What do you eat in Iceland without spending all your money?
Unless you want to eat hot dogs three times a day, restaurants in Iceland are expensive. Even the cheapest restaurant will set you back at least 8 USD for a single item meal (a hamburger, bowel of soup). As this is an extreme budget travel guide, I will only say that restaurants should be used sparingly, and will not review any here.
Instead of eating out at restaurants, most travelers with limited fund will cook their own food in their hostel or campsite. Surprisingly, essential items in Iceland are not really that expensive on a global scale, and, if you buy your food from a Bonus (discount supermarket with the pink pig as the logo), and cook for yourself, you can easily eat on well on around $10 per day. Go to How Much does it Cost to Travel in Iceland for more on expenses.
Cooking your own food in Iceland
Cooking facilities come standard in hostels in Iceland, so if you plan on using this type of accommodation, your food strategy is set. If you are camping (the cheapest accommodation option in the country), you will often need to have your own cooking gear. While some of the nicer campsites in the country do provide kitchens, this is not the rule — especially if you are trekking or camping on the sly.
The cooking gear that I observed travelers in Iceland using was highly varied, and it was common to see campers using everything from a full on butane grill to a little propane camp stove, to an alcohol burning tuna fish can. Most all camp fuels — including denatured alcohol — are common in Iceland, though they are often not cheap. One of the best vagabonding tactics for Iceland is to scour the campsites for left behind canisters of cooking fuel or discarded food. If you stay at the campsite in Reykjavik long enough you can easily collect enough left behind fuel to last your entire journey through the country.
Tips for eating cheap in Iceland
Coffee refills are free so when investing in a $3 mug of coffee make sure to fill it up again three or four times to get you money’s worth.
Make your beer cold without refrigeration by using this tip.
Beer in Iceland is extremely expensive, avoid drinking too much unless you want to run out of money.
Scavenge as much food as you possibly can from the campsite in Reykjavik before taking off into the countryside. This city is the entrance and departure point for most travelers to Iceland, and many campers leave behind the food, cooking gear, and other essential supplies that they don’t want to take with them out of the country in the “free” bins at this campsite.
Dumpster dive as much food as possible. The dumpsters are excellent in Iceland, so go behind the supermarkets and take your fill.
More information about finding cheap food when traveling
- How to eat cheap in tourist destinations
- Eat cheap Eat Beans and rice
- Traveler food is Chicken, Eggs, Rice, Vegetables
Read more about Iceland on the travelogue
- Travelogue entries about Iceland
Iceland Travel Guide
- Read more about Iceland on the Iceland Travel Guide