When you travel, part of the fun is picking out fun and authentic souvenirs to remember your trip by. It can be difficult to find something that is unique to the country you’re visiting, doesn’t take up a huge amount of luggage space and isn’t tacky! These Icelandic souvenirs are the top of the pick when it comes to the above.
Let’s face it, a trip to Iceland will always stay in your memories! But there’s something exciting about buying souvenirs and gifts from a country you might never return to.
Iceland is an expensive country and although there are plenty of flights arriving every day, not many people will make a repeat trip.
There are some incredible Icelandic souvenirs available to buy, and so many of them aren’t your typical garish key rings or trashy T shirts. From carefully homemade sweaters to actual lava, this list is sure to inspire you to purchase some cool Icelandic gifts to take back home!
Remember that souvenirs aren’t just for you though! Bring back something for your friends and family so they can see how awesome Iceland is too!
Why You Should Buy Icelandic Souvenirs?
Not only will some cute souvenirs from Iceland remind you of the amazing country, they are great for the local people and there are some great positive economic tourism impacts too..
Many people sell handmade crafts, clothes and jewellery for a living.
They often rely on tourists to buy their goods rather than the factory-made tat that is often sold in airports at duty free for people who have forgotten to pick up anything!
Be prepared to buy something to bring back and do your research beforehand so that you find your perfect Icelandic souvenir!
If you DID forget to buy something or didn’t have enough luggage space to bring it back, you can still get your Icelandic souvenirs online. I have linked to as many products as I could so that you can order from the comfort of your own home!
So, here are the top Icelandic souvenirs that we think you should consider buying! Have a browse through every item for some inspiration. Or, click on the different sections to read more about specific products that you can find in Iceland.
14 Icelandic Souvenirs That You Should Bring Home
Wool Sweater (Lopapeysa)
Apart from stunning landscapes and natural beauty, what is Iceland famous for?
One of the most recognisable and gorgeous souvenirs from Iceland you can buy is a traditional hand knitted Icelandic wool sweater. The sheep wool is great at keeping you warm and dry, plus the patterns are cute! When you buy one, make sure that yours is authentic and actually made in Iceland (some places outsource their production!).
Icelandic sweaters are one of the most iconic souvenirs you can buy in the Land of Fire and Ice!
If you don’t have the space for a new jumper, then a beanie is the perfect smaller item to take home with you! You’ll be able to use it during your trip and feel like a true Icelander! Even if you’re visiting in the summer, it can still get cold enough to wear a hat.
When we visited in Iceland in November, the temperatures dropped to around 0°C, but I was pretty well wrapped up. The only parts of my body that became too cold were my hands! Some cosy wool mittens will really help you on those windy days – there’s only so much breathing hot air onto your hands will do! Be really cool and buy your jumper, hat and mittens from the same shop so you can match up!
Wool + Pattern
If you’re more of a creative person and have the patience that I sincerely lack, then think about buying you own wool + pattern to make your own woolly Icelandic souvenirs! You can buy them from plenty of shops around Iceland, and you’ll definitely have a more unique piece than most other people!
Of course, other people might buy the same pattern as you but you can customise it! Or, you can even bring your own pattern and visit somewhere like the Handknitting Association of Iceland and they’ll help you choose the right yarn for your creation.
Local Sea Salt
Try the local sea salts that are produced with 100% geothermal energy! There are so many different flavours to choose from – I didn’t even know you could get different flavoured salt! Iceland is really great at reducing its carbon footprint, and the many salt production companies around the island promote that fantastically.
You can even get the salt in beautiful gift boxes if you want to bring back a set for someone back home.
There is some incredible Icelandic jewellery available here. Because the country is so beautiful, the jewellery is commonly inspired by the natural landscapes and formations which make for some astounding necklaces, rings and earrings! I love the delicate and pretty items at Aurum, as well as these cool zodiac runes!
Unfortunately, the smooth, polished lava jewellery that is popular amongst tourists in Iceland is most likely imported from another country! If the stone is polished, then it’s probably not Icelandic lava. If it’s still rough, then you’ve probably found a genuine piece. Ask the staff in the shop about the differences if you aren’t sure!
Iceland isn’t really famous for its alcohol production, but if there’s one type you should try when you’re there, it’s Brennivin. It’s the country’s signature drink so it’s definitely one of the best things to buy in Iceland! The word ‘brennivin’ literally translates to ‘burning wine’ so that’s one reason to try it, but it also has a unique taste that you might not be used to.
The spirit is similar to vodka, but unlike it’s Eastern European brother, it’s flavoured. Caraway is the main culprit so expect a kind of liquorice taste.
You can only buy alcohol at bars + restaurants, the airport and a government owned shop called Vínbúðin. There won’t be any late night wine sprees in the corner shop in Iceland!
To avoid high taxes, stock up at the airport (either before you even fly or if you need a lot, in Keflavik airport). Vínbúðin shops are usually closed by around 6pm anyway so there isn’t much opportunity to get there in time if you’re busy on a fun road trip or tour!
Christmas is a huge celebration in Iceland and there are some cool traditions that you might not be familiar with. This means that there are plenty of random souvenirs that you can buy. You can get them at any time of year too!
In December there are lots of cute little Christmas markets and celebrations, but in Reykjavik there is actually a year-round Christmas shop! I personally think that all cities should have one of these – just another reason why Iceland is awesome!
Buy yourself a gorgeous bauble to remember your Iceland visit by every year, or a reusable advent calendar. You can even buy a mini lopapeysa to hang on your tree! You’ll definitely be able to get into the Christmas spirit whether you visit Iceland in summer or winter!
If you’re like us, you always exchange too much money and begrudge paying extra commission changing it back! Instead, keep the loose change and you won’t have wasted your money – you will have spent it on a cool souvenir!
It’s always fun to look back to the different currency that you have acquired over the years. Just remember not to get too carried away and do your calculations properly!
Icelandic Food Treats
Fancy some dried fish? How about some liquorice hidden in chocolate? Iceland isn’t necessarily known for its delicious cuisine, but there is definitely the chance to try some interesting foods here.
Iceland is also a nation of liquorice lovers. If you see the word ‘lakkrís’ then you’ve been warned – it’s the Icelandic for liquorice. You can find it on its own, in chocolate, covering sweets or even in ice cream sauces!! Either be on high alert to avoid it, or stock up on boxes to take home! Omnom Chocolate is a popular brand, and you can also find normal flavours of chocolate without the liquorice!
Harðfiskur, or dried fish (usually cod or haddock) is the of the most popular dishes in Iceland. People eat it with butter because it softens up the fish – that speaks volumes in my book – but some people go mad for it!
These are probably the most touristy and silly items on this list, but I just love the creative packaging. You can choose from six different designs, all Iceland themed but also centred around the ‘Land of Explosions’. Where else could you buy a condom named ‘Geysir’ (which, by the way, derives from the words ‘to gush’ …)?
Fancy watching boiling hot lava being poured over ice and learning all about Iceland’s volcanic activity?
Well, OBVIOUSLY you can’t do that at any random volcano, because death, but you can watch a controlled lava show in Vik and you get to take a piece of lava home with you!
It might not be the most glamorous or adventurous of souvenirs from Iceland, but bringing back a postcard is a must! They’re cheap, small and great little trinkets to remember a specific location by.
Or, it might be better to send a thoughtful note by postcard to friends and family back home rather than buying and packing something extra in your luggage.
You can browse a great selection at the Gullfoss Visitor Centre.
Blue Lagoon Face + Body Treatments
The Blue Lagoon is a must visit for anyone coming to Iceland. They also have some of the best souvenirs to take with you when you have finished in the baths. They have a shop at the exit where you can browse skincare, clothing and other small authentic gifts from Iceland.
In the Lagoon, you’ll have the chance to try an algae or silica face mask. You can buy these and more in the shop afterwards. Although your wallet will be significantly lighter, your skin will never forgive you if you don’t purchase something.
It’s actually a better idea to hold off on buying skin treatments at the Blue Lagoon. Surprisingly, the products are much cheaper at the airport, so wait until the end of your trip and get a better deal! However, if you do forget or if you don’t have enough luggage space, then you can buy their products here.
Where To Buy Souvenirs In Iceland
Local Souvenir Shops
There’s nothing quite like buying a souvenir from a local shop in the country you’re travelling in! You can get something more authentic, give back to the locals personally and you can usually hear a story or two from the products very beginnings! Check out this detailed guide to find the best shops for Icelandic souvenirs across the country.
As the capital city, there are always going to be plenty of places to find fun things to buy here. Surprisingly, not all of the shops sell overpriced crap, so spend an afternoon wandering the streets and discovering some gorgeous boutiques selling authentic Icelandic souvenirs.
Kolaportið, the flea market in Reykjavik, is a great place to stop by for presents and Icelandic crafts and treasures! Located near the harbour in the capital, the market should be your go-to for antiques, books + vintage clothing. It’s only open on the weekends and is inside so bad weather doesn’t have to dampen your plans!
NOT Natural Places
There’s a little bit of controversy surrounding this subject – should you take natural souvenirs from places you visit? However, it’s probably not good idea for a few reasons.
Firstly, airport customs can be a nightmare on any trip, and you don’t want to be stuck trying to explain why you have a bag of weird looking rocks in your luggage.
The main reason though, is that it’s not really our place to be removing things from nature. To you it might only be a little pebble or a few grains of sand. But some places, especially Iceland, have fragile landscapes. They don’t need humans affecting the environment more than we already do!
Give back to the local economy instead and buy something.
You could take an ice crystal from Diamond Beach though … it just might not last very long!
Buying Souvenirs – Cash Or Card?
Iceland is actually really card friendly, and the chances are that you won’t even need to use cash at all! Take some just in case (plus I think it’s fun to use another currency when you’re travelling!) but you’ll more than likely be okay using your cards.
Always tell your bank you’re travelling (even if they tell you that you don’t need to) because you really don’t want to be stuck in an expensive country like Iceland with no access to your money!
A credit card is also always handy to have on international trips. If you do have any problems with your bank card, a Visa or Mastercard will almost always be able to help you out. Don’t rely on an American Express though!
What You Can Buy At The Airport
Keflavik Airport has plenty of shops to browse before you fly. There are some items that are much cheaper to buy here than in Iceland so take a quick browse on their website to see if it is worth waiting.
Handmade souvenirs like jewellery or woollen clothes are probably best bought in a shop or local market, but it’s definitely a good idea to purchase your Blue Lagoon treatments at the airport!
A lot of people often wait until the end of their trip to buy their mementos, but if you plan in advance you might be able to buy something authentic that you can actually use in Iceland.
You wouldn’t want to spend your 4 days in Iceland freezing your butt off when you could have bought a gorgeous, hand-made woollen sweater on Day 1!
Some people are against buying souvenirs – I understand that it can be difficult to buy something for everyone! But, if you keep your purchases limited to ONLY small pieces, ONLY for yourself, or ONLY things that can be used again and again, then I think they’re a great way to bring back a piece of every trip home with you.
If you’re wondering what to buy in Iceland, hopefully this list has given you some inspiration and ideas!
Looking for more Iceland content? If you’re still planning your trip to Iceland, here are some great guides full of tips and recommendations of how to make the most of your Iceland holiday!
Visiting Iceland In Summer
Explore Iceland’s Top Beaches!
Take An Exciting Glacier Tour In Iceland!
Visit Diamond Beach And Find The Ice Crystals!
9 Helicopter Tours To Experience In Iceland
Unique Hotels You Need To Book In Iceland
How To Enjoy 4 Days In Iceland
Are there any other Icelandic souvenirs that you recommend should be on this list? Did you find anything that you definitely want to bring back from your next trip? Let us know in the comments below!