What is the Cost of living in Iceland in 2024?

15 min read

Are you considering Iceland as your next educational destination? This island nation, known for its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant cultural scene, is becoming an increasingly popular choice for students from around the globe. With its reputation for high-quality education and unique living experiences, Iceland offers more than just a place to study; it’s a place to grow, explore, and discover.

Before you get all excited and pack your bags, it’s also essential that you understand the cost of living in Iceland across different cities. For instance, Reykjavik in Iceland is ranked the 14th most expensive city globally. Iceland’s living expenses can take you by surprise, but these issues can be dealt with with smart budgeting tips covered in this blog. 

This guide will offer detailed insights into exploring the costs of living and studying in Iceland. It covers everything from the basics, like accommodation and food, to transportation and additional expenses you might have yet to consider. This is your go-to resource for planning your financials, making intelligent budgeting decisions, and finding ways to make your Icelandic educational journey as affordable as possible.

Here is a snapshot of everything you can expect to read in this comprehensive guide on the cost of living in Iceland.

Key HighlightsInformation in Iceland
Monthly Cost of Living in Iceland Without RentINR 1L (ISK 1.8L) per month.
Cost of Living in ReykjavikINR 1L (ISK 1.8L) per month.
Cost of Studying in Iceland for Indian StudentsRegistration fee: about INR 45 K (ISK 75,000)
Tuition fees: INR 3.3 L to INR 12 L per year (ISK 5.4L – ISK 2L)
Cost of Living in Iceland that Goes Towards Rent Studio/One-bedroom Apartment: INR 96 K to INR 1.5 L (ISK 1.6L to 2.6L) per month
– Two-bedroom Apartment: INR 1.2L to INR 1.7L (ISK 2L to 2.8L per month
Top Universities for Indian Students in Iceland– University of Iceland
– Reykjavik University
– University of Akureyri
Average Salary for Graduates in IcelandINR 3.5L (ISK 7.7L) per month.
Top Scholarships to Reduce the Iceland Living ExpensesUI doctoral grants fund: up to INR 2.4L(ISK 4L per month)
University of Iceland Research Fund: up to INR 15L (ISK 25L) per year
UI’s Research Fund – Travel Grants: up to INR 2.1L (ISK 3.5L) for travel purpose
*Please Note: ISK is the currency of Iceland, which is often also known as Kr.

Benefits of Living in Iceland for Indian Students

What is the Cost of living in Iceland in 2024?

This is Iceland, where nature meets nurture, and educational opportunities abound in a serene and safe environment. Iceland is an ideal destination for students because it provides quality education. 

Iceland is home to 7 universities, which offer a range of educational opportunities with a focus on quality and research. This includes public and private institutions, each providing unique strengths in various academic fields​. Comparing the cost of education in Iceland with countries like the US and the UK, Iceland can be a more economical choice.

From its top-tier safety rating to its vibrant student life, here’s everything you need to know.

1. Safety and Community – Iceland is not only known for its landscapes but also for its remarkable safety standards. As of 2024, it is ranked as the safest country in the world, a title it has proudly held for 14 consecutive years. This peace of mind comes from the tight-knit community, high quality of life, and equal rights enjoyed by all residents.

2. Education and Lifestyle – The quality of life in Iceland is unparalleled, with exceptional healthcare, job opportunities, and an education system that ranks among the best globally. For example, the University of Iceland ranks 547 as per QS World University Rankings, 2025. Education is accessible and affordable, with numerous opportunities for scholarships and part-time jobs to ease the financial burden.

As an international student in Iceland, you can work up to 22.5 hours per week during the academic year. This part-time work opportunity is quite beneficial as it helps you manage Iceland’s relatively high cost of living. Moreover, during summer breaks, you can work full-time, which can significantly help cover expenses or even save up.

The minimum hourly wage in Iceland for basic jobs in supermarkets, restaurants, and various service sectors is around INR 75 (ISK 120 per hour). These jobs often serve as a practical way to gain work experience and financial independence while studying.

3. No Language Barrier – Though Icelandic is the official language, English is widely spoken, making it easy for you to adapt. Most higher education institutions offer all their programs in English, attracting a diverse student body from across the globe.

4. Natural Beauty and Culture – Iceland’s stunning natural wonders are a significant draw. Imagine studying with easy access to the Northern Lights, majestic waterfalls, and volcanic landscapes. 

For instance, Reykjavik, the capital city, is not only manageable on foot but rich in cultural sites and artistic hubs, perfect for weekend explorations. With everything Iceland offers, from safety and beauty to top-notch education and a welcoming community, why not take the leap?

Cost of Living in Iceland for Indian Students

For Indian students planning their education in Iceland, understanding the local cost of living is crucial. On average, you might expect to spend about INR 1 L (ISK 1.8L) each month, excluding rent. This figure includes daily necessities like transportation, restaurant meals, utilities, and leisure activities.

But remember, the cost of living in Iceland can vary significantly based on where you choose to reside and your lifestyle. Particularly in Reykjavík, the capital and largest city, you’ll need a minimum of about INR 1 L (ISK 1.8L) monthly for basic living expenses without rent.

Here’s a tabular comparison to give you a clearer picture of the monthly living expenses for Indian students in Iceland.

Expense CategoryAverage Cost in Iceland
Monthly Living Expenses in Iceland SANS RentINR 1 L (ISK 1.8L)
Monthly Cost of Living in Reykjavík SANS RentINR 1 L (ISK 1.8L)
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Cost of Accommodation in Iceland

Just like the breathtaking landscapes of Iceland are unforgettable, the housing prices can also leave a lasting impression. The real estate market in Iceland has seen dramatic fluctuations, with housing prices in areas like Reykjavik soaring due to increased demand and limited supply.

Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the bustling city centre, such as Reykjavik, will cost you about INR 1.5 L (ISK 2.6L) monthly. That’s in the ballpark of what you’d pay for similar accommodations in major cities like London or Paris!

Moving away from the city centre can ease the burden on your wallet. A comparable one-bedroom outside the central areas drops to around INR 1.4L (ISK 2.2L) monthly

Here is a closer breakdown of the cost of living in Iceland that goes towards rent.

Accommodation TypeCost
Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment in the city area1.5 L (ISK 2.5L)
Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment outside the city1.3 L (ISK 2.2L)

Here’s a comparison between the cost of rent in 5 major cities in Iceland.

City1 Bedroom Apartment (City Center)
ReykjavikINR 1.6L (ISK 2.6L)
AkureyriINR 1.2L (ISK 2L)
HafnarfjörðurINR 1.4L (ISK 2.3L)
KópavogurINR 1.5L (ISK 2.4L)
ReykjanesbærINR 1.3L (ISK 2L)

Cost of Living in Iceland that Goes Towards Transportation

Iceland’s public transportation system is primarily centred around buses, with the most extensive network in Reykjavik. The Strætó bus service operates in the capital region and connects major towns across the country.

For transportation, many locals and tourists rely on apps like Strætó (for bus routes) and Wapp (for road conditions and weather updates). Reykjavik also offers a bike-sharing system called WOW citybike, popular among students and tourists for short trips around the city.

Here’s a quick look at some essential means of transportation in Iceland and their costs.

TransportationApprox Cost
Local transportation one-way ticketINR 340 (ISK 570)
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)INR 5,500 (ISK 9,300)
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)INR 430 (ISK 730)
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)INR 190 (ISK 320)
Gasoline (1 litre)INR 180 (ISK 310)

Cost of Living in Iceland that Goes Towards Food and Groceries 

In Iceland, there are budget-friendly options available for you. Street food is gaining popularity, especially in Reykjavik, with food trucks offering local delicacies at more affordable prices. Many universities, such as the University of Iceland have subsidised cafeterias.

If you choose to cook your own meals, you can significantly reduce food expenses. Local supermarkets like Bónus and Krónan offer competitive prices, and buying in bulk can lead to additional savings. The inflation rate has reduced down to 6% in 2024 in Iceland. 

Here’s a glance at some typical food costs in Iceland.

ItemApprox Cost
Meal for 1 in an Inexpensive RestaurantINR 3 K (ISK 1,650)
3-course Meal for 2 in a Mid-range RestaurantINR 10 K (ISK 16,223)
McMeal at McDonald’s (or Equivalent Combo Meal)INR 1.4 K (ISK 2,350)
Cappuccino (regular)INR 420 (ISK 698)
Coke/Pepsi (0.33-litre bottle)INR 242 (ISK 402)
Water (0.33-litre bottle)INR 180 (ISK 300)

Utility Expenses in Iceland

The cost of utilities can vary significantly across different regions in Iceland. As of 2024, Reykjavik residents pay on average 15% more for utilities compared to those living in smaller towns like Akureyri. However, Iceland’s abundant geothermal energy keeps heating costs relatively low compared to other Nordic countries. Many students prefer Siminn (Network) since it is the cheapest from the 3 service providers. 

Below is a handy reference table summarising the monthly costs of various utilities and household items in Iceland.

UtilityApprox Cost
Utilities (heating, electricity, gas) for 2 people in an 85m2 flatINR 8.3 K (ISK 13,803)
Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ DataINR 1.9 K (ISK 3,299)
Internet 60 Mbps (1 month), unlimited dataINR 5.8 K (ISK 9,731)

Cost of Living in Iceland vs USA, Australia, and the UK

Ever wondered how the cost of living in Iceland stacks up against other popular expat destinations like the USA, Australia, and the UK? With its unique geographical features and high quality of life, Iceland often catches the eye, but it’s also known for being somewhat more expensive. 

Look into the specifics of expenses. Here is a comparison table that might help you decide whether the Land of Fire and Ice fits your budget.

CountryMonthly Cost of Living (Excluding Rent) in INR
IcelandINR 1L (ISK 1.8L)
USAINR 97K ($1,170)
UKINR 86K (£ 810)
AustraliaINR 92K (A$1,650)

Cost of Studying at Top Universities in Iceland

As of 2024, around 15 Indian students are studying in Iceland. The University of Iceland is the largest university in Iceland, known for its diverse research in geosciences, particularly due to Iceland’s unique geological environment. UI also boasts a modern campus with state-of-the-art facilities. 

These universities lead to educational excellence in Iceland and contribute significantly to research and development in various fields.

Here’s a compact guide to the top three universities that stand out in this North Atlantic island nation.

Top Universities in IcelandQS World University Rankings, 2025Average Tuition Fees
The University of Iceland547INR 45K (ISK 75,000): one-time registration fee only.
Reykjavik University547INR 14L (ISK 23L)/ year
The University of AkureyriNot RankedINR 45K (ISK 75,000): one-time registration fee only.
Please note: The annual tuition fee can significantly vary based on the college and course you choose. These numbers are only indicative.

Top 3 Scholarships to Reduce the Cost of Living in Iceland

The University of Iceland offers several scholarship options that significantly reduce financial pressure for you. Scholarships can greatly reduce the cost of living in Iceland, which is known for its high expenses. The estimated monthly fees for a single student range from INR 1L (ISK 1.8L). 

These financial aids cover tuition and assist with daily living costs. For example, the UI Doctoral Grants Fund supports doctoral studies, the University of Iceland Research Fund supports research projects and activities, and the UI Research Fund – Travel Grants provides support for attending international events. 

To give you a clearer picture, here’s a table of the critical scholarships available.

Scholarship FundAwarding OrganisationAmount Awarded
UI Doctoral Grants FundThe University of IcelandUp to INR 2.4L(ISK 4L per month)
University of Iceland Research FundThe University of IcelandUp to INR 15L (ISK 25L) per year
UI Research Fund – Travel GrantsThe University of IcelandUp to INR 2.1L (ISK 3.5L) for travel purpose

Top 5 High-Paying Jobs in Iceland that Breakeven Initial Investment in Studying

Iceland’s job market offers excellent opportunities to recoup your educational investment quickly. According to a 2024 report by the Icelandic Directorate of Labour, international graduates in high-demand fields can expect to break even on their educational costs within 2-3 years of full-time employment.

Here are the top 5 high-paying jobs you can apply for after you graduate in Iceland.

Job NameAverage Annual Salary
Software DeveloperINR 65 L (ISK 1 crore)
Renewable Energy EngineerINR 58 L (ISK 95L)
Data ScientistINR 55 L (ISK 90L)
Financial AnalystINR 50 L (ISK 82L)
Marketing ManagerINR 48 L (ISK 78L)

Top 5 Recruiting Companies in Iceland

What is the Cost of living in Iceland in 2024?

Did you know that as of 2024, the employment rate for international graduates in Iceland stands at 80% as of May, 2024 up from 68.5% in 2020? Here are the top 5 recruiting companies in Iceland.


1. Capacent – Capacent is a Nordic management consulting firm with offices in Iceland and  Sweden. They offer services in strategy, operations, and finance. It offers employment for management consultants, business analysts, and financial advisors.

2. Hagvangur – Hagvangur is an Icelandic recruitment and human resources consulting firm.  It offers employment for recruiters, HR consultants, and executive search specialists.

3. Ráðum – Ráðum is an Icelandic recruitment agency specialising in various sectors. It offers employment for recruitment specialists, account managers, and HR advisors.

4. Intellecta – Intellecta is an Icelandic consulting firm focusing on management, strategy, and human resources. It offers employment for management consultants, strategy advisors, and HR consultants.

5. Alfred – Alfred is the largest job advertising media in Iceland. It offers employment in the IT services and IT recruitment industry. 

Top 5 Part-Time Work Options in Iceland for International Students

Icelandic student visas permit international students to work up to 22.5 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during holidays. Average hourly wages for part-time jobs in Iceland vary based on the type of work.

As a student, you can expect to earn between INR 12K (ISK 20,000) and INR 18 K (ISK 30,000) monthly for basic jobs in supermarkets, stores, and restaurants. This significantly reduces your cost of living in Iceland.

Here are the top 5 part-time jobs available for you in Iceland.

Job NameAverage Monthly Salary
Retail Sales AssociateINR 15 K (ISK 24,500)
BaristaINR 14 K (ISK 23,000)
Tour Guide (seasonal)INR 18 K (ISK 29,500)
Student AmbassadorINR 16 K (ISK 26,000)
Restaurant ServerINR 17 K (ISK 27,800)

How Can the Cost of Living in Iceland for Indian Students be Reduced?

Iceland offers a significant advantage with its low cost of living compared to many Western countries. For instance, the cost of living in the US is approximately 16.4% lower than in Iceland without rent and about 10.7% lower, including rent​. However, what might seem like spending a little here and there can add up quickly. 

Living and studying in Iceland can offer fantastic opportunities for Indian students, so here are a few tips and tricks to help you reduce your cost of living there. 

  1. Accommodation Hacks

To reduce your cost of living in Iceland, avoid choosing a solo apartment and instead consider staying in hostel accommodation. Many universities, such as the University of Iceland, offer on-campus housing at affordable rates to students like you.

  1. Practice Cooking Meals

Start practising cooking meals a few weeks before your flight to study in Iceland. Not only will this help you reduce your monthly expenses, but it will also allow you to eat healthier.

By strategically planning your living expenses and exploring available scholarship opportunities, you can make your dream of studying in Iceland a reality.

Conclusion

As discussed, expenses in Iceland include accommodation, tuition fees, transportation, and food. Each aspect contributes significantly to the overall cost of living. 

By engaging with available resources and planning judiciously, you can successfully understand the financial aspects of your educational journey in Iceland. It will ensure that your focus remains on academic success and enjoying the unique Icelandic culture.

Manage your budget by taking advantage of part-time work opportunities, scholarships, and student discounts. Working part-time not only helps cover expenses but also offers valuable work experience. 

You can focus on academic success and enjoy the unique Icelandic culture by prioritising and managing your finances. Careful planning and proactive engagement are crucial to making the most of your time in this stunning country. Embrace the adventure, stay organised, and make the most of your educational experience in Iceland!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. What is the average cost of living in Iceland for a student?

    A: A student’s average cost of living in Iceland largely depends on lifestyle choices and location within the country, primarily if residing in Reykjavik’s capital. 

    Here’s a concise breakdown:
    Monthly Living Expenses (excluding rent): Approximately INR 1L (ISK 180,943).
    Accommodation Costs:
    In Reykjavik city centre: About INR 1.5L (ISK 2.6L) per month for a one-bedroom apartment.
    Outside the city centre: Around INR 1.3L (ISK 2.2L) monthly

  • Q. How much does accommodation cost for students in Reykjavik?

    A: Accommodation costs for students in Reykjavik, Iceland, can vary significantly depending on the location and type of housing. Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is expensive, typically costing about INR 1.5L (ISK 2.6L) monthly. A one-bedroom apartment outside the city centre is slightly more affordable, with monthly rents of around INR 1.4L (ISK 2L).

  • Q. What are the tuition fees for universities in Iceland?

    A: Tuition fees for universities in Iceland vary depending on the institution and program. There are no tuition fees for several programs at the University of Iceland, but all students must pay a registration fee of approximately INR 46,500 (ISK 75,000).

  • Q. Is public transportation expensive in Iceland?

    A: Yes, public transportation in Iceland is relatively expensive compared to many other countries. The cost of public transport passes, such as a monthly pass, typically runs around INR 5,500 (ISK 9,300). Single-use tickets and other fares also tend to be on the higher side. For instance, a one-way local transportation ticket costs about INR 340 (ISK 570). 

  • Q. How much does food cost for a student living in Iceland?

    A: The cost of food for a student in Iceland can be pretty high, especially when dining out. A typical meal at an inexpensive restaurant averages around INR 3,000 (ISK 1,650). For students opting to cook at home, monthly grocery expenses can vary widely based on diet and consumption habits but generally align with Iceland’s overall high cost of living. 

    Expect to budget for groceries around INR 17,400 to INR 29,000 (ISK 30,000 to ISK 50,000) per month. This includes essential food items like dairy, bread, rice, meat, and vegetables.

  • Q. Are utilities included in the rent in Iceland?

    A: In Iceland, utilities are typically not included in the rent. Renters must usually pay separately for electricity, heating, water, and internet utilities. The cost of these utilities can vary depending on the apartment’s size and the inhabitants’ consumption habits. For a standard 85m^2 apartment, the monthly heating, electricity, and gas fee is around INR 8,300 (ISK 13,800). 

  • Q. What scholarships are available for international students in Iceland?

    A: In Iceland, scholarships are available for international students to help manage the costs associated with higher education and living expenses. Key scholarships include:

    UI Doctoral Grants Fund: Supports PhD students and tenured teachers, offering substantial monthly stipends for 1-3 years.
    University of Iceland Research Fund: Provides funding for research projects and activities for researchers affiliated with the university.
    UI’s Research Fund – Travel Grants: Assists researchers in attending international conferences and events.

  • Q. Can international students work part-time in Iceland?

    A: Yes, international students in Iceland are permitted to work part-time. They can work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year. This allows students to manage the relatively high cost of living in Iceland. Additionally, international students can work full-time during holidays, offering further opportunities to earn and cover expenses. The minimum hourly wage for basic jobs, such as those in supermarkets and restaurants, starts at approximately INR 75 (ISK 130) per hour.

  • Q. What are the benefits of living in Iceland?

    A: Living in Iceland offers unique benefits, highlighted by its exceptional safety and high quality of life. Iceland consistently ranks as one of the safest countries in the world, fostering a strong sense of community and well-being among its residents. The robust education system focuses on research and innovation, benefiting students and academics. Healthcare is top-notch and accessible.

  • Q. What language are courses taught at Icelandic universities?

    A: At Icelandic universities, the primary language of instruction is Icelandic, especially for undergraduate programs. However, many graduate programs and courses are available in English, catering primarily to international students. This includes a variety of programs across disciplines, making it accessible for non-Icelandic speakers to study and excel. English is widely spoken in Iceland, and the availability of English-taught programs attracts a diverse student body worldwide.

  • Q. How does the cost of living in Iceland compare to other countries like the USA or UK?

    A: Iceland’s cost of living is generally lower than the USA and the UK. For instance, monthly living expenses, excluding rent in Iceland, average around INR 1L (ISK 1.8L). In the USA, it amounts to INR 97,000 ($1,170) a month. In the UK, it amounts to INR 86,000 or (£810) a month. The cost disparity is primarily due to higher prices for food, transportation, and utilities in Iceland. 

  • Q. What are the typical household expenses for students in Iceland besides rent?

    A: Besides rent, students in Iceland face several significant household expenses. Utility costs for an average 85m² apartment, including heating, electricity, and gas, are about INR 8,300 (ISK 13,800) per month. 

    Internet costs for a good connection are approximately INR 5,660 (ISK 9,730). 
    A monthly public transport pass typically costs about INR 5,500 (ISK 9,300). 
    A meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs around INR 3,000 (ISK 1,650).

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Prachi Sethi

Hi, I am Prachi, an experienced writer with extensive knowledge about the study abroad domain in particular countries such as the USA and Canada and other popular courses.
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