Is Iceland Expensive?

by Liam Davies
Created: 24. Nov 2017
(Updated: 18. Oct 2018)

To put it simply: Yes, yes it is. 

In fact, it is the 4th most expensive country to live in, as revealed by As recent as November 2017, it was found that living in Iceland is 67.42% more expensive than living in the US (not including rent). 

Here I will give you the average prices of some of the necessities you may purchase whilst here in Iceland, and I'll throw in some extra's so you can see why we Icelanders are so poor... (Numbers supplied by

It's important to remember that this is average prices, so the prices may be higher or lower depending on which stores, restaurants etc that you go to. 

Restaurants/Fast food/Bars

  • Meal for 1 (Medium) - 2,145 ISK (€17 or $20)
  • Three-course meal for 2 (Medium to upscale) - 12,000 ISK (€97,5 or $116)
  • Fast food (I.e. Burger and fries) - 1,600 ISK (€13 or $15)
  • Beer (Viking) - 1,100 ISK (€9 or $10)
  • Coffee (Regular black) - 529 ISK (€4 or $5)
  • Coke/Pepsi (1/2 pint) - 294 ISK (€2 or $3)

Supermarket purchases

  • Milk 1ltr - 151 ISK (€1 or $1)
  • Fresh white bread - 356 ISK (€2 or $3)
  • Eggs 12 pack - 615 ISK (€5 or $6)
  • Chicken breasts (1kg) - 2,107 ISK (€17 or $20)
  • Apples (1kg) - 304 ISK (€2 or $3)
  • Banana (1kg) - 290 SK (€2 or $3)
  • Potato (1kg) - 277 ISK (€2 or $2)
  • Wine (mid-range) - 2,300 ISK (€18 or $22)
  • Cigarettes (Marlboro) - 1,300 ISK (€10 or $12)


  • Average 3-star hotel cost (per night) - 17,809 ISK (€145 or $172)
  • Hostel (per night) - 5,000 ISK (€41 or $48)


  • City bus (One-way ticket) - 440 ISK (€3 or $4)
  • Monthly pass - 11,750 ISK (€95 or $113)
  • Bus transfer from airport -  3000 ISK (€24 or $29)
  • Taxi (start price) - 690 ISK (€5 or $6)
  • Taxi from Keflavík airport to Reykjavik (Average price) - 16,500 ISK (€134 or $159)
  • Gasoline (1 ltr) - 195 ISK (€1,58 or $1,89)

Sports and leisure

  • Swimming - 750 ISK (€6 or $7)
  • Cinema - 1,490 ISK (€12 or $14)
  • Gym, World class (per session) - 2,100 ISK (€17 or $20)
  • Gym, World class (monthly) - 6,840 ISK (€56 or $66)


  • Regular souvenir t-shirt - 3,500 ISK (€28 or $33)
  • Icelandic wool sweater - 19,000 ISK (€154 or $184)
  • 1 pair of Jeans (Levis or similar) - 15,895 ISK (€129 or $154)
  • 1 pair of Nike running shoes (mid-range) - 18,430 ISK (€149 or $178)
  • Winter jacket (66° north parka) - 81,000 ISK (€658 or $785)

Rent per month

  • Apartment (1 bedroom). City centre - 172,155 ISK (€1,398 or $1,669)
  • Apartment (1 bedroom). Outside of city centre - 137,829 ISK (€1,119 or $1,336)
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms). City centre - 265,789 ISK (€2,159 or $2,576)
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms). Outside of city centre - 221,025 ISK (€1,796 or $2,143)


  • Average monthly net salary (after tax) - 317,397 ISK (€2,578 or $3,077)

*Please remember that these are from the current exchange rate (27/11/17) and are subject to change. (Euros and USD are rounded up or down to nearest whole number).


Top Tips For Saving Money In Iceland

Luckily, growing up and living here has given us some knowledge on how to get the best for your money.

We ride polar bears instead of driving cars, we eat moss and drink glacier water for hydration and nutrition and we sleep in caves with man-made fires. Okay, okay I'm just joking!

But we do drink glacier water! That is probably one of my highlights of Iceland, forget the volcanoes, it's all about the water for me! 

Anyway, we have some great tips for you on how to get the best value for money. When to book hotels, and when to rent vehicles for the best prices.

We want you to fully experience Iceland. Despite the prices, it is truly magical to visit the island and hopefully, these top tips will help you to prevent spending too much!

  • Drink tap water (The bottled water is exactly the same, don't spend unnecessary money)
  • Avoid taxi's (They are way too expensive, take a bus transfer from the airport to Reykjavík! It's a lot cheaper)
  • Purchase Icelandic candy from supermarkets not souvenir stores (It is the same thing! Just re-packaged into English and sold at a higher price)
  • Rent a camper, and stay on camping sites (Renting a camper and camping will be an amazing experience! It's a lot cheaper than hotels, and you will also be able to take in many more sights on your own schedule. But please remember that is illegal to park and sleep anywhere, it's a requirement to sleep on designated campsites. You can find them here)
  • If you're here to party, we recommend purchasing alcohol from duty-free at the airport (beer/alcohol in Iceland is very expensive)
  • Limit eating out, and instead cook for yourself (eating out at a high-end restaurant in Iceland will set you back around 6,000 ISK per person. It's best to stock up at supermarkets and cook yourself. If you have rented a camper, there is sometimes the option to include a stove!)
  • Rent a car and drive yourself! (Most of Iceland's must-sees are free to access, so why not rent a car and drive yourself? It's much cheaper than purchasing a variety of tours or bus tickets)
  • Come in low-seasons (Often mid-September to December. This goes for both hotels and car rentals)


We hope these top tips help make your Iceland experience a little cheaper! Iceland truly is an amazing country to visit and if you plan correctly and don't go over the top then the cost of being here won't be that bad.

But please, enjoy yourself here! You're on vacation after all!

If you want any more tips or have any questions regarding costs then send us an email at [email protected]!

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