Christmas time is here! Well almost, but it‘s certainly time to start thinking about presents and what to buy your loved ones. Lucky for you if you’re travelling to Iceland, as there are plenty of fantastic shops and designers in the capital Reykjavík where you can get unique and memorable gifts that will warm the hearts (and bodies, there‘s a lot of wool here) of your friends and family. After all, a nation with thirteen Santa Clauses is surely an expert in the field. And don‘t worry if you‘re not travelling to Iceland before Christmas, the shops are open all year! Read on for tips and tricks to shopping in Reykjavik. We‘ll even give you the heads up about an amazing sale!
The Main Street – Laugavegur
Laugavegur stretches all the way through downtown Reykjavík and in addition to offering some great shopping spots, a stroll along it will also give you the opportunity to see the sights of the city and experience the spirit of the locals. But while you’re there, why not take the opportunity to pop into some shops too? For those with a retro/vintage bent Laugavegur is the place to be. Spúútnik is an old staple on the vintage scene in Iceland and a must-stop for vintage lovers and Gyllti kötturinn has some great offers on old and new threads. If you’re lucky, you might even encounter the resident shop-cat Bactus. For the gentlemen, there’s Herrafatabúð Kormáks og Skjaldar, a haven for the resident hipsters.
But vintage isn’t the only thing Laugavegur has to offer. There are numerous design boutiques selling the best Icelandic and Nordic design has to offer. Check out Aurum, an Icelandic jewellery brand that has expanded into a lifestyle shop selling perfect gift items for all ages. Kiosk is a collective of Icelandic fashion designers and has all the freshest looks you’ll see the trendy locals sporting. Kron shoe store and KronKron (pictured below) are local favourites offering completely unique designs under their own label plus famous international labels such as Camper, Vivienne Westwood, Comme de Garcons, Acne Studios and more. My Concept Store is, as the name suggests, a concept store with a great selection of design items and Hrím is a local favourite for household items and jewellery. And it goes without saying that if you’re after special Icelandic souvenirs to bring back home to the family, Laugavegur has plenty of shops filled with anything from t-shirts and stuffed animals to Icelandic herbs and spices.
Kringlan and Smáralind Shopping Malls
If you’re looking for some indoors activities – likely after braving the elements on your day tour adventures – we recommend a visit to Iceland’s two biggest shopping malls. Kringlan has plenty of lifestyle shops essential to Icelander’s gift buying. Dúka and Epal both have items that you’ll see in a lot of Icelandic homes as they are a favourite for wedding registries and other momentous occasions. Finnska Búðin has the best of Finnish design, loved by Moomin and Marimekko crazy locals. Kringlan also has a selection of great restaurants and a cinema and is attached to the City Theatre so there’s no reason you can’t spend the whole day there.
Smáralind is the biggest shopping mall in Iceland. It is also the home to a newly opened H&M store, the first in the country. Smáralind has a selection of stores you’ll find most everywhere in the world so if you’re craving your Zara fix, that’s the place to go. It also has a large indoor fun fair for the kids and cinema making it very popular with families looking to spend a fun day together.
For those who don’t want to brave the winter darkness and prefer cosying up with a hot drink and their laptop at your hotel, there’s always online shopping. Although still relatively new to Iceland (there’s no Amazon here) certain companies have caught up with the times. Nammi.is is a favourite of Icelanders who live abroad as they deliver Icelandic sweets and delicacies not found anywhere else in the world. Try some of the liquorice, it’s delicious!
While relatively small in scale compared to other European Christmas markets, there are a number of Christmas markets operating in and around Reykjavik through the end of the Christmas season. Yule Town on Ingólfstorg Square is the most popular of the Christmas markets offering a wide selection of hand-crafted gifts, Christmas decorations, sweets and mulled wine, plus a large ice-skating rink in the middle of the square. The market opens to shoppers on the first week of December. It’s the perfect opportunity to buy those Christmas tree toppers, centerpieces, and stocking stuffers!