When you’re thinking of what to buy while shopping in Iceland, all that may come to mind is a Viking figurine from an overcrowded souvenir shop. However, there are many stores in Iceland that are far superior to the standard shopping mall you can find anywhere. You most likely already know how famous Scandinavian design is, and Iceland is certainly a player in the game. So when you’re not taking a day trip to one of the many hot springs Iceland is famous for, make certain to save ample time for perusing the best shops in Iceland.
And wherever you go, remember to get the paperwork for your VAT refund to enjoy tax-free shopping.
Shopping in Iceland: Where to get traditional sweaters
Shopping on a budget? Head to an Icelandic sweater outlet.
You may be wondering where the best place to buy sweaters in Iceland is among all the Iceland stores. But also, maybe don’t have the budget to head to a fancy boutique or an expensive shop in Reykjavik. It's a good thing local brands 66°North and Icewear both have an Icelandic sweater outlet. They're located in the same shopping center less than 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from downtown Reykjavik. You don’t have to miss out on the best shopping in Iceland if you can’t shell out tons of Icelandic krona!
Able to splurge at Iceland clothing stores?
Local boutiques are the best place to buy sweaters in Iceland.
Maybe you’re willing to spend some money at an authentic Iceland shop that sells homemade sweaters. If that’s the case, there are many stores in Reykjavik you can check out. Some of the best shops in Iceland can be found on Laugavegur Shopping Street. There is plenty of wool attire to discover at the oldest shopping street in Reykjavík before starting your Ring Road trip.
Go to Farmers Market for all your woolen needs. And no, it’s not a place to buy fresh food, but actually one of many specialty Iceland clothing stores. Farmers Market brings modern fashion trends to the iconic Icelandic wool sweater. Another great high fashion Icelandic apparel boutique is Aftur. Aftur is a sustainable brand and each piece is an original. You can find both of these stores on Laugavegur Shopping Street.
Great Iceland shopping for music & decor
Music stores in Iceland
Many consider Iceland to be a mecca for alternative music. You can discover this for yourself at the many record shops around Reykjavik. Lucky Records is maybe the most famous record shop in Reykjavik, housing infinite obscure indie treasures. Another prominent music store in Reykjavik is Smekkleysa, which ironically means ‘Bad Taste.’ However, the name actually comes from the Icelandic record label that helped cultivate the country’s alternative music culture. If you have a passion for alternative music and can get lost browsing for hours, hit up these stores in Iceland.
Design and decor shops in Iceland
Art and design are big-name concepts for Scandinavian countries. Ikea ultimately comes from a decor culture with deep roots in clean lines and neutral colors. You may already know you want to stop by some Icelandic design storefronts while surveying the local economy. You’ll notice a surplus of great shops in Iceland for decor when walking the streets.
Epal is an awesome local chain if you want smaller-ticket items that will easily fit in a carry-on bag back home. For sleek and contemporary Icelandic art, clothing, furnishings and houseware, pop into Akkurat in downtown Reykjavik. However, if your personal style leans toward quirky and colorful, Hrím is the place to go. They offer fun and original rugs, candles, tea sets, skincare products, and more.
Best shopping in Iceland for unique gifts and souvenirs
A lot of us can’t afford to bring home a chic Nordic coffee table, for reasons of both money and space. There are definitely stores in Iceland where you can buy one-of-kind Icelandic souvenirs that easily fit in your backpack. Go to Thorvaldsens Bazar, the oldest shop in Reykjavik, which sells quality but affordable trinkets and knit-wear.
Best shopping beyond regular gift shops
Drop by Kolaportid Flea Market in Reykjavik for a more authentic Iceland shopping experience. They offer unique and budget-friendly items that you can’t always find in a normal gift shop. It’s indoors and open every weekend. Stalls sell antiques, vintage clothing, used books, DVDs, knick-knacks, toys, woolen goods and more. It’s the perfect place to encounter more local action than commercial hotspots. Most vendors are cash-only, and if you want to avoid the long line at the one ATM inside then take out cash beforehand.
While most places in Iceland take credit cards, this is an exception.
When it comes to seeing locals in their natural habitat while saving money, there’s an easily accessible experience: a local grocery store. Go not only because you need sustenance and don’t want to pay for restaurants each meal. Look at it as an activity and spend more time browsing aisles than you would in your home country. Typical foods, brands, and even packaging styles change from place to place, and it’s fun just to explore! Bonús, Krónan, and Nettó are national grocery chains that are budget friendly.
Remember to look up the Iceland shop opening hours
Make sure the shops in Reykjavík and beyond are actually open before heading into (or out of) town. In general, Iceland shop opening hours are not as strict as other Scandinavian or European storefronts that often close on Sundays. Most stores are open both Saturday and Sunday (though not all), but their weekend hours are shorter than during the weekdays.
Ultimate list of each Iceland shop mentioned
66°North outlet (Sweater Outlet)
Address: Faxafen, Reykjavík, Iceland
Icewear outlet (Sweater Outlet)
Address: Faxafen, Reykjavík
Farmers Market (Clothing Boutique)
Address: Laugavegur 37, 101 Reykjavik
Sat. & Sun.: 11-19
Aftur (Clothing Boutique)
Address: Laugavegur 39, 101 Reykjavík
Lucky Records (Music Store)
Address: 105, Rauðarárstígur 10, Reykjavík
Sat. & Sun.: 11-17
Smekkleysa (Music Store)
Address: Skólavörðustígur 16 Entry in Óðinsgata, 101 Reykjavík
Address: 4 Reykjavík locations
Hours: depends on location
Open at 10, some locations closed on Sundays
Address: Aðalstræti 2, 101 Reykjavík
Address: Laugavegur 25, 101 Reykjavík
Sat & Sun.: 10-18
Thorvaldsens Bazar (Souvenirs & Knitwear)
Address: Austurstræti 4, 101 Reykjavík
Sat. & Sun.: 10-14
Kolaportid Flea Market (Second-hand Market)
Address: Tryggvagötu 19, Old Harbour Grófin Reykjavik Kvosin, 101 Reykjavík