What to buy in Iceland

What to buy in Iceland? – Iceland 2024 souvenirs

What is worth buying in Iceland and what are the best souvenirs of Icelandic craftsmanship to take home after our trip to the Land of Ice and Fire? During your tour, passing through the cities and shops, especially in Reykjavík, you will find the best of craftsmanship. Fruit of the history of this country and of the cultural influences that have arrived on the island, thus acquiring something unique. So let’s find out together what to buy during your trip to Iceland, bringing home an authentic souvenir, for yourself or for a special person.

Icelandic Crafts

Local craftsmanship has ancient origins, dating back to the history of Iceland and the Viking era . The first settlers of the island brought Scandinavian traditions here , producing weapons, jewellery, working stone and wood. With the arrival of the Irish monks following their navigations, they introduced the art of illustration and writing to Iceland. In fact, some manuscripts and works of local literature have been found in Iceland , which have made it possible to reconstruct the history of the island. From the 16th to the 17th century, Icelandic craftsmanship began a flourishing period, seeing the processing of fabrics, metal objects and ceramics. Above all, wool plays a fundamental role in the production not only of clothing, but also of blankets.

Fishing , which has always been central to the island’s economy, also led to industrialisation . We had to wait until the 20th century to have interest in Icelandic craftsmanship again. Today, among the best Icelandic souvenirs and objects that are worth buying during your trip to Iceland, the result not only of local craftsmanship, don’t miss its knitwear , but also unique jewels made with lava . Furthermore, don’t miss the classic souvenirs representing the icons of the island, such as puffins , or purchase the necessary equipment to carry out the trek in the best conditions! There are many objects that are worth buying during your trip to Iceland, bringing home typical souvenirs, for yourself or to make a unique gift.

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Top 10 – What to buy in Iceland

If you are wondering what to absolutely buy in Iceland , there is in fact a vast choice of souvenirs to buy on the island, coming from Icelandic craftsmanship. Thanks to its tradition, art and the quality of the materials present, you will find unique objects, generated by the various historical influences of the country. It won’t be difficult to find what is worth buying in Iceland, bringing home a unique souvenir from your trip.

Here are our recommendations on the 10 best souvenirs from Iceland !

1. Fleece sweater

Among the first things you should buy in Iceland, the result of Icelandic craftsmanship and history, you could not miss its beautiful wool sweaters . Called Lopapeysa i.e. carded wool knit , it is a product that has been developed on the island since the 1900s. Unique thanks to the shapes of its decorations and the colors used, today Icelandic wool sweaters, íslensk lopapeysa , have a protected denomination and to be sold under this name they must be produced with various characteristics. Among these we see the creation in only Icelandic wool never used before, having standard decorations set by law, handmade and must not have accessory stitching.

What makes this product of Icelandic craftsmanship unique is above all that its wool is hydrophobic , breathable and keeps you very warm, perfectly insulating the skin. This is therefore the perfect souvenir from Iceland to allow us to stay warm on the island during our trip, but also once we return home, purchasing a unique and traditional item. Furthermore, by the locals this sweater is worn on many occasions, including formal ones, but especially in outdoor activities.

2. Trekking clothing

To tackle a trip to Iceland in the best possible way, technical clothing plays a fundamental role in any season . The Land of Ice and Fire, in fact, is also the land of the wind and here for the locals there is no such thing as bad weather, but only inappropriate clothing. But what to do if we forgot to pack the thermal shirt or waterproof trousers ? Nothing to fear because in the cities, like in the capital, there will be no shortage of shops selling technical clothing; which we can often find even in the best equipped petrol stations!

To be best prepared for the Icelandic climate , the best way is to dress in layers , both in summer and winter, thus preparing for the variable weather. The main characteristics that the clothes to bring with us in our suitcase must have, in fact, are the thermal and waterproof properties, thus avoiding getting wet during a walk under a waterfall or in the rain, also keeping us warm by using thermal underwear : the more important than the outfit and like a second skin. Shoe crampons are also essential when traveling in winter. Finally, waterproof gloves, a hat, neck warmer and waterproof jacket, as well as waterproof trekking shoes, cannot be missing from your suitcase .

3. Icelandic salt

Among the best Icelandic souvenirs to bring home from your trip, ideal for lovers of good food, but not only, we find Icelandic salt. A unique thing that is worth buying during your trip to Iceland. Even today, in fact, Icelandic salt is produced with an ancient method , collecting it in the salt pans near the western Reykjanes peninsula , which separates the fjords. Here the ocean waters are pristine and salt is extracted also using the high temperature water that comes out of the geysers . Geothermal natural energy is the only one that is used during the process to obtain salt, thus not emitting methane or carbon dioxide.

By heating ocean water in tanks, pyramid- shaped salt crystals are formed , then dried naturally. Furthermore, Icelandic craftsmanship produces various types of salt, such as black salt , produced in areas that are covered with lava following eruptions, combining it with activated carbon and thus giving this Icelandic souvenir a unique flavor, also making it visually scenic to decorate the dishes. Another particular product is salt combined with raw liquorice root flakes . A very fragrant condiment and also ideal for desserts or game. Furthermore, salt in Iceland has been produced since the 18th century using the same methods.

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Icelandic black salt

4. Photographic equipment

In recent years, photographic tourism has become increasingly popular in Iceland , attracting enthusiasts, professionals, but also those who want to have a new experience. Today it is not uncommon to come across magnificent photos of sunsets, sunrises and northern lights taken in Iceland on the web but, if we want to go to the Land of Ice and Fire to replicate them, it is important to have the right equipment with you and be prepared for the Icelandic climate . When the weather makes Iceland even wilder, however, this is precisely the moment when the most evocative photographs are taken!

Telephoto lenses, wide angles, details and pristine landscapes as far as the eye can see are just waiting to be immortalized forever in the eye of the camera, but what to do if we don’t have everything we need with us, a piece gets damaged or we decided during the trip to shoot unique photos? Don’t worry, in Reykjavík above all you will find everything a photographer can dream of, allowing you to take unique photos during your trip. If you’re wondering what to buy in Iceland, these probably won’t be the cheapest Icelandic accessories and souvenirs, but the results will be worth the expense. Furthermore , with everything you need to take night and long exposure photos , you can begin your hunt for the Northern Lights!

5. Sweets

Furthermore, Icelandic craftsmanship also produces real delicacies for those with a sweet tooth, such as Icelandic chocolate and many other sweets. Icelanders, in fact, are passionate about sweets and everywhere you will find many types for all tastes. What’s sweeter than this as an Icelandic souvenir? Among the most loved and varied snacks that we come across among the things that are worth buying in Iceland, we find those based on liquorice . Whether pure, in bars, with chocolate or with bright packaging, there are many variations of liquorice-based snacks in Iceland, finding ourselves in front of every petrol station or supermarket with endless choices of this product that Icelanders are obsessed with; like other Nordic countries. It is in fact used a lot in cooking, especially in chocolate-based recipes.

This is due to the fact that its climate is favorable for the cultivation of this root, also used as a substitute for sugar. Furthermore, in the past and today licorice is used in traditional local medicine for its mucokinetic and positive properties for the airways. Another very popular dessert is Skyr , a traditional milk preparation that is combined with granola or many other ingredients for breakfast or a snack. In short, if you have a sweet tooth or want to give a sweet gift , the sweets are an unmissable souvenir of Icelandic craftsmanship that is worth buying in Iceland.

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Icelandic chocolate

6. Lava jewelry

Among the truly unique handicraft products, fruit of the Land of ice, but above all of fire and home of active volcanoes par excellence, we will also find among the typical Icelandic souvenirs objects created with lava! Necklaces, pendants, bracelets, rings and much more, crafted by skilled local jewelers and then embellished with the addition of the wonderful cooled and processed lava. Among the things that are absolutely worth buying during your trip to make a special gift or for yourself, but pay attention to the origin ! In the shop windows of the capital you will find many of these objects, but always check or ask if they say Icelandic design or made in Iceland .

In fact, Icelandic lava is very hard and its processing is complicated , often cracking during carving. For this reason, artisans always prefer lava from other sources. Icelandic lava, in fact, is usually rougher and set in metal, thus limiting impacts. So be wary of imitations. In the shops of the capital, in the Laugavegur shopping area there are shops selling these Icelandic handcrafted design objects.

7. Woolen manufacturing

In addition to creating very soft and warm Lopapeysa sweaters , Icelandic wool is used in local crafts for many processes. A very soft material, which resists bad weather, keeps you very warm and is also waterproof . In fact, blankets, gloves, hats and scarves are made from the wool of Icelandic sheep. Furthermore, for knitting enthusiasts one of the best Icelandic souvenirs and among the things that are worth buying in Iceland during the trip is a nice ball of local wool, so as to make our clothing as we prefer or to give a special gift.

This wool, in fact, is found in many shades and in addition to wool there is also worsted . Warm and soft merino yarn, ideal as a material for the most delicate skin , such as that of children. Icelandic sheep , thanks to their ability to adapt to the extreme climate, have developed a warm and very soft undercoat , as well as being water-repellent , after 1000 years of being brought to the island . In this way, their yarn is among the best for winter knitting, protecting from humidity and cold weather.

woolen socks
Icelandic wool socks

8. Rhubarb jam

Among the most loved products of Icelandic cuisine we find rhubarb . For us a slightly particular flavor and outside the box of classic recipes, but for local cuisine this is a great classic and much loved by children too. In fact, in Iceland the little ones love to eat it raw in pieces in sugar. Its flavor is vaguely reminiscent of lemon and it resembles celery. Its jam is among the Icelandic souvenirs that you should buy if you love this taste, as you will find it in many shops and supermarkets. Excellent for breakfast spread on bread, for the preparation of cakes and tarts, but its flavor is also perfectly suited to accompanying game and roasts.

Furthermore, why not try preparing Hjónabandssæla , the tasty Icelandic rhubarb tart, at home. Although this plant is native to China, it has spread to the Nordic countries , creating many recipes. Furthermore, this tart is also called Happy Marriage Cake , because in the past it was prepared by women to demonstrate to men that they were able to cook and take care of the house. Today considered the symbol of marriage , also thanks to the ease of its preparation. In short, jam and rhubarb-based preparations are among the things we recommend you buy in Iceland!

rhubarb jam
Rhubarb jam

9. Vinili e Cd

If we think of Iceland, magnificent wild landscapes, lava, ice and waterfalls come to mind, but what about Music ? Yes, music for Iceland plays a central role and has its roots in ancient traditions , bringing its style to the world today thanks to internationally renowned artists such as Sigur Ros and Björk . Going back in time, Icelandic music certainly owes its initial influences to Nordic music, especially Viking music, finding its identity only with the passage of time. Traditional songs talk about love, legends, stories of sailors and Víkivaki dances from the 11th century.

Iceland Airwaves is also held in October in Reykjavik , a festival of Icelandic and traditional music with concerts everywhere, even in the Blue Lagoon! Among the Icelandic souvenirs not to be missed, music lovers in Reykjavik will find a true paradise when it comes to records and vinyl . For enthusiasts, the best record shop in the world is 12 Tónar , in the center of the capital. Here, we can also sit on its sofas to sip a coffee and listen to excellent music on headphones, letting us advise you. But there are many music shops scattered around the capital, where you can really find every genre.

10. Souvenir con Puffin

Finally, among the things you should buy during your trip to Iceland, you can’t miss one of the island’s mascots ! Funny bird with a colorful beak that vaguely resembles a flying penguin, in summer and spring it nests on the Icelandic cliffs, on the southern coast where we can admire large colonies. Puffins are mainly concentrated in the western fjords, on the island of Lundey, in the Westmans or on the Dyrhólaey promontory. Characterized by the yellow, blue and red streaks of the triangular beak, they are easily recognizable and visible, also having a white belly and a black back.

Their particular orange , webbed and stumpy legs are of little use on land, but real rudders at sea. Furthermore, this animal is very faithful, finding the same mate every year to prepare the nest which it digs into tunnels thanks to its large beak. In all souvenir shops in Iceland you will find objects, also the result of Icelandic craftsmanship, which represent these graceful animals, symbols of the island. Between mugs, magnets, soft toys and much more, you will be spoiled for choice. The national bird of Iceland, however, is the gyrfalcon ; albeit less known.

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The Puffin

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