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Where to shop if on a budget in Iceland

Not many tricks to make a trip in Iceland cheaper but this could help. PIC Globesurfer.de

Not many tricks to make a trip in Iceland cheaper but this could help. PIC Globesurfer.de

It is getting infinitely harder for backpackers and those on tight budget to visit Iceland. This place was always expensive but now demand is way more than supply regarding hotels, guesthouses and even restaurants, making any budget trip here next to impossible.

Examples abound. Basic bed in a basic hostel in Reykjavik these days can easily empty 50$ from your wallet in the best case and way over one hundred dollars in the worst case over popular periods like high summer or Christmas. For lower rated hotels one would be lucky indeed to find anything available under 90$ a night and totally impossible over high season.

this is not to say you will not be shocked over the prices in supermarkets

Worse yet, there is so much gold-rush in the local tourism industry, that operators and even official tourism agencies have made the case to eliminate “cheap” travelers altogether by raising prices even more and creating very high barriers for entry. There´s not much money in backpackers they say.

Which is utter nonsense in our view but we´re but a small unit with no say over things. What we can do for you is to recommend ways to save on food and groceries. Which supermarkets here are “best-buy.” This matters because price differences between shops can be pretty immense. Not least if buying for a longer trip.

Keep in mind, on average, prices for groceries in stores outside of Reykjavik city is most often higher and sometimes considerably higher than within the capital. Thus, for a juicy round trip a good idea would be to stock up in Reykjavik before leaving. The only exception to this is the Bónus supermarket chain with the ugly pink pig as its badge of honor. Those stores are found around the islands in larger places and they promise same prices all over.

Bónus happens to be the cheapest place to shop for groceries on average and overall selections are adequate. The only other player that offers competitive prices is the Krónan supermarket with its dancing coin as a badge of honor. This is also a good stop but out in the country there are far fewer stores and they do not promise same price overall.

The most expensive place you can turn to is the 10/11 convenience store. Often open 24 hours their prices are far and away the highest of all. Price difference for a decent basket of necessities will easily be upwards of 100% from Krónan og Bónus stores.

Most other places are somewhere in between those parties. However, this is not to say you will not be shocked over the prices in supermarkets here. You will.

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