The Best Ice Cream Parlors in Iceland

The Best Ice Cream Parlors in Iceland

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Icelanders eat ice cream any time of year, no matter the weatherIcelanders have a passion for ice cream and everyone has an opinion on which parlor is the best. Whether you're craving classic soft-serve, delicious mix-ins, gelato, or something unique, these are the best places for ice cream in Iceland!

Iceland got its name from one of its earlier settlers when he saw ice floating in a fjord, but it may just as well be a reference to the country's love for ice cream. Icelanders adore this cold treat and will enjoy it even if it's freezing outside, so you'll find plenty of amazing ice cream places to try during a visit.

Whether you're planning a self-drive tour of Iceland or staying in Reykjavik accommodation during a visit, you can easily soothe your ice cream cravings. Some locations may even be within walking distance of your accommodation, and if you have a rental car, you can do your own tour of all these fantastic places!

There are many different types of ice cream available in Iceland, whether you're craving classic soft-serve, delicious mix-ins stuffed with candy and fresh fruit, Italian gelato, or other tasty treats. You’ll have to try a few different ones to discover your favorites! Here are the best ice cream places to include in your Iceland itinerary.

What to Know About Icelandic Ice Cream Culture

Icelanders adore ice cream

Photo taken from Brynjuís.

Usually, ice cream is associated with a hot summer day, but that doesn't really apply in Iceland. While ice cream is especially popular on sunny days, Icelanders will enjoy ice cream year-round, even in the coldest of temperatures.

The Icelandic summer tends to be mild. If locals limited themselves to enjoying ice cream only on warm days, the average yearly ice cream consumption would be far below acceptable rates!

Ice cream parlors, called "ísbúð" in Icelandic, are plentiful, serving all sorts of delicious frozen treats. It's common for locals to go on a "ísbíltúr," which translates to an "ice cream ride" and describes the action of going for a drive and getting ice cream.

Ice cream car rides are a very popular family activity, often paired with a visit to the local geothermal swimming pool, but also a great casual date idea. Ice cream parlors are usually open until late in the evening, so you'll often see people picking up a treat before a romantic evening joyride.

There are so many toppings to choose from for your ice cream in Iceland

Photo taken from Ísbúð Vesturbæjar.

We highly recommend taking part in the Icelandic ice cream culture during a trip, even if you're visiting during the height of winter. Enjoy a classic soft-serve, either made with milk or cream, served in a wafer or waffle cone.

It's usually paired with a hard chocolate or caramel shell. We highly recommend trying the "lúxus ídýfa," or luxury dip, which is a delicious mix of both. You can then choose all sorts of candies, nuts, and even fruit to go with your frozen treat.

For a proper introduction to the Icelandic ice cream culture, we recommend trying a "bragðarefur," a mix-in ice cream served with all the candy, nuts, or fruit you desire. It's perfectly acceptable to enjoy these as a full meal, especially when you're tired from a day of exploring. Treat yourself to a visit to some of the best ice cream places in Iceland!

The Best Classic Ice Cream Parlors in Iceland

Enjoy a classic ice cream as you explore ReykjavikLearn why Icelanders are so passionate about ice cream with a visit to a classic Icelandic ice cream parlor. These great locations are sure to leave a lasting impression and leave you craving more!

Ísbúð Vesturbæjar

The "Gamli ís" or old ice cream is most popular in Ísbúð Vesturbæjar

Photo taken from Ísbúð Vesturbæjar.

Ísbúð Vesturbæjar originally opened in 1971 and has gained a loyal fan base through the years, with many claiming that it's the best place for a classic ice cream in Iceland. This parlor is popular for its "gamli ís" or "old-style ice cream," which is made with milk instead of cream, making it icier.

You can also ask for a more typical ice cream made with real cream. Just ask for a "rjómaís" (cream ice cream) or the "nýji ís" (new-style ice cream).

While a classic soft serve with a hard-shell dip and candy is amazing, their mix-ins are legendary and well worth a try. Make sure to show up hungry, though, as their portions are generous!


Brynja ice cream is an icon of the Icelandic ice cream scene

Brynja originally opened in 1939 and is the oldest still operating ice cream parlor in Iceland!  It's an icon of Akureyri, the largest town outside the Capital Area, and a must-stop when traveling around North Iceland. They also have a location in the town of Kopavogur, just a 15-minute drive from downtown Reykjavik.

It's famous for its classic milk-based ice cream, which is a favorite of many Icelanders, but Brynja also has a proper cream ice cream. They only use five fresh and natural ingredients to make their ice cream and even have some vegan options. You should definitely stop by when exploring Akureyri, and it's easy to make a trip to their Reykjavik location with an affordable rental car.

Skalli Bistro

The Best Ice Cream Parlors in Iceland

If you have a rental car, Skalli is a fantastic place for an "ísbíltúr" or ice cream ride.

Skalli is a legendary shop that's a favorite among many Icelanders. It first opened in 1971 on Laekjargata street, and this small ice cream parlor quickly became a staple of the downtown Reykjavik area.

Today, it's located in the Ogurhvarf neighborhood of Kopavogur, a 15-minute drive from central Reykjavik. They also have a location in the town of Selfoss, along the South Coast.

Skalli makes its own ice cream with milk and cream, and it offers all the classic toppings you can dream of. Their ice cream is also relatively affordable, and portions are generous!

We highly recommend getting the "rjómaís" or cream ice cream, but their milk ice cream is also really good if you want to try the typical Icelandic option. Pair it with a simple hard shell dip and some tasty toppings. If you want to expand your visit, Skalli is also a bistro. They serve great burgers and pizzas, which have gathered somewhat of a cult following!

If you have a Reykjavik rental car, Skalli is the perfect place for an "ísbíltúr" or ice cream ride. It's a 7-minute drive from the Raudholar pseudo craters, where you can find a convenient parking area with lovely views. You can easily use the chance to further explore the Heidmork nature reserve and Ellidavatn lake, which is a popular area for horse riding tours in Reykjavik!

Classic "Sjoppa" Ice Cream

The Best Ice Cream Parlors in Iceland

Photo from Snæland, where you can find ice cream from Kjörís.

For the ultimate local experience in Iceland, you can visit a classic "sjoppa." These small neighborhood shops generally sell candy, ice cream, tobacco, and sometimes simple burgers and sandwiches. Back in the day, it's where you would go to rent video as well, though that time has long passed.

They commonly serve ice cream from two major ice cream producers in Iceland, Emmessís and Kjörís, which can also be found in most grocery stores. There aren't many of these left, but Snæland in Kopavogur and Gullnesti in Grafarvogur are great examples of these. Many gas station shops around the Ring Road also capture a similar spirit and serve the same ice cream.

It's what Icelanders would consider the most typical of all local ice cream options, but they're popular for a reason. Sometimes, simplicity is best!

Special Mention: IKEA Bistro

IKEA is a very budget friendly place for food, baked goods, hot dogs, and ice creamThis may seem like a strange addition to this list, but the truth is, you'll find the most affordable classic soft-serve ice cream in Iceland at the bistro of IKEA. It's in the town of Gardabaer, and if you have a rental car, it's a 20-minute drive from the Reykjavik center. The bistro is just by the store exit, and you don't have to go through the whole IKEA maze to visit.

The IKEA bistro only has a plain ice cream with chocolate or strawberry sauce. There are no toppings, but it's the same kind of ice cream you'll find all around Iceland, including the aforementioned neighborhood "sjoppa" stores. If you prefer something more simple, then this is a great way to try the most typical Icelandic ice cream.

While there, you can also get a classic Icelandic hot dog for super cheap. We recommend popping over to the IKEA bakery and grabbing a bag of some of the best "kleinur" in Iceland, no exaggeration! It's the perfect coffee-time treat while on a self-drive road trip.

The Best New Ice Cream Parlors in Iceland

Stop by some of the great ice cream stores in ReykjavikThe ice cream scene in Iceland has changed dramatically since the early 2000s, with different kinds of ice cream shops opening and serving new options. These "new" ice cream parlors have since become staples of the local ice cream scene. Read on to learn which places deserve a visit!

Ísbúðin Valdís

Valdís has a great deal of ice cream flavor options

The Valdís ice cream parlor opened in 2013 and quickly became a staple in the ice cream landscape of Reykjavik. It's a great place for gelato or sorbet in heaping cups or waffle cones, with a great variety of classic, fun, and unique flavors to choose from. There are plenty of vegan options as well.

They've tested over 400 different flavors, including some really strange ones. You’ll have to go to the shop itself to see which choices are on hand, as flavors change on the regular!

Their main location is in the Grandi area in downtown Reykjavik, and there's another one on Frakkastigur street, so you can easily include a visit when exploring the city. You can even go on this special sweet tooth walking tour of Reykjavik, which includes a stop in Valdís and features all sorts of delicious Icelandic candies and pastries!

They also have a location in the town of Hvolsvollur on the South Coast, and some iconic Valdís ice cream flavors are available in grocery stores around Iceland.

 Gaeta Gelato

The Gaeta Gelato is the perfect treat when exploring Reykjavik

Photo from Gaeta Gelato.

If you're craving authentic Italian gelato, you have to stop by the Gaeta Gelato ice cream parlor in central Reykjavik. It's often referred to as the best gelato in Iceland, and it has a dedicated following among locals.

We especially recommend the pistachio flavor, but you really can't go wrong with any choice! They also have delicious sorbets and treats like tiramisu, gelato cakes, and Sicilian cannoli.

The main location of Gaeta Gelato is by Ingolfstorg square, but you can also find them in the food halls at Hlemmur and Hofdi. It's definitely worth a stop as you explore downtown Reykjavik!

Ísbúð Huppu

The mix-in ice creams at Huppa are amazing

Ísbúð Huppu is one of the most popular ice cream stores in Iceland. The name means "Huppa's Ice Cream Parlor," with Huppa being a traditional name given to some Icelandic cows. It originally opened in 2013 in the town of Selfoss, and since then, nine more locations have opened in the Capital Region and the towns of Keflavik and Borgarnes.

You can get a classic milk or cream soft-serve ice cream in a cone, but we recommend getting an amazing mix-in. Icelanders adore a good mix-in ice cream, known as "bragðarefur" in Icelandic, and this is where Ísbúð Huppu truly shines. The store plays on the traditional name, referring to them instead as "Huppurefir," and they're simply amazing.

Choose combinations of their menu, or create your own mix from all the candy and fresh fruit available. We recommend choosing the cream ice cream for this, which the store calls "sveitaís," but it's also good with a typical milk ice cream.


Skúbb is one of the most popular ice cream parlors in IcelandIn 2017, the Skúbb ice cream store opened in the Laugardalur valley in Reykjavik, focusing on quality ice cream made in-house. The name is a way to say the English word "scoop" in Icelandic, referencing their emphasis on more Italian-inspired ice cream instead of the typical Icelandic soft-serve. Since then, it has exploded in popularity, with a dedicated following and its ice cream being sold in large supermarkets.

Skúbb only uses organic milk and other organic products when possible and strives to offer many vegan options. In our opinion, this is where you can find the best chocolate ice cream in Iceland, which just so happens to be vegan. They also make their own wafer and waffle cones, which are also vegan.

We recommend paring a visit with a dip in the Laugardalslaug swimming pool, which is just a 5-minute walk away! You can stop by for a scoop and take a jar of their salt caramel, chocolate, or salt licorice sauce with you. If you're feeling fancy or want to celebrate a special occasion, they also sell amazing ice cream cakes.

Unique Ice Cream Places in Iceland

Iceland makes some amazing ice cream using dairy from the Icelandic cowAfter trying out all the delicious places on this list, perhaps you're craving something a bit different. Make sure to stop by these unique ice cream shops when exploring Reykjavik or on a journey around the beautiful countryside!

The Erpsstaðir Creamery (Snaefellsnes Peninsula)

Stop by Erpsstadir for a delicious ice cream treats on the Snaefellsnes peninsula

Photo from Rjómabúið Erpsstaðir.

At the base of the beautiful Snaefellsnes peninsula is the lovely Erpsstaðir Creamery, just a 15-minute drive from the town of Budadalur. They have absolutely amazing homemade ice cream with plenty of flavors, but you should definitely try the assorted skyr chocolates called "Skyrkonfekt." It’s a skyr treat shaped like a cow udder, covered in white chocolate, and they were developed as a project with the Iceland University of the Arts.

Erpsstaðir is known for producing high-quality, artisanal dairy products, including cheese, butter, Icelandic skyr, and, of course, ice cream. Their products can sometimes be found in more specialty stores in the Capital Region, and the ice cream is usually sold in the Matarbúðin Nándin store in Hafnarfjordur.

Make sure to stop by when embarking on Snaefellsnes tours, though you'll likely need to travel there by rental car. It's well worth the trip, and some cold Skyrkonfekt desserts are a perfect treat after a day of exploring!

Efstidalur Ice Cream Barn (Golden Circle)

Stop by the Efstidalur Ice Cream barn when exploring the Golden Circle

Photo from Efstidalur Farm.

If you're planning to explore the Golden Circle, take the chance to stop by the Efstidalur farm. Their  "Íshlaðan" ice cream barn makes some fantastic ice cream using fresh dairy from their farm, and there are loads of different flavors to choose from.

Efstidalur is located along the route between Thingvellir National Park and the Geysir geothermal area. It's a very fun stop when exploring the region and is most convenient to visit as part of a self-drive tour with a rental car.

If you want to stay in Golden Circle accommodation, this farm is also an excellent choice! The Efstidalur Farm Hotel is one of the more popular accommodation choices in the area, thanks to its convenient location and countryside charm. There's also an on-site restaurant if you're craving something a bit more filling, where you can enjoy the ice cream for dessert.

 Sæta Húsið (Reykjavik)

Try the fun rolled ice cream at the Sæta Húsið in Reykjavik

If you're up for something a bit more unique, stop by Sæta Húsið or "the Sweet House" for a rolled ice cream in the second-oldest house on Laugavegur street. This charming location has plenty of flavors to choose from, including a bunch of vegan options, and some can even be mixed together.

There are also delicious sweet or savory waffles and bagels available, along with good coffee and hot chocolate. It's a wonderful place to recharge after a day of shopping and exploring the main sights in Reykjavik!

Which of these Iceland ice cream parlors will you visit in Iceland? Will you go for a classic milk soft-serve or another option? Are there any more places that deserve a spot on our list? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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