Cost of Living in Iceland

6 minute read

Just like other Nordic countries, Iceland is notoriously expensive. As per Numbeo, it is the 9th most expensive country in the world. Due to its location, several products need to be imported. Consequently, a high labour tax is charged. For example, in the Reykjavík area a loaf of bread costs around 400 ISK (INR 241.51), and going to the movies costs approximately 1,200 ISK (INR 724.67). As a result, it is very important to assess the cost of living and prepare your budget before you move to Iceland. Keep reading to know about the cost of living in Iceland: accommodation charges, travel expenses, and more.

Must Read: Study in Iceland: Top Universities, Rankings, Fees

Why study in Iceland?

Iceland is a beautiful country with thriving arts and culture. Moreover, students can enjoy eco-friendly living and have lots of personal space for themselves. There are plenty of reasons why you should consider studying in Iceland.

  • As per the social progress index 2015, Iceland ranks fourth in social progress. The country is committed to gender equality, and religious tolerance, and is known for progressive laws.
  • The universities in Iceland offer modern and up-to-date information. In fact, the oldest institution in Iceland was started in 1911.
  • Universities in Iceland offer courses in different disciplines. For example, Agricultural University is known for offering courses in agriculture and environmental sciences 

Must Read: Why Study in Nordic Countries: Free Education & More!

Cost of Living in Iceland

The cost of living in Iceland includes transportation costs, restaurant expenses, accommodation expenses, utility expenses, and entertainment expenses incurred. Before travelling abroad, students can estimate the expenses to create a budget plan.  On average international students require an average of 96,449 ISK and 203,827 ISK (INR  58,264.61- INR 1.23 lakh) per month to study in Iceland. However, the living expenses of the students vary on the basis of lifestyle as well.

Transportation and Commutation

Iceland has a broad network of public transportation. Travelling in Iceland is fast and safe. For example, Bus routes, taxis, ferry boats, and local airports all provide comfortable transportation to students. However, ticket prices are among the highest in the world.

For example, a monthly ticket will cost $56.72/ 4,650.14. Similarly, in Iceland, it is better to rent a car than to buy one. The reason is that car insurance is expensive. Hence, it is wise to pay vehicle rent of $20/INR 1,639.72 a day depending on the vehicle.

Transportation Charge
Local transportation one way ticket  500.00 kr /INR 301.89
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) 9,000.00 kr /INR 5434.07
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 730.00 kr /INR 440.76
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) 300.00 kr /INR 181.14
Gasoline (1 liter) 309.66 kr /INR 187.00
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) 5,129,421.05 kr /INR 30.96 lakh
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) 4,500,000.00 kr /INR 27.16 lakh

Food and Restaurants 

Restaurants in Iceland are quite expensive. In fact, a simple hot dog can cost approximately $20 /INR 1,639.72 dollars in the gas station. A decent meal can cost around $20 /INR 1,639.72 in cheaper places in Reykjavik.

However, most people spend a minimum of $30- $40 (INR 2,459.53- INR 3,279.22) for a traditional meal. However, the amount doesn’t include drinks or dessert. Tip: It is better to cook at your own expense than to eat meals out. 

Restaurant  Charge
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 2,544.25 kr /INR 1,535
McMeal at Mcdonald’s (or Equivalent Combo Meal) 2,000.00 kr /INR 1,206.94
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course 15,000.00 kr /INR 9052.05
Domestic Beer (0.5-litre draught) 1,300.00 kr /INR 784.51
Cappuccino (regular) 628.13 kr / INR 379.20 
Coke/Pepsi (0.33-litre bottle) 372.51 kr /INR 2,851.09
Water (0.33-litre bottle) 290.34 kr /INR 2,222.58

Accommodation Expenses

Similar to other expenses, the cost of accommodation in Iceland is expensive. A one-room rent in the capital is equivalent to 1,700 dollars (INR 1.39 lakh) a month. The rate is similar to accommodation costs in London or Paris. 

However, a single room or a studio apartment can cost between $1000- $1500  (INR 81,980- INR 1.22 lakh) dollars per month. Buying housing in the capital city is also expensive. The rate is $5000 per square meter. 

Accommodation Rate
Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 sqft) furnished accommodation in an expensive area 348,121 kr /INR 26.64 lakh
Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 sqft) furnished accommodation in a normal area 277,000 kr  /INR 21.20 lakh
Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 sqft) furnished studio in expensive area 214,441 kr  /INR 16.40 lakh
Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 sqft) furnished studio in a normal area 189,329 kr /INR 14.48 lakh

Also Read: Cost of Living in London for Students

Utility Expenses 

Utility expenses in Iceland are low. In fact, the prices of heating, cooling, and rubbish management are $106.75 (INR 8,751.29) per month. However, the internet connection is much more expensive than in other European countries.

Utility  Rate
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas …) for 2 people in an 85m2 flat 65,177 kr /INR 4.98 lakh
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas …) for 1 person in 45 m2 (480 sqft) studio 42,933 kr /INR 3.28 lakh
Internet 8 Mbps (1 month) 6,518 kr /INR 49,860.11
40” flat screen tv 165,479 kr  /INR 12.66 lakh
laundry detergent (3 l. ~ 100 oz.) 3,317 kr  /INR 25,376.11 
Microwave 800/900 watt (bosch, Panasonic, LG, sharp, or equivalent brands) 49,096 kr /INR 3.75 lakh
Hourly rate for cleaning help 11,734 kr  /INR 89,781.12 

Entertainment Expenses 

Clubbing costs a bit in Iceland. For example, one cocktail can cost more than 20$ outside of Happy House. Similarly, the rate of wine would be around $12. In the nightclubs, most people have a couple of drinks. On the other hand, locals prefer to drink at home. As a result, clubs and bars are not busy before midnight.

Sports And Leisure Rate
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult 8,595.40 kr /INR 65,764.45
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat 1,800.00 k  /INR 13,772.02 
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 4,819.58 kr  /INR 36,875.91 

Average Tuition Fees in Iceland

The tuition fees in Iceland vary on the basis of the university. In total Iceland has seven universities. It includes the University of Iceland which comes under the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities 2020. No tuition fees are charged at public universities. However, students might have to pay an application fee of £333/INR 34,803.09. Private universities, on the other hand, charge fees per semester.

University  Tuition Fees per semester
Public universities  No fees are charged
Private university fees for undergraduate students  ISK 288,000  /INR 1.73 lakh
Private university fees for postgraduate courses  ISK 424,000- 481,000  /INR 2.55 lakh- INR 2.90 lakh

Also Read: Top Iceland Universities for International Students

Things to Consider Before Moving to Iceland 

Every country comes with its own set of challenges and perks. Here are a few things you need to consider before moving to Iceland.

  • Iceland has cold weather. Hence, it is best to pack warm clothes. However, during the hottest times in the summer, a jacket will be sufficient.
  • Staying in Reykjavik is beneficial as walking is convenient. For travelling longer distances it is best to have a car/motorcycle of your own. Not many city buses are available for local travel. Hence, having a personal vehicle is useful.
  • Those with connections are likely to get a part-time job in Iceland. The reason is, Iceland businesses prefer to hire locals.
  • Sometimes it is hard to find fresh fruits and vegetables. 
  • A lively ex-pat community can be found in Iceland. It is easier to make both local and international friends 


Q1. Is it expensive to live in Iceland?

Ans. Yes. Iceland is an expensive country to live in. The accommodation, food, and transportation expenses are relatively high.

Q2. Is it cheaper to live in Iceland or USA?

Ans. It is more expensive to live in Iceland than in the US.  As per Numbeo, the cost of living in Iceland 40.21% is greater than in the US.

Q3. Can I live in Iceland permanently?

Ans. Individuals need to live in Iceland for a period of 4 years. After that, they can apply for residency permits.

Iceland is an expensive country to live in. The accommodation, transportation, housing, and entertainment expenses are high. People can live like a hermit in Iceland for 150,000 IKR/ INR 96,125.30. However, those who want to be more social, and explore more need to set aside more for the same. To discover more articles like this one connect with the study abroad experts at Leverage Edu.

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