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WHAT IS FREE IN ICELAND?

Updated: Oct 23, 2022



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 twelve 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. After that, we had several more " visiting" cats as our housemates during our later tours to Olafsfjördur, Reykjavík, Drangsnes and Árnessýslu.


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. Water is free with your meal, and for coffee you have to buy a cup and then you can refill it for free. We have seen similar experiences at petrol stations.


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 friendly cats in many places. Baktus, who has a large number of social media followers, lives in Gyllti Kötturinn clothes shop, you can admire Negull, the beautiful Bengal cat in Hjarta Reykjavikur art shop or meet Ofelia, the famous cat in Icemart shop, who mostly naps on the blankets by the entrance. There are many other cat celebrities living in the capital, and you can read about them in a separate post.


9. City Hall tourist information, toilets, 3D map

The Reykjavík City Hall on the shores of Lake Tjörnin is well worth a visit. You can use the toilets during opening hours, get help looking for something at the tourist information desk and admire a three-dimensional map of Iceland.


10. Free city parking

Free parking is available everywhere in the capital from 4 pm on Saturday until Monday morning.


11. Akureyri botanical garden

Akureyri, the 'capital' of North Iceland, near the Arctic Circle, has its own botanical garden. The gardens are beautifully designed, well-kept, with many flowering plants, ponds and trees, and are well worth a visit. The garden is open all year round and can be visited without an entrance fee.


12. Community fridge (freedge)

In Iceland there are 5 community fridges with freely available food: 3 in the capital, 1 in Akureyri City Library and 1 in Höfn.

The initiative was set up so that people who have food left over don't have to throw it away and those who would like to eat it can get it for free. You can keep track of what is in the fridge in Facebook groups.

It's not really a service for tourists, but if you don't have any food, you can use the service and if you have any food left over at the end of your trip to Iceland that you can't or don't want to take home, you can put it in the freedge.


(Photos: pictures from the fridge in Akureyri, downloaded from facebook)


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