If you haven’t noticed via Instagram, my cousin is my favorite travel buddy. We’ve traveled to at least five countries together on flight deals and a budget. Over the summer she found a flight to Iceland, but due to my long trips to Mexico and Morocco, I had to sit this one out. After not finding anyone to travel with, she went solo. Today Krista is sharing free and low-cost things to do on a 4-day trip to Iceland.
Leaving JFK, the cost was $302.67 on Iceland Air. The flight was not full and I was able to move 12 seats up. Alcoholic beverages and food were available for purchase, but I packed a $4 turkey and cheese sandwich (condiments in separate little packages) from a Bodega in Queens and a $1 Chobani Yogurt. The flight is 5 hours; know thy belly. 😉
I went with ACE Car Rental. Why? Because it was the cheapest, duh! The car rental office is 1 block from Reykjavik Airport. I tell you this only because all the foreigners, including myself, waited in the freezing cold for 30 minutes at 1 AM for the shuttle bus, only to take us around the corner in 1 minute. I paid $178 USD or ISK18879.0 for a Hyundai Elantra for 4 days. I immediately realized the rental had no GPS once getting in. One vehicle over, I overheard a couple from New York also going into the city and they, in fact, had a GPS. So I
stalked tailgated them on a dark empty highway for 45 minutes. After 3 Gas stations and a drunk person almost attacking me, I made to my hotel.
Hotel & Lodging
There are 5 Fosshotels in the City of Reykjavik. After driving to three, I finally found the correct one. I stayed at the Fosshotel Raudara for 2 nights. The total was $298.16. Check-in was at 2 PM, but the receptionists were so nice, they allowed me to get FREE breakfast & let me check in at 8 AM. I traveled alone, but the room was large enough for 2 adults and an extra person (child). Since parking in the city can be an issue I was happy the hotel offered free parking. Most hotels in the area have metered and outside parking.
Another benefit of Fosshotel Raudara is it is close to all the attractions in every direction. The front desk always greeted me with smiles and gave me travel recommendations for my day trips every day. I will definitely stay in this hotel again on my next trip to Iceland. Breakfast was free and filled me until dinner.
Things to Do in Iceland on a Budget
I decided not purchase tours, but I walked around a lot, used my rental and physical map. Here are some free and low cost activities I did in Reykjavik.
- Hallgrímur’s Church (Hallgrímskirkja): Walking distance from hotel *Free – If you want to go to the top, there is a suggested admission of $10 USD. Iceland’s tallest and largest church is also its most photographed site. Named after 17th-century hymn writer and church scholar Reverend Hallgrímur Pétursson.
- Harpa:Walking distance from hotel *Free – One of Reykjavik’s easiest structures to recognize is its concert hall and conference center
- Laugavegur: For open-air shopping, stroll along Laugavegur. This shopping-centric street is filled with boutiques selling souvenirs, clothing, and specialty foods
- Perlan:Walking and driving distance from the hotel – The view from the top is amazing. There was an actual Glacier you can walk through. Admission is around $20- $25 USD.
- Solfar (Sun Voyager):Walking distance from hotel *Free – This steel sculpture, which was designed by Jon Gunnar Arnason, mimics a Viking ship and pays homage to the sun.
- Golden Circle: Driving Distance *Free – The Golden Circle is a popular tourist route in southern Iceland, covering about 300 kilometers looping from Reykjavík into the southern uplands of Iceland and back. It is the area that contains most tours and travel-related activities in Iceland
- Blue Lagoon Spa: Driving Distance *Free – There is an admission for entry, slippers, towels, and every little thing costs money. Not only is there a cost, but you must reserve a spot online in advance starting at $70. I was satisfied with walking through the facility for FREE99. The Blue Lagoon is a 10-minute drive to the airport and my last stop on the trip. I visited the morning before going back home.
Have you visited Iceland before?