2 weeks winter itinerary in Iceland06/07/2023
Visiting Berlenga Grande Island in Portugal17/07/2023
Costs of a two week trip in Iceland
All prices shown in the post are updated for summer 2023.
Iceland has a reputation as an expensive place to visit, and quite rightly so.
Even for lovers of traveling in Europe, Iceland is considered relatively expensive and you need to prepare a good few thousands for visiting such a place.
Most people travel around Iceland quite the same way – renting a car, wandering between hostels/hotels along the way, and doing some of the unique attractions of the place.
In the next post, I will detail the costs you can expect for a two-week trip to Iceland, what are the main things that are going to make the whole experience more expensive for you, and tips on how to reduce costs so that you do not have to break the bank to travel to this amazing place.
In this post I will calculate the average cost of a two-week trip in Iceland for a couple (by the way, you are welcome to read our Iceland trip itinerary), and at the end I will describe my personal costs of the trip.
Of course, if you are a family/alone/traveling with friends, you will need to make the various adjustments in costs.
So shall we begin?
Flight costs for a trip to Iceland
In Iceland's case, flights to the island are one of the least troubling expenses.
If you are flying from Europe, you can check flight prices from an airline called WowAir..
Of course, the price will fluctuate greatly depending on supply and demand, so it's not surprising that in June-August the price range will probably be much higher.
In the lower season, prices will be a lot easier to stomach.
For actual numbers, you'll have to look for yourself.
Tips for reducing flight costs to Iceland:
- SkyScanner: In my opinion, it is the best site for finding flights . With SkyScanner, you can look at prices of each day in a given month if your dates are flexible.
You can also see flight offers from a variety of airlines and booking agents, allowing you to easily consolidate your hunt for good prices to one platform.
- If you come across a good flight fare - just book it. In this case, waiting for airfares to drop can cost you planning and booking things.
Car rental costs for a 2 week trip in Iceland
The main way to get around Iceland today is by renting a car.
Of course, some travelers choose to do this in a more economical backpacking way and rely on hitchhiking and other mobility methods, yet most travelers still choose to travel in Iceland by car.
Car rental costs vary between the high tourist season (June - August) and the weaker season (October - April), and the price differences can be significant.
In addition, car rental costs vary depending on the number of people sharing the car, so in this case I will present the general costs for renting a car in Iceland for a full two weeks, upon pick-up and drop-off at the company's offices.
Car Rental Costs for 4WD in Iceland
This is the recommended and preferred choice for many travelers, both because of the safety issue and because it is possible to reach less touristy places independently.
Using a 4WD vehicle, you are also allowed to drive F roads (dirt roads in Iceland) - Learn more about F-roads in Iceland.
A medium-sized 4WD car, the cheapest will cost you around $ 1700 and above (peak season).
By the way - ordering a year in advance can reduce costs by about $ 300/400..!
Choosing an identical vehicle with different dates (June 1-15/ March 1-15) can range from $1000 or more.
Booking about six months in advance for the low season can reach prices of about $ 800 even..! (From experience).
Costs of renting a private car in Iceland
The cheapest small car (Toyota Aygo/Hyundai i10 style) from August 1st to August 15th will cost you $900 (upgrading to an automatic car is around $50 more). A larger private car will already cost you around $1,300 or more on the same dates.
On less popular dates (May 1-15), a small car will cost around $600, and larger vehicles will cost as much as $900.
Note - in any case of renting a car in Iceland, the prices will depend on the season you chose to visit. I recommend checking the exact costs according to your dates.
I did all the price checks through the Rental Cars website which gives the best prices I've seen.
Tips to reduce car rental costs in Iceland:
Pick-up and return of the vehicle
Airport pick-up can cost more than picking up your car in town the day before you hit the road.
Try to check this option when searching for a rental car.
In Reykjavik, in fact, there's no need to travel by car, and if you're already spending a few days there, it's best to pick up the car at the company's offices before you set off.
By the way - in many places there is a considerable difference in price if you pick up and return the car at different points.
I didn't notice such a difference in Iceland so you can definitely consider picking up and dropping off the car at different points.
Bus from the airport to Reykjavik
There are shuttle buses at almost all hours of the day that pick you up at the airport and drop you straight at your hostel/hotel.
The cost is about $60 both ways (children from 5 to 15 years old at half price, and under five years old free) - link to book a ride.
Car pick-up and drop-off time
There are quite a few price differences in different pick-up hours. It is best to pick up and drop off at 12:00 (noon).
Picking up earlier and returning later (even if it's a total difference of two hours here and there) increases the price of renting a car by tens of dollars!
Rent a manual car
Manual vehicles are cheaper.
Cost summary for two weeks of car rental in Iceland:
High season: The cost to rent a car from July to August starts at $900 for a regular car and increases to $ 1,600 for a 4WD.
Other time: Costs vary but the average is around $600 for a small vehicle and about $1,100 for a 4WD.
Estimated fuel cost: Assuming you make a circle around the island, the cost of fuel is likely to be around $400 or so.
Food & Drink Costs for a Trip to Iceland
I mainly cooked food independently in order to both to reduce costs and because when I traveled in Iceland the vegan offerings were not really at their peak.
It was really convenient because every hostel I went to had a fully equipped kitchen where you could cook freely (and meet people on the way).
Although Iceland is a place where you can't grow fruits and vegetables (which is my main diet), in the supermarkets you can actually find vegetables and fruits, interesting spreads, frozen dishes and many raw products.
Costs of basic goods in Iceland:
- Bread: A standard loaf of bread will usually cost around 350 kronor ($3/4).
- Water: In Iceland you can always drink tap water (and there were times when we also filled from the streams along the way), so there is no need to buy bottled mineral water everywhere (better for the environment too).
It is recommended to bring reusable bottle (I like the ones that fold) and fill it at various points. If you still insist on mineral water, a 1.5-liter bottle will cost you around 270 kronor ($2).
- Vegetables: Tomatoes are expensive, a kilo is expected to cost 650 kronor ($5), so you might want plenty of potatoes and onions that cost around 200-400 kronor ($2/3).
- Fruit: A kilo of apples/bananas/oranges is expected to cost around 350 kronor (about $2/3).
- Pasta and rice: A kilo of one of these costs around 400 kronor (about $3).
Restaurant food costs in Iceland:
Iceland is full of lots of local restaurants, cafes and bars.
Most of the global food chains are not active, which to me is quite wonderful because you get to support the local places and population and taste Icelandic food.
An average meal at a cheap restaurant will probably cost you around $20 per serving, compared to more expensive restaurants whose price per serving is already climbing to $50 or more.
Hamburger: Burgers will probably cost around 1,500 kronor which is $12, fries will come for another $3 or so.
Pizza: On a large pizza platter of regular pizza (margarita) you will pay almost $ 20, and if you want to indulge in toppings then the special pizzas cost around $ 30.
Coffee: For a cappuccino you will pay in the region 600 kronor, which is about 4-5 dollars, like in Israel :)
Draught beer: A pint of local draught beer will cost you about 1,300 kronor (between $9 and $10).
Tips to reduce costs of food in Iceland:
As I mentioned, grocery shopping and independent cooking will definitely lower your food costs.
Spreads and tortillas
One of the main things I bought at the supermarkets there was spreads (pesto, tomatoes, etc.) and tortillas.
I would make a tortilla with vegetables or leftover food from the night before and it would make for an excellent lunch on the go.
The tortillas don't spoil as quickly as bread, and in the Icelandic cold, the spreads are well preserved even inside the car.
Cooking on a stove
Another option that can be really good (even if it's just for coffee and tea on the way) is to bring a gas stove with you and buy a gas cylinder when you arrive.
This will allow you to cook on the go if needed and will save a few euros that would have been wasted on restaurant snacks, with a small investment of $10 on a stove.
Summary of estimated costs of food during a trip to Iceland:
Well, that's a really hard metric to estimate because it depends on how gluttonous you are and where and how you choose to eat.
Assuming you rely on independent cooking most of the time, some beers in pubs and a meal at a simple restaurant twice a week, you'll probably spend about $400 per person.
If you love the good restaurant life and rely mostly on it, the cost can reach even double that.
Accommodation costs in Iceland
Accommodation will probably be one of the main parameters in the costs of your trip to Iceland and this is greatly influenced by the nature of your trip and the sleep experience you expect.
Costs of hostels in Iceland
This is probably the cheaper form of accommodation you'll find (after camping in a tent), but don't expect European prices here either.
A bed in a shared room at a cheap hostel in Reykjavik will cost you around $45 or so.
If you are a couple and looking for a private room in a guesthouse, the cost will start at around $80 a night in winter, and around $150 a night in the summer months.
Outside the city, prices are getting much more serious.
In summer, a room for a couple in towns like Hofn or Vic can cost about $180 a night, compared to winter when the cost will be half under the same conditions.
Costs of hotels in Iceland
If the nature of your trip is more geared towards staying in a hotel, be prepared to spend quite a bit.
In Reykjavik you pay at least $100 a night for a good hotel.
When you leave Reykjavik, as mentioned before, prices rise.
In winter, a double room in a good hotel will cost you around $150-200 or more (depending on the town and exact dates), compared to the summer when you're aiming for an average of $300-400 per couple in good hotels.
Costs of camping in Iceland
So first of all - this is a site that will help you a lot in finding camping places in Iceland.
Prices at campsites are usually around US$15-35 per couple per night.
Campsites usually include cooking areas, showers and toilets, electricity and internet points and so on.
As far as I know, wild camping is not acceptable in Iceland, and it's not very nice to just pitch a tent "on the go" so respect the rules of the place.
In addition, it is important to note that in all of Iceland campfires are strictly forbidden!
Tips to reduce accommodation costs in Iceland:
- Book ahead: In most places can cancel free of charge, and it's a shame to miss out on good prices.
- Booking.com/Agoda (no difference): I personally made all the bookings for my trip through Booking which gave the best prices at the time.
Today on my trips I mainly book through Agoda which gives really attractive prices even compared to Booking.
Another site you should consider booking through is Hostel World, which gives excellent prices as well.
- The standard of accommodation in Iceland is quite high: Even simpler hotels will provide a pleasant experience. To me it's just a place to put your head at night and I wouldn't insist on the higher rated hotels.
- Couchsurfing: For me this is always the preferred option, not only because of cost reductions but also because it creates a personal connection to the local population.
- Travel in winter: guaranteed reduction of almost half the price :).
Approximate cost summary of accommodation in Iceland:
Winter: The cost of overnight accommodation per person in the hostel (shared room/double room) will cost around $45-80. A hotel will probably cost around $150.
Summer: The cost of accommodation per night per person in a hostel under similar conditions will cost around $ 45-150, and if you are a hotel person I would aim for around $ 200 on average.
Costs of attractions in Iceland
One of the main indicators of how much you will spend on a trip to Iceland is directly influenced by the attractions you choose to do.
While there are plenty of places and natural phenomena that are completely free, most attractions will cost you a few dozen dollars (at best).
Here are the prices of some popular attractions:
Ice cave tour
Most tours to the ice caves will cost you between $160 and $220 for day tours for caves only, up to $250 or more for combined tours (e.g. ice caves combined with snowmobiles, combined glacier walking, etc.).
Whale Watching Tours
Whale cruises depart from different locations around Iceland, but the prices are more or less the same and range around $90 per person for the regular tours (3-hour cruise).
Here too there are combined tours that allow whale watching and puffins / seals (in season), whale watching combined with snorkels and so on that prices already rise to around $ 140 and up.
Tours of 4-10 hours will cost around $170 to $200 respectively. If you're already entering glaciers or ice caves, prices are expected to cost as much as $230 to $300 per tour.
Tips to reduce the costs of attractions in Iceland:
- Get Your Guide: Excellent and reliable website with good prices to various attractions around the world. Visit the Get Your Guide Website>>
- Combining attractions: If there are two attractions you really want to try, look into booking combined tours that include several attractions in one tour. Prices will often be cheaper than doing them separately.
- Avoid multi-day tour packages: This is a personal matter of course, but usually tours of two days or more that include certain attractions and accommodation are significantly more expensive compared to splitting the same tours independently.
- Northern Lights Tours: They are often prohibitively expensive, and if you are with a car, you can reach the same points as the tours. What is more, it requires some preliminary research and talking to the local population about where to go.
- Reykjavik City Card: A ticket that can be purchased in Reykjavik, allowing free entry to thermal pools in the city, museums or galleries, travel by public transport and other local attractions.
Approximate cost summary for attractions in Iceland:
So my assumption is that most travelers will probably do 2/3 special attractions in Iceland at an average cost of $150 per attraction.
A rough calculation will result in an average expenditure of $ 400-500 for attractions in Iceland.
To book tours and attractions in Iceland at really good prices click here:
What were my costs of a two-week trip to Iceland?
So I'll start by mentioning again that I traveled in Iceland in the winter (feel free to read my itinerary), which probably cut the costs of the trip in half.
Also, my trip was in the winter of 2014 so it could be that some of the costs were cheaper than compared to today and the value of money was of course a bit different.
A round trip flight from Tel Aviv in late February to mid-March cost me about $400 with a stop in Copenhagen on the way. On the return we were supposed to have a long layover, but the flight was cancelled due to a snowstorm and we boarded another flight instead.
Car rental & Fuel
We rented a 4WD car through Blue Car, which according to my research gave the best prices at the time.
We rented the car for 11 days out of 16.
We avoided returning the car at the airport and preferred to take a bus instead at a cost of $60 round trip (which reduced the costs of another two days with the car).
In addition, on the days we were in Reykjavik there was really no need to travel with a car, so we rented it only the day before we started wandering.
Unfortunately, I don't have the exact costs, but the price of the same deal today will come out around $700. We were two people so it came out to about $350 per person.
We didn't take any special extras for the car other than the basic insurances.
The cost of fuel amounted to $ 250 per person.
Most of the trip we slept in hostels, some of the time in shared rooms and some of the time alone.
We spent one night in a hotel in the town of Vik, because it was the only option in the area.
What guided us was the prices of the places and less the sleeping experience.
We booked all the accommodations through Booking.com , which then offered the best prices.
The total cost of accommodation expenses amounted to $450 per person.
So there were several attractions we chose to do, one of which was cancelled due to weather conditions.
A whale cruise cost us $80.
A visit to the ice cave cost $140.
A tour to watch the Northern Lights cost $60 (on our second night we were without a car and the forecast was good so we went for it).
Major expenses such as air travel ($400), car rental & fuel ($350 + $250), lodging ($450) and attractions ($250) totaled $1,700 per person.
Small expenses such as shopping at the supermarket, food in restaurants, beer of course, entrance to hot springs and thermal pools, small trips within the city or from the airport to the city, gifts for family and friends, travel insurance and so on amounted to a cost of $500.
A total of 16 days trip for two people cost us $2200 per person.
I hope I haven't scared you :) So it's true that Iceland can be more expensive than other destinations, but that's mainly because it's so special.
In the end, the amount of costs comes down to your style of travel, the season you choose to travel and the different attractions you choose to do.
Remember that the month you choose to travel has a very big impact on the cost of the trip.
So if we sum things up you can see that a two-week trip for the reasonable traveler (one meal a day outside + independent cooking, accommodation in hostels or good guest houses, 2-3 expensive attractions and 4WD car rental) in July-August will cost around $ 4,000 per person.
In the winter months, I believe the costs will be closer to $2000/3000 per person.
But don't take my word for it – everyone travels a little differently and I have no chance of predicting your exact cost.
Besides the cost there are many other good reasons to visit Iceland in the winter..!
I'd love for you to tell me how much the trip will cost you and if you have any other tips for reducing costs :)
All photos accompanying the post were taken by Vova, and may not be used without the photographer's permission.
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Enjoy your trip :)