Shopping is something of a national past-time in Iceland and eagerly shared with its visitors. Tax-free shopping is widespread and the souvenirs – particularly wool, handicrafts and gourmet foods – are unique.
The heart of Reykjavík beats in midtown, and a myriad of interesting and exciting sights and pleasures are all within walking distance. One of the centre’s characteristics is the diverse range of coffeehouses, each with its own charm and colourful clientele, from intellectual and artistic bohemian to fashion-conscious trendy – and lots in between.
Skólavörðustígur is one of the city’s most attractive streets, stretching from Hallgrímskirkja church that towers majestically over midtown, to Laugavegur, Iceland’s main shopping street. Standing in front of the 73-meter high church is a statue of Leifur Eiríksson, the viking who discovered America. For those looking to get a great overview of the city and beyond, an elevator to Hallgrímskirkja’s steeple awaits you.
Sometimes called the “arts and crafts street”, Skólavörðustígur is home to a variety of interesting art galleries and shops selling Icelandic creations. There are also many trendy shops displaying a wide range of exciting fashions – Icelandic and foreign – at reasonable prices. Some world famous labels have price tags that are lower than in major cities.
Laugavegur is Reykjavík’s main shopping street, which makes it the main shopping street in Iceland. There are 157 stores on this street. Of these, 64 are clothing stores so there should be easy to find just what you are looking for in clothes, regardless of age or gender. There is also a variety of other stores that offer whatever you need, whether they are things for everyday use like shoes, cosmetics, books and postcards, or specialty items in jewellry, crystal, silver or porcelain. Yet perhaps the most enjoyable of all is just strolling around the midtown area, the oldest part of Reykjavík. The houses are colourfully painted and people are bustling with activity. And it’s easy to meet the people of Reykjavík as mostly everyone speaks English.
For longer shopping hours, visit either Kringlan or Smáralind Shopping Centres. Kringlan and Smáralind both have a number of major stores for clothing, accessories and books / souvenirs. These include Zara, Next, Debenham’s, Warehouse, Vero Moda and many others.
Akureyri in the north also has a pleasant pedestrian precinct in its high street as well as an impressive new mall, Glerártorg. Most regional communities offer souvenirs, often featuring local arts and crafts.