11 Things You Can Only Buy in Iceland

Supermarket yarn
Supermarket yarn | © Jennifer Boyer / Flickr
Camille Buckley

Iceland has experienced a tourism boom in recent years meaning there are plenty of products specially made with tourists in mind. These products range from stuffed Puffin bird toys, magnets featuring geysers, and t-shirts that say ég tala ekki íslensku. However, if you bypass these tailored souvenir shops around the country, you can find unique products that are not mass-produced and truly worth it as a souvenir from Iceland.

Icelandic Wool Sweater

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 woolen products including blankets, mittens, and hats—all of excellent quality and durability.

Shops: Farmers Market, handknit.is, Geysir, Varma

Hand knit Icelandic wool sweater

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.

Icelandic condoms

Artwork

If you´re looking to invest in Icelandic art, there are a few commercial galleries worth visiting which represent some of the most well-known artists from Iceland. However, if you are interested in something smaller and more portable (with less travel insurance fee), check out the monthly art exhibits at Mokka Cafe, Bismút cafe, and Port Verkefnarými, all located in the downtown area.

Art on the walls of one of the oldest cafes in Reykjavik called Mokka Cafe

Poems From a Troubadour Poet

On the corner of Austurstræti and Posthússtræti in downtown Reykjavik, you can find a handful of elderly Icelandic gentlemen selling their own self-published poetry books. This is something definitely unique to Iceland that you can’t find in exactly the same manner anywhere else. The text will most likely be in Icelandic, however, this just adds to the character and rarity.

Icelandic Fashion

Within a short walking distance in Reykjavik, you can come across all of the country’s best-known fashion boutiques. These boutique shops reflect well the aesthetic of Icelandic fashion, the quirky brightness, yet the inspiration of natural elements that they are so well known for. Check out the KronKron store, for example, for some truly timeless, eccentric pieces.

1705

Lava Rocks

With Iceland being famous for attracting visitors because of its volcanic activity, what better way to commemorate your visit than by taking home a piece of lava rock? While it may be tempting to pick up your own rock while out hiking, it is against Icelandic law to remove them from their habitat. Instead, you can find lava rocks in the form of jewelry, carefully handcrafted into pieces combining silver and other materials.

Wool Yarn

Check out The Icelandic Handknitting Association for an excellent selection of textures and colors and advice on knitting your own lopapeysa sweater or other wool product. You can even find a nice selection of yarn in the supermarket. As handknitting is such a strong tradition in Iceland, taking home the skill of this trade could reap many beautiful products sewn from your trip to Iceland. Better yet, find some sheep horn/vertebrae buttons to add to your sweater for fastening.

Supermarket yarn

Bloðberg (Arctic Thyme) Tea

This traditional Icelandic tea has a distinct, subtle alpine taste. It can be found in most convenience stores and grocery stores 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.

Licorice

Icelandic licorice can be found in all kinds of different versions, mixed with chocolate, marzipan, 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.

Licorice Factory, Reykjavik, Iceland, 1984

Brennivín

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.

Shops: Vinbuðin, Nordic Store, Duty-Free Iceland

Herbal Sea Salt

Take home a variety of hand-harvested herbal sea salt blends from the 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.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article