You do not want to be the person that goes to the mystical Land of Fire and Ice and brings family and friends the “My xxx went to Iceland and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” back. True Iceland souvenirs are just as magical as the country itself, and you need to bring family and friends the spirit of the island, not just another random gift.
Irrespective of taste or age, you’ll be able to find something for everyone. And if you are finding yourself a bit lost in this department and need to budget for your Santa Clause role, don’t worry – in this article, we’ll be diving into what souvenirs to buy in Iceland (from the most popular to age-appropriate and “made in Iceland products”). So, let’s dive right into what to bring back from Iceland:
The Most Popular Iceland Souvenirs
Below you will find some of the most popular Icelandic gifts:
Lopapeysa (Icelandic Wool Sweaters)
This is one of those what-is-Iceland-known-for souvenirs. Everything about these sweaters screams Iceland. The wool used to knit them comes from Icelandic sheep, they are produced using Iceland’s incredible natural energy sources, and they are made with the most amazing and truly authentic Icelandic patterns.
Not only are these sweaters beautiful, but they are probably the warmest sweaters you’ll ever own (we always recommend that visitors leave their own sweaters at home and simply get a few Icelandic sweaters here on the island to combat our colder climate). Exceptional quality and beauty come at a price, though, so you’ll need to budget if you want to add these sweaters to your list of Iceland souvenirs.
The Icelanders definitely have a sweet tooth, and since you can’t take home our infamous homemade ice creams, you’ll need to take some of our unique Icelandic chocolate. You can choose from traditional Icelandic milk chocolate and extra bitter chocolate to favorites such as nuts and raisins, but if you want the real Icelandic flavor, you’ll need to get one of our chocolates with licorice.
If you find yourself in the capital city, this is also one of the best Reykjavík souvenirs. Omnom is an award-winning chocolate factory in Reykjavík and you can find a wide range of Icelandic favorites made from organic cocoa beans and Icelandic milk.
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Blue Lagoon Skincare Products
Iceland is known for its natural hot springs. But our hot springs are not just for lounging around – the water actually has proven healing properties. And this is where the idea to incorporate these properties into skincare products came in. One of the best-known hot springs and skin care products is the Blue Lagoon.
These products are not a beauty fad but are backed by science, and as Blue Lagoon Skincare Products are made exclusively here on the island, they make some of the best gifts from Iceland. Get them on-site when taking a dip in the hot, healing waters yourself.
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Reyka Vodka makes some of the best Icelandic souvenirs. By the name, you might assume that it’s made in the capital city of Reykjavík, but it’s locally distilled in Borgarnes, a beautiful little coastal village. Reyka Vodka is made in a location with some of the cleanest air, and is made from the purest of Icelandic spring water, and filtered through ancient lava rocks. Reyka Vodka can’t get any more authentic Iceland if it tried, and now you can give others a literal taste of the Land of Fire and Ice.
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Icelandic Sea Salt
Whether you’ve got someone who’s a foodie, a health nut, or just a practical person, our Icelandic Sea Salt will make some of the best Icelandic souvenirs to take home to them. Not only is the salt healthy and extremely tasty, but it’s also eco-friendly, with production making use of the natural energy supply here in Iceland.
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Books about Iceland
The Land of Fire and Ice is known for its myths and legends, as well as interesting and contrasting terrain with natural wonders that will blow your mind. This also means that you will find plenty of books about all of these things in Iceland.
Not only will the books themselves be authentically Icelandic, but gifting each other books is a big tradition here on the island, especially during the festive season. This all makes books good souvenirs from Iceland.
Unique Iceland Souvenirs
Still wondering what to buy in Iceland that is truly authentic to the island? The following is a good place to start:
Icelandic Lava Jewelry
As a proudly Viking nation you already know that our jewelry designs will be out of this world. Authentic Icelandic jewelry is known for its unique Nordic motives, and even incorporating other elements unique to the island, such as pieces of lava rock. These items can range in price depending on the intricacies of the design and the materials used, so you’ll be sure to find something that suits someone’s personal taste and your pocket.
Icelandic Hand-carved Wooden Souvenirs
Iceland is a country known for its Viking warriors, Nordic symbols, Nordic myths and legends which include gods like Thor, and unique wildlife such as the Puffins. You can bet your bottom dollar that any wood carvings here on the island will be exceptional. Whether you end up taking home a hand-carved cute little Iceland Puffin, or an intricate design of ruins – it’ll be an authentic piece of Iceland culture displayed in the home.
Icelandic Sheepskin Products
The Icelandic sweaters are not the only things to buy in Iceland, made from Icelandic sheep. You can buy actual sheepskins that make the perfect (and softest) rugs or throws. You will also find these products in a wide variety of colors – from natural to interesting shades of neon pink.
Icelandic Fish Skin Products
This is probably one you didn’t expect, but with a sea-faring nation such as the Icelanders, it makes sense. Dried fish skin can come in bites and rolls of various flavorings (Cod, Red Fish, Wolf Fish, etc.) And although this might not ultimately be everyone’s cup of tea, it definitely is a very authentic taste of Iceland.
Icelandic Music CDs and Vinyl Records
You may not be aware, but Icelanders have been officially named as one of the most creative nations in the world, and this is clear from our music industry. For such a small island, we have a ton of musical talent that has become world-renowned (and we’re not talking about Will Ferrell’s Fire Saga).
Talented artists such as Björk, Sigur Ros, and Of Monsters and Men are all Icelanders. So, why not grab a copy of their CDs or vinyls from the country of origin? Or discover and give the gift of new upcoming Icelandic artists and their works.
Icelandic Craft Beer
There are a few things Iceland is known for, such as ice cream and hot dogs, and craft beer is another one of them. The Icelanders are so passionate about their beer that you can literally bathe in it at a spa here on the island whilst drinking from a tap!
And this is probably one of the best souvenirs from Iceland you can get to others whilst benefiting yourself – just take a tour of one of our local breweries and leave with a case or two (just remember to check flight and customs restrictions of alcohol). Some of the local favorites include Einstök, Brewdog, and beers from the Brothers Brewery.
Iceland Souvenirs for Kids
Need to get some gifts from Iceland for the kiddos? Then the following should be on your shopping list:
Puffins are not exclusive to the island, but since the Puffin colonies here make up more than 60% of the world’s population, the Puffin have become somewhat of a local mascot. And if you’re looking for an adorable little friend a kiddo can cuddle up with, these Puffin plushies are the best things to buy in Iceland. They come in various sizes and are made from a variety of materials and stuffing.
Icelandic Children's Books
The love of books shared by the adults here in Iceland is also shared by the children. And the island has plenty of stories that intrigue and excite the little ones. Stories of trolls, elves, Viking warriors, and much, much more are at the order of the day here in Iceland, which makes the children’s books much-loved treasures and the perfect Icelandic souvenirs for youngsters.
Lava Rock Necklaces and Bracelets
Icelandic jewelry is not just for the grown-ups. Lava Rock Necklaces and Bracelets are exactly what they sound like – necklaces and bracelets made from beads crafted out of lava rock here on the island – and these make great Icelandic gifts for the younger crowd. Just ensure that it’s not given to babies and toddlers as any beads will always be a choking hazard for these curious kiddos.
Whilst we’ve already touched on our special Icelandic chocolates, you will find plenty of other sweet treats here on the island that the children simply cannot get enough of. True Icelandic candies are, of course, things you can only buy in Iceland, such as Kulur toffees, Appolo Lakkris Liquorice Laces, and Mix, a Freyja assortment of candy.
Icelandic Toy Sheep
Once again, it’s not just the adults that can benefit from the Icelandic sheep here on the island. Now you can take some home to the kiddos. You will find a wide variety of Icelandic toy sheep to choose from here on the island, ranging from cute little crochet sheep, and plushies in various sizes to plushies made from actual Icelandic sheep wool. A cuddly friend like this makes a great Icelandic souvenir.
Iceland Souvenirs for Adults
If you need to go shopping for adults, the following popular souvenirs from Iceland that we’ve already discussed in more detail above might just be a perfect match for your mate:
- Icelandic Wool Sweaters
- Icelandic Jewelry
- Reyka Vodka
- Icelandic Sea Salt
- Books about Iceland
- Icelandic Craft Beer
A Few Helpful Tips for Buying Iceland Souvenirs
If this is your first time on the island, or you just need a little guidance around buying souvenirs, the following advice will be very helpful:
- Ensure that you buy your Icelandic souvenirs from reputable retailers. You don’t want to end up buying something that falls apart before you even leave the island. There are many ways to do this. You can either make purchases from dedicated souvenir shops like the ones found in our famous shopping street in Reykjavik, Laugavegur Street, or purchase things on-site such as with the Blue Lagoon products and craft beers.
- Avoid buying souvenirs that are made in China or other countries. The entire point of buying Icelandic souvenirs is that it’s authentic products from Iceland.
- Look for souvenirs that are made with high-quality materials. Although you will pay a bit more, you simply can’t go wrong with high-quality materials such as lava rock or Icelandic wool – these materials are sure to last for ages.
- Ask about the return policy before you buy. You might end up in a situation where you get the wrong size or you discover a manufacturing flaw. Some shops won’t accept any returns on certain items, whilst others have a time limit and specific terms and conditions that apply to returns.
- Consider shipping your souvenirs home to avoid having to carry them around with you. If you’re a group of people traveling together, it’s also a good way of keeping costs low (you can either purchase more luggage and luggage space for the flight back or ship it back and share costs with everyone).
- Get some items for cheaper at duty-free at the airport. If you’re on a bit of a tight budget, you can get some products such as Icelandic chocolate and candies at duty-free for cheaper. This will also allow you to get a few last-minute Icelandic gifts without having to lug everything around with you on your entire trip.
Iceland Souvenirs; An Extensive Array to Choose From
As you can see, there definitely is no shortage of Iceland souvenirs here on the island. And irrespective of age or taste, you’ll find something for everyone at a price that suits your budget. By using this article as a guide, you’ll be able to take away a lot of the guesswork when it comes to picking out gifts. So, what are you waiting for? Rent a car in Reykjavík upon arrival and start exploring and shopping!