Iceland has risen to the top of many people’s bucket lists. The Northern Lights, spectacular landscapes and thermal springs are very appealing. However, many potential visitors quickly realize that it’s an expensive destination. That doesn’t mean you can’t go if you’re on a budget. You just have to be savvy and plan ahead. You’ve come to the right place for help in planning your dream trip to Iceland. Here’s what to do.
Stay in a hostel
Hotels in Iceland can be pricey but there are other options. There are lots of cheap hostels around the country and many of them are quite comfortable. You’ll find them both in the capital of Reykjavik and near popular areas like Skógafoss and Reynisfjara. Some will even have you perfectly situated to see the Northern Lights. Read the reviews and do your research but never simply dismiss hostels.
Cook your own meals
One of the advantages of staying at a hostel is the availability of a communal kitchen. Where possible, try to prepare breakfast and dinner there. You can even pack a lunch and take it with you on your outings. Find the cheapest grocery stores and stock up on cereals, bread, sandwich fillings, and pasta.
Rent a car instead of taking coach tours
This tip is ideal if you’re traveling in a group or you’ve made some friends at your hostel. The Golden Circle attractions of Geysir Geothermal Area, Gullfoss Waterfall, and Þingvellir National Park are all free to enter. If you split the car rental fee among a group, seeing them will be a lot cheaper. You can easily do this trip within one day and get it off your bucket list without spending a fortune on an organized tour.
Drink tap water
While in some destinations it’s a bad idea to drink water straight from the tap, there is no need to fear in Iceland. You can even drink from the streams since the water is filtered by lava and it is tasty. There are no purification chemicals involved. Leave the expensive bottled water on the shelves and use the money for something else.
Get your alcohol at the airport
A night out drinking in bars is expensive in Iceland. And you can forget purchasing spirits to mix your own drinks. You can only purchase alcohol in state-owned stores and it is heavily taxed. The best option is to buy a bottle or two at either your departure airport or the one in Reykjavik where alcohol is duty-free. Failing that, keep an eye out for happy hour.
Try an alternative to the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon Hot Springs is indeed breath-taking and (Instagrammable) but it’s a luxury experience. Between entrance fees, towel and bathrobe rental and food, you’ll rack up quite a bill. Instead of this man-made spa attraction, why not choose an intimate, natural hot spring instead. Get your thermal fix at Landbrotalaug or Hveravellir and stay within budget.
Take in the weekend flea market
If you really don’t want to spend any money, you can simply browse the free flea market in Reykjavik and look at all the items on sale. However, you can also get low-cost vintage items, handmade jewellry, and culinary treats. Set a limit on how much you can spend and enjoy a fun few hours.
Don’t take Iceland off your bucket list because it’s expensive. While you won’t be able to take in luxury experiences on a budget, the country has a lot to offer that’s free or cheap.