Shopping downtown in Reykjavík offers excellent possibilities, especially for buying unique Icelandic designs, inspired by the country’s beautiful nature and landscape. Iceland has seen a growing number of designers offering their special creations in several stores in Reykjavík. Designers have often studied abroad and return to enrich the country with their unbound creativity, colours and forms that show an international flair, and are yet firmly rooted in Icelandic culture. Reykjavík’s downtown area is compact and fun to walk around. It’s size makes shopping easy and relaxing. Most downtown stores offer tax free shopping, so take advantage of being in the city and explore the many shops selling that perfect gift or souvenir.
There are also a number of charity shops selling second-hand clothing and items, where you are bound to find a bargain or two. Kolaportið, Iceland’s indoor flea market, where Icelandic jumpers and delicacies are sold at acceptable prices, is a must-stop for bargain hunters and collectors.
REYKJAVÍK’S MAIN SHOPPING STREETS
The main shopping area of Reykjavík is concentrated mainly in three streets, namely Laugavegur, Bankastræti, and Skólavörðustígur. However, other interesting shops are often hidden in the side streets, so it pays to make a turn every now and then. The Grandi District and Old Harbour Area are home to many designer stores/open workshops, restaurants, museums and more. It is a wonderful example of the blending of two main industries, fishing and tourism. This mixture of galleries, jewellers, fashion designers, handcrafts and second-hand stores are mostly housed in disused baiting sheds or fishermen‘s garages and has become a social hub for designers and buyers alike.
Taking a slow amble down Laugavegur, the longest shopping street in Reykjavik, can be an enjoyable way to do your last minute shopping. It is also a good opportunity to buy something special from Iceland. Laugarvegur offers the greatest number of shops with an emphasis on fashionable goods of all shapes and sizes, as well as speciality stores, cheaper souvenir shops, cafés and restaurants. Fjallakofinn Outdoor Centre at Laugavegur 11, sells clothes and equipment for outdoor lifestyles from hiking to cycling as well as a good selection of camping goods. If you want to experience the rejuvenating powers of the Blue Lagoon’s natural wonders, you can visit the Blue Lagoon shop at Laugavegur 15 and find out more about unique skin care products. You can also find their skin care shops at Blue Lagoon and at Keflavík International Airport. Farmers and Friends are at Laugarvergur 37 and offer beautifully crafted and designed clothing and accessories for all ages. 66 North is our best known outdoor brand with two stores on Laugavegur and Bankastræti. Vesturröst at Laugavegur 178, sells outdoor gear for fishing and hunting. Close to Laugavegur, at Snorrabraut 56 is the Feldur fur shop which also has a workshop on the premises.
The short street that runs up the hill from Lækjartorg, to meet Laugavegur, is a design lover’s delight. Filled with jewellers and design clothes stores, this short street also hosts Iceland‘s favourite coffee shop, Kaffitár at Bankastræti 8. There are 7 shops dotted over Reykjavík with the latest opening on the top floor at Perlan. Motivated by passion and professionalism, Kaffitár is always a delight to visit.
Skólavörðustígur is one of the most attractive streets in Reykjavík. It runs from the corner of the main shopping streets, Laugavegur and Bankastræti, up to the magnificent Hallgrímskirkja church. In front of the church, a statue of Leifur-the-Lucky watches over the shoppers as they walk along the street, admiring the charming old houses, browsing through the windows of stores and galleries. Whether you’re looking for Icelandic design, souvenirs, woollen goods, photographs of Iceland or exotic arts and crafts, you’ll find it here. Near the top of the street and the church is the artist Lana Matusa at Skólavörðustígur 41. Lana has participated in more than 120 international shows. Inspired by Icelandic nature, the artist creates beautiful high-fired ceramics with a special lava design – unique in Iceland. Since the store is also Lana’s work studio, customers have direct contact with the artist. At the Handknitting Association no. 19 you can buy quality woollen goods directly from the people who made them. Guðlaugur A. Magnússon (GAM) at no. 10 is a long-established jeweller shop and silversmith renowned for its creative, unique designs and high quality pieces. There are a number of art galleries dotted along Skólavörðurstígur as well as eclectic coffee shops.
Further away from the centre at Dalbraut, you will find the artisan Jóhannes in his store, Icelandic Knives. These knives are handmade with the finest steel and unique shafts of wood or bone. The specialized Icelandic Hunting Knife is a firm favourite amongst buyers.
REYKJAVÍK’S OLDEST AREA
Aðalstræti is Reykjavík’s oldest street where Iceland’s settler, Ingólfur Arnarson, built his farm after 874. This may be a short street but it is not short of vibrancy. Beside Ingólfstorg square, Aðalstræti hosts restaurants, a museum, a perfume shop and a hotel or two. Further up the stree, in Vesturgata, is Kirsuberjatréð, where the original 19th century shelves are filled with colourful and lively clothes, accessories, utensils and decorative pieces for the home. Everything is handmade by the ten women who run this well- known co-operative of artists.
The City Library with the Reykjavik Photographic Museum is only 50 meters away towards the old harbour area, next to the Reykjavik Art Museum.
Iceland and its weather can be challenging for any ardent shopper. The city centre is a delightful place to shop but when the weather is unfriendly, being indoors is more appealing. There are several shopping centres in the Reykjavik and the Kopavogur that provide warmth and comfort for your buying experience. If you are interested in international brands, the shopping centres Kringlan, Smáralind and the new downtown shopping area Hafnarborg are the places to visit.
Kringlan Shopping Centre in Reykjavík is located a 10-minute drive from the city centre. Over 170 shops offer an excellent variety of fashion, jewellery, arts and handicraft as well as restaurants and coffee houses, a bar, various services and a cinema.
Smáralind Shopping Centre has around 90 stores and is located in Kópavogur, a 15-minute drive from the centre of Reykjavik. You will find a large variety of clothing stores, several speciality stores, restaurants and coffee houses as well as Iceland’s largest cinema.
Hafnarborg or “the harbour Square” is the newest shopping area and is located downtown, near Harpa Concert Hall. Therefore, this is the most accessible shopping area for the ones who want to go shopping without leaving downtown.
There you will find stores like H&M, COS, The ROLEX store MICHELSEN, GK and COLLECTION where you find wellknow clothing brands