Needless to say, Iceland is an expensive country with expensive services. If you're coming as a tourist, you should expect to pay a lot of money during your stay. However, there are some extra services you can get for free.
Thinking back over our trips to Iceland, we have received a total of ten times things as gifts, completely free of charge, which we hadn't expected. You can find out what they were here:
1. Cat roommate for free
On our first trip to Iceland, we booked an Airbnb apartment in the basement of a family home in the small town of Akranes, West Iceland. We were greeted on arrival by a ginger Persian cat who showed us the way in and spent the next few days with us. We don't know where he came from, but he was a very kind and grateful companion, we loved him so much.
2. Free farm visit
During our winter tour of Iceland, our host showed us the farm animals (horses, sheep, cows, dogs) of Rauduskridur farm and allowed us to participate in feeding. If you book a farm stay in Iceland, you can get a closer look at farm life if the host agrees to show you around.
3. Free water and coffee in some restaurants
Our favourite restaurant Seabaron offers the best lobster soup and grilled fish at fair prices in the capital. The food is accompanied by unlimited water and coffee.
4. Petting and photographing Icelandic horses
Driving around Iceland, you'll see horse farms along the roads, where you can stop to take photos and pet horses.
5. Whale watching for free
In Husavík in August 2021, we participated in a successful whale watching trip organised by North Sailing. After the tour we drove around the Skjálfandi Bay area north of the town. At Öxarfjördur beach viewpoint and at Cliff viewpoint we had the pleasure to observe and track the whale we had seen earlier. If you can't afford whale watching, you can watch the whales swimming in the bay for free from these points. You can also watch seabirds nesting on the rock wall.
6. Unlimited aurora hunting
The accommodation for our 2021 Christmas trip to Iceland was Laekjarholt guesthouse near Hella, in the middle of nowhere. The little cottage was a great place to see the aurora borealis, and we managed to see and photograph this amazing phenomenon four times during the week we stayed there. If you want to see the aurora borealis, the cheapest way is to rent a cabin in the countryside, where you can hunt for free and unlimited.
7. Free tasting in the capital on Meat Soup Day
On the first day of winter, Reykjavík's city centre hosts a national meat soup (kjötsupa) day, with several restaurants on Skólavörðustígur street giving away free soup to passers-by. The exact date varies from year to year, according to the Old Norse Calendar, usually between 21 and 27 October.
8. Cats everywhere
In the streets of downtown Reykjavík, you'll meet