SHOPPING IN REYKJAVIK AND ICELAND
THE SHOPPER´S GUIDE
You already know that Iceland is a hot spot for nature lovers. But for shoppers too? Absolutely. Iceland has some of the best souvenirs in the world, with a different take: most of what you buy here you´ll use elsewhere. From warm woolens to beautifully crafted pottery and glass, to resilient outdoor wear, these are more than just keepsakes. ?And if you have a taste for the finer things, Iceland is also one of the best places to buy luxury. Not only is it one of the trendiest places in Europe, and therefore a hip spot for fashion, the haute couture here is reasonably priced, especially once you claim your 15% tourist rebate on purchases over ISK 4,000.
You know you need a memento of your holiday, and your family back home isn´t just looking forward to seeing you. Try some of the following for the best ideas in great purchases that avoid the traditional tourist kitsch:
If anyone knows how to make outdoor wear practical, durable and fashionable, it´s the Icelanders.
The traditional Icelandic lopapeysa, a knitted wool sweater with special design at the top and on the sleeves, is now a must-have fashion item. Worn for practical reasons by farmers and fishermen, the sweater (or its variations, including button or zipped cardigan) is one of the trendiest items around. You can also buy high-quality woolen scarves, gloves, hats, blankets, and many other things, all made from Icelandic wool.
Iceland is home to many great fashion brands you are already familiar with, as well as some smaller, more specialized ones. Some stores carry great independent labels from all over the world, as well as jewelry.
Start saving your money for some jewelry as soon as you book your ticket. Local designs have been celebrated of late for their observation of Celtic and Old Norse patterns. The constant desire for fresh materials and inspiration has kept goldsmiths in the capital churning out gallery pieces. Artists often incorporate gold or silver with materials found in Iceland, like lava rock, and the effect is very eye-catching. You can also commission your own design. This is very popular for wedding rings, which many people buy in Iceland.
Artists in Iceland often take their inspiration from the country´s outstanding natural surroundings or from its literary history. From paintings to sculptures to pottery and glasswork, you´ll find all sorts of creative designs here, both small and large. A street more and more dedicated to artists, Skólavörðustígur in downtown Reykjavík hosts many respected smaller galleries.
The main shopping streets in Reykjavík are Laugavegur and Skolavörðustígur. Most stores here are open from 10.00–18.00 on weekdays and from 11.00–16.00 on Saturdays. Clothing stores are usually closed on Sundays, but the record and bookstores will be open.
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.
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