Iceland is notoriously known as an expensive place to visit! But it is a place that had literally been on my bucket list for years! One thing that kept putting us off was thinking it would be a really expensive trip! So when I finally booked we did a lot of planning and research on how to save money in Iceland. In this guide we round up our top tips for saving money in Iceland on food, accommodation, excursions and more!
Best Time to Travel to Save Money in Iceland
Peak season in Iceland, aka the Northern hemisphere summer months particularly May – September, is the worst time to visit Iceland in terms of expensive accommodation, hire cars and flights. Travelling in the off season will definitely save you money.
By travelling out of season, you will still get to see many of the best attractions that Iceland has to offer but without the largest price tag! The only downside to this is travelling to places off the main roads will be hard due to road closures due to bad weather!
But the upside to this is that you are more likely to see the Northern Lights! If you don’t want to go out every night looking for the lights why not check out our guide to hotels with an aurora alarm!
If you do decide to travel in the off season though be sure to pack plenty of layer as it gets very cold in Iceland in the Winter!
Best Accommodation to Book to Save Money in Iceland
When we travelled to Iceland we booked a hotel (Hotel Stracta in Hella) that had some kitchen facilities and took some food from home! This meant we were only buying the perishables in Icelandic supermarkets and limiting our food costs. We planned meals and lunches before we went and this way we kept our costs down.
Another great thing about Hotel Stracta is that is had a northern lights alarm! This was great as the staff would alert us if there was a show and saved us money from going on a specific northern lights excursion!
Other cheaper accommodation options in Iceland include: hiring a camper van and using this for your accommodation, and there are a wealth of airBnBs, BnBs and hostels available in country but be sure to book the accommodation well in advance!
Where to Stay In Iceland to Save Money
Reykjavik being the capital is obviously the most expensive place to stay in the while of Iceland. As I mentioned above, we stayed out in Hella as this was more convenient for the Golden Circle and other attractions and also was a great money saver! Getting out of the city will definitely save you money.
If you are in Reykjavik however consider purchasing the Reykjavik card as this will save you money on attractions within the city.
Food and Drinks Top Tips for Saving Money in Iceland
Every day before we left our accommodation we made a packed lunch! What we found when we were driving around the country was that where there were cafes at the tourist spots they were often some of the most expensive food we found in the whole of Iceland! . By having a packed lunch with us we saved a lot of money and is something that every budget conscious traveller in Iceland should consider doing!
Top Tip: You can take up to 3kg of food into Iceland with you (Be sure to check regulations for excluded foods)! This means you can take some staples with you and save on supermarket cost in countries!
Speaking of supermarkets, as soon as we landed in country we headed to the Supermarket in Reykjavik. Reykjavik has the highest concentration of supermarkets in the country and also the most variety. The cheapest supermarket we found to be BONUS!
Top Tip: Check the opening times of supermarkets in Rekjavik against your flight times to make sure you know the best one to go for for your itinerary so you don’t waste time looking for open supermarkets!
If you are going to eat out rather than cooking for yourself, you might want to consider getting take away instead of eating in as this tends to be a cheaper option! The hot dogs in Iceland are legendary and something to try on your travels round the country!
Alcohol in Iceland
Alcohol is very expensive in Iceland. If having a drink during your travels is important to you then definitely make sure you take advantage of the duty free!
Self Drive or Excursions – What is Cheaper
Hiring a car is obviously an expensive thing to do! But when we looked at all of the sites we wanted to see on our travels against the costs of excursions we found that hiring the car was definitely the cheaper option
Top Tip: Please don’t try to save money by not getting full car insurance. There are lots of loose roads in Iceland so make sure you are fully covered with stone and ash coverage! Some banks and credit cars offer insurances as part of the packages but be sure that you are fully covered if you are trying to save money this way!
Cheap places to visit in Iceland
I was really surprised in Iceland about how many of their natural sights didn’t have admissions fees and where they did they were nominal! If you are trying to save money, I would prioritise going to natural sites in order to save money!
Also, one of the most expensive places to visit in Iceland is the Blue Lagoon. While this is on many peoples bucket lists for Iceland there are cheaper alternatives such as the Secret Lagoon or even just visiting a local pool!
Top Tips for Saving Money in Iceland for Families!
Familes did you know that children under the age of seven get in free to many of Iceland’s attractions, in many cases admissions don’t start being charged until children become teenagers! So be sure to time your visit with young kids to save on costs!’
What to pack for Saving Money in Iceland
As I mentioned food and drink is expensive in Iceland so by taking some gear with you, you can save a lot of money! The things we packed that saved us the most money were our:
As we could make coffee at home and it kept us going all day! We loved these travel themed coffee thermos!
Iceland water is safe to drink so carrying a reusable water bottle will not only help the environment but will also save you some pennies! Again, we love this travel themed one!
What are your Iceland money saving tips for Iceland?