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How to Spend a Week in Reykjavík, Iceland for Under $2,000 Including Flights

holiday to iceland under $2,000

Joanne Poh

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There are holiday destinations that everybody has been to and nobody is really impressed by, like Australia and Thailand. And then there are those destinations that most people only dream about, like Timbuktu, Bhutan and… Iceland. Mainly because they think a trip there is going to cost millions of dollars.

I can’t speak for the first two destinations, but Reykjavík, Iceland, while not exactly a low budget city, isn’t as unaffordable as most people think. In fact, if you’re willing to let the inner diva in you take a backseat and slum it a little, you’ll find your trip costing less than what some people spend on alcohol in two months.

Airfare

Iceland is pretty damn far away, as you’ll soon discover after a backbreaking flight and stopover. However, flying to Reykjavik really isn’t that much more expensive than flying to other European destinations.

While you might be quoted alarming prices like 2,500 SGD, don’t panic. Provided you don’t wait till the last minute, you should be able to get a return ticket for 1,100 SGD to 1,200 SGD if you watch the prices on Kayak like a hawk.

Cost: 1,150 SGD

Accommodation

Iceland is expensive for travellers, and the cheapest option is camping—and one that few visitors are up for, especially during winter, and especially when said visitors’ closest experience to camping is staying in a chalet at East Coast Park.

A bed in a hostel dorm will cost around 3,000 (32 SGD) to 3,500 kr (40 SGD), while a double room in a hostel or guesthouse will cost about 8,000 (85 SGD) – 15,000 (158 SGD). In general, everything costs way more in high season, while prices get halved during off-peak season (September to May).

Most visitors to Iceland base themselves in Reykjavík and then take day trips to the outlying areas. This is probably the least stressful way to see the main sights in Iceland, especially if you’re only there for a week or so.

Airbnb offers particularly good value for money in Iceland, and you can find rooms in central Rekjavík for around 33 SGD to 65 SGD a night. If you’re travelling with someone, it’s probably a better idea to split the cost of a room on Airbnb than to rough it out in a hostel.

That being said, hostels in Iceland are cleaner than the actual homes of many people I know, and you won’t have to deal with the scarily filthy conditions you might experience in Western European hostels.

Cost: 40 SGD per night / 280 SGD for one week

Transport

The main form of public transport in Reykjavík is the bus, which costs 350kr (3.70 SGD) per ride. The bus driver can’t give you change, so try to get hold of some small change before you leave for the day.

The buses are infrequent by Singaporean standards, and arrive every 20 minutes on weekdays and every 30 minutes on weekends. However, they are punctual and cover most parts of the city centre, so you won’t find yourself hiking for miles from the nearest bus stop.

Some tourists rent a car at least for a day or two, but it’s going to cost you, at about 120 SGD to 200 SGD a day. In the interest of cost savings, pick accommodation in the city centre so you can rely on buses.

Cost: 40 SGD for bus fare and 300 SGD for 2 days of car rental = 340 SGD

Sightseeing

Reykjavík is compact and easy to navigate, and most of its main urban attractions are free. The Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa that’s one of Iceland’s most-visited attractions, will cost you quite a bit to visit, however most other sights are free, whether in the city or outside.

Iceland is definitely not one of those places where you’ll be rushing from sight to sight. So chill out and you’ll save money as well.

Here’s a sampling of what it will cost you to see some of the city’s major sights:

  • The Blue Lagoon – from 35 euro (56 SGD)
  • Perlan – Free access to viewing deck
  • Hallgrimskirkja Church – Free, 700 kr (7.38 SGD) for viewing tower
  • Videy Island – 1,100 kr (11.60 SGD) for ferry ride
  • Lake Tjörnin – free

Cost: About 80 SGD to keep yourself occupied for a week

Food

Iceland isn’t exactly a foodie’s paradise, and food is so expensive you might end up placing yourself on a voluntary diet. So we highly recommend renting accommodation with a kitchen you can use (some hostels and many Airbnb apartments will let you use their kitchens, so ask before you book).

For the times you do eat out, eating at hot dog stands and little mom and pop shops rather than restaurants will save you tons of money.

You pay about 250 rk (2.63 SGD) to 400 rk (4.22 SGD) for a hotdog and 800 (8.50 SGD) to 2000 rk (21 SGD) for a hamburger. On the other hand, a slab of whale meat from a touristy restaurant in the city will set you back over 3,000 kr (32 SGD).

If you must have an actual restaurant meal, by all means treat yourself to one, but be aware that it will set you back some 3,000 kr (32 SGD) to 8,000 kr (84 SGD) and likely consist of meats like whale and puffin that you might find questionable.

Cost: 150-200 SGD

Total cost of a week-long holiday in Reykjavík: 2,000-2,050 SGD

If you are looking to get away, make sure you’re able to travel with peace of mind with a good travel insurance plan. You can check out all the best plans available on MoneySmart’s new Travel Insurance Comparison Page now!

Are you inspired to travel to Iceland now? Let us know your travel plans in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.

  • jacky

    2,000-2,050 SGD is not feasible for an enjoyable iceland trip. hardly at all.
    it looks good on theory, but in reality hard to achieve. give yourself a 5k budget, not inclusive of airfare, and you can truly experience iceland and all its beauty.

    the most beautiful places in iceland HAVE to be seen seen via a road trip round the island.

    if it’s a touch and go like what this guide suggested, then there isn’t a point going to iceland in the first place. simply because iceland is known for it’s unparalleled natural beauty in all four corners, and not just the small town and outskirts of reykjavik.

  • Kelvin

    I have monitored the airfares for a year before embarking on my iceland road trip in 2014. At $1150 its usually the off peak seasons, Aim to go at shoulder season for the auroras, at shoulder season with constant airfare monitoring i would say airfare itself costs $1800. And if you are not going to do the ring road in iceland. U r much better off watching aurora in norway.

  • Citizenpolice

    I’m sorry but up to 700 SGD

    Meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, 5 days) –> up to 400 SGD

    Accommodation for 5 nights –> A hostel typically costs 70 SGD a night. I stayed at a single bedroom hotel with shared bathroom for 68 SGD a night (a steal!) and because I stayed 5 nights, I got upgraded to a double bedroom with an ensuite! (hotels usually reserve single bedrooms for touch-and-go guests) Altogether you could expect to pay up to 400 SGD

    Miscellaneous expenses –> if you’re on a tour-heavy itinerary chances are you wouldn’t have a lot of chance to shop or buy souvenirs (with exception of postcards and magnets, Iceland isn’t really a mass souvenir attraction)

  • barbiedoll

    this post is a joke in itself. <$2,500

  • karen

    i went iceland and overall we spend abt 5k including air tix n accomo everything. There is nothing much to buy in iceland unless you are looking at downs jacket etc which is pretty good in iceland.

  • Jacq Low

    you mean you fly 15 hours and spent $1.2k (on just flights) to Iceland and just go to Reykjavik? OMG you are such a wastrel! You should catch the northern lights, the beautiful puffins and so much more! If you are going to waste so much money and time, don’t even bother going!

    • Jacq Low

      And you did not even try the really unique and beautiful Icelandic horses! (I call them ponies)

  • Tony

    I went to Iceland (Reyjavik and the Golden Circle to be exact) in April 2002. When I arrived in Keflavik airport, the Icelandic immigration officer told me I was the first Singaporean ever landed in their country. He came to know about this from his computer. He told me he has never seen a Singaporean passport before and asked me if the code for Singapore is really SGP. I flew in from London Heathrow. I used to live and work in London as a British PR at that time for 12 years.
    The memory of the Golden circle which I still have till today was at the Golden Circle Geyser. I stood at the wrong side of the geyser and all of a sudden, it shot steam into the air and landed on me as lukewarm water. The temperature in April was still zero C, so the cold air cooled off the steam and I was lucky not being scalded when it landed on me.

  • Agree that if you’re going to Iceland you have to do the Golden Circle and Souther Shores, sticking to Reykjavik means you miss out on the majority of Iceland’s beauty. We did a cost analysis and instead of going on numerous guided tours we rented a 4×4 which actually worked out cheaper, gave us more flexibility and enabled us to see and do more. You can see how the costs worked out for us (in £UK) here:
    http://whatwaytoday.com/europe/iceland/iceland-self-drive-beats-guided-tours-around-reykjavik-the-golden-circle-and-the-southern-shores/