Iceland is one of Europe’s most expensive destinations. Here are some strategies from Rick Steves Iceland for keeping costs down.
Consider Airbnb. Airbnb and similar sites rent properties that are typically far cheaper than hotels. If you’re willing to forego hotel services, you’ll get more space and amenities for your money.
“Go” down the hall. Iceland’s characteristic guesthouses typically offer basic rooms with a shared bathroom, which cost much less than rooms with ensuite bathrooms.
Have a big lunch and a small dinner. Even the fanciest restaurants offer excellent value lunch specials in the $25 range. Enjoy a sit-down meal for lunch, then picnic or grab cheap takeout for dinner.
Picnic. Cultivate the art of picnicking. Use Iceland’s discount supermarket chains—Krónan and Bónus—to stock up. Even coffee is expensive, so bring single-serving packets of instant from home.
Know what’s included. Don’t feel obligated to purchase a drink. Carafes of tap water are always free. If you’ve paid for unlimited soup and bread, don’t be shy about going back for seconds!
Economize on alcohol. Stock up at the airport duty-free store on arrival or at government-run liquor stores (called Vínbúðin). If you’re going to a bar, go during happy hour.
Skip the Blue Lagoon. While famous and a highlight for many visitors, the Blue Lagoon costs ten times as much as Iceland’s many thermal swimming pools...which are also a more authentic experience.
Sightsee selectively. Icelandic museums are typically very good, but expensive. If you’ll be sightseeing a lot in the capital, consider a Reykjavík City Card. Fortunately, Iceland’s natural wonders are free.
Splurge where it counts. When you do splurge, choose an experience you’ll always remember. Minimize souvenir shopping and focus instead on collecting wonderful memories.
Find out how to make the most of every day and every dollar with Rick Steves Iceland!