Iceland is known for its unique scenery and amazing natural wonders. But the land of ice and fire is also said to be quite expensive. So, how much does it cost to visit Iceland? In this guide, I'll explore the costs of visiting Iceland, focusing particularly on how renting a car is a cost-effective choice.
Step 1: Getting to Iceland
First you need to get a flight to Iceland. Of course there are many flights coming to Iceland every day and the price depends on when and where you’re flying from. However, winter flights to Iceland are much cheaper than over the summertime so you should be able to get a fair deal.
The least expensive flights to Iceland are from Europe, more often from the UK and Denmark, as they are the most frequent. From November to March, you could find flights for around 25.000 ISK (180 USD) or less, for both ways and check in luggage included.
Travel tips: I recommend booking a flight with a check in bag if you’re planning a winter trip to Iceland. The Icelandic winter is cold and not suitable for traveling light. If you want to enjoy the outdoor adventures of Iceland’s waterfalls and northern lights for example.
Step 2: Renting a car in Iceland
Keflavik Airport is located just outside of Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. So, the next step on your trip to Iceland is getting transportation. For many, including myself, renting a car in Iceland is the preferred option. It is both cheaper and more reliable than public transport.
A bus ticket from the airport to Reykjavik and back is about 8.000 ISK (60 USD). That’s more than an Iceland car rental rate per day. Plus, with a rental car in Iceland you can travel at your own pace and go wherever you want.
The standard rate for a car rental in Iceland differs depending on when you want to visit Iceland, same as the price for flights. The average winter price per day for a car rental in Iceland can be around 6000 to 8000 ISK (50-60 USD) for small and medium sized cars and SUVs.
Travel tips: Book in advance to get the best price for your car rental in Iceland and take advantage of coupon codes and special offers, if possible. I also recommend getting a 4x4 and full coverage insurance for winter driving in Iceland.
Step3. Finding accommodation in Iceland
Hotels can also be expensive but finding a place to stay in Iceland doesn’t have to be. There are ways you can stay comfortably without breaking the bank.
To get the best price for accommodation in Iceland, it is best to stay at one place for the entire trip. That way the price per day will be lower than switching from one hotel to another. If you’re traveling with a group an apartment could also be much more cost effective.
Additionally renting a house or an apartment will give you the option of cooking your own meals. This can help keep the travel budget down, as food prices in Iceland are rather high, compared to what you’re probably used to.
Travel tips: There are cabins and summer houses you can rent all over Iceland. I highly recommend renting it. It’s usually much cheaper than accommodations in Reykjavik and many come with a private hot tub. You’ll be closer to Iceland’s beautiful nature and with a trusty rental car, getting to sites will be much less of a hazard.
Step 4: Food in Iceland
Reykjavik has a great selection of restaurants, both for casual and fine dining. However, eating out in Iceland can be expensive. With the average price for a hamburger meal being around 3.500 ISK (26 USD) plus drinks, which aren’t exactly cheap. Unless you order water, which is free in Iceland.
If you want to cook your own meals, I recommend visiting supermarkets and buying your food there. Here it is very good to have a rental car when shopping in Iceland. Keep in mind alcohol is not sold in supermarkets, only in special liquor stores called “Vinbúðin.”
On a five-day trip you can expect to spend at least 50.000 to 60.000 ISK (380 to 440 USD) on food in Iceland.
Travel tips: Whether you decide to eat out or cook your own meal I strongly recommend trying some Icelandic food, like Icelandic lamb, fish and of course Iceland's most popular road food; pylsa. And if you’re really brave try the fermented shark with some Brennivín.
Step 5: Recreation and Tours in Iceland
Most travelers spend most on recreation and tours in Iceland. With a rental car you of course skip the tour price for guided bus tours, which can be quite pricey. That leaves more for driving and recreation.
You might want to check out some of Iceland's famous geothermal hot spring pools, such as the Blue Lagoon. Although this will cost a bit it is highly worth it as well as other fun activities found in Iceland.
On the plus side there are many things you can do for free as well. For example, visiting waterfalls, national parks, or black sand beaches on Iceland’s south coast. With the only cost being fuel and a small parking fee at most.
Travel tips: With a rental car in Iceland, you can easily plan your dream trip and visit as many of these incredible sites as you can fit into your travel schedule. At night your rental car will allow you to find Northern Lights in Iceland at the location of your choosing.
It’s impossible to put an exact number on the total price for a trip to Iceland. I do however hope this will give you some idea about what the cost is for visiting Iceland. Like any other place you can spend a lot, and believe me it’s easy in Iceland, or you can opt for less expensive alternatives.
I think it’s best to combine the best of both worlds. Save money where you can and spend on things that are important to your Iceland trip.
As Iceland’s highest rated car rental, both for customer service and safety, you’ll definitely get your money's worth when renting with Blue Car Rental. Offering a carefree driving experience with their Zero Worry policy and seamless pick up and drop off process through their online check-in platform.