Reykjavík’s vibrant design culture makes for great shopping: from sleek fish-skin purses and knitted lopapeysur (Icelandic woollen sweaters) to unique music or Icelandic schnapps brennivín. Laugavegur is the most dense shopping street. You'll find interesting shops all over town, but fashion concentrates near the Frakkastígur and Vitastígur end of Laugavegur. Skólavörðustígur is strong for arts and jewellery, while Bankastræti and Austurstræti have touristy shops.
All visitors are eligible for a 15% tax refund on their shopping, under certain conditions.
Practical Tip: Buying Booze
- Alcohol is pricey in bars and restaurants, with happy hours bringing the best deals.
- The only shops licensed to sell alcohol are government-owned liquor stores called Vínbúðin (www.vinbudin.is), with five branches around central Reykjavík.
- Buy when you arrive at Keflavík International Airport Duty Free for the steepest discounts.
Sóley Organics: Icelandic Bath Products
Sóley Organics (www.soleyorganics.com) has a shop in Hafnarfjörður, but also look out for its wonderful, locally made bath and beauty products at all Heilsuhúsið health stores and Lyfja pharmacies in Iceland. You can also find them at Hagkaup in the Kringlan or Smáralind shopping centres and at Keflavík International Airport Duty Free. They're also used in many upscale spas.
Woolly Sweaters: Lopapeysur
Lopapeysur are the ubiquitous Icelandic woolly sweaters you will see worn by locals and visitors alike. Made from naturally water-repellant Icelandic wool, they are thick and cosy, with simple geometric patterns or regional motifs. They are no longer the bargain they were in the 1960s, so when shopping, be sure to make the distinction: do you want hand-knit or machine made? You'll notice the price difference (some cost well over 27,500kr), but either way these beautiful but practical items (and their associated hats, gloves and scarves) are exceptionally wearable souvenirs.
Handknitting Association of Iceland Traditional handmade hats, socks and sweaters are sold at this knitting collective, or you can buy yarn, needles and knitting patterns and DIY. The association's smaller branch sells made-up items only.
Nordic Store Sells loads of hand- or machine-made lopapeysur and other wool products from it's base in Old Reykjavík.
Álafoss in the suburb of Mosfellsbær also has a great range.
The den of musical goodness that is Lucky Records holds loads of modern Icelandic music, but plenty of vintage vinyl too. The huge collection spans from hip-hop to jazz and electronica, and it has occasional live music.
12 Tónar has launched some of Iceland’s favourite bands. The two-storey shop is a very cool place to hang out, and you can listen to CDs, drink coffee and sometimes catch a live performance.
Iceland’s premier outdoor-clothing company 66° North began by making all-weather wear for Arctic fishermen. This metamorphosed into costly, fashionable streetwear: jackets, fleeces, hats and gloves. Similar brands flourish, like Cintamani.
If you’re looking to rent equipment for hiking or camping (tents, sleeping bags, stoves, backpacks, boots, climbing gear, GPS, wi-fi hot spots etc), your best bets are Iceland Camping Equipment Rental in Laugavegur and Rent-A-Tent in Kópavogur. Fjallakofinn offers (pricey) brand-name camping and climbing gear, GoPros and more, plus equipment rental.