Just How Expensive Is Iceland? A Definitive Guide

Find out whether Iceland is expensive to visit by examining three key areas of travel in the region: Accommodation, transportation, and attractions.
Is Iceland expensive to visit? Photo: 12019 | Pixabay

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Iceland is a Nordic island nation renowned for its stunning waterfalls, natural swimming pools, volcanic craters, thermal springs, lush peaks, and sprawling glaciers.

It’s where one could go from whale watching and witnessing a live volcanic eruption one day, to island hopping, taking a dip in the geothermal Blue Lagoon, and looking out at the Northern Lights the next.

But if you’ve landed here, chances are you probably already knew that. And now, it’s you’re growing curiosity about Iceland that has you considering making it the next destination on your travel bucket list. But there’s just one more important question left to ask: Is visiting Iceland expensive?

The Northern Lights over Iceland. Photo: Nicolas J Leclercq | Unsplash

Let’s Jump Right In

Iceland is a pretty expensive place to visit. In order to get a good idea of where your money will go, we’ll need to cover a few key areas that are basic requirements of traveling, like accommodation, transportation, and attractions.

First, here’s how the Icelandic Krona compares to popular currencies around the world as of October 2022.

1 USD = 144.55 ISK

1 EUR = 140.54 ISK

1 AUD = 89.62 ISK

1 CNY = 20.13 ISK

1 JPY = 0.97 ISK

A prairie small town in Vik. Photo: jackmac34 | Pixabay

Hotel Prices are Expensive

As Iceland climbs up the charts of being one of the most popular places to visit in the world, so do its hotel prices. In Reykjavik, the capital city, and, probably the area you’ll most likely consider staying in, hotels can start anywhere from $90 to $150 per night.

And near popular attractions in Iceland like Blue Lagoon, Gullfoss Falls, and Skógafoss, expect the prices to jump even higher. Go ahead, take a look at the map from Google Hotels and see for yourself.


You’ll Most Likely Rent a Car or Go on a Guided Tour

Unfortunately, there isn’t any elaborate public metro or train network to help travel around Iceland. However, there is a public bus system, Strætó, that takes passengers on routes through Reykjavik and around the country. The prices for travel within Reykjavik are as follows:

Single tickets:

  • 550 ISK – Adults
  • 275 ISK – Ages 12-17  
  • 275 ISK – Elderly
  • 0 ISK – 11yrs and younger

Day passes:

  • 2,200 ISK 1-Day Pass
  • 5,000 ISK 3-Day Pass
A guided bus tour of Iceland can be expensive. Photo: Juan Encalada | Unsplash

Outside of the capital, prices vary by the number of zones the bus passes through. Nevertheless, the most popular options for getting around Iceland are via car rental and self-guided travel or organized tour.

Guided tours in Iceland can put a significant dent in your pocket, and let’s face it, some should absolutely be necessary for certain outdoor excursions involving, let’s say, touring volcanic sites, whale watching, and trekking ice caves.

But, it’s also perfectly okay to rent a car and explore any one of Iceland’s scenic routes, like Arctic Coast Way, Westfjord’s Way, Ring Road, and Diamond Circle, on your own. You’ll still have to shell out a lot more cash than using public transportation, but hey, at least you’re paying for the convenience! Speaking of which …  


Explore Iceland’s Natural Wonders for Free

Fortunately, Iceland is a beautiful natural wonderland where most of its attractions are, well, free. All you’ll need is a car, and a map of the region’s scenic routes, and you’ve got access to your own hop-on/hop-off tour of waterfalls, mountains, lagoons, seaside cliffs, and even the Northern Lights. However, if you want to truly experience the best outdoor activities in Iceland, you’ll have to spend a few bucks on certain attractions:   

  • Blue Lagoon: 8,490+ ISK
  • Whale Watching: 25,000+ ISK
  • Snowmobile Over Vatnajökull Glacier: 22,000+ ISK
  • Eldhestar Horseback Riding: 9,500+ ISK
  • Ice Cave Tour: 21,104+ ISK

VERDICT: INEXPENSIVE. Because there are plenty of free things you can do in Iceland.

The famous Blue Lagoon of Iceland | Photo: smaus | Pixabay

Let’s Get Started!

Despite the price tag, I’d say Iceland is well worth the visit. Book your flight, find a decent hotel in the capital, rent a car, explore its incredible natural wonders on your own, and join in on a few fun outdoor activities.

So, are you ready? Let’s get started on your grand adventure in Iceland. Safe and happy travels!


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