If you haven’t noticed via Instagram, my cousin Krista 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 cheap 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, Krista decided to travel to Iceland solo. If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, it gets pretty expensive. Today Krista is sharing some activities from her solo trip to Iceland and things to do on a 4-day trip to Iceland on a budget.
Flight from NYC to Iceland
Leaving JFK, the cost of my flight from NYC to Iceland 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. My flight from NYC to Iceland was about 5-6 hours; know thy belly. 😉 Many cities on the East Coast, West Coast, and Midwestern parts of the U.S offer flights to Reykjavik daily.
Getting Around Iceland: Rent a Car!
Renting a car is one of the most convenient ways of getting around Iceland. I went with ACE Car Rental and the car rental office is 1 block from Reykjavik Airport. I paid $178 USD or ISK18879.0 for a Hyundai Elantra for 4 days and immediately realized there was no GPS. 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 followed them on a dark empty highway for 45 minutes. After visiting 3 gas stations and a drunk person almost attacking me, I made to my hotel. When renting a car in Iceland, make sure you’re ready to pay for gas because prices are around $7.50 a gallon. Winters weather in Iceland can be harsh. If you’re visiting Iceland during the winter and not an experienced driver, use shuttle and taxi services.
Traveling to Iceland on a Budget: Low-Cost and Free Things to Do in Reykjavik
My solo trip to Iceland was on a budget so I didn’t purchase any of the tours. All of my Reykjavik sightseeing was done alone after doing research. I walked around a lot, used my rental car and a physical map. If you don’t rent a car, you can also arrange tours from your hotels in Reykjavik. Here are some low cost and free things to do 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 – Iceland’s 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 – If you want to visit the Blue Lagoon, 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 $58. I was satisfied with walking through the facility for FREE99. The Blue Lagoon is a 15-20-minute drive to the airport and my last stop on the trip. I visited the morning before going back home.
- Search for the Northern Lights: Visiting Iceland and seeing the Northern Lights isn’t 100% guaranteed, but you can see the natural wonder with Reykjavik excursions on a Northern Lights Tour.
Have you done a solo trip to Iceland before?