The Best Bakeries in Reykjavik

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What are the best bakeries in Reykjavik? Where can you get the best kleina in Iceland? Which is better, Braud & Co. or Sandholt? Read on and learn everything you need about Icelandic baking culture and the best bakeries in Reykjavik.

When walking around Reykjavik, you will notice that every few minutes or so, you will pass by a bakery. That's because Icelanders love their delicious baked goods, either served with hot coffee or a tall glass of milk. That's why we wanted to highlight some of our favorite bakeries, which you can visit while staying in Reykjavik.

Most of the bakeries on the list are located in the city center of Reykjavik, making them highly walkable. However, there are a few hidden gems on the list outside of the downtown area which you can visit on a rental car. If you want to delve deeper into Icelandic cuisine, check out some of the many food tours available. For those who prefer the sugary side of life, there's even a family-friendly sweet tooth walking tour through downtown Reykjavik!

It all started in 1834 with a Danish merchant, Peter Knudtson, who noticed there was no bakery in Reykjavik. He purchased a baking oven and brought over an experienced German baker, Tönnies Daniel Bernhöft, to run his bakery. Before that, Icelanders had dabbled in some basic breadmaking, using pans to fry dough or baking bread in the ground (more on that later), but once the first proper baking oven arrived in town, there was no turning back.

Now, nearly 200 years later, the baking tradition is flourishing in Iceland, with bakeries on every corner and many original pastries becoming a part of Icelandic culinary tradition.

Classic Icelandic Pastries and Bread

Before we delve into which bakeries in Reykjavik are the best, let's take a look at the most common items you will find in bakeries while staying in Iceland. This is by no means an exhaustive list of what you'll find, as it's missing popular items you'll find in most bakeries around Europe, such as croissants, donuts, and cupcakes. We're only focusing on the staples of Icelandic pastries to give you an idea of what to expect. Many bakeries do their own twist on these old classics, but they are just as tasty.


Kleina is a classic Icelandic pastry made with a special toolKleina is made from a simple flour dough that has been deep-fried, making it a bit crispy on the outside and deliciously soft on the inside. Its signature twisty shape prevents it from becoming doughy in the center, as it gets cooked evenly while being fried. It's made by cutting the dough into a diamond shape, then a slit is made in the center of the dough with a special tool called a "kleinujárn." One end of the diamond is then pulled through the slit, creating the iconic shape.

Twisted kleina dough being deep fried in a pot

Kleinas being deep fried. Photo by Nillerdk, Wikimedia Creative Commons.

While you can find kleina in nearly all bakeries in Iceland, and at grandma's afternoon coffee (because Icelanders don't drink tea), its origin is actually German. The legend says it was created when a boy accidentally dropped a piece of dough in a pot of hot grease. That being said, in Germany and Scandinavia, kleina is associated with Christmas and is almost exclusively eaten in December. While in Iceland, it's served year-round! You can even get it as dessert in many restaurants in Reykjavik, for example, you can book a table at Saeta Svinid and try their outstanding hot kleinas with caramel dipping! The first recipe for kleina in Icelandic was published in the year 1800, and "kleinujárn" tools made of whalebone have even been excavated in Iceland, indicating that kleina-making in Iceland reaches even further back in time!


Snudur is a delicious Icelandic treat, a big cinnamon bun with glazing on top

The classic version of the Icelandic snudur.

Snudur is the Icelandic take on a cinnamon roll, but that doesn't really give the correct perception of what we're talking about. Snudur is less about the cinnamon and more about the roll. Its gargantuan size may intimidate people, and it should. In my experience, only kids are ravenous enough to eat a whole snudur in one sitting, leaving a Joker-like smiley face of chocolate on both cheeks after the deed is done. If you feel that you need to cut the snudur in half and leave the other half for later, don't feel bad. The dough is very thick and expansive, creating the perfect canvas for the real star of the show: glaze.

A new-style version of Icelandic snudar at Braud & Co.

A new-style version of the Icelandic snudur by Braud & Co.

The roll is usually covered with glaze on the top and usually comes in three varieties. The classic pink glaze, chocolate glaze, or caramel glaze. Whatever glaze you choose, make sure to pick a snudur with plenty of it, as it can vary from snudur to snudur. The ones left behind the glass counter of Icelandic bakeries at the end of the day are usually the ones with less glaze than the others. However, these days, there are many bakeries that create their own version of this treat, such as the ones from Braud & Co. seen in the picture above. This pastry is usually not consumed with coffee or tea but rather with a cold glass of milk to wash it down.


Vinarbraud is a delicious Icelandic pastry with custard and chocolate glazeVinarbraud directly translates to "Vienna Bread," which is a bit confusing, as it is the Icelandic version of what is normally called a Danish pastry. Usually, a classic Danish pastry is circular, with custard in the center. But the Icelandic vinarbraud has a rectangular shape and is much longer, and yes, it is much bigger as well. Instead of having custard in the center, it has custard that reaches across the entire middle of the pastry lengthwise. Then you have pink or chocolate glaze on one side of the custard and crushed hazelnuts on the other side, giving you that nice crunch while enjoying this decadent treat.

Serbakad vinarbraud is a smaller, more Danish-style version of vinarbraudIf you feel like this sugary monstrosity is a bit too much for you, you need not worry, as it is usually enjoyed in thin slices. You might buy a whole vinarbraud to serve at an afternoon gathering, so each guest can cut their own slice of heaven of varying sizes. Most bakeries also have the option of buying just half a vinarbraud, which is more than enough for two people. However, if you're traveling solo and would still like to try Icelandic vinarbraud, you can simply get what's called a "serbakad vinarbraud," (seen above), which is quite a lofty term as it means "specially-baked vinarbraud," but in reality, it's just a classic circular Danish pastry, or spandauer as it's called in its home country.


Hjonabandssaela is a delicious oatmeal jam cake in IcelandThis popular oatmeal jam cake is simply called "Marital Bliss," which we hope it will bring you, whether you've tied the knot or not. It's usually made with rhubarb jam, which is one of a few vegetables that can easily be grown in Iceland without the help of glass houses. In fact, you can often see patches of rhubarb in people's gardens for some delicious homemade rhubarb jam! Which is the key ingredient in this delicious cake.Hjonabandssaela goes down with a tall glass of Icelandic milkThe key to a great "Happy marriage cake" is the crumbly texture of its buttery crust, with a sweet and delicious rhubarb jam center. It sometimes has a lattice pattern on top, or the oatmeal is evenly distributed, as in the pictures above. It goes great with a glass of milk or even a nice black tea if you're in that mood. It is thought that the Icelandic hjonabandssaela originates from the Austrian Linzer torte, but because of the lack of key ingredients, Icelanders have created something totally new.

Rugbraud (Rye bread)

Traditional Icelandic rye bread is baked in the ground using geothermal heatRye bread can be found in countries all over Europe, as it was considered a staple of everyday cuisine in the Middle Ages, with most countries offering their own version of this classic bread. While the ingredients of rye bread across Europe are fairly similar, how a traditional Icelandic rye bread is cooked is what makes it stand out. With the abundance of geothermal energy and volcanic activity in Iceland, rugbraud is cooked by putting the dough in wooden casks and burying it in the ground near a geyser, volcano, or a geothermally active area. This slowly bakes the bread overnight, so in the morning, you can have delicious freshly baked rye bread for breakfast!

Icelandic rye bread goes great with some butterYou can try this ground-baked rye bread on a geothermal culinary tour at Lake Laugarvatn for a unique experience and take a dip in Fontana Spa afterward. Since baking bread in the ground overnight is not very efficient, these days rugbraud is mostly cooked in ovens and is usually available in bakeries around the country. The bread is crustless, dark, and quite dense and goes well with a spread of butter and some cheese, smoked lamb, or salmon.

The Best Traditional Bakeries in Reykjavik

If you're visiting France, you want to try some croissants. If you're visiting Italy, you'd like some cannoli. If you're visiting Denmark, you want to have a... well, a Danish. So, when visiting Iceland, you want to try the classic pastries and baked goods that are culturally significant for Icelanders. While the history of baking in Iceland is not as long as in many other European countries, traditions have been established through the decades, and the local bakeries are at the forefront. When the multinational company Dunkin' Donuts opened its first outlet in Iceland in 2015, it went belly up just four years later because Icelanders truly love their local bakeries! The bakeries on the following list are the ones you should visit if you want to try traditional Icelandic baked goods such as kleina, vinarbraud, or hjonabandssaela.

6. Bakarameistarinn

Bakarameistarinn is the largest bakery franchise in Iceland and has many destinations around the countrySince Bakarameistarinn was first opened in 1977, it's been known for its high mark of quality and great variety of baked goods. Throughout the decades, the popularity of this bakery has risen steadily, as they now have nine locations in the Greater Reykjavik Area. However, you won't find this bakery in the city center as most of its outlets are located in malls and shopping centers, such as Smaralind.

Bakarameistarinn has a wide range of great traditional Icelandic baked goodsWe recommend visiting their original location at Sudurver (close to Kringlan shopping mall), which opens early in the morning at 6:30 and is a great way to start your day in Reykjavik. If you want to try out Icelandic classics, you can find them all there, and they also have a wide range of delicious sandwiches. Many of the locations have a café-style setting, where you can sit down with a cup of coffee and take time to enjoy your delicious treats.

5. Bjornsbakari

Bjornsbakari is a great traditional bakery located in Vesturbaer neighborhood of ReykjavikBjornsbakari was established in 1905 and is still providing Icelanders with tasty baked goods and fresh bread. They have two locations in Reykjavik, one near the city center and another one near the town of Seltjarnarnes. The bakery provides a great selection of Icelandic baked goods, including the massive snudur, which is available with a chocolate or caramel glaze.

Bjornsbakari has a great selection of Icelandic pastries and tasty sandwichesThere's also a nice selection of vinarbraud, some of them big enough to feed a whole family. Don't worry though, you can also order half a vinarbraud. For something different, you can try chocolate-dipped kleina, cheesy bread twists (ostaslaufa), or a crumbly "French waffle" (which I'm not sure is French or a waffle; I just know it's delicious!). If you're looking for something more satiating, Bjornsbakari also has good ciabatta sandwiches and a selection of sourdough and whole bread.

4. Mosfellsbakari

Mosfellsbakari is a fantastic bakery with two locations in the capital region, one in Mosfellsbaer and another in ReykjavikThis bakery was first opened in 1982 in the town of Mosfellsbaer, as its name indicates. It was founded by two ambitious young men in their early twenties and was the first bakery to open in town, which at that time only had about 2,000 inhabitants. While the business struggled in the beginning, eventually, with its high-quality baked goods and friendly service, it became a mainstay in the growing town, which now has a population of over 12,000! However, if you're staying in the capital, they also have a location in the shopping district of Skeifan, just outside the city center.

Mosfellsbakarí has a wide selection of traditional Icelandic treatsThere, you can find a great selection of bread and a wide range of delicious Icelandic pastries and sweets, including hjonabandssaela oatmeal pie, almond cake with pink glaze, and astarpungar, which are fried balls of kleina dough with raisins (goes great with coffee!). The bakery also specializes in cakes, and usually "releases" new cakes every year depending on the season, be it summer cakes, Christmas cakes, or cakes for special occasions such as Halloween or Iceland's Independence Day. The bakery in Reykjavik was designed to the tee by Italian interior designers and is a very aesthetically pleasing place to sit down with your Icelandic pastry and a cup of coffee.

3. BakaBaka

BakaBaka is a multi-faceted bakery and restaurant located in downtown Reykjavik, IcelandLocated in the historic house of Iceland's very first bakery, you will find the trendy bakery/café/pizzeria/winebar BakaBaka! You might wonder why it's on our "traditional" bakery list when its versatility is quite unconventional. But when it comes down to it, you will find classic freshly baked Icelandic pastries and bread at BakaBaka, and that's what we love the most.

BakaBaka has a great selection of pastries and bread, while serving pizzas and pastas during the evening.The kleinas here are a must-try, especially if they're still fresh and warm! It's also a great place to get proper Icelandic rye bread that's so inviting and homely and goes great with some butter and cheese! There's plenty of seating for you to sit down, and the charming setting of this historic house from 1834 makes it perfect for a short rest with a cup of tea and a croissant while exploring downtown Reykjavik. If you're feeling energized after your meal, you can visit the Icelandic Punk Museum located right next to it!

During the evenings, BakaBaka turns into a restaurant, and if you'd like to visit it for a nice sit-down dinner with wine and pizza, make sure to book a table at BakaBaka beforehand as it is quite popular. 

2. Bernhoftsbakari

Bernhoftsbakari is the oldest bakery in Iceland and was first established in 1834When evaluating the Icelandic bakery scene, Bernhoftsbakari is the granddaddy of them all. Established in 1834, it is the first bakery that opened in Iceland, and it has remained a top player in the game ever since. Once it was opened, the bakery immediately became popular among the citizens of Reykjavik. It became prominent enough that the street it was on was named Baker's Hill (Bakarabrekkan), in the same house as the previously mentioned BakaBaka is now! Later on, the name was not deemed respectable enough for such a prominent street in the city, and it was renamed Bank Street (Bankastraeti) after a bank was opened there, and it has retained that name to this day.

Bernhoftsbakari stays true to Icelandic traditional pastries and baked goodsRegardless of its history, it's all a moot point if the pastries aren't delicious! Thankfully, they are. No longer located in the heart of downtown Reykjavik, it's now a little bit down the street towards the shoreline, not far from the famous Sun Voyager sculpture. With a great selection of snudur, vinarbraud, kleina and cinnamon buns, it gives you all you should expect from a traditional Icelandic bakery.

Glimpses of the long history of Bernhöftsbakari can be seen on its wallsIts quaint and modest setting is part of the charm. On its walls, you see scenes from its long history, with old black & white photos and official certificates and awards throughout the decades. They're not going for the hottest trends or being the most Instagram-friendly, the focus is simply on providing customers with flavourful traditional baked goods as it has done for nearly 200 years.

1. Sandholt

Sandholt is a well established on Laugavegur street in Reykjavik, IcelandSandholt has been around for over 100 years and has remained a family-owned bakery, now on its fourth generation of artisan bakers. At this bakery, you will find plenty of great traditional Icelandic pastries made with age-old recipes, as well as some new twists to old classics. There's also a good selection of mouth-watering confectionaries, as well as some freshly baked sourdough bread.

Sandholt has a wide range of pastries, sandwiches, confectionaries and freshly baked bread.The popularity of Sandholt is probably at an all-time high right now during its century of being a staple on Laugavegur main street, and the family who runs it has focused on expanding its historic location rather than franchising and opening more bakeries. Therefore, it's grown from a simple bakery to a large establishment serving yogurts, soups, and sandwiches, with a large seating area, including a nice outside veranda where you can enjoy your meal on a nice day.

Sandholt is located in the same building as the excellent Sand Hotel, and the guests staying there are lucky enough to be able to enjoy breakfast right next door at Sandholt Bakery! As it is a very popular place to eat during the day in Reykjavik, we recommend booking a table at Sandholt to make sure you have your spot reserved.

The Best Specialty Bakeries in Reykjavik

The 2010s saw a major boom in new bakeries in Reykjavik. While the classics remain classics, these bakeries put a new twist on old traditions. With an increasing number of visitors coming to Iceland, these specialty bakeries managed to carve out a new set of customers with a focus on freshly baked goods (as in: straight-out-of-the-oven fresh) and a rustic interior. You can try renting a cheap car in Iceland and visit each of these bakeries at your own leisure. All the bakeries on this list have a specific niche in which they thrive and are all fantastic in their own way.

6. Braudhusid

Braudhusid is a speciality bakery in Reykjavik, focusing on whole wheat organic sourdough breadBraudhusid is a true back-to-basics specialty bakery, as its main focus is the most basic of all baked goods: Bread. So, if you're a sweet tooth looking for a sugary treat, this may be not the bakery you're looking for (don't worry, the rest of this list has plenty of that for you!). But if you want high-quality organic sourdough bread made with Icelandic whole wheat, this is the perfect place for you! This bakery does not advertise, is not super active on social media, and is hidden in the basement of a small shopping center, but it simply thrives on great word-of-mouth and for good reason!

Braudhusid has seating in a cozy environment for some fantastic baked goodsBraudhusid, appropriately translates to "The Bread House" serves over 20 different types of sourdough bread made with 100% organic pesticide-free wheat, making it the healthiest option for bread in Iceland. Owned by two brothers who grew up in their father's bakery at the same location, this bakery gives you an intimate family-owned flavor and an emphasis on healthy eating. The bakery also has a boutique grocery section with healthy organic food and a nice, woody sit-down area for some coffee with your bread. And who knows? They might just have some hjonabandssaela cake or cinnamon buns for sale if they're feeling extra sweet...

5. Hygge

Hygge is a Danish-style bakery in Reykjavik, located in the same building as Grandi by Center HotelsHygge is a Danish-style bakery with a nice café interior where you can sit down and enjoy your treats with a cup of coffee. The name of the bakery comes from the all-encompassing cozy Danish concept of "hygge" which roughly translates to a nice feeling of a warm atmosphere where you feel good and relaxed. In fact, the first thing that greets you as you walk into this bakery is a large sign with the definition of the word! (seen below)

Hygge is a Danish concept of feeling cozyDictionary definitions aside, what's more important is the deliciousness of their baked goods! They offer great cinnamon rolls, savory sandwiches, and, of course, Danish pastries! The emphasis of this place is no less on the coffee than the pastries, with talented baristas creating great coffee drinks for you, including iced coffee and cold brew, something you won't find at most bakeries in Iceland. The place has a slick and spacious Scandinavian design, and there are seatings outside as well for a sunny day.

It's located in the same building as the fantastic Grandi by Center Hotels, and you can even book a table at the great Hedinn restaurant, which shares space with the bakery. And if you're wondering why the logo of a Danish bakery in Iceland is a rocket shooting into space... don't worry about it, it just looks cool!

4. Sweet Aurora Reykjavik

Sweet Aurora Reykjavik is a great French-style patisserie that's worth a visitSomewhat of a hidden gem, slightly off the beaten path from Skolavordustigur street in downtown Reykjavik, you will find Sweet Aurora. This bakery slightly differs from the other bakeries on this list, as it is a proper French-style pâtisserie. The name of this bakery not only refers to the aurora borealis Iceland is known for, which is appropriately painted on the walls of the bakery's interior (seen below), but it also refers to the French pastry chef who owns and operates this charming pâtisserie, whose name is Aurore. Her goal was to bring authentic French baking to the northernmost capital of the world, and we're here to confirm: She did it.

Sweet Aurora Reykjavik is an authentic French pâtisserie in downtown Reykjavik, IcelandOn the menu, you will find highly inventive pastries with a great combination of flavors. Some of them are French classics, such as macarons and eclairs (the pistachio one is to die for!), while others take inspiration from Iceland, such as the Arctic blue cookie, which incorporates arctic thyme mousse from the common Icelandic wild herb. If you'd like something more filling, you can go for the quiche, a savory French egg pie. It also has some nice gluten-free options, so everybody can enjoy the treats served here. While visiting this bake–... 'scuse me, pâtisserie, you really get the feeling that this is a passion project come true, which just makes the pastries taste even tastier.

3. Deig

Deig is a great bakery and bagel shop located within Exeter Hotel in ReykjavikDirectly translated to "Dough," this donut/bagel shop truly excels at the two baked goods they specialize in: donuts and bagels. In fact, we were tempted to bump it to #1 based purely on the quality of their donuts and bagels, but on further thought, the number one spot should be reserved for a more rounded bakery with a larger variety. The key to the donuts here is that they use kleina-style dough, making them much firmer and chewier than your regular soft donut. You can go for a lemon twist or a caramel donut, but our favorite is the dark and delicious Oreo donut with white glaze. The most photogenic donut is definitely the crème brûlée donut, which is heated with a butane torch before being served to you, with hot melted sugar dripping down its sides (salivating, yet?).

Deig has a great selection of donuts and bagels, served in a nostalgic environmentIn addition to its donuts, there's also a wide selection of savory bagels for those looking for a proper meal. You can have simple bagels with a spread, such as cream cheese or pesto, or go for juicy meat-filled NY-style bagels with corned beef or beer-soaked ham. Deig shares space with the excellent burger joint Le Kock within the entrance of a downtown hotel, so if you want to go to Deig every morning, make sure to book a room at Exeter Hotel.

The seating area where you can enjoy your bagel and/or donut is another highlight of this place. If you grew up in the 90s, it's like stepping into a colorful time machine. Under the glass tables, you will find Garbage Pail Kids and Michael Jordan-era NBA cards, while on the shelves is an eclectic collection of used books, board games, toys (Etch-a-Sketch, anyone?), and VHS copies of such classics as the Terminator and Spice World. On the large television mounted on the wall, you can sometimes watch replays of classic 90s NBA games or cartoons such as the Smurfs or the Powerpuff Girls while enjoying your meal.

2. Brikk

Brikk is a great place in Reykjavik to sit down and enjoy a good sandwich and a pastry for dessert

Brikk first opened in the town of Hafnarfjordur in the year 2017, offering delicious sourdough sandwiches and sweet pastries. Since then, it has opened in three other locations, including one on Myrargata street (right across from Hygge, actually!), which is walkable from the city center. What Brikk excels at is striding the line between a bakery and a bistro. Their sandwiches are well worth the price, usually overflowing with delicious toppings, making it hard to finish in one go. There is also a nice selection of salads and a highly reliable soup of the day. Therefore, you can easily visit Brikk and not consume one speck of sugar and leave fully satisfied and satiated.

Brikk has four locations in the Greater Reykjavik Region and is a perfect place to sit down and enjoy a nice sandwichThat being said, there are also plenty of decadent sweet pastries for you to choose from if you're feeling a bit devilish. They take the concept of the Icelandic snudur and elevate it to another level, creating sugary concoctions that defy boundaries. The cinnamon snudur is a classic, the salt caramel snudur is incredible and highly recommended, while the Nutella "sjomla" should be reserved for only those brave enough to enter another realm of chocolatey deliciousness. There is a sitting space with a rustic feel where you can enjoy a cup of coffee with your treats. At the location in Myrargata, there is even a secluded outside area, which is perfect for a summer day in Reykjavik.

1. Braud & Co.

Braud & Co. is located in this colorful building in downtown Reykjavik, IcelandWhen we mentioned earlier that the 2010s saw a major boom in new bakeries in Reykjavik, we have Braud & Co. to thank for it. When the first Braud & Co. bakery opened, it was a breath of fresh air for the Icelandic bakery scene. People waited in rows to get their freshly baked goods, with the bakery being forced to close early in the day as its shelves quickly became empty from the onslaught of customers. Since it was first established in 2016, it has opened in seven other locations, and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down. The original Braud & Co. in downtown Reykjavik remains the flagship store of the franchise and is instantly recognizable from its colorful exterior (seen above), but when you step inside, you feel the scorching heat from the ovens and the delightful aroma of freshly baked cinnamon buns in the air!

The interior of Braud & Co with its signature stack of trays filled with freshly baked pastries and breadThere isn't really a set menu or neatly assembled pastries behind glass for you to pick and choose from; they are usually stacked in warm aluminum treys to maintain their freshness, and with a queue of hungry customers behind you, the heat is on to pick something quickly! I usually panic and simply ask, "What's fresh?" and they recommend something delicious that just came out of the oven. So far, I've never been disappointed, so I'm sticking to this strategy! The star of the show is their signature cinnamon bun, which comes in multiple flavors. You can get a vanilla bun, a pistachio bun, or, if you want to be really Icelandic, a blueberry and licorice bun!

That's our 12 favorite bakeries in Reykjavik! Which one would you most like to try? Is there anything that we missed? What is your favorite bakery in Reykjavik? Tell us in the comments below!

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