Discover Iceland Currency Essentials Today!

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Iceland is a unique and beautiful country known for its stunning natural landscapes and high volcanic activity. Before embarking on your Icelandic adventure, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the country’s currency, the Icelandic króna. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about Iceland’s currency, including its history, denominations, exchange rates, and practical tips for managing your money in Iceland. So let’s dive in and unlock the secrets of Iceland currency!

Key Takeaways: Iceland Currency

  • The official currency of Iceland is the Icelandic króna.
  • The Icelandic króna is not commonly accepted outside of Iceland.
  • You can exchange your currency for Icelandic króna at banks and exchange offices.
  • Credit cards, especially Visa and Mastercard, are widely accepted in Iceland.
  • ATMs can be found throughout Iceland for cash withdrawals in Icelandic króna.

What is the currency used in Iceland?

The currency used in Iceland is the Icelandic króna (ISK). As the official currency of Iceland, the Icelandic króna is widely accepted throughout the country. It is important for visitors to be aware of the currency and its denominations when planning their trip to Iceland.

Denominations of Icelandic Króna

The Icelandic króna is divided into coins and banknotes, with denominations ranging from 1 to 10,000 króna. Here is a breakdown of the denominations:

Denomination Coins Banknotes
1 króna Yes No
5 króna Yes No
10 króna Yes No
50 króna Yes No
100 króna Yes No
500 króna No Yes
1,000 króna No Yes
5,000 króna No Yes
10,000 króna No Yes

It is important to note that the Icelandic króna is not commonly accepted outside of Iceland, so it is advisable to exchange your currency for Icelandic króna before traveling to the country. This will ensure that you have the local currency on hand for your transactions and avoid any inconvenience or additional fees related to currency exchange while in Iceland.

“When visiting Iceland, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the Icelandic króna, the country’s official currency. By exchanging your currency for Icelandic króna, you’ll be prepared to make purchases and transactions without any hassles or uncertainties.”

Currency Exchange in Iceland

currency exchange in Iceland

When traveling to Iceland, it’s important to familiarize yourself with currency exchange options to ensure a smooth financial experience during your trip. Currency exchange in Iceland can be done at banks, exchange offices, and some hotels. It is highly recommended to exchange your currency for Icelandic króna (ISK) before arriving in Iceland to avoid unfavorable exchange rates.

Although it is possible to exchange currency in Iceland, it is advisable to avoid doing so at the airport, as the exchange rates are usually less competitive. Instead, opt for exchanging your currency at banks or exchange offices in town, where rates tend to be more favorable.

By exchanging your currency for Icelandic króna in advance and seeking out reputable exchange offices, you can maximize the value of your money and have a convenient supply of cash to use throughout your trip.

Recommended Currency Exchange Locations

Here are some reliable options for currency exchange in Iceland:

Exchange Office Location Contact
Arion Bank Downtown Reykjavik Phone: +354 444 7000
Íslandsbanki Downtown Reykjavik Phone: +354 440 4000
Landsbankinn Downtown Reykjavik Phone: +354 410 4000

These exchange offices are conveniently located in downtown Reykjavik, making them easily accessible for currency exchange purposes. It’s advisable to contact the respective banks for their opening hours and any additional requirements for currency exchange.

Remember, by exchanging your currency for Icelandic króna at reliable exchange offices, you can ensure that you have the local currency you need to fully enjoy your time exploring Iceland’s breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cities, and unique culture.

Using Credit Cards in Iceland

Using Credit Cards in Iceland

When it comes to making payments in Iceland, credit cards are widely accepted and convenient, especially Visa and Mastercard. Whether you’re dining at restaurants, staying at hotels, or shopping at retail shops, you can rely on your credit card for a seamless transaction. Carrying a credit card offers added security and eliminates the need to carry large amounts of cash.

However, it is still advisable to carry some cash for smaller purchases or in case of emergencies.

Informing your credit card company about your travel plans to Iceland is essential to avoid any issues with your card while abroad. This will ensure that your credit card company is aware of your international transactions and can prevent any unexpected blocks or holds on your card.

While credit cards are widely accepted, it’s important to note that some small establishments and remote areas may only accept cash. Therefore, having a mix of cash and credit cards will help you navigate different payment scenarios comfortably.

The Benefits of Using Credit Cards in Iceland

Using credit cards in Iceland provides several advantages:

  • Convenience: With a credit card, you can make quick and easy payments without having to worry about carrying or exchanging cash.
  • Security: Credit cards offer built-in security measures, such as fraud protection and the ability to dispute unauthorized charges.
  • Rewards: Many credit cards offer travel rewards, cashback, or other incentives that can enhance your overall travel experience.
  • Exchange Rates: Credit card transactions often provide competitive exchange rates compared to currency exchange services.

While credit card usage is convenient, it’s crucial to keep in mind that some businesses may have minimum purchase requirements or additional fees for credit card payments. To avoid any surprises, it’s a good idea to check with the establishment before making a purchase.

A mix of credit cards and cash is recommended for a smooth and hassle-free experience in Iceland.

Comparison of Credit Card Acceptance in Different Locations in Iceland

Location Accepts Credit Cards Cash Only Other Forms of Payment
Restaurants Some may accept mobile payment apps
Hotels Some may accept mobile payment apps
Retail Shops Some may accept mobile payment apps
Small Establishments Varies
Remote Areas Varies


“Credit cards are a convenient and secure payment method in Iceland, granting travelers the freedom to explore without having to rely solely on cash.”

“Informing your credit card company about your travel plans to Iceland will ensure a smooth payment experience and prevent any inconveniences during your trip.”

Familiarize yourself with the acceptance of credit cards in different locations in Iceland to plan your payment methods accordingly.

ATMs and Cash Withdrawals in Iceland

ATMs in Iceland

When it comes to accessing cash in Iceland, ATMs are a convenient option. They can be found throughout the country, making it easy for travelers to withdraw Icelandic króna for their expenses. Most major international bank cards are accepted at ATMs in Iceland, ensuring that you have easy access to cash.

Using your debit card, you can withdraw cash in Icelandic króna from ATMs. However, before using an ATM in Iceland, it is important to check with your bank about any foreign transaction fees or ATM withdrawal fees that may apply. This will ensure that you are aware of the charges involved and can plan accordingly.

To minimize fees, it is advisable to withdraw larger amounts of cash at once. This way, you can avoid frequent transactions and the associated charges. However, it is essential to consider your safety and security when using ATMs. Before proceeding with your transaction, be cautious of your surroundings and make sure that the ATM machine appears secure.

Pros of using ATMs in Iceland Cons of using ATMs in Iceland
  • Convenient and widely available
  • Accepts most major international bank cards
  • Allows for cash withdrawals in Icelandic króna
  • Potential foreign transaction fees or ATM withdrawal fees
  • Considerable charges for multiple small withdrawals
  • Security concerns in some locations

Overall, ATMs offer a convenient way to access cash in Iceland. By being aware of the associated fees and taking necessary precautions, you can make the most of this facility to manage your expenses effectively during your stay in Iceland.

Exchange Rates for Icelandic Króna

Icelandic króna to USD exchange rates

The exchange rate for Icelandic króna (ISK) is subject to fluctuations in the foreign exchange market. As of March 2023, one US dollar (USD) is equivalent to approximately 136 Icelandic króna. Please note that exchange rates may vary depending on the currency and the location of the exchange.

For the most up-to-date and accurate exchange rates, it is recommended to check the Icelandic central bank’s website or use a reliable currency converter. By staying informed about the current exchange rate, you can effectively manage your finances and make informed decisions during your time in Iceland.

Currency Exchange Rate
US Dollar (USD) 1 USD = 136 ISK
Euro (EUR) 1 EUR = XX ISK
British Pound (GBP) 1 GBP = XX ISK

Having an understanding of the current exchange rates can help you plan your budget, estimate costs, and ensure that you are getting a fair value for your money. Whether you are exchanging currency before your trip or converting cash while in Iceland, staying informed about exchange rates is essential for a smooth financial experience.

Make sure to stay updated on the exchange rates as they can fluctuate daily. Consulting reputable sources, such as the Icelandic central bank or currency converter tools, will provide you with the most reliable and accurate information.

History of Icelandic Currency

history of Icelandic currency

The history of Icelandic currency can be traced back to the late 19th century when Iceland was under Danish rule. During this time, the Danish krone was used as the official currency in Iceland.

However, in 1918, Iceland gained independence and established its own currency, the Icelandic króna (ISK). This marked an important milestone in the country’s economic development.

Since then, Iceland has issued its own banknotes, featuring unique designs and historical figures that reflect the nation’s rich culture. The banknotes come in various denominations, including 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000 króna.

Over the years, the Icelandic currency has experienced periods of instability, including the 2008 global financial crisis. This crisis had a profound impact on the Icelandic economy, leading to a significant depreciation of the króna.

“The history of Icelandic currency is closely intertwined with the country’s economic and political developments. It reflects Iceland’s journey towards economic independence and stability.”

Today, the Central Bank of Iceland is responsible for managing the country’s monetary policy and issuing the Icelandic króna. The central bank plays a crucial role in maintaining financial stability, controlling inflation, and ensuring the proper functioning of the financial system.

Understanding the history of Icelandic currency provides valuable insights into the economic landscape of Iceland and the country’s commitment to maintaining a stable and robust monetary system.

Evolvement of Icelandic Currency:

Year Milestone
Late 19th century Use of Danish krone as currency under Danish rule
1918 Iceland gains independence and establishes its own currency, the Icelandic króna (ISK)
Current Central Bank of Iceland manages monetary policy and issues Icelandic króna

Denominations of Icelandic Banknotes and Coins

Icelandic banknotes and coins

In Iceland, the currency is the Icelandic króna (ISK), which is divided into banknotes and coins. Familiarizing yourself with the denominations of Icelandic banknotes and coins is essential for smooth transactions during your time in Iceland.


Icelandic banknotes are available in the following denominations:

Denomination Design
500 króna Features an image of Jón Sigurðsson, a key figure in Iceland’s independence movement.
1,000 króna Depicts the Nobel laureate and writer Halldór Laxness, widely regarded as one of Iceland’s greatest authors.
2,000 króna Shows a portrait of the popular Icelandic musician and composer Jón Leifs.
5,000 króna Features the Icelandic explorer and writer Ragnheiður Jónsdóttir.
10,000 króna Depicts the influential poet and clergyman Davíð Stefánsson.

Each banknote showcases famous Icelandic historical figures and landmarks, reflecting the rich culture and heritage of the country.


Icelandic coins are available in the following denominations:

Denomination Design
1 króna Features a fish, specifically the cod, a significant part of Iceland’s economy.
5 króna Depicts a bird, the Atlantic puffin, known for its presence in Iceland.
10 króna Shows a sheep, representing Iceland’s agricultural roots.
50 króna Features a salmon, paying homage to the country’s abundant rivers and wildlife.
100 króna Depicts an artist’s interpretation of the coat of arms of Iceland.

Each coin has its own unique design and is made of different metals, adding to their distinctiveness.

By understanding the denominations of Icelandic banknotes and coins, you can navigate transactions with ease and fully enjoy your time in Iceland.

Tips for Managing Money in Iceland

saving money in Iceland

While Iceland may be known for its stunning landscapes and unique attractions, it’s no secret that it can be an expensive destination. However, with some smart planning and budgeting, you can still enjoy your trip without breaking the bank. Here are some money-saving tips and practical advice to help you manage your expenses and make the most of your budget travel in Iceland.

1. Book Accommodations and Rental Vehicles in Advance

One of the best ways to save money on your Icelandic adventure is to book accommodations and rental vehicles well in advance. By doing so, you can take advantage of early booking discounts and secure the best deals. Consider staying in budget-friendly alternatives like hostels or campsites, which not only offer affordable options but also allow you to connect with fellow travelers.

2. Opt for Budget-Friendly Alternatives

When it comes to food, dining out in Iceland can be quite expensive. To save money, consider opting for budget-friendly alternatives like picnics or self-catering. You can visit local supermarkets or grocery stores to stock up on snacks and meals. Not only will this help you save on food expenses, but it also gives you the opportunity to enjoy a meal in Iceland’s natural surroundings.

3. Take Advantage of Tax-Free Shopping

One of the perks of traveling to Iceland is the opportunity to enjoy tax-free shopping. Non-residents can claim a refund on the Value Added Tax (VAT) on purchases over a certain amount. To take advantage of this, make sure to request a tax-free form when making purchases and present it at the customs office before leaving the country. This can result in significant savings on your purchases.

4. Bring a Refillable Water Bottle

Drinking bottled water can quickly add up and contribute to unnecessary expenses. Instead, consider bringing a refillable water bottle with you during your Iceland travels. The tap water in Iceland is safe to drink and of high quality, allowing you to stay hydrated without spending extra money on bottled water.

5. Research Gas Station Prices

If you’re renting a car and exploring Iceland’s natural wonders, it’s crucial to keep an eye on gas station prices. Fuel prices in Iceland can be relatively high compared to other countries. Research gas station prices in advance and plan your refueling stops accordingly. This can help you find the most affordable options and avoid any unexpected expenses.

6. Take Advantage of Free or Low-Cost Activities

While there are several popular paid attractions in Iceland, there are also many free or low-cost activities that allow you to enjoy the country’s natural beauty without breaking your budget. Take hikes in national parks, explore stunning waterfalls, or visit local hot springs and swimming pools. By prioritizing these activities, you can have an incredible experience without spending a fortune.

Activity Cost
Hiking in National Parks Free
Exploring Waterfalls Free
Visiting Local Hot Springs/ Swimming Pools Low Cost

By following these money-saving tips and being mindful of your expenses, you can enjoy a budget-friendly trip to Iceland without compromising on the incredible experiences it has to offer. With careful planning and a little flexibility, you can make your dream trip to Iceland a reality without breaking the bank.

Currency and Monetary Policies in Iceland

Icelandic Króna

The Central Bank of Iceland plays a crucial role in managing the country’s currency and implementing monetary policies to maintain financial stability. With the aim of ensuring the sound functioning of the financial system, the central bank focuses on maintaining price stability and controlling inflation. By actively regulating interest rates and diligently monitoring the overall stability of the currency, the Central Bank of Iceland strives to foster a favorable economic environment.

“The Central Bank of Iceland’s commitment to maintaining price stability and ensuring financial stability is paramount in managing the country’s currency.”

Under the guidance of the Central Bank of Iceland, monetary policies are formulated to address economic challenges, promote sustainable growth, and safeguard financial stability. These policies are designed to adapt to changing market conditions and ensure the resilience of the Icelandic economy.

By comprehending the intricacies of currency and monetary policies in Iceland, individuals and businesses can make informed decisions and navigate the economic landscape with confidence. Understanding how the Central Bank of Iceland operates and the factors that influence monetary policies provides valuable insights into the country’s financial stability and economic outlook.

Key Objectives of the Central Bank of Iceland:

  • Maintaining price stability to prevent excessive inflation or deflation.
  • Regulating interest rates to stimulate economic growth and investment.
  • Monitoring and managing financial risks to ensure stability in the banking sector.
  • Conducting monetary research and analysis to inform decision-making processes.

Benefits of Effective Monetary Policies:

  • Promote economic stability and sustained growth.
  • Provide a predictable and favorable business environment.
  • Encourage domestic and foreign investment.
  • Enhance confidence in the financial system and currency.
  • Mitigate the risk of financial crises.

By implementing prudent monetary policies, the Central Bank of Iceland contributes to the overall well-being and prosperity of the country’s economy. Its proactive approach to managing the currency and financial stability ensures that Iceland remains an attractive destination for both domestic and international investors.

Main Monetary Policies:

Key Monetary Policies Impact on Financial Stability
Inflation targeting Controls inflation, maintains price stability, and supports economic growth.
Interest rate adjustments Influences borrowing costs, investment decisions, and monetary flow in the economy.
Foreign exchange interventions Stabilizes the currency exchange rate, enhances competitiveness, and manages international reserves.
Prudential regulations Ensures the stability and resilience of the banking system by setting standards and supervising financial institutions.
Liquidity management Manages the supply of money and credit in the economy to avoid liquidity crunches or excessive liquidity.

The implementation of effective monetary policies by the Central Bank of Iceland underscores its commitment to preserving financial stability and fostering sustainable economic development. By carefully managing the currency and employing a proactive approach to monetary policy, Iceland cultivates an environment conducive to both domestic and international financial activities.

Tipping and Tax-Free Shopping in Iceland

While exploring Iceland, it’s helpful to understand the local customs regarding tipping and tax-free shopping. Let’s take a closer look at these two aspects:

Tipping in Iceland

In Iceland, tipping is not expected or required as the service charge is typically included in the bill. However, it is customary to round up the bill or leave a small tip as a gesture of appreciation for exceptional service. This practice acknowledges the outstanding efforts of the staff and reflects your satisfaction with the service provided.

Tax-Free Shopping and VAT Refund

If you’re a non-Iceland resident, you may be eligible to claim a VAT refund on purchases over a certain amount. VAT, or value-added tax, is a consumption tax included in the price of goods in Iceland. To take advantage of the VAT refund, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Request a tax-free form from the store where you made your qualifying purchases.
  2. Present the tax-free form along with your receipts at the customs office before leaving the country.
  3. The customs office will verify your eligibility and process the VAT refund accordingly.

It’s important to note that the VAT refund process can vary, so it’s advisable to inquire about the specific requirements and procedures at the store where you plan to make your purchases.

Advantages of Tipping Advantages of Tax-Free Shopping
Maintains the practice of rewarding outstanding service Opportunity to save money on eligible purchases
Shows appreciation for exceptional service Exemption from paying VAT on qualifying goods
Supports the local service industry Enhances your shopping experience in Iceland
Encourages positive interactions between customers and service providers Allows you to enjoy Icelandic souvenirs and products at a more favorable price

Whether you decide to tip or take advantage of tax-free shopping, these practices add value to your overall experience in Iceland. Remember, tipping is a personal choice that reflects your satisfaction with the service provided, while tax-free shopping offers the opportunity to save on eligible purchases. Find the approach that aligns with your preferences and make the most of your time in Iceland!

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In conclusion, managing your money in Iceland requires a basic understanding of the country’s currency and practical tips for exchange. By familiarizing yourself with the Icelandic króna and exchange rates, you can make informed decisions to ensure a smooth and hassle-free trip. It’s advisable to plan ahead and carry a mix of cash and cards to cater to different situations. Utilizing ATMs and currency exchange services wisely can help you get the best rates and minimize fees.

Remember, Iceland’s currency, the Icelandic króna, is not widely accepted outside the country, so it’s essential to exchange your currency for Icelandic króna before traveling. Avoid exchanging money at the airport due to less favorable rates and opt for banks or exchange offices in town. Additionally, credit cards, especially Visa and Mastercard, are widely accepted in Iceland, but having some cash on hand for smaller purchases is recommended.

By following these practical tips for currency exchange and managing money in Iceland, you can confidently explore the unique natural landscapes and vibrant culture this beautiful country has to offer. Enjoy your trip and make the most out of your Icelandic adventure!


Q: What is the currency of Iceland?

A: The currency of Iceland is the Icelandic króna (ISK).

Q: Can I use US dollars in Iceland?

A: While some tourist attractions and hotels may accept US dollars, it is recommended to use the local currency, Icelandic króna, for most transactions.

Q: Where can I exchange money in Iceland?

A: You can exchange your currency to Icelandic króna at currency exchange offices, banks, and even at the international airport in Iceland.

Q: What is the exchange rate from USD to ISK?

A: The exchange rate from US dollars to Icelandic króna varies and can be checked at currency exchange offices or banks. It is advisable to keep an eye on the exchange rate to get the best value for your money.

Q: Should I exchange money before traveling to Iceland?

A: It is recommended to exchange a small amount of money to Icelandic króna before traveling to Iceland to cover immediate expenses. However, for larger amounts, it might be better to exchange in Iceland to get a competitive rate.

Q: Are credit and debit cards widely accepted in Iceland?

A: Yes, credit and debit cards are widely accepted in Iceland, especially in urban areas and popular tourist spots. However, it’s advisable to carry some cash for places that may not accept cards.

Q: What is the smallest denomination of Icelandic currency?

A: The smallest denomination of Icelandic currency is the 10 aurar coin, followed by the 25 aurar coin.

Q: Is it expensive to visit Iceland?

A: Iceland is known to be relatively expensive for travelers, especially in terms of dining and accommodation. Planning and budgeting for your trip can help you save money during your stay in Iceland.

Q: What are some tips for saving money in Iceland?

A: To save money in Iceland, consider cooking your own meals, staying in budget accommodations, using public transportation, and taking advantage of free attractions and natural sights such as waterfalls, hot springs, and glaciers.

Q: What is the home currency conversion rate to Icelandic króna?

A: The conversion rate will depend on the prevailing exchange rate at the time of conversion. It’s advisable to check with banks or currency exchange offices for the most accurate rate.

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