And although getting there has been made easier, hotels are still fairly expensive, in a price range close to New York City.
Even a double bed in a dormitory room of a hostel, or a double room of 10 sq meters in a guest house can cost 80€ or more per night.
Average price per night for a double room in a hotel will cost you, depending on the area, between 140€ and 270 €.
If you’re lucky and traveling in a group, I strongly recommend you weigh your options with AirBnb.
We were incredibly lucky to find Erna’s place available for new year’s – when the family usually goes out to their cabin in the mountains, but the listing did have a minimum 8-night policy. Airbnb won’t be short on options though.
And if you’re in a group, planning to slow travel through Iceland for at least a week, you can set home base in Reykjavik.
It cost our party of five a total of 1.086 € for 8 nights, bringing us to an average of 27 €/ person/night!
What’s also great about AirBnb is the fact you’re in a proper home, so you’ll have access to a proper kitchen. Everywhere you look you’ll read about self catering while in Iceland.
We did the same and I am very happy to say we actually splurged on great food, which we cooked ourselves in the evening, instead of wrecking our budgets at the restaurants.
The day we arrived we went straight to Bonus supermarket for grocery shopping, and between the 5 of us, we spend an average of 50€ pp for the whole week.
What to do, What do do
If you’re flexible and willing to rent a car and drive around, Iceland is actually pretty cool. We were visiting all day long for the full week!
Admittedly, the definition of daytime in Iceland in December is quite different from what most of us are used to, since the sun rose at 11.30 AM and set at 3.30 PM
Most of the natural attractions will be free of charge so you can delight yourself with waterfalls, craters, lava fields etc as they are all free. Here’s a quick glance at your options:
Free: Jokuslaron, Skaftafell, Skogafoss, Seljalandafoss, Golden Circle
Activities under 100€
Activities under 100€ & affordable : Blue Lagoon, Thorsmark, Whale Watching, ‘Game of Thrones’ Filming Locations, Golden Circle Classic Tour
Entrance price to the Blue Lagoon varies depending on the season and package, and starts at about 40 €. See their prices here.
Assuming you don’t have your own towel/ bathrobe, I’d recommend you go for the Premium package, at roughly 70 €.
Set out late to see the Northern Lights
If you spend a week in Iceland in wintertime, you’ll be quite unlucky to not see any northern lights. So keep your hopes up, and your eyes towards the sky, ready for a show!
Most tour companies will let you know if there is a chance of sighting the day of the trip, or suggest an alternative date to try your luck again, free of charge.
Buses usually depart for the northern lights hunt after 10PM, which is great because a reschedule is not going to impact your other travel plans all that much. Maybe just your lazy beauty sleep.
The tour operator will probably take you to the same restaurant we went for lunch (it’s not like there are too many options out there in the wild) so if you’re not a vegetarian, the all you can eat lamb soup is an absolute must!
Although you will struggle to fit that second helping of deliciousness.
Activities 250€ and more
Activities 250€ and more – Expensive but still worth it (like anything in Iceland): Ice Caves – Lava cave, Glacier Ice cave, Crystal Cave – Snowmobile tours, or Helicopter tours.
We actually used GrayLinefor some of these tours, but you’ll find plenty of options on websites such as Viator.
Reykjavik’s Sun Voyager sculpture
Heading back to Reykjavik for a stroll in the city, you’ll have to admire the beautifully cold Atlantic views from the Sun Voyager sculpture.
This modern looking Viking ship sculpture is the work of Jon Gunnar Arnason, and makes for a cool shot whenever you go.
I am very much looking forward to returning to the beautiful land of Fire and Ice in – the nearest future, and hopefully in spring or summer. Puffins await!