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  • Writer's pictureScandinavian Travel

Understanding the Cost of Living in Iceland

The country of stunning landscapes and vibrant culture, also has a high cost of living. If you’re considering moving to Iceland or simply curious about the expenses, this comprehensive guide will provide all the information you need. From average salaries to housing costs, we’ll cover everything.

Cost of living in Iceland

Cost of living in Iceland

To give you a clearer picture, here is a table of the principal expenses in Iceland:


Cost (USD)

Rent (1-bedroom apartment in city center)


Rent (1-bedroom apartment outside city center)


Rent (3-bedroom apartment in city center)


Rent (3-bedroom apartment outside city center)


Utilities (monthly for standard apartment)




Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro)


Public transport (monthly pass)


Taxi (1 km, normal tariff)



Preschool (or Kindergarten), full day, private, monthly for 1 child


International Primary School, yearly for 1 child


How much does it cost to live in Iceland

What’s the cost of living in Iceland?

The cost of living in Iceland is relatively high compared to many other countries. This includes housing, groceries, transportation, and other daily expenses.

Housing costs

One of the most significant expenses in Iceland is housing. The average rent for an apartment in Reykjavik, the capital city, varies depending on the location and size. On average, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost around $1,800 USD per month, while the same apartment outside the city center might be around $1,400 USD per month. If you’re looking for a larger apartment or a house, expect to pay more.

Groceries and dining out

Groceries in Iceland are also expensive due to the island’s remote location and the need to import many products. For example, a liter of milk costs around $1.50 USD, and a loaf of bread is approximately $3.50 USD. Dining out can be pricey as well. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant might cost $20 USD, while a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant can cost around $100 USD.

Transportation costs

Public transportation in Iceland is relatively affordable. A monthly pass for buses in Reykjavik costs about $75 USD. If you prefer to drive, gasoline prices are around $8 USD per gallon. Car ownership can be expensive due to high import taxes and the cost of maintenance.

Utilities and Internet

Utility costs for a standard apartment, including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage, average around $150 USD per month. High-speed internet costs approximately $60 USD per month.

What is the average salary in Iceland?

Salaries in Iceland are generally high, which helps offset the high cost of living. The average salary in Iceland is around $4,500 USD per month before taxes. After taxes, the average net income is approximately $3,000 USD per month.

Average salary in Iceland

Median income in Iceland

The median income in Iceland is also substantial. Median income reflects the middle point of income distribution, with half of the population earning more and half earning less. The median income in Iceland is approximately $55,000 USD per year.

What is the average cost of living in Iceland?

The average cost of living in Iceland for a single person is about $2,000 to $2,500 USD per month, including rent, utilities, groceries, and transportation. For a family of four, this cost can rise to about $4,500 to $5,500 USD per month.

Education and childcare costs

If you have children, education and childcare are additional expenses to consider. Public education is free, but private schooling can be costly. Childcare for young children can cost around $1,000 USD per month.

Healthcare costs

Healthcare in Iceland is of high quality and is partly funded by taxes. Residents are required to pay a small fee for services, but the cost is relatively low compared to other countries. Private health insurance is also available for those who prefer it.

How much does it cost to live in Iceland in US Dollars?

To summarize, living in Iceland can be expensive. Here is a breakdown of the major costs in USD:

Rent (1-bedroom apartment in city center): $1,800 USD/month

Groceries: $300 - $400 USD/month

Dining Out: $20 USD (single meal) - $100 USD (three-course meal for two)

Public Transportation: $75 USD/month

Utilities: $150 USD/month

Internet: $60 USD/month

Healthcare: Variable, but generally low-cost

Iceland wages and salary

Iceland offers competitive wages, which helps residents manage the high cost of living. The minimum wage in Iceland is around $2,800 USD per month. Many professions, particularly in specialized fields such as technology and healthcare, offer significantly higher salaries.

Iceland average salary

The average salary in Iceland varies by industry. Here are a few examples:

Technology and IT: $5,000 - $7,000 USD per month

Healthcare: $4,500 - $6,000 USD per month

Education: $3,500 - $4,500 USD per month

Hospitality: $2,800 - $3,500 USD per month

How expensive is Iceland to live?

Living in Iceland is undoubtedly expensive, but the high quality of life, excellent public services, and beautiful environment make it a worthwhile consideration for many.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it expensive to live in Iceland?

Yes, Iceland is one of the most expensive countries to live in, with high costs for housing, groceries, and dining out.

Is it cheaper to live in Iceland or the USA?

Generally, living in Iceland is more expensive than in many parts of the USA, particularly when it comes to housing and groceries.

How much is a house in Iceland in US dollars?

The cost of a house in Iceland varies widely, but on average, you can expect to pay between $300,000 to $500,000 USD for a standard family home.

What is the minimum wage in Iceland?

The minimum wage in Iceland is approximately $2,800 USD per month.

Understanding the cost of living in Iceland is crucial for anyone considering moving to this beautiful country. While the expenses are high, the average salaries and quality of life often justify the costs. Whether you’re planning to relocate or just curious, this guide provides a detailed look at what you can expect in terms of living expenses in Iceland. If you’re planning a visit and want to explore the country in a unique way, consider checking out our Iceland campervan rental options for an unforgettable adventure.

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