Iceland is known for its untamed scenery, breathtaking aurora borealis, unpredictable volcanoes that threaten global aviation traffic, thousands of waterfalls, and stunning Nordic architecture.
Discover Iceland’s most gorgeous locations and greatest waterfalls, as well as bizarre facts about the country! You’ll also learn some fundamental facts and advice on how to save money when vacationing in Iceland if you read on.
A few facts about Iceland
- the country pays in the Icelandic krona, the so-called krona, which has a very weak exchange rate (1 CZK = 5.79 ISK as of 23.11.2021)
- Fortunately, you don’t have to carry thousands with you, because in Iceland you can pay by card absolutely anywhere
- Iceland is one of the ten most expensive countries in the world, but don’t despair – with less belt tightening and a few tips below, this destination can also be available to everyone
- Although accommodation is very expensive in Iceland, you will find very affordable camps everywhere – including the capital Reykjavik!
- the vast majority of tourism-related services close in the autumn (the first signs are already visible in the second half of September), then they reopen some for the winter season so that they can close again in the spring
the main tourist season is from mid-May to mid-September
- you will not see the aurora borealis in the season, but since about September there are quite a good chance to see the north of the island of Aurora
- if you arrive in winter, you can look forward not only to the aurora borealis but also to glacial caves
Route 1 runs around the island, taking you quickly and easily to the island’s most famous attractions
if you like to discover your own routes, in Iceland you just have to get off the main road and in many places you will be completely alone. There are still a lot of places that bloggers have not yet named.
- The best way to get to know Iceland is by renting a car and having a good road trip. However, when choosing a car, make sure that your vehicle is adapted and mainly insured for inland and unpaved roads.
- Although Iceland is not in the EU, it is part of Schengen, so the same rules apply to Czech citizens when entering the country as anywhere within the EU.
- Icelanders may not be completely smiling and warm, but at the core they are very helpful, generous and reliable people.
10 tips to save when traveling in Iceland
holiday in Iceland with a low budget and low-cost travel…
- Book your car ahead of time, but invest in an off-road vehicle (eg Suzuki Jimny has a good price / performance ratio) – you won’t regret this money when you discover any off-road trip and wade rivers. If you don’t want to hitchhike or cycle through Iceland, you won’t save much by bus or see anything.
- Wait for airline events when buying tickets – for example, with Wizz Air it is possible to get to the capital Reykjavík in just a few hundred!
- Go easy or share your luggage – the prices of checked baggage often exceed the prices of the tickets themselves
- when you decide to go to a restaurant, have soup (often mushroom, cauliflower, tomato and broth on the menu) – the soup costs half of what the main course is, it is often dense, warmed up and served with fresh homemade bread!
- reduce alcohol consumption – on holiday one would rather think the opposite, but with the alcohol tax, drinking is very expensive here. Another option is some supplies in checked baggage (or in the trunk of a car if you are traveling by ferry), but don’t forget to clear a larger amount. When it is necessary to buy supplies, there is a specialized Vinbúdin store (but watch out for opening hours!).
- shop at the Bónus supermarket – there is no supermarket like a supermarket and this pink pig shop is the cheapest of all
- cook your own food – invest in camping utensils and use the facilities in campsites – you will save incredible money for eating in restaurants and bistros
- camp – pack a tent, sleeping bag and mat and defend Icelandic camps, which are plentiful everywhere. The camps are cheap, have a large capacity and good facilities with a boiling shower.
- if you work in tourism in Iceland, try to use the cooperation between hotels, agencies and carriers – quite possibly you can get free whale watching, kayaking on the lagoon or even flights inland!
- advice number ten is: do not count every crown eagerly and enjoy your holiday in the first place! As they say money will be, we will not…
How to shop cheap in Iceland?
It will never go cheap. But it can be cheaper. Reykjavik is one of the most expensive cities ever. When I first walked into the nearest open supermarket, I stared like crazy.
Fortunately, there is…
Supermarket BÓNUS. Bonus is love. It is a store similar to Lidl, where you will find everything from food, to basic drugstore to beer. There are several of them after Reykjavík and the students do not go anywhere else.
It is true that eggs are very expensive, so are cheeses, I prefer not to buy meat at all, but you can buy them by cooking great delicacies. I like to buy fish, shrimp, vegetables, fruit and Skyr yogurt. It’s something between cottage cheese and Greek yogurt and it’s best to buy flavorless white, because even that is so delicious that it doesn’t have to be sweeter.
Nuts, pastries, muesli, coffee or tea are also relatively affordable.
How to save in Iceland on accommodation
Are you going to Iceland, but are worried that you will give a lot of money for accommodation? In the first article of the series “how to save in Iceland” we will advise you on how to save on accommodation.
According to the Icelandic Environment Agency, free camping is only allowed on uncultivated land, for a maximum of three tents and a maximum of one night (source of information: here). However, the problem arises if you are in Iceland in the high season and you drive mostly after the Ring Round. Finding a place that would be uncultivated was not fenced and at the same time it was suitable for building tents is almost a superhuman task.
So if you do not want to drive tens of kilometers extra and you would rather spend valuable time exploring the beauties of the island than looking for a flat beach, then there is a sufficiently dense network of campsites. Prices in campsites are charged per number of people (it does not matter if you have a car and how many tents you can set up) and are around 1200 – 1800 ISK (270 to 410 CZK).
However, the above prices can be uncomfortable with your travel budget. Fortunately, there is a Camping Card in Iceland, with the use of which one night can cost you about 65 CZK. And it pays off! 🙂
We are preparing separate articles about equipment in Iceland, including tent reviews, in the section of reviews and editorial selections of the best products.
HOW DOES THE CAMPING CARD WORK IN ICELAND?
The card is always intended for two people, so it is better to travel in even numbers. You can use the Camping Card in a total of 41 campsites (as of 2016) throughout Iceland. And as its owner, you only pay city fees in the camp, which are in the amount of CZK 20 for 2 people. The card is valid for the entire calendar year and you can sleep on it in partner camps for up to 28 nights. However, the staff will check the boxes on the card for each day only occasionally, so in reality you could use the card for two months before you have everything crossed out 🙂
You can use the card for up to 28 nights
You can use the card for up to 28 nights
HOW MUCH THE CAMPING CARD COSTS AND WHERE TO BUY IT?
In 2016, the card cost € 110 for two people. So in terms of it is about 1,500 CZK / person. When using all 28 nights, one night would cost you a maximum of CZK 65, together with city taxes.
The card should allegedly be available at all campsites involved in the projects. But don’t rely too much on it and rather get a card at one of the campsites around the capital (we bought it in Grindavík). Because not all campsites have a reception (often there is only a money box or the caretaker arrives only in the morning by car).
Along with the card, you will also receive a clear map and a brochure with information on all campsites. So you know in advance if there is hot water in the camp, whether there is a kitchen, wifi and other details. Link to official Camping Card website: CampingCard.is
If you have further questions about using the Camping Card in Iceland, write to us in the comments. We will be happy to advise you.
How to get cheaply from Reykjavik Airport?
If you are not an adventurer or just do not want to hitchhike, there are several options for you:
1. MHD. The cheapest is to take it by city bus. You can find it on the Strætó.is app, but it doesn’t run very often on weekends, so you’ll have to reach for private routes.
2. FLYBUS. Of the private routes, the cheapest is probably Flybus, which has a ticket shop directly at the airport and runs once an hour for about 3000 ISK. I know it’s enough, but welcome to Iceland.
3. AUTO. But if you rent a car, I would definitely rent it right at the airport. The best and cheapest company in Iceland – sadcars.com – has a branch there. We rented a car there for 2.5 days for 60 EUR. They are said to have abraded, dirty or old cars from time to time, but according to the latest reports, they have teamed up with another company that has provided them with better cars and Sadcars has given its reputation as the cheapest car rental company.
The funny thing about the car from Sadcars is that you also get a discount card at the gas station with your car, where they will also give you free coffee. So in the end, our trip looked like we stopped every time we met the gas station, one of us always ran out, got coffee, and drove on. We even played the game who sees the gasoline first!
I would definitely recommend my own car in Iceland. You will be flexible on trips and you will be able to discover the true beauties of Iceland, where you will hardly meet a living thing.
4. RIDE. If you prefer a car but don’t dare to drive, try a ride. You can find it on the Samferda website.