When you start doing some researches about Iceland, the first thing you see is how expensive this country is! It is of course very true but kind of wrong at the same time. Planning it extremely carefully can help you save a lot of money. I’ll help you not waste your money regarding the accommodations, rental car, food, activities… Please note that these are autumn prices, summer prices are higher.
TIP #1: ACCOMODATION
This is where you’ll spend the most money. The smallest the city is (sometimes it’s just one street), the biggest the price of the accommodation will be. We booked everything on Airbnb or Booking for guesthouses and hostels and it was approximately 34€ per night and per person. If you’re going at summer time, you can rent a van and sleep in it.
TIP #2: RENTAL CAR & GAZ
Unless you planned to stay in one city, which is very unusual for Iceland travellers, you’ll have to rent a car. Choose your car regarding the roadtrip you want to do to not waste any money; if you’ll only drive the Road 1, don’t bother taking a 4×4! A smaller car can 100% do the job. A Nissan Micra was perfect for our itinerary. Renting it for 4 days and a half only costed us 110€ and the gaz price is quite similar to France, just a little higher, 1.55€/L.
We booked the car via City Car Rental. Be careful with what you’re doing with the car though because there is approximately as many garages in Iceland as penguins in France, so with even the smallest problem our day will be totally ruined. The second reason is, the rental car company will take every euro she can on your deposit. Read the contract carefully and ask them about everything, including which gaz to put in. Even if it seems obvious. Sometimes it’s not. Trust me.
TIP #3 : FOOD
Restaurants in Iceland are a whole other level. It usually goes from 20 to 30 for a meal, which is super expensive, so we skipped the restaurants and cooked all our meals ourselves. We took a lot of dry food in the suitcase : pasta, rice, thuna, cereals… so we only had to buy some fresh products such as milk, vegetables and fruits,… The less expensive supermarket is Kronan (16€ per person for 5 days).
TIP #4: ACTIVITIES
When you’re going to iceland, it’s mostly to visit the mind blowing landscapes, so you won’t pay a lot in terms of activities. You can visit almost everything for free and park everywhere. The only natural place we visited and had to pay for out of all the places we’ve been to was the kerid crater (3€) and the parking of seljalandsfoss (5€). You can check out our itinerary here : Golden Circle, Wrecked Plane, Canyon, Waterfalls, Black Sand Beaches…
For the hot springs : We went to two different hot springs, one was free and the other one crazy expensive. The first one is a hidden gem in south iceland called seljallalaug swimming pool. It’s basically one the oldest swimming pools of the country and it’s lost in the middle of the mountains. Absolutely breath taking, I highly recommend. The other one is the not so famous Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa with the bluest water you’ll ever see. Very great but crazy expensive (55 to 75€ depending on the season).
Other random tips :
– Take very warm clothes
– Be sure your shoes are comfortable
– Check if there’s a kitchen in all your accomodations
– Don’t be scared of heights. When it comes to take pictures, stay careful. Most of the places ain’t secured with barriers like in Europe.
And most importantly, open your eyes widely, be excited like a child and enjoy every minute of the adventure !