In Reykjavik, you can find a little bit of everything when it comes to markets. While things are very seasonal according to the weather, visitors can find flea markets, Christmas markets, clothing markets, and a few food markets open during the summertime. You are bound to find something interesting, even if it may not be what you were looking for.
Located a bit outside downtown, Góði Hirðirinn, or “the Good Shepherd,” is part of the recycling company SORPA, which gives all of its profits to charity. However, the store isn’t religiously affiliated, as some might think. Be prepared to be completely amazed or bored here, as you never know what will show up—mostly everyday items like furniture, kitchenware, books, music, and outdoor gear, and the prices are extremely low, almost give-away cheap. If you need a funky 1970s fondue set or an analog camera, this is the place to find it.
On the main shopping street of Laugavegur, Rauði Krossinn (The Red Cross) has won the local newspaper’s Best Thrift Store award many years in a row. It’s possible to find amazing things in this shop, especially shoes, winter jackets, vintage dresses and woolen sweaters, all at very affordable prices. Enjoy shopping while supporting a good cause.
The owner of this unique establishment, Jörmundur, is a well-known figure in men’s fashion, as well as being a high priest in the Pagan Ásatrú Fellowship of Iceland. While carrying primarily men’s shoes and suits, this basement clothing store also has a few items for women, such as trench coats and boots. There is really no telling what you might find here—it can feel like taking a trip back to the ’80s when Jörmundur first opened the shop.
This is the vintage fashion shopping mecca of Reykjavik, often showcasing flashy window displays with a funky twist. The shelves change according to the latest trends, so if black metal band T-shirts are an updated fashion staple, you’ll be sure to find a few racks here devoted solely to that. Although definitely a thrift store, their prices are more akin to those of a fashion boutique.
This thrift store sells a variety of items, including clothing, shoes, household wares, jewelry, toys, framed stock paintings and more. A few designer and collector items could possibly show up. Everything is well-organized, with clothing arranged according to color. It is definitely one of the cheapest thrift stores in Reykjavik, and the majority of items are clothing, plus a surprising amount of jewelry. Samhjálp, established in 1973, is a non-profit organization that runs rehabilitation centers.
Ingólfstorg Square in downtown Reykjavik is transformed into Yule Town each December. Yule Town offers a wide selection of local, hand-crafted gifts, decorations, artisanal food, and an ice-skating rink in the middle of the square. Yule Town is usually open December 2-23.
The Jólakrás Street Food Market is held the weekend before Christmas in Fogetagarðurinn, a central square in Reykjavik. There, a large statue of the 18th-century sheriff and so-called Father of Reykjavik, Skúli Magnusson, can be found. The Christmas-themed version of the Krás Street Food Market held each summer, Jólakrás features Reykjavik’s best chefs collaborating to create Christmas-themed street food.
Kolaportið can feel like another world entirely. Located downtown with a view of the harbor, this former coal port is where Icelanders come to sell their wares when moving house, moving out of the country, or just spring cleaning their closets. One can find just about anything—rare books, jade Buddha statues, kimonos, handmade jewelry from Kenya, fur coats, boots, you name! Kolaportið is only open on the weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m..
The whole downtown area of Hafnarfjörður becomes one large Christmas Village around Christmastime. The local children are in charge of decorations, while the local schools provide entertainment like singing and theater. There are also various street vendors selling handmade crafts, as well as street food and drinks. The Christmas Village opens late November and is open on weekends until Christmas.
The annual Crafts & Design Christmas Market and the Christmas tree sale in Heiðmörk Woods, located on the outskirts of Reykjavik, is open on weekends about a month before Christmas. There is plenty to see at this market, which mainly sells hand-crafted items. Each day when the market is open, small bonfires are lit and people read Christmas stories to children. The Icelandic Santa Clauses, or Yule Lads, often make appearances too.