Iceland for a month: How much would it cost?
August 14, 2007 4:54 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone taken an extended (one month+) trip to Iceland? What was your budget and what did you do?

I'm thinking of taking a one-month trip to Iceland in about 6 months, and I'm trying to get an idea of a budget for the trip as well as plenty of off the beaten track ideas for what to visit.

(I've searched the web and the green for previous posts, and none seem to address the budget issue, in particular.)
posted by jacob to Travel & Transportation around Iceland (7 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I can't help out on trip costs since I don't know if you are a backpacker, biker or hoteller but Iceland can been expensive.

One thing I've been using before going on trips is to use Flickr with keywords (e.g. iceland) and seeing everyone else's travel photos. Things that look fun get more research.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 5:05 PM on August 14, 2007

I was in Reykjavík for 2+ months in summer 2005, but I was studying and had an apartment arranged for me, so I'm not much help in that realm

My general feeling, however, was that once you knew where to look, not everything was as pricy as it's always made out to me. Restaurants are expensive, so shop at the discount supermarket Bónus. (Of course it helps to have a kitchen.) Read books and magazines (also very expensive) in the bookstore's cafe instead of buying them, like the Icelanders do. Become a regular at the record store 12 Tonár and enjoy not just the free concerts, but also free espresso and a discount when you finally buy a stack of Mugison and Jóhann Jóhannsson. And above all, buy the largest roll of tickets for the public swimming pools/hot tubs — a great place to meet Icelanders — and check out each location.
posted by Utilitaritron at 5:35 PM on August 14, 2007

My cousin went to Iceland last summer. She said it cost 20 USD to get lunch at a gas station, and she is the sort who will feast on a pack of gum. So bring money.

She also rented a car and circled the entire country. And said it was worth every penny. So... again, bring money.
posted by bluenausea at 5:45 PM on August 14, 2007

I want to add that I did leave the city on weekends, and you can find cheap things there too. Five of us rented a car together, keeping price down. The hiking itself was free. We stayed at an inn where we had a kitchen and cooked our own food that we had brought with us, avoiding the expensive roadside meals. Instead of taking the tourist boat tour of the glacial lagoon, we went swimming. There were lots of opporunities to spend a lot of money, but only a few (transport, lodging, foodstuffs) were required for a great time.
posted by Utilitaritron at 6:23 PM on August 14, 2007

I camped during my visit to offset the costs and add some adventure to the trip. Keep in mind that in six months is mid-winter, and you'll only have a few hours of daylight per day.
posted by chrisch at 5:37 AM on August 15, 2007

I took a two-week August trip to Iceland a few years ago. Here are my observations:

(1) IMHO, the absolute best thing to do is rent a car and circumnavigate the island. There simply is no better way of independently seeing the extraordinary variety of landscapes and sights. However, renting a car, and paying for gas, is EXPENSIVE. I can't remember what our precise budget was, but it was very pricey. And if you do go this route, rent an SUV, because it you want to stray at all from the ring road, you will need one.

(2) Lodging is very expensive as well. This can be offset by camping out - Iceland has some astonishingly good campsites, with hot running water, for very cheap (I recall ~$5/night). Somewhat more expensive is renting a room in someone's home or farms. These are all over - people will simply put a sign outside their home to advertise this and you drop in.

(3) Eating out is expensive too. Again, this can be offset by bringing your own food, and by shopping for cheap stuff in supermarkets. If you like dried fish, you'll be in hog heaven.

(4) As far as places to visit, some of the slightly off-the-beaten-path things to do: a few day trek at Landmannalaugar; wandering among the active volcanic area at Krafla; visit some of the lava tubes in the interior.

One of the beautiful things about Iceland is that it is sparsely populated and visited enough that almost everything is "off the beaten path," especially if you are willing to venture off the ring road.

I'm happy to give more details. Email is in my profile. Have a great trip!
posted by googly at 6:07 AM on August 15, 2007

Just a cost point... I was in Iceland last summer, and after extensive research, the cheapest car rental we could find was $350 for 2 days. Hotels were very expensive, but found some affordable cabins and guest houses.
posted by kimdog at 7:30 AM on August 15, 2007

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