I spent 5 days in Iceland, and as I may have said a time or two, it most definitely wasn’t enough. I’d love to go back in the summertime and drive the Ring Road, and there are some ice caves and glaciers I didn’t get to explore. Plus, I haven’t eaten at every restaurant nor drunk all the coffee in Reykjavik yet, so of course I’ll need to spend some time there. Until then, I hope you’ll enjoy the cost analysis and other tips I’ve put together for you below on this amazing country.
Target Audience –
Everyone. Literally everyone. I can’t think of a single person who wouldn’t enjoy this country. Well, I guess if you don’t like being outside, but even still. Reykjavik has some great restaurants and cafes. It’s definitely more laid back than a lot of Europe – no high heels here! But I really think anyone could find something to do. It’s especially great for people who like the outdoors. Mountains, waterfalls, lakes, rolling green hills (in the summer), ski resorts (in the winter) – Iceland is a nature lovers paradise.
Cost Analysis –
While not the most expensive place I’ve ever been (I think that honor goes to Dubai), Iceland is not cheap either. Emma and I bought a discounted package through Travelzoo and IcelandAir which included our airfare, hotel, airport transportation and tours of the Golden Circle, South Shore, Northern Lights and the Blue Lagoon for $889.50. Considering that, it’s a little hard to break out everything for this trip, but I’ll try to make it as clear as possible for you!
Yikes! That’s a lot to spend over 5 days. But so worth it! I don’t have a good way to give you an accurate daily total since I’m not really sure how to break out the airfare, but if I take out airfare and accommodation, it comes out to $111.58/day. Not cheap at all. But shorter trips usually end up being more expensive per day than longer ones. Plus, there’s so much to see and do here that I think you are getting a lot for your money.
- Activities – $485.71
- Black and Blue lava cave and Silfra Fissure tour through Arctic Adventures – $192.60
- Golden Circle tour (booked through Iceland Air) – $72.00
- Blue Lagoon (since this was included in the cost of our package, I based this on the winter ticket price from their website) – $39.41
- Northern Lights boat tour (also included in the cost of our package – I used the rate on their website as well) – $76.73
- South Shore tour (also booked through Iceland Air) – $98.00
- Hallgrimskirkja tower ticket – $6.98
- Food – $141.54
- We had one expensive meal at Scandanavian that cost $45.77 (my personal cost). I had the Icelandic trout with sautéed veggies and split a bottle of wine with Emma, who had the lamb. It was so worth it.
- We went out for drinks one night on Emma’s request, something that is not common for me when I travel. Alcohol is very expensive in Iceland and I spent $31.00 on 3 drinks.
- Besides those two outings, all our meals were otherwise very well priced and not nearly as expensive as I was expecting, averaging around $8.10/meal (not counting breakfast which was included with our hotel).
- Souveniers – $119.81
- I bought a few gifts for people back home for a birthday, Mother’s Day and to thank a friend who watched my house and dogs while I was gone. I also bought my usual Christmas ornament and magnet, as well as postcards and stamps to mail home. And of course those two skeins of Icelandic wool yarn.
General Information –
A few helpful tips I picked up along the way and want to share with you!
- If you are going to spend more than a day or two in Iceland, rent a car. We didn’t and I can’t tell you how many times I wished I was driving myself so I could pull over and take pictures, or see the sites on my own time, on my own terms. Renting a car isn’t cheap, but I think it would be more than worth it, especially if you can find someone to split costs with you.
- On a similar note, this trip reaffirmed my dislike for large group tours. 100 people packed on a bus being shuffled from site to site – it makes me frustrated just thinking about it. I much prefer doing things on my own or in small groups. But we did learn a lot from our tour guide that we may not have learned otherwise, so at least there was an upside. Still, Iceland is easy to navigate and most sites are fairly close. If you prefer to do the guided tour thing, find a smaller company. You’ll get more personalized attention and your money is going to small businesses rather than a large corporation.
- As I mentioned before, the Golden Circle isn’t the top destination Iceland bills it to be. If you’re in Iceland for awhile, it’s worth a stop, but if you’re short on time, see the South Shore instead. Way more bang for your buck.
- Iceland is great any time of year. In the winter, the hours of opening for many attractions may be more narrow, but the costs are often cheaper. Plus, it’s the best time of year to see the Northern Lights! It’s not as cold as you might imagine, and everything is so charming covered in snow. In the summertime, you have the rolling green hills and the midnight sun. Things are open later and are more expensive. No matter what time you decide to go, you will have a great time.
Miss anything I wrote? Links to all 11 posts below!
Snowy, Amazing Iceland
Sliding Down a Lava Cave
Snorkeling the Silfra Fissure
The Golden Circle Part 1
The Golden Circle Part 2
Charming Reykjavik Part 1
Relaxing n the Blue Lagoon…Kind Of
South Shore Shenanigas
Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss and Eyjafjallajökull
Northern Lights Explosion
Charming Reykjavik Part 2