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Oct 11, 2008 07:40 PM

Iceland Bankrupt: Is this a good thing for visitors?

Last summer, we visited Iceland and found it to be a stunning country with wonderful cuisine.
We also found it unfathomably expensive. Here's a link to what I wrote about dining in Reykjavik:

We anticipate returning in the future, but wonder if the nation's financial crisis has had an appreciable effect on the prices of food. I've read that the exchange rate of the krona (vs. the USD and Euro) has declined by at least a factor of two. Does that meat that dinner at the Sea Baron or 3 Frakkur is now $30 per person instead of $60 or 70? Reports from recent visitors or residents would be appreciated.

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  1. What’s happening in Iceland is extremely sad and is also a “wake up call” for other countries whose debts outweigh their GDP’s.
    I think it will be a good thing for visitors..I have a gig there later next year..
    would love a good exchange rate with the krona vs. the's notoriously expensive..but a country bankrupt, is never a good thing and I wish them well and hope the UK goes nice on them.

    1. I watched TV a couple of days ago and they interviewed some British tourists that were so chuffed (happy) that they changed their money at the right times (they did it twice) when the Krona collapsed that they were finally able to go buy food at a restaurant.

      So I guess things are much cheaper now. I am sure they will take any currency outside the Krona as currency also.

      Having said that, its not going to be nice to visit a whole country that's in serious economic pain. My heart goes out to the people that were just about to retire and lost everything.

      6 Replies
      1. re: girobike

        Also visited Iceland, did the Ring Road, loved it but found meals very pricey. But the rental car/ flight and B&B package at that time from IcelandAir was reasonable. But typical meals, occasionally of so-so quality did run $100US and more if you had beer/wine. Breakfasts were included and were hearty so you could get by on only one meal a day and some snacks inbetween.

        Maybe this is the best time to visit just to provide a little outside cash to keep their viable industries going. Their fortunes were made in the financial sector but there is still plenty of fishing and tourism to generate income stream as in the past - so don't knock the legs out of their tourism sector.

        Iceland is wonderful and buying cold climate clothes manufactured in Iceland is one more way to help out their local economy. And eat fish, fish, fish that comes from Iceland - I do think the MacDonald's Fish sandwich which is yummy in its own right uses Icelandic cod, and if it does not, ask that they start.

        This time around for those of us who love this country, SUPPORT Iceland products, instead of so often registering opinions by boycotting something ..........

        I say, go to Iceland and bring in hard currency and buy as much locally produced as you can. They are worth it.

        1. re: glbtrtr

          I was the OP on this thread and agree that the economic collapse is a human tragedy.
          The Icelandic people are kind, warm and very welcoming to visitors. Unfortunately, their banking system gambled and lost big.

          According to several posts on, the exchange rate being offered by banks in Iceland is about 110 krona to the dollar. This means that you're going to spend as much, if not more, that you would have spent when we were there last summer. So, if you feel generous (or wealthy), a visit to Iceland will give your great pleasure. Click on the link in the first post on this thread for reviews of a couple of wonderful restaurants in Reykjavik (The Sea Baron and 3 Frakkur were our favorites).

          1. re: famdoc

            The good thing is Iceland is not particularly know for fine dining or unique cuisine. There were fast food, pizza and spaghetti places as well as those wonderful roadside cafes where one item could set you back $40US plus each.

            So if you don't plan on dining well, eat more of a fast food diet and shop the markets for some microwave stuff, and just enjoy the wonderful people and the spectacular scenery, Iceland still should not be missed. Wonder how that remote Margaret's Diner (name??) that basically was a home out by itself on the eastern edge of Iceland is doing?

            No better fish found anywhere when one could afford it, but if it is not affordable, then see the country instead and feast on its beauty. Warning, gas was approx $7 a gallon but the Yaris got good mileage so that helped balance things. I am soooooooooooo glad I got to see the place a few years ago. It was one of my more haunting travel memories.

            1. re: glbtrtr

              I was in Iceland in 2002, and though it was expensive, I found the cuisine both unique and excellent. I had puffin on Heimaey and whale sushi in Reykjavik, neither of which I have ever seen on another menu. My lunch at laekyarbrekka in Reykjavik is still one of the best meals I have ever had. Because we ate there for lunch, it was a great way to enjoy a fine dining meal at a reasonable price. In general, Iceland had some of the freshest fish I have ever eaten. I also hope to get back soon to try to inject some money into their touristeconomy to do what I can to help their unfortunate situation.

              1. re: foodieBruce

                Read in the WSJ that meals were half the price with the exchange rates for dollars than before the crash - which still puts them in the expensive catagory but not break your wallet expensive like before. And that air fare was supposedly good.

                Iceland Tourism Office is a good place to see if you can find some good packages because I know they would live to have people still coming to experience this wonderful country.

                1. re: glbtrtr

                  Icelandair is advertising some rather good fares from NYC. They also offer packages that include lodging. I agree that those considering visiting would do well to go soon as a gesture of support of their devastated economy.
                  Just be aware that you've got only about 8 hours of daylight now...and less as we approach the winter solstice:

                  Reykjavík, Iceland - Sunrise, sunset, dawn and dusk times, table
                  Date Sunrise Sunset Length Change Dawn Dusk Length Change
                  Today 09:12 17:09 7:57 08:19 18:03 9:44
                  +1 day 09:15 17:06 7:51 00:06 shorter 08:21 18:00 9:39 00:05 shorter
                  +1 week 09:35 16:47 7:12 00:45 shorter 08:38 17:44 9:06 00:38 shorter
                  +2 weeks 09:58 16:26 6:28 01:29 shorter 08:57 17:27 8:30 01:14 shorter

                  For a departure from JFK, Icelandair is showing a $667 RT to Reykjavik later this month. It may be cheaper to fly to Paris on Icelandair, stopping in Iceland for a few days at no extra charge. That's what we did.

      2. Its pretty sad when a great country with so much culture has declared itself bankrupt, and all that people can talk about is whether or not this will make travel cheaper. Maybe we should be looking at the root causes, and just what this means for this once great nation, with so much to offer. How is it that so many dictatorships, or bs democratic countries within africa and around the world have their debts forgiven by Canada, USA, and many other nations. Maybe we should quite forgiving debt to these nations; whose inherently evil governments use our money to sponser aggression on their own peoples. We should ask the question to our governments," how can we help Iceland get back on track" Could we afford to help in the troubled times, I dont think that we can afford not to help. Who cares is the price of holidaying in Iceland are high, think about it for a second.....They are isolated in the middle of the north atlantic, with a minimal growing season and very expensive importation costs. That is why everything costs so much there. My appologies for the rant, but I just couldn't help myself on this one.

        1. absolutely not. Iceland is one of the biggest tourist gouges in the world. most of the restaurants are sub standard. the price of any desirable clothing is a good 40% more than in nyc for example.