A week in Iceland for £500?

Letter 58

Not quite. But I did it for £538.

In this letter I will breakdown my spending for a week in Iceland so you can see how it can be a budget location!


My boyfriend and I booked flights to Iceland on impulse back in April. The deal was too irresistible! You can read my letter about this: I did something crazy. Booking flights is usually cheapest either very far in advance, or about 6 weeks before. We booked on easyjet, flying from Edinburgh to Keflavik, from Saturday 7th to Saturday 14th January 2017.

Cost: £53


Hotels and guesthouses are quite expensive in Reykjavik, and we wanted somewhere with the use of a kitchen so that we could cook our own food. I believe you can get in a hostel dorm for around £20-£30 a night, but we wanted a double room as this was a holiday for us. So we chose to go with airbnb. We stayed with a lovely Icelandic woman and her husband in their apartment. It was well located, about a 20 minute walk from Hallgrímskirkja church and close to a mall with a supermarket in it. It was also close to the Bus Hostel, which incidentally looked like a lovely hostel, and we used it as a pick up location for tours.

I would recommend using airbnb as it is huge in Reykjavik and means you can eat at home which is far cheaper! You also get to know a local who will probably be invaluable when finding out about what to do in the area. Icelanders are very friendly!

Cost: £137 (our double room = £39 per night/£19.50 each)


This is where the ‘budget’ traveller might skimp out, but we had a number of things we wanted to do in Iceland, and I believe everyone should do. The tours in Iceland are notoriously expensive, but if you can’t drive and hire a car, they are your only option for seeing the country in winter. They are also great for finding out more about the country from a local.


Cost: 9,500kr = £73.

Company: Your Day Tours

I’ve written a letter describing this tour in detail – so I won’t do the same here. Check it out: The best Golden Circle Tour. This is the one tour I would 100% recommend doing.


Cost: 6,600kr = £51

Company: Grayline

Check out my letter about this trip and the blue lagoon: Iceland’s night light. Worth doing if you’re here in winter but be prepared to be crammed onto a huge bus amongst many other huge buses.


Cost: 9,600kr = £74

Company: Blue Lagoon and Reykjavik Excursions

Again; check out my letter where I’ve also described the lagoon: Iceland’s night light. It’s a completely magical experience; a must-do if in Iceland. You book a slot for the lagoon on their website and then you can add on a transfer. On their website it is through Reykjavik Excursions. You can book a transfer separately and as with everything else, there are a lot of companies offering it. You can always expect to pay about the same. The main difference in price occurs in the time of day you choose to bath. Evening is cheaper which is what we chose.

Cost: £198 (for all 3 tours)


When going to Iceland, the exchange rate is typically slightly better at Keflavik airport, so don’t worry about exchanging in advance. We changed up £150 each for the whole week, which equated to 19,500kr. Below I’ll list what we spent it on.

TRANSFERS – 5,000kr (£38)

We did our transfer from the airport with Flybus (or Reykjavik Excursions – same thing in this case). Website here. We bought our tickets at the airport. It was 5,000kr for a return to a hotel in Reykjavik. In hindsight we should have gone for the cheaper return to the bus terminal which was only a 10 minute walk further than the hostel we picked to be dropped off at. A return to the bus terminal is 4,000kr (£31).

ACTIVITIES – 4,100kr (£31.50)

I have written a letter about things to do in Reykjavik here: The colourful capital (Reykjavik Guide). We did the National Museum (750kr – student), Museum of Phallology (1,500kr), Hallgrímskirka Church (900kr) and swimming in Laugardalslaug public pool (950kr).

MEAL OUT – 3,500kr (£27)

We only had one meal out in a restaurant in our entire week. It’s really quite expensive to eat out in Reykjavik so we chose to just splash on one. For £27 I got soup and garlic bread to start followed by a traditional fish dish for my main. To drink? Water. You really don’t get much for your money when you eat out, but it was a great meal! We ate here: Grillhúsið á Tryggvagötu. Very reasonable prices compared to everywhere else, good food, lovely waiting staff and great location. Would recommend highly – and choose fish of the day to get a traditional meal!

OTHER – 6,900kr (£53)

The remaining money mostly went on food shops in Bonus which allowed us to make our own breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. We ate cereal, sandwiches and snacks throughout the day and for dinner has a mix of pizza, pasta and burgers. We ate well everyday and enjoyed cooking for ourselves – saving a fortune! This also bought a couple of postcards, some fries in the town of Geysir, a cup of tea in a beautiful cafe: Babalu (450kr) and a travel adaptor which we cleverly forgot to bring (1,100kr).

Cost: £150


So there you have it, a total of £538. Including everything. I hope this letter and breakdown of spending shows you that you can have a wonderful holiday in Iceland for a good price! Of course you can spend more, hundreds more a day I’ll bet, but you can stick to a budget. Iceland is wonderful, please visit!

From Lou

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