Shopping in Iceland
Although its high prices do not make Iceland a typical shopping destination, the high quality products and possibility for tax savings means there are good opportunities for souvenirs.
The most important commercial centre of Iceland is unsurprisingly Reykjavik, where you'll find plenty of retail options from souvenir shops to luxury boutiques to fulfil your shopping needs. Having said that, with the increase in tourism, you'll also find souvenir shops in smaller towns like Sytkkishólmur and Húsavík.
What to buy in Iceland?
- Lopapeysa: these traditional Icelandic sweaters are one of the best souvenirs you could bring back from your trip. Made from lopi wool from Icelandic sheep, they are warm and waterproof: ideal for protecting you from the weather in Iceland. Depending on the quality of the jumpers, they can range in price from 15,000 kr (US$ 107.60) to 26,000 kr (US$ 186.60).
- Cosmetic products: Iceland's unique geography and the potential healing properties of elements like lava and silica have inspired the production of cosmetics. Given their quality, they're often expensive, and the most famous are those from the Blue Lagoon, which can be bought at the thermal pool itself or in shops in Reykjavik.
- Winter clothing: as you'd imagine, winter clothing and mountainwear in Iceland is high quality, well-designed and easy to find in shops throughout the country. One of the most popular brands is 66°North.
- Jewels and gems: it is very common to find elegant jewellery made from lava in shops around Iceland, striking for its texture and black colour.
- Puffin souvenirs: magnets, stuffed toys, t-shirts, pendants, key chains... you name it, you'll find a trinket with a puffin on it in Iceland's souvenir shops!
- Viking souvenirs: Nordic mythology has played a major role in Icelandic history, and this is reflected in a number of Viking-themed souvenirs that you can bring back from your trip.
- Books of Icelandic Sagas: the Icelandic sagas are some of the most well known literary works of the Nordic countries, and beautiful books telling their tales make a fantastic cultural souvenir from the country.
Shopping in Reykjavik
It may not be known for its enormous malls or Paris- and London-style shopping streets, but the Icelandic capital still has a number of lively shopping areas.
The largest and most important is Laugavegur Street, which runs through the centre of Reykjavik. Here, on both sides of the street, you can find dozens of stores, both souvenir shops (which are open until 10pm) and fashion, food and jewellery boutiques. Leading off from Laugavegur where it becomes Bankastraeti is Skólavörðustígur, which goes towards Hallgrímskirkja, and both streets are filled with similar stores.
Further away from the historic centre, there are a handful of shopping centres, among which Kringlan stands out. As Reykjavik's largest shopping mall, it has numerous shops, restaurants and even a cinema.
Tax free shopping in Iceland
All non-residents of Iceland are eligible for tax-free shopping, provided their purchase cost over 600 kr (US$ 4.30). To benefit from a tax refund, you just need to save your receipts, request the relevant form in the shop and hand it in at Keflavik Airport before leaving the country.