The Price of Pylsa …
The aftermath of the financial crash has is a silver lining
Because of the crash the Icelandic krona doesn't have the super value it used to and now Iceland is an affordable place to visit! If you are travelling on a budget you already know where to buy cheap flights to Iceland but here are some more helpful hint for travelling in Iceland on a budget.
Compared to some of our neighbouring Scandinavian countries a cup of really good coffee in Reykjavik is really well priced! From a rather fast survey we found that it costs about half of what it would in Denmark and a third of what it costs in Sweden.
What follows is the beginning of what we hope will be an ongoing series of helpful hints on saving money and getting good deals in Iceland.
For the party-goers
The cheapest place to buy alcohol is the duty free store at the Keflavik airport. You can buy tax free beer, wine and liquors both coming and going. Actually the prices are usually lower in WOW air's “mile high market” aboard the air-planes, so keep that in mind). If this sounds good for your budget, you can start your fun evening with drinks in the romantic setting of your hotel room. In any case, night-life in Reykjavik doesn't really come to life until around midnight.
If you think drinking in your hotel room is kind of sad, rest assured, Icelanders have recently caught on to happy hour so, if you want to try this, in the early evening you'll usually be able to find beer, wine and even cocktails at a fraction of the price. There's a fantastic app in the App store, made by the good people at Reykjavik Grapevine, called Reykjavik Appy Hour. Download it, to get the latest on all happy hours happening in Reykjavik.
For other drinks; a good cappuccino or a café latte costs around 400-550 IKR (less than 3 €). A cup of black coffee is somewhere between 200-350 IKR (less than 2 €). A bottle of soda can cost up to 800 IKR in a restaurant but in a store somewhere around 250 IKR (ca. 1.5 €).
Smokers might want to consider stacking up in the duty free store where a ten pack carton costs between 5,000-6,000 IKR (32-39 €), which is half the price they cost in all other stores, where the prices begin around 1,000 IKR per pack (6.37 €) and go up from there. Custom's allow one carton per person.
Late night snacks
If you've had a night out on the town (or even if it's just a weekday) it's essential to try either a Hlölla bátur (Hlölli boat), a Nonna biti (Nonni bite) or, most importantly,Bæjarins Bestu (The Town's Best Hot dogs). The seasoned party-goers of Icelanders can be divided into three groups: the Hlölla-bátar fans, the Nonna-biti fans and the Bæjarins Bestu fans. Both Hlölla bátar and Nonna biti make baguette styled sandwiches (subs) with various ingredients, most importantly a mayonnaise sauce, signature for either Hlölli or Nonni. Most cost around 1,000 IKR (6.37 €). Bæjarins Bestu sells hot dogs. For about 500 IKR (less than 3.5 €) you'll get one and a small coke. These hot dogs are very special. Even Bill Clinton had one!
Can you believe this is free?
We pride ourselves on our drinking water being the best in the world, so don't spend your money on that, even though they sell it in the stores. Just fill any bottle and drink as much as you can – on the house!
As far as tourist attractions go, entrance to most is free, such as Gullfoss, Þingvellir, Vatnajokull National Park, Snæfellsjokull National Park, Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon and Dimmuborgir, Myvatn and Ásbyrgi Canyon in northern Iceland.
Geysir, Dettifoss and Kerid used to be among them, but landowners have just started charging 600-1,000 IKR (3.8-6.5 €) for entrance to these areas. These are the natural gems of Iceland and will take your breath away with their stunning beauty and power.
A Golden Circle Tour (Gullfoss, Geysir and Þingvellir) costs ca. 10,000 IKR (63 €), which includes entrance fee to the Geysir Museum. A wide variety of bus tours, in which the price includes the entrance fee are also available; for instance a Blue Lagoon tour for as little as 9,600 IKR (61 €). For more tours and prices visit tours.wowiceland.co.uk.
Good price for a great experience
As great as the Blue Lagoon is, there is another great way to enjoy the experience of soaking in geothermal water. The local swimming pools! They charge an entrance fee of about 400-600 IKR (2.5-4 €). There are pools all over the country; various different ones in Reykjavik alone. Each one has a pool to swim laps, various hot tubs and a sauna. Worth every krona!
Dining on a budget
When it comes to satisfying your hunger, the supermarkets are obviously your cheapest option. If you are staying at a guest house and lucky enough to have access to a kitchen, you'll find all the tools you need to cook a fine meal. If you'd rather not cook you'll also find salad-bars, prepared sandwiches (around 3.2 €) and a variety of dairy products, to name a few. Many bakeries sell sandwiches and drinks for around 1,000 IKR (6.5 €). Some even offer a small area to sit down and eat.
Reykjavik has a wide variety of cafés that offer rather inexpensive dining options (soup of the day, sandwich, burger) for around 1,500 IKR (9-10 €). If you choose to dine at a slightly upscale restaurant, a nice dinner for two might cost you around 10,000 IKR (ca. 65 €).
When travelling within the city, our public transport system consists of city buses called strætó (straeto.is). A single fare is 350 ISK (2.25 €) and if you need to take more than one bus to get where you're going don't forget to ask for a “skiptimidi” (transfer ticket) which will be your free entrance to the next connecting bus. A one day pass (for a lot of strætó trips) is 900 ISK (ca. 6 €) and a three day pass is 2,200 ISK (ca. 14 €). These can be purchased from the bus driver. Strætó offers an app for both Android and iPhones, which can be found on their website. Taxis start their meter at 660 ISK (4.2 €) and then the meter ticks an additional 400 ISK (2.5 €) for every kilometre.
Designer clothing, beauty products and souvenirs
Skolavordustigur, Bankastræti, Austurstraeti and Adalstraeti (especially the all Icelandic store Kraum) are filled with Icelandic made and designed jewelry, woolen sweaters, great quality outdoor wear and skin care products made from Icelandic ingredients.
Prices range from 1,100 IKR (7 €) for a piece of Icelandic lava and up to 70,000 IKR (450 €) for an all weather coat. Here is the silver lining about buying something expensive …
Don't pay full price!
If you visit Iceland and buy something expensive here, we will give you some of that money back. This is called the VAT refund (Value Added Tax refund). Ask for a VAT receipt when you buy anything for more than 4,000 IKR. The VAT office is on the second floor at the Keflavik airport, after customs. They might ask to see what you've bought and your receipt.
Let's keep this conversation going
Did you find something at a good price you'd like to recommend? Something you thought was overpriced that you'd like to warn us about? Let us know! Keep in touch! Drop us a line at email@example.com.
Text by Dísa Bjarnadóttir