Shopping on a Budget

 

Reykjavík on a Budget

Traveling to Reykjavik and Iceland used to be considered an expensive adventure. However, since late 2008, it has become much cheaper as the Icelandic krona has decreased greatly in value. If you are travelling on a tight budget or simply want to save you cash then we have gathered a list of things that can be done for no or little money in the Icelandic capital

Accommodation

Reykjavik is filled with luxury hotels but less expensive options are also available. Two main hostels are located in the Reykjavik area.

Reykjavik Downtown Hostel, located in the heart of the city, a modern hostel for those who want to stay cheap but stay in class. 

Reykjavik City Hostel, located in Laugardalur valley, the city´s main recreation area, and next door to the national football stadium and the biggest geothermal swimming pool in Reykjavík. 

 

Transport

Reykjavik in a bus
Reykjavik has a fairly efficient bus system that services the greater Reykjavik area. During weekdays the routes run from early morning until late every evening. On weekends it might be a little trickier getting to some of the areas since some routes do not run on weekends. Taking the bus is a cheap way to get around as a single fare is only 280 ISK. If you are planning a full day of exploring you might want to get yourself a day pass for 600 ISK. Also available is a 3 day pass that is sold for 1.500 ISK.

Before you head to the nearest bus stop we recommend you visit the bus official website. There you can find your way using their online route guide, see schedules, timetables and more.

City sightseeing on a "Hop On – Hop Off" bus
During the summer (June-August) you might want to explore Reykjavik in the double-decker "Hop On – Hop Off" bus that rotates daily during the summer. Every hour on the hour (10.00–16.00) with 10 stops around the city centre. Passengers can "hop off" and "hop on" at any of these 10 stops and then carry on with the tour. Each ticket is valid for 48 hours. Each ticket is sold for 3.000 ISK and the busses are equipped with a guidance system offering 8 languages: Icelandic, English, Swedish, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Russian. 

If you prefer, you can book your city sightseeing ticket here.

Rent a scooter
Reykjavik is a city that is fairly easy to navigate and does not have heavy traffic congestion like many other capitals often do. Because of that, navigating the city on a scooter is easy and a freeing experience. Puffin Scooters, located by the harbor, offer scooters for rent in all shapes and sizes from only 2.800 ISK for one hour. Half a day only is 4.900 ISK and a full day of scooting around Reykjavik will cost you from 7.200 ISK. You will not explore the Icelandic highlands on a scooter but they will do fine for the capital.

 

Inexpensive restaurants

Santa Maria has one goal; to have all menu items priced no higher than 1.000 ISK. Since this tiny restaurant opened, it has been popular with locals and tourists, looking for a nice but inexpensive meal. The portions are fine for the price but if you are looking for a big heavy meal, you might want to order two portions of your dish.

Den Danske Kro (The Danish Pub) is located in a side street of Laugavegur shopping street, a perfect spot for a light meal. Everything here is Danish and the same goes for the menu. Traditional open-sandwiches, topped with for example, herring, smoked eel or roast beef are priced from as little as 250 ISK.

Vegamot is one of Reykjavik’s hottest spots, whether for a good meal or a good party. Every day they have two dishes of the day, usually one fish and one meat or chicken dish, that are VERY reasonably priced (1.000-1.690 ISK) for their quality. This is a popular place so we recommend you show up early, especially for lunch, in order to secure a table without having to wait.

 

Free and inexpensive things to do in Reykjavik

Free admission to Reykjavik Art Museum
Reykjavik Art Museum is open daily and admission is cheap. This is a great way to discover some of Iceland´s finest art for nothing, besides you own time.

Visit Perlan Perlan (The Pearl) is one of Reykjavik´s landmarks and a perfect place to get a 360°view of the city. Inside there is a renowned restaurant, café and a Viking museum.  No admission.

Free walking tour
Every day, rain or shine (in the summer, sometimes in the winter) free guided walking tours with an experienced guide who is an expert in history and speaks 3 languages, more or less. The tour takes about 90 minutes and warm clothing is recommended.

Visit Hallgrimskirkja church
Hallgrimskirkja Church can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. Its steeple rises above all other buildings in Reykjavik and the church can seat over 1000 people at a time. It was named after the Icelandic poet Hallgrimur Petursson. In front of the church there is a statue to the first Viking said to have discovered America, Leifur Eiríksson. Open daily. A small fee is charged for trip up the church tower.

Botanical gardens
Reykjavik´s botanical garden is located in Laugardalur valley, about 30 minute walk from the city center. In good weather this is a great place to stroll through or simply locate a good spot with a good book (or whatever is your thing) and simply relax and enjoy. For plant enthusiasts this is a great open air museum with more than 5000 different plants, all marked with their Icelandic and Latin names. No admission.

Experience Iceland´s thermal pools
Icelanders have for decades enjoyed their indoor and outdoor thermal pools. Now it your turn! Reykjavik has three thermal pools located in or close to the city center, perfect for a quick dip. Admission is only 550 ISK so there is no excuse. Read our guide What to Expect in an Icelandic Swimming Pool for more in-depth information.

Visit a museum
Reykjavik has a wide variety of museums that are both cheap and fun to visit. Travel back to the time of Iceland´s inhabitation with visual effects at The Settlement Exhibition, enjoy modern art at Reykjavik Art Museum or get to know Viking life at Saga Museum. Click for a full list of Reykjavik´s museums.

Reykjavik Zoo & Family Park
Reykjavik Zoo & Family Park is located in Laugardalur Valley, only 35-40 minute walk from the city center. Inside you have a small zoo with mostly domestic animals but also seals, foxes and few others that live wild in Icelandic nature. This is a great place for kids as they can get up-close and personal with the animals. .

Weekends

Children 0-4 years: free

Children 5-12 years: 600 Isk

Adults >12: 700 Isk

 

Weekdays:

Children 0-4 years: free

Children 5-12 years: 500 Isk

Adults >12: 600 Isk