Both Ireland and Iceland will leave you breathless. From epic cliffs and green mountain ranges to volcanic rock formations and rich culture, there’s no wondering why Ireland and Iceland are on so many bucket lists. But, between Ireland vs Iceland, which is better?
Here, we’ll discuss the similarities between Ireland and Iceland, the differences between Ireland and Iceland, which country is cheaper to visit, as well as how to determine which country is best for you.
Are Ireland and Iceland similar?
First thing’s first, are Ireland and Iceland similar?
Yes, Ireland and Iceland are very similar. In both countries, you can witness jaw-dropping coastal routes, mega mountain ranges and other awe-inspiring attractions.
For example, Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway is very comparable to Iceland’s Reynisfjara Beach. Likewise, Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route mimics the look and feel of Iceland’s famous Ring Road. And lastly, Iceland’s F-Road mountains look very similar to Ireland’s Ring Of Kerry.
As you can see, Ireland and Iceland are very similar in some ways.
However, there are a few primary differences between Ireland vs Iceland, including cost to visit, currency, culture, climate, food, etc.
Is it cheaper to go to Ireland or Iceland?
To introduce the differences between Ireland vs Iceland, let’s begin with the question you all are probably wondering: is it cheaper to go to Ireland or Iceland?
In short, Ireland is much cheaper to go to than Iceland. Although, both countries are relatively expensive to visit.
In Ireland, you can expect to pay around $150 USD per night for basic accommodations. In Iceland, you can expect to pay no less than $200 per night for basic accommodations. Unless, you plan on camping or staying in hostels.
Below, you’ll see my Ireland accommodations on the left and Iceland accommodations on the right.
Even though restaurant food in Ireland is, on average, slightly more expensive than US restaurant food, Ireland’s food is way cheaper than Iceland’s restaurant food.
If you decide to visit Iceland, I highly suggest buying groceries at Kronan upon arrival instead of eating out for every meal. Otherwise, you can expect to pay roughly $30-40 USD per person per meal out. For more tips on saving money in Iceland, I have a whole guide to planning an Iceland trip on a budget here.
Finally, in terms of flights, flight prices to Ireland vs Iceland are actually fairly comparable. Because the two countries are both islands, they both require you to fly.
I booked both my Ireland and Iceland flights for free using credit card points. If you’re interested in opening a travel credit card to earn free flights, I definitely recommend you take this free quiz to decide which travel credit card is best for you.
Overall, Iceland is more expensive to visit than Ireland.
Ireland Vs Iceland Size
In terms of size, Iceland is slightly bigger than Ireland. Specifically, Iceland is about 40,000 square miles large, and Ireland is 33,000 square miles large.
So, these two countries are very comparable in size.
I will admit, though, that when you’re on the ground, Iceland feels much bigger than Ireland because it is much more remote, there are few cities and there are fewer people.
The land in Iceland feels much more vast and remote.
Next, we have to discuss climate.
Is Ireland colder than Iceland?
Both Ireland and Iceland have fairly cold climates, but Iceland is much colder than Ireland in general.
Iceland’s weather is more extreme in its dropping temperatures, Arctic winds and snowstorms. On the other hand, Ireland’s weather is usually mild with year-round stable temperatures and frequent misty-rain clouds.
Don’t get me wrong, though, if you choose to go to Ireland, you’ll still need to dress warm. Here’s an entire guide on what not to wear in Ireland that goes into depth about why you should dress warm.
Northern Ireland Vs Iceland
Now, it’s important to note that the Irish island is made up of two separate countries: Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (otherwise known as Ireland). Even though the differences between Northern Ireland and Ireland are minimal, it’s worth comparing both with Iceland separately.
First, let’s dive into Northern Ireland vs Iceland.
You will find very similar landscapes and experiences in Northern Ireland as in Iceland. In both countries, you can see massive coastal cliffs, iconic beaches, beautiful green pastures and even volcanic rock formations.
To give a deeper sense of their similarities, in the photo below on the left, you’ll see Ireland’s volcanic Giant’s Causeway. In the photo below on the right, you’ll see Iceland’s volcanic Reynisfjara Beach.
However, in addition to mountains and beaches, Northern Ireland is also home to dozens of castles, quaint Irish towns and thriving culture that you will not find in Iceland.
The attractions of Iceland, on the contrary, are much more remote — connected by only one paved road (Ring Road). Additionally, in Iceland, you can experience daring winter activities, such as glacier hiking, ice climbing, ice cave touring and more, which you cannot experience in any part of Ireland.
Republic Of Ireland Vs Iceland
Next, let’s compare the Ireland, AKA the Republic of Ireland vs Iceland.
Like Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland is very established, with bustling towns throughout almost the entire country. Here, you can visit castles, see marvelous landscapes (my favorite landscapes include Connemara National Park, the Ring Of Kerry and the Cliffs of Moher) and interact with locals daily.
In the photo below, here’s an example photo of an Irish castle located in the Republic of Ireland.
In contrast, again, Iceland is very remote. Instead of diving into culture and quaint European towns, you’ll take on jaw-dropping experiences and explore vast otherworldly landscapes.
Is Ireland or Iceland better?
Overall, Ireland is better if you want to tour castles, immerse yourself in European culture and see spectacular views. Iceland is better if you prefer remote environments to urban cities, want to adventure through otherworldly places and love exploring nature.
Basically, Ireland is for the Europe lovers. Iceland is for the adventure lovers.
Which country do you think is best for you — Ireland or Iceland?
Have any more questions about visiting Iceland vs Ireland? Leave a reply below, or follow and send me a DM on Instagram. I’m here to help!
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