Discover the Truth About Alcohol Prices in Iceland: Are They Really That High?

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Have you ever wondered if alcoholic drinks are expensive in Iceland? If so, you’re not alone. Many travelers to this remote island nation in the North Atlantic are curious about the cost of adult beverages, and for good reason. Iceland is known for its high cost of living, and that reputation extends to the price of alcohol.

The Cost of Alcohol in Iceland

A simple answer to the question “Are alcoholic drinks expensive in Iceland?” is yes. The country has some of the highest alcohol taxes in Europe, which means that prices for beer, wine, and spirits are quite high. In fact, the cost of a pint of beer in Iceland can easily reach 1000 ISK (around $8 USD), and prices for wine and cocktails are similarly steep.

That said, it’s important to note that alcohol prices can vary depending on where you purchase them. Purchasing alcohol at bars and restaurants can be pricier due to additional service fees, while buying drinks at local liquor stores is typically cheaper.

Why is Alcohol So Expensive in Iceland?

If you’re wondering why alcohol prices are so high in Iceland, it’s largely due to the country’s strict alcohol laws.

Alcohol was actually banned in Iceland for much of the 20th century – from 1915 all the way up until 1989. Even today, the country maintains a strict state monopoly on alcohol sales, meaning that only the government can sell alcohol. This allows the government to control alcohol prices and maintain a high level of taxation.

Furthermore, Iceland’s taxes on alcohol are some of the highest in Europe, making drinks more expensive for visitors and locals alike.

How to Save Money on Alcohol in Iceland

While it’s true that alcoholic drinks can be quite expensive in Iceland, there are ways to save money without sacrificing your drinking experience.

One option is to visit local liquor stores and stock up on alcohol to enjoy in your hotel room or rental apartment. This can be significantly cheaper than buying drinks at bars or restaurants, even taking into account the extra cost of purchasing mixers or other supplies.

Another option is to seek out happy hours and drink specials at local bars and restaurants. While these deals may still be more expensive than what you’re used to in other countries, they can represent a significant discount off of regular drink prices.


As you can see, alcoholic drinks are indeed expensive in Iceland, due in large part to the country’s strict alcohol laws and high taxes. However, there are ways to save money on alcohol while still enjoying your Icelandic vacation. By visiting local liquor stores and seeking out drink specials, you can enjoy a night out without breaking the bank.

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