Exploring Iceland on a Budget: Money-Saving Tips

Iceland, a bucket list destination, offers landscapes straight out of a dream. Yet, for all its exquisite natural wonders, Iceland is also known for being crazy expensive and ranks as one of the most expensive countries to visit. 

Don’t let this hold you back! With proper planning and research, the cost of exploring this impressive island can be much more manageable. Imagine witnessing the dazzling Northern Lights, soaking in a gorgeous hot spring, or hiking through the incredible Þingvellir National Park. These are just a few of the unique and FREE experiences waiting for you in Iceland.

Whether you’re planning a short road trip or heading out on a campervan adventure, we’ve got you covered with practical and comprehensive tips to get the most out of every Icelandic krona.

From transportation to accommodation, dining to sightseeing, we’ll guide you on maximizing your experience while minimizing your expenses. 

Transportation Savings

Renting a Vehicle

One of the most cost-effective ways to explore Iceland is by renting a vehicle. Opting for a rental from Geysir Car Rental gives you the freedom and flexibility to visit Iceland’s secret gems on your own schedule and budget. 

With a rental car, you can explore remote geysers and secluded waterfalls while discovering every hidden hot spring.

Consider Campervans

For the truly adventurous, campervans offer the ultimate flexibility. They’re ideal for adventurers who want to experience Iceland’s natural beauty and explore at their own pace without the constraints of hotel check-ins and check-outs. Plus, renting a campervan doubles the savings, freeing you from organized tours/transport and accommodation costs. 

Accommodation on a Budget


Choosing a campervan for your Icelandic adventure is particularly appealing for budget travelers as it cuts down significantly on hotel costs. It’s a cost-effective accommodation solution to bring your “hotel” wherever you go, from the misty shores of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula to the stark beauty of the East Fjords. 

Geysir Car Rental offers a wide range of campervans that cater to different travel styles and budgets, making it easier to control your spending by combining travel and lodging costs. When it comes to finding campgrounds, Iceland has numerous well-maintained sites that provide basic amenities like showers, kitchens, and Wi-Fi so that you can be comfortable even in the wild. For the best campgrounds, plan your route and book your spots in advance during peak travel months.

Hotels and Guesthouses

Do you need a bit more comfort? For those who prefer traditional hotels or guesthouses, Iceland offers a variety of options without breaking the bank. To score the best deals, it’s best to book online. Booking in advance is crucial in Iceland, especially during the high season from June to August, when demand is at its peak. Early reservations not only secure you a better rate but also a wider selection of rooms. 

Additionally, consider staying in accommodations just outside major tourist centers like Reykjavík or Akureyri; these often provide better value for money and a more authentic Icelandic experience.

Eating and Drinking Economically

Cooking Meals

Dining out in Iceland can be pretty pricey. It might not be sexy, but cooking your own meals significantly reduces your expenses and is one of the greatest advantages of traveling in a campervan. 

Most campervans from Geysir Car Rental have basic kitchen facilities with space to store food and prepare meals on the go. Some campsites even have ‘free food bins’  of items left behind by other campers, including cooking oil, butter, jams, etc. 

By cooking your own meals, you can enjoy homemade breakfasts with a view of the mountains, prepare picnic lunches for long hiking days, and end your evenings with a glass of wine and a cozy dinner inside your campervan, all while saving money.

Shopping for Groceries and Drinks

To make the most of your self-catering setup, shop at budget-friendly grocery stores such as Bónus or Krónan, known for their lower prices and good selection. These stores offer everything from fresh produce to local specialties, allowing you to explore Icelandic cuisine without the high cost of dining out. Avoid convenience stores or smaller, centrally located shops like 10-11, as their prices are often significantly higher. 

Oh, and about that glass of wine…Buy any alcohol at the duty-free shop when you arrive in Keflavík. The state-run liquor stores (Vínbúðin) throughout the country have limited opening hours (usually 11.00-18.00), high prices and heavy taxes.

Happy Hours and Lunch Specials

If you decide to treat yourself to a meal out, timing is everything. Many restaurants in Iceland, particularly in Reykjavík, offer ‘Happy Hour’ deals on drinks as well as ‘Lunch Specials’ for food. These promotions typically run in the afternoon and can include significant discounts on meals and beverages. 

Enjoying a meal out during these times not only gives you the opportunity to try Icelandic cuisine but also keeps your budget intact. Always check local guides or ask at your accommodation for recommendations on the best deals around.

Budget-Friendly Activities

Enjoying Natural Attractions

landscape with basalt rock formations Troll Toes on Black beach Reynisfjara near the village of Vik

From the breathtaking Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls to the black sand beach of Reynisfjara, one of the most appealing aspects of Iceland is that many of its most stunning attractions come without a price tag. 

When you tire of water, the extensive hiking trails of Landmannalaugar in the Highlands offer endless hours of exploration and adventure at no cost. By planning a route that includes these natural wonders, you can experience the best of Iceland’s majestic outdoors without spending a single krona.

Cultural Experiences

Iceland is also rich in culture and history, which can be enjoyed on a budget as many museums and cultural sites offer days when entrance fees are reduced or even waived. For example, the National Museum of Iceland in Reykjavík offers free admission on Wednesdays from October to April, making it an excellent option for soaking up Icelandic history and culture without the expense. 


Additionally, consider purchasing a tourist card such as the Reykjavík City Card, which provides free or discounted entry to many museums and galleries and unlimited use of city buses. This is a great way to save money while sampling the best of Iceland’s capital.

Additional Money-Saving Tips

Travel Off-Peak

One of the most effective strategies for saving money in Iceland is to travel during the shoulder seasons—late spring (April to May) and early autumn (September to October). During these periods, accommodation and vehicle rental rates are typically lower, plus there are fewer tourists, which means less crowded attractions and a more relaxed experience. 

Additionally, many tours and activities offer discounts during the off-peak season, so you can stretch your budget further while still enjoying Iceland’s stunning scenery and unique experiences.

Avoid Common Tourist Traps

Being aware of tourist traps, overly expensive souvenirs, and avoiding dining in tourist-heavy areas can save you a significant amount of money. Instead, shop for authentic Icelandic memorabilia at local flea markets like Kolaportið in Reykjavík or thrift shops, where you can find special items at reasonable prices. 

Additionally, dining at local, less tourist-centric restaurants or grabbing a hot dog from one of Iceland’s famous hot dog stands can provide a more authentic and budget-friendly culinary experience.

Use Free Resources

Drinking water from a pure mountain river in Icelandic Highlands

Some things in life really are free! The water quality in Iceland is super clean and drinkable, so you don’t need to buy bottled water. Instead, buy or bring a refillable container that you can fill up for free at campsites, gas stations, and springs.

Iceland has numerous free resources to help you manage your budget effectively. Take advantage of the ubiquitous free Wi-Fi spots available in cafes, restaurants, and public places throughout the country to stay connected without incurring roaming charges. 

Also, use public restrooms and free picnic areas at tourist spots and along major routes to avoid spending money. By utilizing these resources, you can enjoy a comfortable and budget-friendly travel experience in Iceland.

Planning Your Road Trip with Geysir Car Rental

Itinerary Suggestions

Crafting a well-planned itinerary can significantly enhance your Icelandic adventure while keeping costs in check. 

For a budget-friendly road trip, consider a route that includes iconic yet free attractions like
the Golden Circle, which covers Þingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss Waterfall. 

You could also extend your journey to the South Coast to visit Reynisfjara beach and Skógafoss waterfall. 

Another option is exploring the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, often called “Iceland in Miniature” for its diverse landscapes, including volcanic craters, black sand beaches, and charming fishing villages. These itineraries cover some of the best sights in Iceland without hefty entrance fees.

Booking in Advance

Securing your vehicle and accommodations early is essential for a budget-friendly trip. Early bookings often come with lower rates and better availability, especially during peak travel seasons.

Geysir Car Rental offers a variety of vehicles suitable for different budgets and travel styles. By reserving your car or campervan in advance, you can ensure that you get the best deal possible, avoiding last-minute price hikes that can strain your travel budget.

Iceland on a Budget with Geysir

Exploring Iceland on a budget is entirely possible with strategic planning and the right approach. With cost-effective transportation, such as renting a vehicle or campervan from Geysir Car Rental, and making smart choices about accommodation, dining, and activities, you can experience Iceland’s breathtaking beauty and extraordinary culture without breaking the bank.

With Geysir Car Rental, you can explore at your own pace, visiting popular and hidden gems with the comfort and convenience of your own vehicle. From booking in advance to enjoying the natural attractions and using free resources, there are countless ways to make your Icelandic adventure both affordable and unforgettable.

So, embrace the spirit of exploration, plan wisely, and set off on an incredible journey through the Land of Fire and Ice, all while keeping your budget intact.