We love Iceland. We love it to bits. Yes, we admit that it has a reputation as expensive, and yes, that scares lots of people away. But it shouldn’t. We let it scare us away for a while, but once we eventually did visit we were kicking ourselves for not discovering this incredible country sooner.
The moral of the story? Iceland isn’t that expensive if you don’t want it to be.
Many people think that Iceland will be expensive to get to because it is so isolated. But in fact, it isn’t as isolated as you think it is. Flights from Toronto to Reykjavik only take 4 hours, and flights from London to the Icelandic capitol only take two hours. In fact, Iceland Air flies between pretty much every major North American city, and every major European city – and pretty much all of their flights have the option for a stop over in Iceland. Sometimes they even run promotions where the stop over is at no additional cost. So there really is no excuse not to hop off and experience Iceland for a week or two.
The best way to see Iceland is with your own transport. The ring road is a good quality sealed road that encircles the country. This road is passable by 2 wheel drives, and is in good condition almost all of the year.
Renting a car in Iceland doesn’t have to be that expensive either. We rented a medium size car with a car seat for a week for about 200 euros. We used the ultra budget and local SADcars, but others we met had rented from larger chain rental agencies such at Sixt for about the same price point as us. It pays to shop around.
We found accommodation rates in Iceland to actually be cheaper than in Australia or Canada… and certainly cheaper than London. And not only were the prices reasonable, but the rooms were all very high quality. Many rooms included breakfast, and they were all incredibly spacious, warm and cozy.
We had less accommodation options available to us in the winter when we visited, as many guesthouses only operate in the summer. If you visit in summer, you also have the benefit of having the option to camp. Camping in Iceland would be amazing. Yes the weather is unpredictable, but just imagine waking up to a stunning Icelandic landscape like this every morning.
Considering Iceland’s reputation for being super expensive, I was not expecting to be able to eat out that often. And yes, the cost of eating out is a bit steep – but when compared to other expensive countries, like Australia – it actually seemed rather reasonable. We didn’t eat out of a lot, but when we did we were always pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food.
It is super easy to self cater in Iceland as well. But be aware that once you leave the major towns the selection at the supermarkets drop dramatically.
The cost of “doing stuff” can be pretty high in Iceland, like the Blue Lagoon for example. But luckily, most of the “stuff to do” in Iceland is checking out incredible natural features like Glacier Lagoon or Geyser… and natural attractions are always free.