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The True Cost of a Trip to Iceland: A Budget Breakdown

Julia Iceland 2 Comments

If you’re wondering how much a trip to Iceland costs or are working on creating a budget for an Iceland vacation, you’re in the right place. I carefully detailed out my 12 day trip to Iceland in July 2022 to ensure I could pass on the details of what a vacation to Iceland costs.

Dive into my full Iceland trip expenses below, along with the common prices of things in Iceland. This will help give you a high level understanding of what a trip to Iceland costs to avoid unpleasant surprises. After all Iceland is an expensive destination to visit!

Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase.

My Budget for Iceland: The Cost for 2 People

Iceland is not exactly a budget destination, but it is completely worth it if you can swing the expense. It’s a beautiful (and safe) country full of amazing experiences that you can’t get elsewhere!

As I did travel with a partner in crime, I will be sharing the cost of traveling to Iceland for 2 people for 12 days in a camper van.

Unfortunately, it’s not so simple as to just half the expenses to get a per person trip cost to Iceland as some expenses, like our camper van, would be the same whether we had one or three people in it.

However, with all of the details provided, you’ll have a clear idea of what types of expenses you may incur on your Iceland vacation.

For a frame of reference, the general exchange rate was 140 ISK = $1 USD during my trip.

Cost of a Flight to Iceland

As airfare is a variable expense depending where you are coming from, I thought I’d split out the cost of flying to Iceland. Fortunately, we were able to get direct flights from Raleigh, NC to Reykjavik, Iceland on Icelandair.

  • Flight to Iceland from USA: $1464
  • Uber to the airport: $25
  • Uber from the airport: $25

Total cost of flying to Iceland for 2 people: $1,514

Transportation Costs around Iceland

By far the most expensive part of Iceland is securing transportation around the island – particularly if you’re doing a camper van! Make sure to book in advance to get the type of car or camper van you want. You’re also most likely to find discounts on cars and camper vans if you book months in advance.

Additionally, gas can be expense (349 ISK per liter). If you are planning to drive around the Ring Road or into the Westfjords, know that your gas costs will add up quickly!

  • Camper van rental: $2,965
  • Extra rental items (sleeping bags, camping chairs, french press, camping table): $99
  • Gravel protection for van rental: $122 for 12 days
  • Diesel (Gas): ~$160 per fill up x 6 fill ups to do the Ring Road + Westfjords = $960
  • Ferry to Vestmannaeyja: $100 (14,000 ISK)
  • Parking: $24 (3,350 ISK)

Total cost of transportation around Iceland for 2 people for 12 days: $4,270

Learn all about renting a camper van in Iceland!

Cost of Food in Iceland

Dining out in Iceland is expensive. Fortunately, there are grocery stores located throughout the country making it easy to stop and top up your cooler. We ate out rarely to keep our overall Iceland cost of living down.

  • Eating out: $93 (Lunch + Dinner + Lunch)
  • Groceries: $230
  • Drinks out: $39 (2 beers each)
  • Drinks in: $100

Total cost of food in Iceland for 2 people for 12 days: $462

Campsite Prices in Iceland

Camping in Iceland is common for those traveling by camper van or even car with tent. Each campsite is charged on a per night per person basis, but the fees are manageable at around 1,500 – 2,000 per night per person.

It’s worth noting that some campsites also charge separately for showers. We personally only stayed at campsites that had showers included.

Also, laundry is available at many campsites. In some places it is included in the cost, and in others, like where we did laundry, there was an additional charge for it. By doing laundry we were able to pack lighter and have more space available in our camper van!

  • Campsites: $29 (40,400 ISK)
  • Laundry: $9 (600 ISK for washer + 600 ISK for dryer)

Total cost of camping in Iceland for 2 people for 12 nights: $297 (41,600 ISK)

Activities & Tour Costs in Iceland

There are endless activities in Iceland to keep you busy, and each one will wow you in this beautiful county. While you can cut costs here by avoiding tours and paid hot springs, it is a great way to experience the beauty of the island.

Here are the activities and top tours in Iceland that we did:

Total tour and activity cost in Iceland for 2 people: $669 (93,780 ISK)

Total Cost of Traveling Iceland for 12 Days

Our trip to Iceland was not a budget vacation by far. We traveled in peak season doing all of the top things to do in Iceland that interested us. I regret nothing – particularly traveling in a bigger 4×4 camper van. Squeezing into the smallest space for 12 days would have been too much!

Here’s what our overall Iceland trip cost came out to:

  • Flights: $1,514
  • Transportation: $4,270
  • Food & Drink: $462
  • Accommodation: $297
  • Activities & Tours: $669

Total Iceland budget for 2 people with a camper van for 12 days: $7,212

This of course equates to $3,606 per person or close to $300 per day per person with all expenses included. If you take out the flight to Iceland cost, it is a more reasonable $237.42 per person per day. Unfortunately, a vacation to Iceland costs a pretty penny!

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Iceland - Seagull sitting on an iceberg

Additional Insights into Prices in Iceland

Since everyone’s trip to Iceland is a bit different, everyone’s budget will also vary. Here is some additional insight into Iceland costs to help you plan your trip, whether that be renting a car and staying at hotels and eating out at restaurants or camper vanning around cooking your own meals.

Driving Costs in Iceland

The ability to travel around Iceland is critical, and the best way to do that is by renting a car. Unfortunately, renting a car can be expensive in Iceland. From the car or camper van rental to the cost of gas. Plan to put the majority of your Iceland trip budget here.

Pro Tip: Roads in Iceland can be challenging, so it is worth springing for a 4×4 to tackle all the roads with ease!

  • Car Rental: $115+ per day
  • Camper Van Rentals: $150+ per day
  • Car Insurance: Variable depending what you elect for
  • Gas: ~$9.40 per gallon (349 ISK per liter was typical with 1 US gallon = 3.8 liters)

Learn all about driving in Iceland!

Camping & Hotel Costs in Iceland

If you have a camper van, you’re in luck as you will find affordable campsites in Iceland. It’s worth noting that you do have to stay in campsites and cannot wild camp any longer – plan this into your Iceland budget.

Alternatively, you can opt to stay in hostels or hotels throughout the country for a more luxurious trip. In summer, the costs of these lodging options are around:

  • Campsites: $12 per person (1,700 ISK)
  • Laundry at Campsites: $8.50 (600 ISK for washer + 600 ISK for dryer)
  • Hostels: $45+
  • Budget Hotels: $135+
  • Mid-range Hotels: $225+
  • Luxury Hotels: $500+

Cost of Restaurants in Iceland

A fast way to increase your Iceland vacation budget is to eat out. We sought out some less expensive restaurant options, which are what the below costs are based on, but you can easily spend $15 – 30 per plate at a restaurant.

Fortunately, there are many ways to cut down on food costs, such as stopping at the grocery stores and cooking your own meals.

  • Hot dog: $3.20 (450 ISK)
  • Beer: $11.40 (1,600 ISK)
  • Kebab: $11 (1,500 ISK)
  • Pizza: $18.60 (2,600 ISK)
  • Fish & chips: $14.65 – $19.20 (2,050 – 2,690 ISK)

Grocery Store Costs in Iceland

As a way to save money in Iceland, consider making your own meals. If you’re staying at campsites, many offer kitchens to help aid in your cooking. Also, many camper vans come with a camp stove to help you make simple meals in the van. Take advantage of this to help keep your expenses in Iceland low.

  • Cup of noodles: 55 – 259 ISK
  • Frozen veggie mix: 319 ISK
  • Yogurt: 223 – 659 ISK
  • Potato chips: 400 ISK
  • Bread: 549 ISK
  • Dozen eggs: 598 ISK
  • Cheese: 1,159 ISK

Alcohol Prices in Iceland

Alcohol is expensive in Iceland. There is no way around that. For one, you can only get 2.25% alcoholic beverages at the grocery stores. Any stronger drinks have to be bought at their alcohol store: Vinbudin (Vínbúðin).

Pro Tip: If you are planning to drink, hit up the Duty Free shop before you exit the airport! Alcohol is about half the cost there.

  • 2.25% Viking Gosi: 179 – 369 ISK per beer
  • 2.25% Einstok Lettol: 219 – 399 ISK per beer
  • Bottle of 38% Moonshine: 3000 ISK
  • Vodka typically runs ~5000 ISK per bottle

Tour Prices in Iceland

There are endless tour options in Iceland. You won’t want to miss some of the top tours like the below, but make sure to check out Get Your Guide and Viator to see what else looks of interest to you!

Additional Info on the Cost of Traveling to Iceland

With all the details above, you likely have a solid understanding of what you will need to budget for a trip to Iceland. However, you may still have additional questions.

Is it expensive to go to Iceland?

Yes, traveling to Iceland is expensive! In addition to being a Nordic country, along with Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, Iceland is an island. These two factors alone make everything in Iceland cost more than most tourist destinations.

To plan accordingly, consider the costs of traveling to Western Europe or the United States, and add another 25% to those costs. I’d estimate that’s about what a vacation in Iceland costs you. The main exception here is petrol in Iceland is about 2 – 3x the cost in the USA as it is priced in liters versus gallons.

How much will an Iceland trip cost?

The cost of a trip to Iceland will vary depending on how you opt to travel, when you go, what activities you do, if you’re traveling alone, and many other factors. On average, you should budget a couple hundred dollars per person per day to make the most of your time in Iceland.

Is it possible to travel to Iceland on a budget?

Budget travel to Iceland is possible, but it will never be a “budget destination”. This means there are many ways to save money and limit the cost of your trip to Iceland, but even so, it will be a minimum of $50 – $100 per day – even if you’re hitchhiking and camping!

Traveling to Iceland isn’t exactly a budget trip like Southeast Asia or Central America where you can get by on $20 per day.

Find more ways to save money while traveling with these 44 tips. They’ll help you make your trip to Iceland affordable!

Sigoldugljufur, Iceland - Valley of tears - a series of waterfalls in a canyon

Continue Planning Your Trip to Iceland

Now that you have an idea of the cost of a trip to Iceland, it’s time to start planning more of your vacation. Here are a few resources to help you get started – particularly if you are planning to road trip Iceland like we did!

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The True Cost of a Trip to Iceland

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