Cheap Eats in Reykjavik

laugavegur street in reykjavik iceland - cheap foood

Traveling in Iceland on a low budget is possible - you will save a lot if you know where to buy cheap food. Luckily the capital is full of hip independent cafes owned by locals. To get a feeling for lowest possible food prices in Reykjavik, here is  a guide to cheap shops, hot dogs and soup trucks under 4,50€ for a meal. Plus: free bacon if you are in Iceland at the right time.

(Keep in mind that prices change - not only every year, but you might find different prices in supermarkets when you compare weekdays and weekends)

First I have to mention that tap water in Iceland is amazing - crystal clear and tasty. They say it is the best in the world, and though I haven't drank water in every country yet, it is certainly the best I ever had. Fill your bottle and don't bother paying for anything else.

The cheapest way to eat in Iceland is buying food at the supermarkets. Bonus and Kronan are the cheapest ones. Bonus has a yellow logo with a pink piggy on it. Look out for food from their own brand and for food with the red "Euroshopper" logo. There is a branch in the main shopping street Laugavegur. Kronan has a crown on the logo and you need to buy the "First Price" brand to save most. These supermarkets also sell the cheapest sandwiches to go starting at 350 ISK (2,30€). Vegetables, mushrooms & Co. are surprisingly inexpensive in Iceland. Your best bet is to book a hostel with a kitchen so you can cook yourself - note that the super cheap hostels normally don't have a kitchen, so those 3€ you save per night will come back at you and multiply as soon as you get hungry. Enjoy your cheap eats while you do some fun and free stuff in Reykjavik.

If you prefer to eat on the go, there are a lot of options. There is no McDonalds in Iceland thouh! The last cheeseburger was sold in 2009 and you can look at it in the lobby of The Bus Hostel. After the financial crisis McDonalds decided to pull out of the arctic country and is not planning to come back. Luckily there are enough stylish local cafes and bars. You will find sandwiches and paninis for 390 ISK to 650 ISK (2,50-4,20€), slightly more expensive than in the supermarkets. Drekinn has pretty good prices for burgers, fries and similar fast food.

One of the most amazing festivals in the world is the free Reykjavik Bacon Festival. It is held every year in August or September (dates vary, check their facebook page for details) and you get to sample Icelandic bacon for free. Bacon. For free. Do I have to say anything more?

Surprisingly, Icelandic national street food is a hot dog. The most popular and cheap one is Baejarins Betzu Pylsur. There are 4 stands throughout the city. This hotdog costs around 360ISK (prices rise every year though). Try one "with everything" and see if it is living up to the hype.

You will probably crave something warm - the cheapest soup in town is in the 10-11 store on Austurstræti. A soup is 399 ISK (2,60€) at the self serving station. Everything else in this store is drastically overpriced though! There is another place to get a warm soup - just next to the famous Hallgrimskirkja is a soup truck. Their cheapest option is a vegan farmers soup for 690 ISK (4,50€). They also have a typical spicy Icelandic meat soup, but it is 800 ISK.

There are countless places to get an Icelandic coffee, which is the favorite national drink, starting from 350 ISK (2,30€). There is no Starbucks, but a lot of cafes on the main street and around the old town instead. Cafe Babalu is pretty popular and also has the most epic Star Wars themed toilet in the world.

Of course there are more epic places in Reykjavik (like Chuck Norris Grill and Lebowski Bar), but they have average to high prices while this blog only looks at the cheapest options, not the average ones. You can eat wherever you want and those places will probably be better, but then it wouldn't be the cheapest meal in Reykjavik.

On the photo: Main street in Reykjavik - Laugavegur.