What’s the currency of Iceland and how expensive is it

The currency of Iceland is the Icelandic krona, with plural Kronur (currency code ISK) and it was adopted in 1885.

Today the following denominations are available on the market:

  • coins: 1 Icelandic króna; 5 kronur, 10, 50, and 100 krónur
  • banknotes: 500, 1.000, 2.000, 5.000 and 10.000 krónur.

Iceland is among the smallest countries in the world which has its own local currency and for the monetary policy, the Central Bank of Iceland is responsible.

What I like most about Iceland when talking about money in Iceland is that credit and debit cards are widely accepted at restaurants, hotels, shops, and bars so you don’t have to withdraw cash when you arrive in Iceland.

I was a little skeptical about this and the first thing I have done when getting off the plane was to withdraw some Icelandic krona to have in a case in need.

10 days later, after the Ring Road tour, all my cash was still in my pocket and I had to find shops and stores that accept cash otherwise I would have to go home with Icelandic money.

So that is why I strongly recommend you not to withdraw a significant amount of money when traveling in Iceland as electronic payment methods are accepted almost everywhere, including public toilets and tourist attractions.

Some of the following links are affiliate links. When you buy something using the retail links in our article, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost for you. You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Currency of Iceland Euro EUR
Currency in Iceland Euro EUR

How to get the currency of Iceland

As I said earlier don’t get panic and exchange a large amount of money when you land at Keflavík International Airport.

First, don’t use the exchange offices from the airport as the exchange rates used are very poor for you.

If you really want to get Icelandic currency then you’d better withdraw some local money from your card.

Iceland Credit Card Debit Card Money Currency
Iceland Credit Card Debit Card Money Currency

As cards are widely accepted in Iceland, the best thing you can do before visiting Iceland is to check with your bank the service fees you have for using the card abroad.

Get a travel card or any card that has 0 commission abroad as you will use it a lot in Iceland and the service fee might be quite significant.

Don’t get fooled by the fact that Iceland is in Europe as the country is not a European Union member, and it does not have its national currency euro.

Euro, US dollars, Canadian Dollars, and GBP are accepted in Iceland, but mostly in the tourist area, and we strongly don’t recommend paying in these currencies.

The main reason is the poor exchange rate used by sellers when converting the Icelandic krona into those currencies.

So, you will end up paying much more than if you pay when choosing the credit card or cash as a method of payment.

Iceland Currency Money
Iceland Currency Money

And there is something else I would like to tell you when paying with a credit card: always choose to pay in krona, the national currency of Iceland because this is the only way to avoid additional exchange fees applied by most of the banks.

I guess now everything about what currency to use in Iceland is clear for you, so it is time to move on and see how expensive this country is and how you can save some money when traveling to Iceland.

Is Iceland an expensive country?

Well, to be honest with you Iceland is an expensive country, actually, it was rated as the most expensive country in Europe.

Iceland is more expensive than Norway and Sweden, but it is also wilder, more remote, and with a spectacular view.

If we compare the prices from Iceland with the ones from the United States I can tell you for sure that you might end up paying twice for the same things for your trip to Iceland.

Iceland ATM Money Currency of Iceland EUR ISK
Iceland ATM Money Currency in Iceland EUR ISK

Let’s say that a burger with French fries and a soda in the US is around 13 USD; in Iceland, you will end up paying 25 USD for the same food.

That is why you should avoid eating at restaurants and booking everything at the last minute, as there are very few last-minute offers and most probably you will end up paying more.

How expensive is Iceland

Before discussing the prices of the main expense categories that impact a tourist, like accommodation, food, car rental, and fees at attractions let me tell you something you might find very interesting.

Currency of Iceland Euro EUR
Iceland Currency Euro EUR

Even if it is hard to believe, there are plenty of free things you can do when visiting Iceland so you don’t need to worry about the currency of Iceland.

I prepared for you a shortlist with the most popular ones:

  • visit natural landmarks in Iceland as all of them are free
  • remote natural pools of Iceland is free but some of them might require some hiking
  • drink tap water don’t use your krona, the money of Iceland for bottled water as Iceland has the best tap water in Europe
  • use toilets from gas stations as they are free of charge; most toilets from tourist attractions ask for a fee to be used
  • there are some free attractions to visit in Reykjavik, check here to see which are the best

What currency is used in Reykjavik Iceland?

Reykjavik is the capital city of Iceland so it has the same currency as the whole of Iceland, and here I am talking about the Icelandic krona.

Iceland ATM Money Currency of Iceland EUR ISK
Iceland ATM Money Currency of Iceland EUR ISK

If you are wondering how much krona you can buy with the most important currencies in the world, please see below the exchange rates:

1 USD = 130 krona
1 EUR = 151 krona
1 GBP = 176 krona

Renting a car in Iceland

You will not pay a fortune for renting a car in Iceland as long as you follow the below rules and read my detailed article about renting a car in Iceland:

  • don’t get a 4×4 if you don’t plan to keep deep into the wilderness; if you drive the Ring Road or the Golden Circle a normal car is perfect
  • book your car in advance as the prices increase from one week to another with the highest point recorded during peak season, from June to the end of August
  • pick up your car from Keflavik Airport as taxis and bus transfers from the airport to Reykjavik are expensive

Prices for a small car start from 300 USD/week in the low season and can go up to 450 USD/ week for the same car in peak season.

Iceland Car Hire Car Rental 4x4 Reykjavik
Iceland Car Hire Car Rental 4×4 Reykjavik

The most expensive cars are the ones that can accommodate up to 5 people and luggage which prices start from 450 USD/week in low season and about 850 USD/ week in peak season.

In order to rent the perfect car for your trip, we strongly advise you to plan your itinerary in advance and correctly assess your needs.

The only time when we recommend renting a 4×4 in Iceland is when you plan to drive on F-roads or highland roads which are unpaved and requires good driving skills.

Iceland Car Rental
Iceland Car Rental

During winter we suggest not to go far into the wilderness and avoid doing the Ring Road as the weather conditions can quickly and dramatically and you might end up locked for days far from any human settlement.

Always check the weather forecast sites before leaving your accommodation and if there are any warnings issued, avoid driving for your own safety.

Petrol price in Iceland

The currency of Iceland is not a very strong currency and Iceland is among the most expensive countries in the world, so expect to pay more for petrol while in Iceland.

Orkan Petrol Gas Station Reykjavik Iceland
Orkan Petrol Gas Station Reykjavik Iceland

As for the moment when we are speaking the price for one liter of Gas 95 is around 1.7 USD, while Diesel is 1.75 USD.

Parking in Iceland

Until recently, all tourists park free in Iceland, but things have changed in recent years and most of the tourist attractions have a parking fee that depends on the size of your car.

So yes, bigger cars mean higher costs for parking and also with petrol as they will consume a larger quantity of petrol.

Electric Cars Iceland electric charging station
Electric Cars Iceland electric charging station

The average parking fee in Iceland at tourist attractions is around 6-7 USD for a regular car, while an hour of parking in the center of Reykjavik costs around 3 USD.

Public transport in Iceland

Public transport in Iceland is quite limited and it works great just in the areas around Reykjavik.

If you plan to go further in Iceland, then you definitely should consider renting a car and pick it up directly from the airport.

Unfortunately, most of the landmarks are located outside the towns so there are no public buses that stop there.

Iceland Bus from Keflavik Airport to Reykjavik
Iceland Bus from Keflavik Airport to Reykjavik

You can reach the main attractions from the country with a guided tour or with your rented car.

The price for public transport is affordable and if you plan to stay just in Reykjavik then you might consider taking public transport from Reykjavik to the airport at a cost of 5 USD per person/ one way.

Taxi and airport transfer

Taxi are indeed expensive in Iceland and you might end up paying somewhere between 160-180 USD for a taxi ride from the airport to your hotel in Reykjavik.

The good news is that you have another option to get from Keflavik International airport to your hotel: airport transfer buses.

Airport Direct Bus from Keflavik To Reykjavik Iceland shuttle service
Airport Direct Bus from Keflavik To Reykjavik Iceland shuttle service

There are three main companies that operate these transfers and their prices are listed below:
1. Flybus- get your ticket now
2. Gray Line Airport Express – get the best price here and pre-book your seat
3. Airport Direct- book your seat now

Fly Bus Keflavik Airport
Fly Bus Keflavik Airport

For a complete guide on getting from the airport to your hotel from Reykjavik please read our article From Keflavik to Reykjavik bus to get to your hotel.

Hotel prices

We talked a lot about the currency of Iceland, its evolution, and how you can move around without spending a fortune.

Let’s see now where to sleep and what steps to follow for getting the best price-quality ratio for your accommodation in Iceland.

If you are looking for exclusive retreats and unforgettable moments, then you definitely have to spend a night at

Get the best price for this hotel room today

.

Silica Hotel vs the retreat Hotel Moss suite lava room
Silica Hotel vs the retreat Hotel Moss suite lava room

The Retreat at Blue Lagoon public area
The Retreat at Blue Lagoon public area
The Retreat at Blue Lagoon suite lava fields
The Retreat at Blue Lagoon suite lava fields

This hotel is located inside the most famous thermal pool from Iceland, the Blue Lagoon and the price for one night starts from 1,300 USD per night and offers the ultimate experience of sleeping in the middle of a lava field overlooking the magnificent Blue Lagoon.

Don’t get panic about the price of this hotel as not all hotels from Iceland are that pricey as this one.

You will find beautiful hotels with great views like Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon near Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon with room price per night starting from 180 USD in low season and around 350 USD in peak season.

Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon Iceland
Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon Iceland
Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon Luxury Hotel Iceland
Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon Luxury Hotel Iceland
Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon Breakfasts
Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon Breakfasts

The hotel is facing the beautiful glacier lagoon and is conveniently located close to the largest national park from Iceland, Vatnajokull National Park.

As a general rule, prepare around 130 USD per night for 2 persons for a mid-level hotel in the countryside of Iceland and around 160-200 USD per night for 2 in hotels located close to tourist attractions.

There are also guesthouses and hostels at lower prices but some of them come with shared bathrooms and dorms instead of your own room.

How to save some money on accommodation

There are three simple rules you have to follow to save some money, no matter if we are talking about Euro, USD, or Krona, the currency of Iceland:

  • travel in low season, when the prices are almost half than in peak season
  • book in advance to secure the best price
  • book a room with breakfast included as it is cheaper than paying for breakfast on the spot
  • book a self-catering accommodation if you are really tight on budget and always check for hidden fees when booking apartments and houses from private owners.

Camping option

With a camper van, you will pay less than for a mid-level hotel room but it’s up to you if you like this type of trip or not.

No matter if we are talking about tents, motorhomes, or camper vans you need to be sure that you are ok with this type of life before renting it.

Iceland Mobile Motor home RV Camper Van Driving freedom vacation motorhome lifestyle
Iceland Mobile Motor home RV Camper Van Driving freedom vacation motorhome lifestyle

The prices for campers are considerably different depending on the season, and the size of the vehicle.

The most expensive campers are the big ones and during the peak season, when even a small campervan might cost you around 100 USD per day.

You will end you paying more than 200 USD per day for a motorhome or for a 4×4 camper during peak season.

Iceland Offroad Car Motorhome Tent on the car roof 4x4
Iceland Offroad Car Motorhome Tent on the car roof 4×4

Yes, it is not cheaper but trust me it is cheaper than staying in a hotel during peak season and eating all your meals at restaurants.

Camping in Iceland is not free and there are designated places where you have to park your van and spend the night.

The prices for these camping sites start from 10-20 USD per day, but it might be higher in July or August around the most important attractions from Iceland.

Entrance tickets at different tourist attractions

You can choose to pay for your entrance tickets at different museums, pools, and other attractions from Iceland with the national currency of Iceland or better with your credit card or debit card.

The good news is that most Icelandic landmarks are free of charge all over Iceland, no matter if we are talking about waterfalls, glaciers, or other interesting attractions.

Skogafoss Iceland Waterfall Golden Circle
Skogafoss Iceland Waterfall Golden Circle

Most of the attractions that have an entrance fee also have discounted rates for children and offers free entrance for kids under 7 year old.

Generally, museums and thermal pools have entrance fees and the discounts given to children are significant.

From here you can buy your entrance ticket to the most popular attractions:

Organized tours in Iceland

There is a wide range of tours available for those interested in outdoor activities, sightseeing, and admiring the beauty of this wild country.

You can choose from daily tours, multi-day tours, or combined tours that include just the activities you are interested in.

The prices of the tours start from 80 USD and can go up to a few hundred dollars, depending on the length of the tour, the activities included, and other services offered.

Some of the activities you can do on your own while others can be done only with professional guides, like ice caving and glacier hiking.

Ice Cave on Jokulsarlon Glacier Southern Iceland
Ice Cave on Jokulsarlon Glacier Southern Iceland

These activities are generally too risky to be done on your own and you need special equipment that generally is included in the tour rate so you don’t have to worry about it.

To get the best price for the tours and secure your favorite date and time, you should book your seat in advance.

We always use GetYourGuide to book our tours all across the world, as you have free cancelation 24 hours prior to starting date, great prices, and a refund if something happens with your trip.

Food price in Iceland

The value of Krona, the currency of Iceland is significantly lower than the American dollar, the Euro, or the GBP.

So expect to pay a lot for your food no matter if you choose to eat at restaurants, fast food or buy from the supermarket and cook it on your own.

Tasty Meal Food in Iceland Restaurant
Tasty Meal Food in Iceland Restaurant

You will not find a burger or a pizza under 20 USD in the low season and 25-30 USD in the high season, and you most probably pay about 40 to 50 USD for a meal in a restaurant.

There are many restaurants that serve a set menu which price will start from 45 USD per person and it is served only between some hours.

Healthy Amazingly Tasty Salmon with vegetables in Iceland Food
Healthy Amazingly Tasty Salmon with vegetables in Iceland Food

The restaurant prices vary depending on location, with higher prices in areas like Reykjavik, Golden Circle, and the Southern part of Iceland, while the less popular places are a little bit less expensive.

Icelandic Hotdog Street Food Iceland Tasty food
Icelandic Hotdog Street Food Iceland Tasty food

What I can tell you for sure is that the cheapest way to eat in Iceland is to buy products from supermarkets and cook them on your own.

Here are some prices for food and water for Iceland:

  • hamburger: 20-25 USD
  • pizza or pasta: 25-35 USD
  • children’s meal: 15-25 USD
  • fish or meat: 35-65 USD
  • tea or coffee: 5 USD
  • soft drinks: 4-6 USD
  • glass of wine: 15-18 USD

5 tips for saving money on food while in Iceland

  • always book your accommodation with breakfast included as it is much cheaper than paying for breakfast on the spot
  • take a thermos with you and get some tea or coffee from your accommodation before you leave
  • have a reusable water bottle with you and fill it with tap water as it is free
  • go to the supermarket, buy food and cook it for yourself as it is much cheaper
  • don’t drink alcohol (or limit the quantity you drink) as it is extremely expensive
  • ask for your tax-free receipt whenever you buy something from a tax-free shop so that you get your tax back before flying back home
Iceland reusable water bottle
Iceland reusable water bottle

Conclusion

Iceland is an extremely beautiful but expensive country that you definitely have to see  at least once in your lifetime.

Avoid going there during peak season and don’t get accommodation right near the most important attractions from the country as you will end up paying more.

Iceland Car Rental for Ring Road Hringvegur Road Trip
Iceland Car Rental for Ring Road Hringvegur Road Trip

Prepare a budget of at least 1500 USD for a 7 day trip across Iceland outside the peak season if you want to stay in mid-level accommodations, eat outside almost daily, visit the Blue Lagoon and get an exciting glacier hike.

The budget will dramatically increase if you plan to visit Iceland during July and August or if you want to do all the activities available on the spot.

FAQ

What currency is used in Iceland

Although a small country, Iceland has had its own currency since 1885, the Icelandic Krona as it is called.

The Central Bank of Iceland is the institution responsible for the monetary policy of the country, but the money is still printed in the United Kingdom.

What money currency is used in Iceland

Icelandic krona is the money to be used in Iceland, their national currency since 1885 managed today by the Central Bank of Iceland.

Iceland Currency Money
Iceland Currency Money

Many places like restaurants and hotels accept US dollars or euro but the exchange rate used is very poor for you so pay with a card as electronic payment is widely accepted all across the country.

Some of the following links are affiliate links. When you buy something using the retail links in our article, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost for you. You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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