Iceland's food industry is largely sustainable due to its wide, open countryside, small population and greenhouse industry.

Shopping for Groceries in Iceland

Verified Expert

Iceland is known for being expensive, but it doesn't have to be if you research beforehand.

Grocery shopping in Iceland may seem like a daunting task, but this guide will tell you everything you need to know so you can get the best deals and the best food for your Icelandic adventure! Read on for our best tips, favorite stores, and stores to avoid.

A common concern for first-time and seasoned travelers alike is the high cost of living in Iceland. It is true that compared to the US and many European countries the prices in Iceland are high, comparable to other Nordic countries, and eating a meal in a restaurant in Reykjavik will set you back a pretty penny. However, there are ways that you can still enjoy Iceland on a budget, and smart grocery shopping is one of the main ways!

 

 

 

 



Reykjavík has a wide amount of supermarkets catering to all budgets.

Reykjavik is home to a relatively large selection of supermarkets, varying in size, selection and price, but the farther you venture from the capital, the more limited your options become. Planning ahead and doing most of your shopping before you leave Reykjavik is helpful if you want to stick to a tight budget.

Some general tips for shopping in Iceland are as follows:

  • Google Translate is your friend! In some of the budget supermarkets, the products will only be labeled in Icelandic. Make your life easier and be sure you’re getting the food you want by using the Google Translate app, where you can either type in the product name or scan it with your phone camera, and the app can directly translate what is in the picture. 

  • Bring your own bag with you or prepare to pay a few kronor for paper bags. Iceland is very focused on sustainability, so plastic bags aren’t available at most grocery stores. 

  • Read the label on meat very carefully. Icelandic people have a wider palate compared to Americans, and unique meats such as foal or whale are readily available in supermarkets. If that isn’t something you want to try, then double-check your meat products. 

  • Don’t expect to buy your alcohol at the grocery store. Supermarkets can only sell beer with an alcohol percentage of 2.25% or below. Alcohol is sold exclusively through state-run liquor stores called Vinbudin. 

  • Like many places in Western Europe, credit cards or contactless payments are the most typical in Iceland. When using a self-checkout at a supermarket, cash is not accepted. 

Most Icelandic grocery stores sell plenty of fresh fish, meat, fruit and vegetables, but the rule of thumb is that the cheaper the store, the lesser the variety. The upscale stores make up for what the budget stores lack in selection and service by adding to the price. The main exception to this, as will be covered in more detail later in this article, is the store 10/11, which is both expensive and lacking in range. 



Ethical Grocery Shopping in Iceland

In this day and age, travelers to Iceland and locals alike are increasingly concerned about the origins of their food. Many of the fresh fruits and vegetables are locally grown in heated greenhouses, harnessing the abundant geothermal energy that Iceland is well known for, and livestock is mostly free-ranging. Additionally, grocery stores no longer offer plastic bags, instead requiring customers to either bring their own reusable bags or pay a few kroner per paper bag. 

Vegetarian and vegan diets are increasingly popular in Iceland, and as a result, many supermarkets and restaurants cater to such diets. It is not difficult to find a wide array of fruits or vegetables when shopping at the main supermarket chains.

However, those seeking kosher or halal food might have a little more work ahead of them, so keep this in mind when planning your trip. The supermarkets Kronan, Bonus, and Netto carry some kosher and halal products, though kosher and halal meats will be more difficult to find.



Budget Supermarkets in Reykjavik

There are many budget supermarkets in downtown Reykjavík.

Iceland is an incredible country to take a vacation to, but it is well-known that it can be rather expensive. Smart travelers, however, can minimize the impact on their wallet by researching the cheapest places to buy groceries prior to arrival.

You can save hundreds of dollars by purchasing your food at the locations listed below, rather than spending at expensive restaurants or pricy supermarket chains that target unknowing visitors.

The supermarkets that offer the lowest prices do have some downsides. The budget supermarkets often only label products in Icelandic, and they have fewer staff members, meaning lines can be longer or it could be more difficult to find help if you need it.

A good tip is to use your translation apps and/or memorize the Icelandic words for some of the most common items you might purchase. This will shorten the time you spend shopping and thus increase the time you get to spend enjoying Iceland. 

 

 

Bonus

Reykjavík has many stores called Bonus, which boast the cheapest foods.

Operating around 30 stores nationwide, Bonus is by far the most visible supermarket in Iceland.

Due to minimal customer service, a raw warehouse interior, and the size of the conglomerate's market share, Bonus can underbid all of its competitors. Surveys almost always find it to be Iceland's cheapest grocery store. 

Bonus stores are open on weekdays and weekends and operate under a yellow banner showing a chubby piggy bank. They close sooner than most supermarkets, usually at 18:30.

Street addresses of Bonus in Reykjavík:

  • Fiskislóð 2 Grandi, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Holtavegur 10 Holtagarðar, 104 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Hraunbær, 110 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Kringlan 4-6, 103 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Laugavegur 59 Kjörgarður, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Lóuhólar, Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Skeifan 11a, 108 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Skipholt 11-13, 105 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Skútuvogur 13, 104 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Spöngin, 112 Reykjavík, Iceland

Kronan

Kronan is a cheap and convenient Icelandic supermarkets.

Kronan is slightly more expensive than Bónus but offers a considerably larger variety of food items, including an impressive selection of organic and preservative-free groceries.

Kronan runs around 20 stores nationwide that are open from morning to evening on weekdays and weekends. They usually close a little later than Bonus, at 8:00 PM.

Street addresses of Kronan in Reykjavik:

  • Bíldshöfði 20, 110 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Borgartún 26, 105 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Fiskislóð 15-21, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Hallveigarstígur 1, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Háaleitisbraut 68, 103 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Jafnasel 2, 111 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Nóatún 17, Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Rofabær 39, 110 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Skeifan 19, 108 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Þjóðhildarstígur 2, 113 Reykjavík, Iceland

Iceland

Iceland supermarket logo

 

Iceland is a British supermarket chain focused on frozen goods, while still having a decent selection of basic food items. The supermarket opened in 2012 and currently has five stores, all located within the Capital Region.

The relationship between Iceland (the supermarket) and Iceland (the country) has been strained at times. The country and the supermarket have battled in courts over the right of using the name 'Iceland' as a trademark. In 2019, an EU court ruled in the favor of Iceland (the country) to be allowed to use the name 'Iceland' for marketing purposes. It should be mentioned that Iceland was given in its name in the 9th century, about 1000 years prior to the supermarket chain being established.

Trademark disputes aside, fans of the film Inception might get a kick out of being in Iceland in Iceland.

Street addresses of Iceland in Reykjavik;

  • Álfheimar 74, 104 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Seljabraut 54, 109 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Vesturberg 76, 111Reykjavík, Iceland

Mid-Range Supermarkets in Reykjavik

Iceland's mid-range supermarkets are great for travelers looking for a diverse range of products, which often extend beyond foodstuffs. They can also be a great option for picky eaters, as they are far more likely to have products from home than the stores at either end of the price range.

Hagkaup

Hagkaup is a superstore in Iceland.

An incredibly wide range of goods, from cheap clothes and cosmetics to a large selection of food items, makes Hagkaup Iceland's only chain of upscale hypermarkets. The interiors often feel more like a mall than a simple store.

The price of food is considerably higher than at the budget shops, but most branches are open until midnight for convenience, with the exception being the branch at Kringlan.

Street addresses of Hagkaup in Reykjavik:

  • Eiðistorg, 170 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Kringlan, 103 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Skeifan 15, 108 Reykjavík
  • Spöngin, 112 Reykjavík, Iceland

Netto

Netto is a cheap supermarket, many branches of which are 24 hour.

Netto is a combination grocery and department store that is home to an interesting array of everyday items, ranging from wool to kitchen utensils, as well as relatively cheap groceries.

The stores are open both on weekdays and weekends. Many are open 24 hours, making Neto the country's best place to buy Icelandic yarn should you run out in the middle of an all-night knitting marathon.

Street addresses of Netto in Reykjavik;

  • Fiskislóð 3, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Kjalarvogur 7-15, 104 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Lágmúli 7, 108 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Nóatún 17, 105 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Þönglabakki 1, Reykjavík, Iceland

Expensive Supermarkets in Reykjavik

Iceland's supermarkets on the more expensive side are numerous, conveniently located, inviting with their glowing signs and English labels, and often create an unpleasant surprise for the wallets of unsuspecting tourists. If you are traveling with little concern for budget, then they are fine for a quick snack or a pre-made meal. For those on a more careful budget avoiding the stores below is advisable.

10/11

10/11 is an expensive but convenient store in Iceland.

While being incredibly convenient and easy to find in downtown Reykjavik, shopping in the bright green 10/11 stores will add at least 50% to your grocery bill. It's pretty well-known that these convenience stores are the most expensive place to shop in Iceland, while also offering a fairly limited selection. 

The 10/11 stores tend to alter their electronic price tags at night, increasing the prices of their already overpriced assortment of food by an average of 8% every single evening. However, for travelers who have perhaps just returned from a northern lights tour and are just looking for a quick snack, they will prove convenient as most are open 24 hours a day.

Street addresses of 10/11 in Reykjavik:

  • Austurstræti 17, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Laugavegur 116, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

Krambudin

Krambudin supermarket logo

 

With over 21 stores located around the country, Krambudin is the main competitor of 10/11 when it comes to convenience and long hours. These stores usually have a good location but a moderate selection, focusing on ready-made meals, basic food items, as well as bread and pastries which are freshly baked in the morning.

Krambudin stores open early in the morning and close at 11:30 PM. They are open on both weekdays and during the weekend. The prices are usually slightly cheaper than 10/11, but they don't boast the 24/7 opening hours. 

Street addresses of Krambudin in Reykjavik:

  • Eggertsgata 24, 102 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Hjarðarhagi 47, 107 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Mávahlíð 26, 105 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Menntavegur 1, 102 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Skólavörðustígur 42, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

 



Corner Stores in Reykjavik

Melabúðin, Pétursbúð, and Kjötborg are some of the last corner shops left in Reykjavik, remnants of a time when most of the shops were these family-owned stores where guests had a much more personal experience.

Each shop has a charm uniquely of its own, with friendly personal service and an authentic atmosphere. Of course, by necessity, they are more expensive than most supermarkets (although not 10/11), but shopping at one is great for the local economy and easily justifiable for those with a bit more money to spare.

Should you long for sincerity, fair trade, and a glimpse into Iceland's economic and cultural history, you would do well to take your business to the endangered species that is the Reykjavik corner shop. 

Kjötborg is located on Ásvallagata 19
Melabúðin is located on Hagamelur 39
Pétursbúð is located on Ránargata 15



Iceland's food industry is largely sustainable due to its wide, open countryside, small population and greenhouse industry.

Did you find this guide to grocery shopping in Iceland useful? Where did you purchase your groceries, and did you find it expensive? Did you find that Iceland's supermarkets catered to your tastes? Let us know in the comments section below.