Cost of Living in Iceland for International Students 2024

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.

Also 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 

Also 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 – 203,827 ISK per month to study in Iceland. However, the living expenses of the students vary based on 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 a day depending on the vehicle.

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

Food and Restaurants 

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

However, most people spend a minimum of $30- $40 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 Restaurant2,544.25 kr
McMeal at Mcdonald’s (or Equivalent Combo Meal)2,000.00 kr
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course15,000.00 kr
Domestic Beer (0.5-litre draught)1,300.00 kr
Cappuccino (regular)628.13 kr
Coke/Pepsi (0.33-litre bottle)372.51 kr
Water (0.33-litre bottle)290.34 kr

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 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 dollars per month. Buying housing in the capital city is also expensive. The rate is $5000 per square meter. 

Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 sqft) furnished accommodation in an expensive area348,121 kr
Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 sqft) furnished accommodation in a normal area277,000 kr 
Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 sqft) furnished studio in expensive area214,441 kr 
Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 sqft) furnished studio in a normal area189,329 kr

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 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 flat65,177 kr
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas …) for 1 person in 45 m2 (480 sqft) studio42,933 kr
Internet 8 Mbps (1 month)6,518 kr
40” flat screen tv165,479 kr
laundry detergent (3 l. ~ 100 oz.)3,317 kr 
Microwave 800/900 watt (bosch, Panasonic, LG, sharp, or equivalent brands)49,096 kr
Hourly rate for cleaning help11,734 kr 

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 LeisureRate
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult8,595.40 kr
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat1,800.00 k 
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend)4,819.58 kr 

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. 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.

Relevant Reads:

Cost of Living in Lithuania: A Comprehensive Guide on Lithuania’s ExpensesCost of Living in Wales: A Comprehensive Guide on Wales’s Expense
Cost of Living in Helsinki: A Comprehensive Guide on Helsinki’s ExpenseCost of Living in Brussels: A Guide on Expected Expenses
Cost of Living in Rotterdam: A Guide on Expected ExpensesCost of Living in Stuttgart: A Comprehensive Guide on Stuttgart’s Expense


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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