving the budget option car, and arranging everything for ourselves.
Without further ado, sit back and let us answer the question ‘how much does it cost to visit Iceland?’
We had wanted to visit Iceland for such a long time but were slightly put off by the rumours that it cost serious money once you got out there. However, we decided that because it was a special occasion, we could allow ourselves to splash out a little.
We researched travel agents before eventually going with Discover the World. After completing an online form (because who makes phone calls anymore?), they emailed us back the next day with a few suggested itineraries. We chose our excursions and booked them through them too, so the only thing we had to worry about was our actual wedding…
Why Is Iceland So Expensive?
Iceland has long maintained its reputation as an expensive place to visit, and with good reason. High taxes plus the need to import nearly everything into the country don’t make for a budget-friendly destination.
Any costs associated with taxes and fees on items purchased by businesses and commercial operations are inevitably passed onto the consumer. This hikes prices up to three or four times more than what we are used to in the UK.
But don’t let that put you off… it’s an incredible country and as long as you know what to expect, it is well worth a visit!
Now, let’s start with the important part…
Where Can I Buy Alcohol?
We had heard that the airport duty-free was the best place to buy alcohol in Iceland. And this wasn’t a lie. Even the locals take full advantage of the tax-free savings, and if the locals are doing it then you know it’s a good idea.
Prepare yourselves though – it was rammed when we arrived, with people filling up actual SHOPPING TROLLEYS. We focussed solely on the important things: alcohol and snacks. As we had a rental car waiting for us at the airport, there was no limit to the amount we could buy as we just shoved it in the boot. We were there for six days, and purchased the following:
- x2 bottles of white wine
- x2 bottles of rosé wine
- a medium bottle of vodka (for those cold nights)
- a 6-pack of canned lager
- a bottle of prosecco (because, y’know… mini-moon)
In total, this came to 8659.28 ISK, or about £65, which we thought was pretty good!
It’s important to note that you CANNOT purchase alcohol stronger than 2.25% ABV in supermarkets. This can only be obtained in state-owned stores known locally as Ríkið. You can find all their locations here.
The cost of fuel in Iceland isn’t too dissimilar to the cost of fuel in the UK, although it is slightly more. Through our hire car company, Europa, we were also presented with a savings card that gave us a 5% discount at a particular brand of fuel station, which was the most frequent one we saw along the roads on the way. Make sure you show it to the attendant before proceeding to fill your car up.
In all, we filled up our 4×4 up with two tanks worth of fuel at about £75 each, one of which was to return the car to the hire centre with.
Our First Hotel
With our car fully stocked we headed to off to our first hotel, Hotel Húsafell. On the way, we passed through a toll tunnel which set us back a measly £2 (277.10 ISK). The hotel was in the middle of nowhere, and it soon became apparent that you either ate in the hotel restaurant or you spent hours driving around looking for an alternative establishment. We did try this. We ended up hungry and frustrated and returned to the hotel restaurant to eat instead.
As it was a 4* hotel, we were expecting the food to be somewhat expensive but we were taken aback by how much it actually was. Starters were between £20-£30 and the mains were between £70-£90. A standard gin and tonic was £15 and a pint of beer was around £12. Make no mistake, the food was fantastic and before each meal we were given fresh bread, the most AMAZING salted butter ever, and an amuse-bouche. On our first night, Kez had Icelandic salmon and Sam tucked into Surf & Turf.
Just a little tip: on the whole, Iceland serves their fish on the rare side, so if you prefer yours more cooked then just let your waiter know.
We both ended the night with a cocktail, though at £16 each we didn’t repeat that. Instead, we opted to pre-drink in our room and then enjoy another tipple (or three) after dinner in our pyjamas.
In total, we spent £450 on dinner and drinks for three nights at our Hotel Húsafell.
Our Last Hotel
Hotel Rangá was also very remote like Húsafell, so the food options were again limited to the hotel restaurant. However, this was again a 4* hotel so the food quality (and prices) were very similar. We were greeted with an upgrade to one of their eight suites (because honeymoon) and a glass of champagne each, so we were instantly in a fantastic mood.
On our last night, England were playing Germany in a friendly and we still had two bottles of wine to polish off before heading to Reykjavík the next day. We intended to drink watching the match before heading down to dinner, but alcohol and sports got in the way and we ended up ordering room service.
This was quite possibly the best idea we ever had. The menu was far more relaxed and we both had a greasy cheeseburger and chips (£25 each), a drink each, and a cheese board of local cheeses which came to about £80 in total (including the burgers). It was cheaper than eating in the restaurant, we didn’t have to get out of our pyjamas, and Sam got to finish watching the football – win-win.
We drove to the capital city of Reykjavik for our last day in Iceland as our flight wasn’t until the early evening. Although a beautiful city, it is rather small so half a day was enough to explore the key parts. We chose a bit more of a commercial option for lunch and went to The Hard Rock Cafe. Yeah, we are heathens, we know, eye roll eye roll. We expected it to be a little bit pricey, and spent about £40 for a combo of chicken wings and a platter to share. Kez had a mojito (£12) and Sam a pint of ale (£8) so the prices were pretty standard for Iceland.
So here is our expenditure breakdown for the six days:
- Discover the World (flights, accommodation, hotels, car hire, x2 excursions): £2,582
- Food and Drink: £835
- Fuel: £150
- Miscellaneous (gifts, parking, toll roads, goat farm entry fee): £75
We hope that this gives you a bit more of an understanding about the cost of a trip to Iceland. It is entirely possible to spend FAR less than we did. We chose to splash out a lot more because of the nature of the holiday. If you’re on a tighter budget, have a look at the Airbnb options across Iceland.
Who else has been to Iceland? Did you watch the purse strings, or go all out?