Reykjavik, Iceland is a delight when it comes to second-hand, antique, and vintage shopping. Iceland seems to have a knack for this kind of aesthetic, actually, almost as if the best things just continue to circulate on the island and never leave – an organic sifting process, where a lot of treasures can be found. Here is our guide to the best markets and thrift stores in Reykjavik, offering almost everything from clothing and books to antiques and furniture.
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 affiliated with a religion as some might think. Be prepared here to be completely amazed or bored, as you never know what will show up. Mostly everyday items like furniture, kitchenware, books, music, and outdoor gear, 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.
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Kolaportið can feel like another world entirely. Located downtown with a view of the harbour, this former coal port is where Icelanders come to sell their wares when moving house, or moving out of the country, or just spring cleaning their closets. One can find just about anything – rare books, jade Buddha statues, kimonos, handmade jewellery from Kenya, fur coats, boots, you name. Kolaportið is only open on the weekends from 11AM to 5PM.
This basement thrift store is located across the street from the main bus station downtown, Hlemmur. Fatamarkaðurinn (The Clothing Market) is the place to go if you need to find a retro outfit or any kind of funky item that you want to be truly unique. This shop also has a wide and well-organised selection of everyday items geared more towards young festival-goers, but there really is something for everyone at this eclectic place.
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.
On the main shopping street, Laugavegur, Rauði Krossinn (The Red Cross) has won the local newspaper’s best thrift store award many years in a row. It is 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 great cause.
The Red Cross
There are two shops run by The Red Cross at opposite ends of Reykjavik‘s long shopping street Laugavegur. This branch is a bit more spread out, with the same focus on men and women’s clothing. There is always the possibility of coming across an amazing vintage find or collector’s item just waiting to be picked up. A great way to support a worthy organisation that runs programmes to help refugees, women’s shelters, and immigrants.
This is the vintage fashion shopping mecca of Reykjavik, often showcasing flashy window displays with a funky twist. The shelves are often changing 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 is another great place to enjoy shopping while supporting a great cause. Hertex, run by the Salvation Army, is located west of downtown on a residential street. Here you can find a selection of items catering to a slightly older clientele – but if you really sift through the embroidered pillowcases, you’ll find the hidden gems. Downstairs you can find a carefully selected range of textiles, household items, and winter coats.
Gyllti Kötturinn, or The Golden Kitten, is more of a fashion boutique, with handpicked items upstairs and a vintage shop with a wider selection of funky finds downstairs. They always have amazing throwback dresses, all seemingly from the late ’80s and early ’90s – also lots of silk tops and waist belts. In the winter, their fur coat selection is one of the best in town. Also, don’t forget to pet the shop’s cat, usually found napping on a velvet chair in the window.
Nytjamarkaður Samhjálpar – Basarinn
This thrift store sells a variety of items, including clothing, shoes, household wares, jewellery, toys, framed stock paintings and more. A few designer and collector items could possibly show up. Everything is well organised, with clothing arranged according to colour. It is definitely one of the cheapest thrift stores in Reykjavik, and the majority of items are clothing, plus a surprising amount of jewellery. Samhjálp, established in 1973, is a non-profit organisation that runs rehabilitation centres.
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