One of the best things about going on vacation is buying souvenirs and other items to help you remember your trip. Whether it’s a mug, keychain, or a piece of clothing, this item will always make you smile. And when it comes to shopping in Iceland, there are a few basic items that you want to think about picking up. You’ve got the typical ones like Icelandic sweaters, but there are also some unique shops that you’ll only find in Reykjavik. So grab your credit card and get ready to go on a shopping spree.
Shopping in Iceland: Head to Laugavegur Street
The mecca of Iceland shopping is hands down Laugavegur Street in downtown Reykjavik. Not only can you find typical stores to buy Icelandic souvenirs and some great shops for picking up handmade Icelandic sweaters, there’s much more. There are also record shops like Lucky Records and some great shops for housewares and vintage clothing. There are also lots of stores in Reykjavik that feature typical Scandinavian design. Don’t worry, you won’t be relegated to the stereotypical gift shop or souvenir shop.
So now you know: this is the place to go if you want to find the best shopping in Iceland. In addition to being the main shopping street, filled with souvenir shops and Iceland clothing stores, Laugavegur leads a double life. In the evening the cafes and shops close and the bars open. You’re going to spend a lot of time on this popular thoroughfare as it is also the center of Iceland’s vibrant nightlife scene.
Best Place to Buy Sweaters in Iceland
One of the big questions we often get is where is the best place to buy sweaters in Iceland. After all, this iconic piece of clothing is as much a symbol of Iceland as is our beloved puffins or Hallgrímskirkja Cathedral. You’ll see lots of Iceland stores offering these beautifully knit garments what the signature criss-cross pattern around the neck. But buyer beware. Not all of these sweaters are created equal.
The best place to buy sweaters in Iceland Is by far from the Handknitting Association of Iceland. They have the handcrafted guarantee of traditional sweaters using artisanal methods and helpful staff to help you choose the best sweater. If you want a 100% authentic Icelandic sweater, I suggest heading here. They’ve got a shop in Reykjavik which is for these famous wool sweaters and they also sell many other items.
Supporting local businesses is important, so when you stop by their store to purchase a lopapeysa, you are supporting quality and the local economy. That being said, quality and handcrafted work don’t come at a cheap price. Due to the hours of work that went into making it as well as the high quality of materials, the price tag can be a bit high. You can probably find something cheaper at an Icelandic sweater outlet, but you won’t have that 100% authentic guarantee.
It’s up to you which is more important; price or quality. Whichever one you choose, remember to get a copy of the receipt and VAT form. You’ll want to get your VAT refund at Keflavik International Airport before you leave the country. This also lowers the final price that you pay.
Always check for the Handknitting Association of Iceland tag on anything you buy made from wool to guarantee quality.
Iceland Clothing Stores
There are lots of different specialty shops in Reykjavik and unique Iceland clothing stores. The first one you should check out is Kiosk. It’s actually a co-op which is designer-owned and the creators display their pieces. You can find everything from tops and pants to skirts, dresses, swimwear, and accessories.
Another great place for the best shopping in Iceland is Spúútnik. While Reykjavik has a great outdoor flea market as well, this particular store specializes in vintage clothing. Nothing is more fun than browsing through the racks to see if you can find some hidden finds to take home with you.
Shops in Iceland – Scandinavian design
This small Nordic country is known for being a quirky place, and shops in Iceland are no exception to this rule. Scandinavian design and Icelandic design are known for their minimalist look and interesting touches. Art and design are especially respected and held in high regard here.
If you’re into housewares and interior design, you’ll definitely want to make a beeline for Hrím. The store is known for its Icelandic design specifically as it relates to your home, office, and kitchen. They have specialty items and these are the types of souvenirs that I personally prefer. After all, how great is it to look at a beautiful vase in your home and remember that you bought it in Iceland while driving around the Ring Road?
Other Stores to Visit
There’s a wide range of eclectic stores in Iceland, so I don’t have time to list them all here. One that you definitely have to stop by is Mál og Menning. it’s a famous book store with titles in both English and Icelandic. Literature is an important part of Icelandic culture, so come here two people watch and see Icelanders in their element.
Stopping For a Coffee
After you’ve shopped till you dropped, you’re going to need a quick refresh before heading back out. Recharge your batteries with a warming coffee and some delicious homemade bread from Reykjavik’s iconic Sandholt Bakery. They’ve got amazing baked treats here, so you’ll probably be coming back more than once. And then it’s back out for more shopping.
Reykjavik’s oldest shop for coffee is also nearby. Mokka Kaffi is located on Skólavörðustígur street, just around the corner from Laugavegur Street.
Shopping in Iceland can be expensive, so I completely understand if you don’t want to spend a ton of money. It’s still fun to soak up the atmosphere on Laugavegur Street, however. Go there to walk around even if it’s just to window shop.
Shop Opening Hours
Iceland is very particular because of the extreme differences in daylight between winter and summer. Luckily, this doesn’t affect Iceland shop opening hours too much. You’ll find that most Iceland stores open around 9 or 10 a.m. during the week. Some, however, don’t open until 11 a.m. You’ll find that most stay open until 6 p.m., but a select few close their doors at 5 p.m. And there are the outliers that stay open until 7 p.m.
Weekend hours are reduced, but in the downtown area you won’t really notice this.
Now you know that our country isn’t all hot springs and volcanoes and you’re ready for some serious Iceland shopping. Whether that’s picking up some souvenirs, items with sleek Icelandic design, or some clothing from a vintage shop you should be all set. Stores in Iceland offer a wide variety of items, So all you’ve got to do is know what you’re looking for and start browsing on Laugavegur Street.