Posted by: jeanne | August 9, 2014

what it costs – typical grocery prices, olafsfjordur

one of the things all the residents agreed we needed before we came to listhus i fjallabyggd was an idea of how much it costs to stay in iceland for a month.  my research was done in the beginning of august in olafsfjordur, in north iceland, but the same basic price structure obtains thruout iceland (except if you’re in an extreme tourist trap (like myvatn)).  at a residency, your main cost is not the cost of the residency itself, which is a pittance compared to a bunk in a hostel for a month, or a hotel or rented apartment for the same time.  your main cost isn’t even the airfare, when it all boils down.  your chief cost of staying for a month in iceland is the food.  every time you go to the grocery, you spend twenty bucks, and you end up going to the store every few days.  and at the end, you have some presents to pick up, but you scoff at the prices in the giftshops and the fact that they’re all made in china, and you decide the relatives back home can either have a piece of the sheep wool you picked up on a hike, or a nice volcanic rock you found, or a printout of one of your fabulous photos, suitably framed (or not, depending).

totalling up all my food receipts from samkaup, the only grocery store in olafsfjordur, i was there for 32 days (because oops i got there a day early), and spent isk36435, which okay, never mind the airfare being cheaper idea.  that’s roughly $350 bucks (let me check – $315 usd) for a month of food.  see, that’s not so bad, it’s 10 bucks a day.  so don’t be misled by sticker shock, and just enjoy your stay.

remember, the prices are in icelandic kronur, which you should have an app for that on your phone if you need it.  the rough way of figuring out how much something costs in american or australian or canadian is to knock off the two zeros, so 100 kr is about 1 dollar.  it’s not exact, however, but the idea is not to enable the cringe factor every time you see a price tag, and by the time your stay is over you will have gotten used to what things cost, and won’t hesitate to fork over that 1790 for a salad when you go for your last meal at a real restaurant in reykjavik.  i recommend babalu for a good vegetarian meal.  i got the chilli.  what you’ve got to understand is just that everything’s that expensive, and after awhile it starts to even out.  and since everything is expensive, you might as well just go ahead and get it and never mind fearing for your wallet.  you knew it was going to be expensive to go to iceland:  suck it up.

half a kilo (kg) is a pound
a kg is a little over 2 pounds
250g is half a pound
a liter is 33 oz

samkaup, olafsfjordur, august 1, 2014
dry goods:

loaf of bread 531

loaf of specialty bread 628

olive oil 500ml 549

olive oil extra virgin 500ml 649

pack of mcvitie’s dark digestive biscuits 304

pack of fig rolls 219

jar of curry paste 283g 408

can of crushed tomatos 400g 107

jar of jam 400g 429-549

coffee pads 50 598

box of earl gray tea bags 689

ground coffee 400g 399

bottle of dried spices 387

can of campbell’s cream of tomato soup 243

can of icelandic soup 558

sugar 1kg 429

bar chocolate 100g 174-249

cocoa powder 250g 480

jar of salsa 300g 298

rice 1kg 539-878

parboiled rice 1kg 429

pasta 500g 198-239


fresh foods:

fresh mushrooms 250g 308

avocado 1kg 839

tomato 200g 558

green pepper various colors 1kg 689-889

head of iceberg lettuce 395

fresh turmeric root 50g 379

fresh ginger root 1kg 645

sweet potato 1kg 339

potato 2kg 639

onion 1kg 142

red apple 1kg 389

pear 1kg 339

strawberries 250g 589

blueberries 125g 579


meat and dairy:

smoked salmon 1kg 469

bacon 120g 819

feta in oil 325g 282

chicken legs .79kg 852

cut up chicken 1kg 1072

two lamb leg steaks .384kg 764

four pork chops .59kg 1466

pickled herring 200g 498

cheese 1kg 1534-1710

butter 500g 377

six eggs 529

milk 1l 126

plain skyr 500g 219

cream 1l 454

various frozen vegetables 400g-750g 239-459

various frozen fruit 300g-1kg 199-599

frozen fish bleikjuflok (char) 1kg 2989

frozen fish thorskbitar (?) 1kg 1998

frozen sliced lambahryggur (leg) 1kg 2425

frozen shrimp 500g 689

frozen pizza 345g 527-699


  1. very useful info. thank you very much!


  2. Helpful! Do you know if you can bring things in your suitcase- like a pound of oatmeal or some basics? Though I think I will prefer to bring art supplies 🙂


    • yes, there are all sorts of indispensables you can take with you. i bring a lightweight printer so we can work from photos when i travel now. i’ve brought rice, all sorts of food to different places before. but now i know where i’m going, so i can leave most of these things at home. what i tend to do is eat like the locals, shop where they shop, etc. but you definitely want to bring all of your art supplies with you, because the art store in akureyri is primitive, and the one in reyjkavik is hard to get to. here are a few in reykjavik –


      • Thank you!


  3. Very useful information …thanks for sharing👍🏼


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