Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

My Actual Iceland Trip Cost: Detailed Budget Breakdown


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Karlotte Jefferson



Planning a trip to Iceland? That’s an excellent choice! Iceland is a land of unparalleled natural beauty, with its stunning landscapes, geothermal wonders, and vibrant culture. However, before you embark on your Icelandic adventure, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the potential costs involved.


In this article, I will provide a detailed breakdown of my actual Iceland trip cost, giving you an idea of what to expect in terms of expenses. From flights and accommodation to food, sightseeing, and more, I will cover it all to help you plan your budget effectively.


It’s worth noting that individual travel costs may vary depending on factors like travel preferences, duration of stay, and the exchange rate at the time of your visit. Nevertheless, this breakdown will give you a general idea of the expenses involved and help you plan accordingly.


Whether you’re a budget traveler or someone who doesn’t mind splurging on certain experiences, this article will provide valuable insights to help you make informed decisions and ensure a memorable trip to Iceland without breaking the bank.


So, let’s delve into the nitty-gritty details of my actual Iceland trip cost and discover how much you may need to budget for your adventure!



When it comes to planning your trip to Iceland, one of the most significant expenses is undoubtedly the cost of flights. The price of airline tickets can vary widely depending on several factors such as the time of year, the airline carrier, and the departure location. Here’s a breakdown of my flight expenses:


For my Iceland trip, I booked round-trip flights from New York City to Reykjavik. I chose to fly with a budget airline and managed to find a good deal for around $400. Keep in mind that prices may fluctuate, so it’s advisable to monitor flight prices and book in advance to secure the best rates.


Additionally, it’s worth considering other factors when booking flights to Iceland. If you are flexible with your travel dates, you may be able to take advantage of seasonal promotions or off-peak rates. Also, keep an eye out for stopover options, as some airlines offer free or discounted layovers in Iceland, allowing you to explore the country even more.


Remember to factor in any additional fees such as baggage costs or seat selection fees that may apply. Consider packing light or choosing airlines that include baggage in their ticket prices to avoid any unexpected expenses.


Overall, when budgeting for your Iceland trip, allocate a significant portion of your finances towards flights. It’s advisable to be vigilant in your search, compare prices, and take advantage of any discounts or promotions available to minimize this expense.



Choosing the right accommodation is an essential aspect of any trip and can have a significant impact on your overall expenses. Iceland offers a wide range of accommodation options, ranging from luxury hotels to budget-friendly guesthouses and campsites. Here’s an overview of my accommodation expenses:


During my stay in Iceland, I opted for a mix of accommodations to suit my budget. In Reykjavik, I stayed in a mid-range hotel that cost around $150 per night. While this may seem expensive, keep in mind that Reykjavik is known for its higher accommodation prices compared to other parts of the country.


Outside of Reykjavik, I wanted to experience the unique charm of Icelandic guesthouses and farm stays. These accommodations not only provided a comfortable place to sleep but also allowed me to connect with local residents and gain a deeper understanding of the country. The average cost for this type of accommodation ranged from $80 to $120 per night.


If you’re looking to save money, consider staying in budget-friendly hostels or campsites. Iceland has numerous campsites where you can pitch a tent or rent a camping pod for as little as $15 to $30 per night. Hostels are another affordable option, with prices averaging around $30 to $50 per night for a dormitory-style room.


When booking accommodation, it’s important to consider the location as well. Staying closer to popular attractions may save you time and transportation costs. However, if you’re willing to take longer drives or use public transportation, you can find more budget-friendly options in remote areas.


Lastly, keep an eye out for accommodation deals and promotions. Some hotels and guesthouses offer discounts during off-peak seasons or last-minute booking opportunities. Utilize online booking platforms and compare prices to secure the best deals.


Overall, accommodation expenses will vary depending on your preferences and the duration of your stay. To budget wisely, research different options and prioritize based on your comfort level and financial capability.



Getting around Iceland requires careful planning, as transportation costs can significantly impact your overall trip budget. Here’s an overview of the transportation expenses I incurred during my Iceland trip:


Renting a car is a popular option for exploring Iceland, especially if you want the flexibility to visit remote areas and immerse yourself in the country’s natural beauty. The cost of car rentals can vary depending on the vehicle type, rental duration, and the time of year. On average, I spent around $80 to $100 per day for a small to mid-size car with basic insurance.


Keep in mind that fuel prices in Iceland are high, so you should allocate a portion of your budget for gasoline expenses. Additionally, consider purchasing a GPS navigation system or using a mobile app for navigation to avoid getting lost and incurring unnecessary costs.


If renting a car is not feasible for you, Iceland offers various public transportation options. Buses and coaches are available for traveling between major cities and popular tourist destinations. However, keep in mind that schedules may be limited, especially in remote areas.


For shorter distances within cities, consider utilizing the public transportation networks. Reykjavik, in particular, has an efficient bus system that can take you to various parts of the city for a reasonable fare.


If you prefer a guided experience, organized tours and day trips are prevalent in Iceland. These tours typically include transportation, making it convenient for exploring different attractions without the hassle of driving or navigating. However, prepared to pay higher prices for these services.


Another alternative for budget-conscious travelers is hitchhiking, which is a common practice in Iceland. It’s important to exercise caution and use common sense when hitchhiking, but many visitors have had positive experiences and saved money on transportation costs.


When budgeting for transportation, consider the distances you plan to travel, the convenience factor, and your comfort level. Plan your routes and transportation options in advance to ensure a smooth and cost-effective journey.


Food and Drinks

Exploring the culinary scene in Iceland can be a delightful experience, but it’s also important to factor in the cost of food and drinks when planning your budget. Here’s an overview of my food and drink expenses during my Iceland trip:


Restaurants and cafes in Iceland can be quite expensive, especially in popular tourist areas like Reykjavik. Expect to pay an average of $20 to $30 for a basic meal at a mid-range restaurant. However, there are also more affordable options available, such as local fast food joints or casual eateries where you can grab a quick bite for around $10 to $15.


To save money on meals, consider self-catering if you have access to kitchen facilities. Grocery stores like Bonus and Kronan offer a wide variety of ingredients at reasonable prices. Planning and preparing your meals can be a fun and cost-effective way to experience local cuisine while staying within your budget.


Don’t forget to try traditional Icelandic dishes like lamb stew, fish and chips, and skyr (a type of Icelandic yogurt). These can be found at local restaurants or even at food stalls and food markets, providing a chance to taste authentic Icelandic flavors at a lower cost.


When it comes to drinks, alcoholic beverages can be quite expensive in Iceland. Be prepared to pay around $10 for a basic beer at a bar or restaurant. If you’re looking to save on drinks, consider purchasing alcohol from duty-free stores at the airport or enjoying pre-dinner drinks at happy hours, where you can often find special deals.


It’s worth noting that tap water in Iceland is of excellent quality and safe to drink. Bring a reusable water bottle and refill it throughout the day to save on the cost of bottled water.


Overall, balancing dining out with self-catering and exploring more affordable options will help you make the most of your food budget while still savoring the flavors of Iceland.


Sightseeing and Tours

Exploring the breathtaking sights and attractions in Iceland is a must-do during your trip, and it’s essential to consider the costs of sightseeing and tours. Here’s a breakdown of my expenses in this category:


Many natural wonders in Iceland, such as waterfalls, geysers, and national parks, are free to visit and explore. These stunning landscapes offer incredible photo opportunities and allow you to immerse yourself in Iceland’s unique environment without spending a dime.


However, certain attractions may require an entrance fee. For example, some geothermal spas like the Blue Lagoon or the Secret Lagoon charge admission fees for a relaxing dip in their rejuvenating waters. The prices for these experiences vary, so it’s advisable to check their websites or book in advance to secure the best rates.


Exploring the Icelandic glaciers and ice caves is another popular activity that often requires booking a guided tour. The prices for these tours can vary depending on factors like duration, accessibility, and the level of adventure involved. Expect to spend around $100 to $200 for glacier tours, but keep in mind that these experiences are truly unforgettable and well worth the cost.


If you prefer a more guided experience, there are numerous tour operators in Iceland offering a wide range of excursions. These tours may include transportation, expert guides, and visits to multiple attractions. Prices for these tours vary greatly depending on the duration, type of tour, and inclusions, ranging from $50 for a half-day tour to several hundred dollars for multi-day adventures.


Keep an eye out for package deals or combo tours that combine multiple attractions, as they may offer better value for money. Additionally, some tours may have seasonal discounts, so it’s worth researching and comparing different options to find the best deals.


Lastly, consider alternative options such as self-guided tours using GPS or mobile apps. Many attractions in Iceland have informative signage and well-marked trails, allowing you to explore at your own pace without the need for a guide.


When budgeting for sightseeing and tours, prioritize the attractions that interest you the most and consider the level of guidance and convenience you prefer. Map out your itinerary in advance and allocate funds accordingly to ensure you make the most of your Icelandic adventure.


Activities and Entertainment

Engaging in various activities and entertainment options can add an extra layer of excitement to your Iceland trip. Here’s an overview of the expenses I incurred for activities and entertainment:


One of the most popular activities in Iceland is exploring the natural hot springs and geothermal pools. While some are free to access, others may require an entrance fee. The Blue Lagoon, for example, is a world-renowned geothermal spa that offers a unique and relaxing experience. The prices for entry and packages vary, starting from around $60 and going up to $300 for premium experiences.


For adventure enthusiasts, Iceland offers a wide range of thrilling activities such as glacier hiking, ice climbing, snorkeling in the Silfra Fissure, and even diving between tectonic plates in Thingvellir National Park. These activities are typically guided and come with a cost, ranging from $100 to $300 depending on the type and duration of the activity.


If you’re a nature lover, consider embarking on a whale watching tour. These tours provide an opportunity to witness breathtaking marine life, including whales, dolphins, and seals. Prices for such tours vary depending on the duration and the chances of spotting wildlife, averaging around $70 to $100.


Exploring caves and lava tunnels is another unique experience you can have in Iceland. Guided tours allow you to discover the hidden underground world, and prices range from $40 to $100 depending on the length and complexity of the tour.


Iceland also offers cultural and entertainment experiences, such as attending concerts, theater performances, and art exhibitions. The cost of these events varies depending on the venue and the type of show, ranging from around $20 to $100.


Furthermore, visiting museums and historical sites is a great way to delve into Iceland’s rich history and heritage. The admission fees for museums are typically around $10 to $15, while UNESCO World Heritage sites like Thingvellir National Park have an entrance fee of approximately $10.


It’s essential to research and plan your desired activities in advance to allocate the necessary funds. Consider your personal preferences and budget when choosing the activities and entertainment options that interest you the most.


Keep in mind that many activities and entertainment options in Iceland require advance booking, especially during the peak travel season. Planning ahead will not only ensure availability but also give you ample time to find the best prices and deals.


Souvenirs and Gifts

No trip is complete without bringing home a few mementos to cherish the memories of your Icelandic adventure. Here’s an overview of my expenses for souvenirs and gifts:


Iceland is known for its unique and locally crafted products, making it a great destination for souvenir shopping. From woolen goods like sweaters, hats, and blankets to Icelandic handicrafts, jewelry, and skincare products, there’s something for everyone.


Reykjavik, in particular, offers a wide range of boutiques, craft stores, and souvenir shops where you can find authentic Icelandic products. Prices vary depending on the item and the quality, so it’s wise to have a budget in mind and compare prices before making a purchase.


Another popular souvenir from Iceland is traditional Icelandic food products. Locally sourced chocolates, licorice, and jams make for delicious gifts to bring back home. You can find these items in supermarkets, local shops, or specialty food stores.


Keep in mind that Icelandic woolen products, such as sweaters and blankets, can be quite pricey due to the high-quality materials and craftsmanship. However, these items are not only souvenirs but also practical investments that can keep you warm for years to come.


If you’re on a tighter budget, consider opting for smaller souvenirs like keychains, magnets, or postcards. These items are more affordable and can still serve as meaningful reminders of your trip.


Additionally, consider supporting local artists and craftsmen by purchasing unique handmade items. Icelandic ceramics, glassware, and artwork are not only beautiful souvenirs but also support the local creative community.


When budgeting for souvenirs and gifts, it’s important to set aside a specific amount of money and prioritize the items that are most meaningful to you. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of shopping, so make sure to stick to your budget to avoid overspending.


Remember, souvenirs are not just material objects but also symbols of your experiences and the connections you made during your trip. Choose items that hold sentimental value and will bring you joy for years to come.


Miscellaneous Expenses

Aside from the major categories mentioned earlier, there are often miscellaneous expenses that can add up during your Iceland trip. Here’s a breakdown of some common miscellaneous expenses you might encounter:


First and foremost, it’s essential to have travel insurance to protect yourself in case of any unforeseen circumstances. The cost of travel insurance varies depending on factors such as your age, travel duration, and coverage options. On average, travel insurance can range from $50 to $200 for a typical trip to Iceland.


When exploring Iceland’s natural wonders, it’s crucial to have the appropriate gear and equipment. Depending on the time of year and the activities you plan to engage in, you may need to invest in items such as waterproof jackets, hiking boots, thermal clothing, and camping equipment. These expenses can vary greatly, so it’s best to research and plan accordingly.


Another miscellaneous expense to keep in mind is the cost of communication. Purchasing a local SIM card or using international roaming services can help you stay connected during your trip. Budget around $20 to $50 for this expense, depending on your data and call requirements.


Public restrooms in Iceland usually require a small fee for usage. While this expense might seem insignificant, it’s worth including in your miscellaneous budget. The cost per visit can range from $0.50 to $2, so it’s a good idea to have some coins or small bills on hand.


Gratuities are not generally expected in Iceland, as service charges are usually included in the bill. However, if you receive exceptional service or want to show appreciation, a small tip of around 10% is always appreciated.


Lastly, don’t forget to factor in any personal expenses like medications, toiletries, and any other miscellaneous items you may need during your trip. These costs can vary depending on personal preferences and needs, so it’s best to estimate your budget accordingly.


Keep in mind that the above mentioned miscellaneous expenses can vary depending on your individual circumstances and travel preferences. It’s always a good idea to budget a little extra for unexpected expenses and to have some flexibility in your overall budget.


Overall Trip Cost

Now that we’ve covered the breakdown of various expenses, let’s talk about the overall cost of a trip to Iceland. Please note that these figures are based on my personal experiences and may vary depending on individual travel preferences and circumstances.


On average, a typical trip to Iceland can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000 per person for a week-long visit. This estimate includes flights, accommodation, transportation, food, sightseeing, activities, souvenirs, and miscellaneous expenses.


Flights are usually one of the biggest expenses, ranging from $400 to $1,000 depending on factors such as the departure location, airline carrier, and booking time.


Accommodation costs vary depending on the type of accommodation and location. On average, plan for around $100 to $150 per night for mid-range hotels or guesthouses. Budget-friendly options like hostels or campsites can help lower costs.


Transportation costs vary depending on whether you choose to rent a car or use public transportation. Car rental prices range from $80 to $100 per day, and fuel expenses can add up. Public transportation costs, such as buses and taxis, should also be accounted for.


Food and drinks can range from $30 to $50 per day, depending on whether you choose to dine out or self-cater. Trying local delicacies and dining at high-end restaurants will increase costs, so it’s essential to budget accordingly.


Sightseeing and tours can range from $50 to $200 per activity, depending on the type and duration. Some attractions have entrance fees, while others are free to visit. Pre-booked guided tours and activities should be factored into your budget as well.


When it comes to souvenirs and gifts, allocate an amount based on personal preferences and the desire to bring back mementos of your trip. Budget around $100 to $200 for purchasing unique Icelandic products or local food items.


Lastly, miscellaneous expenses such as travel insurance, communication costs, restroom fees, and personal items can add up. Budget an additional $200 to $300 to cover these miscellaneous costs.


Remember, these figures are estimates, and your actual expenses may vary based on your travel style, duration of stay, and spending habits. It’s always wise to plan and budget carefully, allowing for some flexibility to accommodate unexpected expenses or changes in your itinerary.


By being mindful of your spending and making informed choices, you can have a fantastic Iceland trip while staying within your budget.



Planning and budgeting for a trip to Iceland can seem daunting, but with the right information and strategies, you can have an incredible adventure while managing your expenses. Here’s a summary of the key points to keep in mind:


Flights can be a significant expense, so be sure to monitor prices and book in advance to secure the best deals.


Accommodation costs vary, with options ranging from budget-friendly hostels and campsites to mid-range hotels or guesthouses.


Transportation expenses can be managed by choosing between car rentals, public transportation, or guided tours depending on your preferences and budget.


Food and drinks can be expensive, so strike a balance between dining out and self-catering to manage costs.


Budget for sightseeing and tours based on your desired activities and allocate funds accordingly.


Factor in souvenirs and gifts based on your preferences and budget, keeping in mind the unique products Iceland has to offer.


Don’t forget to include miscellaneous expenses such as travel insurance, communication, and personal items in your budget.


In conclusion, by planning ahead, researching, and budgeting wisely, you can have a fantastic trip to Iceland without breaking the bank. Balancing your expenses while still experiencing the beauty and culture of the country will ensure a memorable and enjoyable adventure.


Remember, these budget breakdowns are guidelines, and actual expenses may vary. Adapt your budget to your individual preferences and priorities, ensuring that you have enough funds for the experiences that matter most to you. With careful planning and a well-managed budget, your Iceland trip will be an unforgettable journey of a lifetime.