With so many design shops and tourist shops in the downtown area, it can be hard to know what is worth taking home. Here is our list of the ten most genuine souvenirs you can pick up in Reykjavik. From salt and schnapps to books and sweaters, these items will help to remember the best parts of your trip to Iceland.
Designed by two Icelandic art students while still in school, Enjoy Our Nature condoms promote Iceland’s natural landmarks such as iconic geysers, volcanoes, aurora borealis, and sea stacks. Each package comes with one lubricated condom and details about the Icelandic natural feature’s history and geology. They can be purchased at Nordic Store and most convenience stores in Reykjavik.
The quintessential Icelandic chocolate, Omnom offers an incredible array of finely tuned chocolate bars. The seasonal bars are especially interesting with offers such as tangy raspberries with dark Madagascar cacao nibs; or another delicious blend of almond cookie spiced with clove, orange, cinnamon, anise seeds and cayenne pepper. Omnom products can be found in most convenience stores in Reykjavik.
This traditional Icelandic tea has a distinct, subtle alpine taste. It can be found in most convenience stores and groceries in Reykjavik. It has long been used for medicinal purposes in Iceland and in other Scandinavian countries as it is especially prevalent in Northern environments. It has antibacterial properties and is considered a good aid for the cold, flu, and upset stomachs.
Stores such as Geysir and design shops such as Hrim offer beautiful vintage style maps of Iceland from various centuries. The cartographic history shows an evolution of world perception, with some vintage maps of Iceland showing sea monsters swimming in the corners, and other recent versions coloring the island in bright neon shades.
Take home a variety of hand-harvested herbal sea salt blends from Saltverk company in the Westfjords with blends offered such as Arctic Thyme, Birch Smoked, Licorice, Lava, and Rhubarb Anjelica. This is a real treat that can go with both savory and sweet dishes.
Shops: Nordic Store
Icelandic licorice can be found in all kinds of different versions, mixed with chocolate or marzipan or toffee, or even ice cream. This is usually the thing Icelanders ask people to send them from home when they are living abroad. Most convenience stores offer a wide variety of the best offers. Take home Góu Kúlur (milk chocolate covered soft licorice), Appolo licorice (licorice and marzipan), or Nóa Sírius brand licorice.
Many popular Icelandic titles have been translated beautifully into English, bringing Icelandic literature to a wider audience. Visit Eymundsson which has many shops around Reykjavik or Mal og Menning for assistance in picking out a classic Icelandic novel such as Halldór Laxness, Iceland’s only Nobel Prize winner in literature, Sjón, an Icelandic Saga such as Njál’s Saga, or a children’s book for an easy entrance into reading Icelandic.
Icelandic music comes in a wide variety of styles besides dreamy pop; knowledgeable staff at 12 Tonar and Smekkleysa Records can help you decide which CD or record will fill you in on the biggest, latest thing in music in Iceland. What better way to take home memories from your trip than a hand-picked album.
This clear, unsweetened schnapps is considered to be Iceland’s signature liquor. It is the shot of choice for special occasions and is the traditional drink for the mid-winter feast of Þorrablót, which features mostly fermented foods. Brennivín is made from fermented grain or potato mash and flavored with caraway. It is also the drink of choice after eating the fermented shark hákarl.
The Icelandic wool sweater, or lopapeysa, is a staple in Icelandic fashion. With the typical circular patterning around the shoulders and a wide variety of colors, this will definitely remind you fondly of your trip while keeping your warm. The yarn used, lopi, is made from unspun sheep wool, so it contains more air than spun yarn and consequently, it has better insulation properties. This is the same for all Icelandic woollen products including blankets, mittens and hats – all of excellent quality and durability.