What to buy in Iceland
A lot of people wonder what to buy as souvenirs when traveling. Iceland as a destination is really popular these days, so it can be hard to decide what to buy in Iceland, as a souvenir or a gift. Every shop will try to sell you some souvenir, a lot of them will be selling puffin teddy bears and other items made in China. On the other hand, if you want something Icelandic with you, home. Here are a few things I would recommend and I would keep on my “what to buy in Iceland” list.
Nobody should leave Iceland without any wool product. The most popular wool product is without a doubt the Icelandic wool sweater or Lopapeysa, almost every Icelander has one. Lopapeysa is a typical Icelandic sweater hand knitted from Icelandic sheep wool, with a circular pattern over the shoulders. They are made in many different colors and style, everyone should be able to find a sweater that fits. Icelandic wool sweaters are made from unspun sheep wool, they are one of the warmest sweaters you can find and they work in every different weather, even when wet they‘ll keep you warm. Some people might think a wool sweater is a bit too much, but it’s also possible to get knitted socks, gloves, hats, blankets and other things from the Icelandic sheep wool, so you should be able to find something that fits your needs.
Shops with this sign seen here above will often have handcrafted or knitted things. Be careful these days checking where these products come from. If you want a real authentic Icelandic sweater then make sure it‘s not made in China. There are a few shops selling wool sweaters made in China. It‘s also possible to buy your own yarn and make your own sweater when you are home, you can find yarn in most supermarket and in some stores you can even find the recipes how to do it, if you are really interested you could give this place a visit they are specialised in that www.alafoss.is.
Icelandic music is not only Björk, everyone knows her, but there is a lot more out there. These days there are many nice bands making really good music, Icelandic music is very diverse and getting popular overseas. Bands like, Of monster and men, Kaleo and Sigurrós, is something you might have heard of.
You can find many nice record stores in Iceland such as Lucky records, Reykjavík record shop, Icelandic Music export and Bad taste record shop. Everyone should be able to find some Icelandic music they like or that fits their taste.
Bands or musicians you could look for are, Gusgus, Ásgeir Trausti, Emilíana Torrini, Amabadama, Ellý Vilhjálms, Mugison, Ólafur Arnalds, Páll óskar, Hjaltalín and Hjálmar for example. This is just a small list, and there is a lot more out there. Buy CD’s or use Spotify while on the road, you will take in as much Icelandic culture as possible.
Harðfiskur, chocolate or Icelandic candy.
What is harðfiskur? Harðfiskur is dried fish and is the most popular delicacy of Icelanders. Harðfiskur is delicious, it‘s hard to find a healthier snack so rich in protein. It‘s mainly made from white fish such as haddock or catfish. I just have one advise for you don‘t smell it before you eat it. The smell is very strong, and it might kill your appetite. So if you plan to take some with you home pack it well, plastic bags or box to prevent your whole bag from smelling like it.
Icelandic chocolate is very good and always a great idea to bring chocolate home, nobody says no to chocolate. Icelander’s favorite is Nói Siríus chocolate, other brands like Omnom are also great gifts for family or friends.
Icelandic candy is also really good, all kinds of chocolate and licorice are found in the candy section of the supermarket. So look for something saying súkkulaði (chocolate) or lakkrís (licorice) in the supermarket. Note that Icelandic licorice is salty and strong so it‘s not for everyone. But if you like it, welcome to licorice paradise… watch your blood pressure though.
While traveling in Iceland, you will most likely find places selling local craft beers or alcohol. In Iceland, we have some amazing microbreweries such as Segull 67, Ölvisholt brewery, Jón ríki, Beljandi Brewery, and Ölverk. Bringing home bottles of good Icelandic beer might be the perfect way to extend your experience and a perfect way to invite some friends over and share your moments from Iceland with Icelandic beer. If you prefer strong alcohol or snaps, you can buy Brennivín (black death), it‘s an iconic Icelandic beverage, made from potatoes with a flavor of cumin. Icelanders are big fans of licorice so you can find snaps with licorice flavors, such as Tópas and Opal, everyone has to try it while traveling in Iceland and whether you like it or not it could be a fun bottle to own in your closet.
The only shop in Iceland to buy alcohol outside bars is Vínbúðin, it‘s an alcohol shop owned by the government of Iceland. On their website you can find all the information you need to know about their locations, opening hours and more. It is also possible to buy alcohol in the Duty Free and I do recommend it since you don‘t have to pay the tax of the alcohol there.
I hope you will find this blog helpful to plan “what to buy in Iceland“, if not comment here below what you bought or are planning to buy?