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Reykjavik


Reykjavik, Iceland Travel Guide Reykjavik Harbor

Not nearly as remote as you think, Iceland features both a gorgeously rugged landscape and a buzzing cosmopolitan city. And due to the recent economic crisis, it’s suddenly less expensive than it used to be.

A short flight from the East Coast of the U.S., many people visit Iceland for its stunning natural beauty – the geothermal springs, the glaciers, the whale watching. The quaint capital city of Reykjavik can either be a stop-over or a destination itself for a long weekend. While technically a city, Reykjavik is more like a large village – there are no skyscrapers and the main downtown is relatively quiet and fairly compact. The people are European in outlook, if somewhat reserved, but nearly everyone speaks English reasonably well.

Reykjavik, Iceland Travel Guide Reykjavik

The city is easily navigable on foot. The main shopping street of Laugavegur runs east-west not far from the seaport. It is lined with hip boutiques on both sides – featuring both European and edgy Icelandic fashions, as well as handmade jewelry. Heading down a gentle hill, the street becomes Bankastraeti, which takes you through the downtown business area.

Make a left and head for Tjornin, or “the Pond”, a favorite spot for Icelanders to feed ducks and other waterfowl. You will pass a small square and the revitalized, ultra-hip Hotel Borg. At water’s edge is the new City Hall. The modernist concrete building is anchored on one side to land and on the other in the pond’s pristine waters. Inside, a café seems to float above the water and a three-dimensional diorama of Iceland shows you just how vast and barren the country is (many areas are not accessible).

The downtown area is home to several museums. The National Gallery of Iceland is a small museum featuring modern and contemporary Icelandic art. Nearby, one branch of the Reykjavik Art Museum features the work of Icelandic artist Erró. Other branches of the Reykjavik Art Museum are dedicated to artists Jóhannes S. Kjarval and Asmundur Sveinsson.All have free admission.

Reykjavik, Iceland Travel Guide Reykjavik City HallHead back up the hill on Skólavördustígur past yet more shops. At the end is Hallgrimskirkja (Hallgrim’s Church). A new but iconic structure, only consecrated in 1986, the church is currently undergoing exterior renovations. But the tower is still open and gives a panoramic view of the city and surrounding mountains. Outside, a statue of explorer Leif Eiríksson presides over a small square. Across the street is a fortress-like building, the Einar Jónsson Museum, behind which is a sculpture garden with free admission. Enter on Freyjugata.

Set on a forested hilltop just outside the downtown, Perlan (www.Perlan.is) is a multi-functional building set atop geothermal water tanks that provide water to the city. On the fourth floor, there is an observation deck circling the structure and giving 360 degree views of the city and mountains beyond. On the same level is a serviceable cafeteria and on the fifth floor is a well regarded revolving restaurant open only for dinner. The Saga Museum, on the ground floor, depicts famous Icelanders and moments in the island’s history in eerie lifelike detail.

But to really explore Iceland, you should head out of town. Tour buses leave from the city all day and will take you to all major tourist destinations, including the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle. If you choose to rent a car, the roads are fairly straightforward to follow. Just Reykjavik, Iceland Travel Guide View from Perlanwatch the speed limits – speeding is a heavy fine and most Icelanders strictly obey it.

Note on prices – the Krona is in flux against the dollar. After a steep decline, it has rebounded somewhat to average about 120KR to the dollar as of 2012. Also due to the currency devaluation, prices have been increasing and will continue to rise. Please check prices prior to departing.

Reykjavik, Iceland Travel Guide Entrance to the Blue LagoonOut of Town

The Blue Lagoon (website) is perhaps the most famous tourist attraction in Iceland and it more than lives up to its billing. The Blue Lagoon is an otherworldly series of lagoons heated by geothermal springs located beneath the pool’s surface. It is also impressive in its setup – you pay as you enter and receive a wristband that also acts as the key to your locker. Shower and change into a bathing suit, then hop into the hot springs. The smell of sulfur hangs in the air but you quickly get used to it. The water is roughly 3 to 5 feet deep and they have arm floats for young children.

While quite hot in spots, the temperature is generally akin to a warm bath. As you move away from the building, head left and you will find a couple of platforms with buckets of mud for facial masks. (You also get a sample of this when you arrive.) You can easily spend one or two hours floating in this serenely relaxing environment. It is recommended you arrive early in the day as the lagoon can get crowded with tour groups later on and arriving passengers on the afternoon flights sometimes go directly to the Blue Lagoon.

The facility has a café and restaurant, as well as a large gift shop selling all sorts of Blue Lagoon paraphernalia.Reykjavik, Iceland Travel Guide The Blue Lagoon

To get to Blue Lagoon, you will need a car or to take a bus. Blue Lagoon is located near the airport, 10 km off the road in the direction of Grindavik (watch for the small blue sign that says Blaa Ionio in Icelandic on the highway).

Hours: 8am – 9pm (June, July & August), 10am – 8pm (September 1 – May 31). Bathing allowed in the lagoon for 45 minutes after closing. Shop and restaurant open extended hours.

Prices: Due to the currency devaluation, admission fees are now charged in Euro. €35 for adults, €15 teens and seniors, kids 13 and under are free. Towels and bathing suits are €5 and robes are €9.

Buses: There are several buses a day to/from the Blue Lagoon. The operators of Flybus, Reykjavik Excursions (website) charges $66 round-trip for a ticket including admission (suit and towel rentals additional). One way tickets without admission are about $13.50.

Reykjavik, Iceland Travel Guide The Golden CircleThe Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is a scenic drive that can be done in one day or several. Much of the route will take you on picturesque winding roads. Remember to drive with care: while most of the route is paved, some of the roads are gravel. The roads are fairly well marked, with the major landmarks posted on periodic signs. Just take the National Road east out of Reykjavik and follow the signs.

Iceland’s first national park, Thingvellir lies on a flat plain among mountains. It is one of the few places you can see the rift between the North American and European continental plates. Thingvellir, which means “parliament plains,” was the location of the first Icelandic parliament in 930 AD. Here stark cliffs of black rock soar straight up from the Reykjavik, Iceland Travel Guide Strokkur Geyserplain while a series of small white church buildings stand in contrast to the desolate valley floor. Follow the path up to the top of rocks where leaders used to look out over the gathered citizens below. It’s the perfect vantage point to see the expansive Icelandic countryside and to watch the changeable weather.

Geysir is where we get the word geyser from, even if the namesake geyser rarely erupts these days. Thankfully, another geyser called Strokkur has kept up for visitors. Strokkur sends eruptions up to 100 feet in the air, roughly every 5 to 10 minutes. The area has several other dormant geysers and is definitely worth a stop.

Gulfloss is the largest waterfall in Europe, featuring a spectacular double cascade drop into a deep gorge. You can climb up to the top to overlook the falls or follow the steps down and then head out over the rocks for an up close look at the water hurtling into the abyss. Either way, the view is breathtaking.

Reykjavik, Iceland Travel Guide Gulfloss Waterfall

When driving in Iceland, watch the roads and signage – they can go from a paved surface to a gravel surface very quickly. Obey speed limits as fines are heavy and Icelanders tend to drive at the limit or even below. Also, due to the changeable weather, it is advisable to drive with your headlights on.

What Reykjavik Is

Iceland, long one of the world’s most expensive destinations, has suddenly become a bit cheaper for Americans due to the recent economic downturn, which hit the Icelandic banking sector very hard. The nation’s currency, the krona, traded as low as 148KR to the dollar but has eroded in value by 20% in recent months.

Reykjavik is one of the more unusual food destinations. Icelanders eat a lot of fish, which is all local and fresh. Ingredients are all high quality and run the gamut from the mundane to the truly bizarre (yes, fermented shark). However, the strangeness of the cuisine is mostly urban legend. Expect to eat well, if at a price.

Reykjavik is extremely safe and also very clean. Though weekend evenings tend to be dominated by rowdy revelers, there is very little violence and no reason to feel threatened.

The city is devoted to art and design. The major art museums highlight local artists and have free admission.

What Reykjavik is Not

Reykjavik is not about convenience. It is extremely difficult to find stores open outside the hours of 11am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 11am to 4pm on Saturdays. A few convenience stores can be found but basically plan to do all your shopping during the day.

Reykjavik is not smoking friendly. There is no smoking in bars, clubs or restaurants. It is difficult to even buy cigarettes as there are few convenience stores and no street kiosks unlike much of Europe.

While the city is renowned for its nightlife, this mainly means restaurants being turned into clubs after dinner. The resulting spaces are often tight, with small dance floors, and “cocktails” are over-priced and not particularly well crafted. Expect lots of gin and tonics, mojitos and red bull vodka options.

Reykjavik, Iceland Travel Guide Iceland LandscapePracticalities

Weather: Icelanders seem immune to the varied weather but it can be rough and you should be prepared for anything. A sunny day can turn into a torrential downpour and vice versa. Pack sweaters and something with a hood – Icelanders don’t have much use for umbrellas but you shouldn’t forget yours. Summers can get up into the upper 70s and winters will be around freezing, but not necessarily frigid. Hours of daylight vary from nearly 24 hours around the summer solstice to just 4 hours a day at the height of winter.

Currency: Icelandic Krona. The Krona is in flux against the dollar and has slowly regained much of its losses from Fall 2008. Price inflation has also eroded much of the bargains previously available. There are several ATMs in the city center and credit cards are widely accepted.

Language: Icelandic. English is widely spoken.

Tipping: There is generally no tipping in Iceland. Coat checks, located at the entrance of restaurants, are self serve – staff will show you where they are but you hang your own coat.

Transportation: A small bus network covers the city and costs 280KR (about $2.50), including free transfers. Taxis are plentiful except late at night on weekends but can be expensive – just to get in a cab is over $4. Expect even a short trip to cost over $10.

To visit anywhere outside the city, you will need to rent a car or take a package tour. If you are alone, the tours are worth it but if there are several of you, rent a car. Avis, Hertz and Budget all have offices near downtown. Call them up and they will pick you up from your hotel. Beware that the center of the island is off-limits for rental cars. And double-check the car on return, preferably with an agent, to ensure you don’t get charged for supposed “damage”. If returning after hours, take photos of the entire car from every angle, ideally with a camera that shows the date on the image.

Arrival: You will arrive at Keflavik International Airport about 70 km south of the city. You will go through security on arrival before reaching passport control. They scan your carry-ons and have you go through a metal detector, though you can keep your shoes on.

The best way to get into the city is to take the Flybus – 1,950 KR ($16.00) one way or 3,500 KR ($29) for round-trip (website) – an additional $4.50 for drop-off or pickup from certain hotels. Kids under 11 are free, 12 – 15 are 50% off. The buses are scheduled to coincide with international arrivals so don’t dawdle in the arrival duty free, since if you miss the buses timed for the earliest flights you may have to wait a few hours for the next one. Buses arrive at the Bus Terminal downtown where you can take a mini-bus to certain hotels in the center. Tell the driver your destination and he will direct you to stay on or switch at the bus terminal. The bus terminal is a 5 minute drive from the center or a 20 minute walk.

Insider Tips

Transportation from the airport is limited. Flybuses from the airport to downtown are timed to the arrival and departure of flights. Make sure you don’t linger too long when you arrive as the alternative is a very expensive taxi ride to the city.

The airport has an arrival duty free located at baggage claim where you pick up booze and cosmetics at much better prices than anywhere else in the country. However, don’t spend too much time there as you will miss the Flybus into the city.

If you have a hotel facing Laugavegur or a nearby street, you may experience some of Reykjavik’s nightlife all night long. Friday and Saturday nights are extremely popular nights for carousing and music from area bars can be quite loud. Some hotels are above or next to bars, so if you plan to retire early, make sure you request a quiet room before arriving.

Alcohol is both expensive and difficult to get. A few state run wine shops are in heavily trafficked areas and convenience stores will sell a few beers, but by the end of the weekend they will be cleaned out so plan ahead.

Reykjavik, Iceland Travel Guide Reindeer at Vox Restaurant

Eat & Drink

Iceland has some of the freshest products you will ever find – pristine shellfish and fish, tender lamb, whale, reindeer and a lot more. If you are an adventurous eater, you will find much to explore. If you are an extreme eater, the infamous fermented shark and ram’s testicles are available. But overall, you will recognize just about everything on a menu. Like most everything in the country, menus come in English and the translations are fairly good.

Food prices are no longer as shocking as they once were and there are no additional costs – tax is included and there is no tipping. Many upscale restaurants offer simpler prix fixe menus at lunch for around $25 to 50 per person. Service tends to be helpful but not intrusive. When you sit down, you will get a bottle of tasty Icleandic tap water, and a bread basket accompanied by delicious creamy butter arrives after you order.

Desserts are often made with Skyr, a thicker and creamier type of cheese frequently compared to yogurt because it is low in fat. You can buy it in shops – it comes plain or in multiple flavors with chunks of fruit. You can also get Skyr in drink form – Drykkur – which has even less fat than the original.

While food is generally well prepared and modern in presentation, drinking is another story. Iceland seems to be stuck in the past – bad mixed drinks, lots of overpriced mediocre wine and just serviceable beer. “Cocktails” are all the rage at bars and clubs, but you will find them to more accurately be mixed drinks such as vodka and orange juice, vodka and soda, vodka with energy drinks and mojitos. If you have a drink topped off by champagne, you will be charged for the drink plus an additional charge for the champagne. Mixed drinks can run as much as $15 while beer is $7 to $10 and wine by the glass can be $10 to $20. Many people pick up alcohol in the duty free shop in the arrivals area of the airport – opposite baggage claim. Good restaurants tend to have concise but thoughtfully selected winelists, but a bar may just have overpriced bad wine best avoided.

Local favorites include a couple types of schnapps including the caraway seed flavored Brennivin. The local beers include Viking and Egils while the town vodka Reyka is also the world’s most eco-friendly (the island’s geothermic steam powers the plant). The producers of Egils also make a decent nearly non-alcoholic Malt Beverage called Malt Extrakt, a dark and sweetish concoction some people believe has health benefits.

Reykjavik, Iceland Travel Guide Saegreifinn RestaurantRestaurants

As elsewhere in these listings, the prices have been adjusted due to the krona price in 2012.

Saegreifinn is quite the find. Near the waterfront, Saegreifinn (Geirsgata 8, website) is a seafood “shack” famous for its humarsupa or lobster bisque ($8). Full of travelers and locals alike, it’s a good spot to try unusual fish and to get to know your neighbors. Fish, whale and vegetables are on skewers in the display case that functions as the menu. Your order ($8 to $15 per skewer, depending on the ingredient) arrives quickly, juicy and delicious from the grill. Local fishermen may order oily local fishes or even oilier

Reykjavik, Iceland Travel Guide Lobster Bisque and Whale Skewers at Saegreifinnbaby seal off-the-menu – you can try too, if you know their names in Icelandic. However, the real secret is that the place is BYO so stop by a wine shop or the 24 hour 10-11 shop on Austurstraeti.

Einar Ben (Veltusundi 1, 354 511-5090, website) occupies the upper floors of a small house on a square across from the tourist information booth. A series of quaint rooms, Einar Ben excels with seafood. Herring with marinated red beets and langoustine with deep fried tortellini were very good as was the lamb with green peas and garlic confit. If they have a selection of local cheeses, they’re worth ordering. The winelist is one of the best in the city, thanks to the interesting selections compiled by the sommelier. Dinner for two with wine, about $175.

 

Reykjavik, Iceland Travel Guide Laekjarbrekka Restaurant

Laekjarbrekka (Bankastraeti 2, 354 551-4430, website) is housed in a building built in 1834, the one-time home of the city’s only baker. Laekjarbrekka honors both history and the country’s culinary traditions with a menu of classic dishes prepared with care. You can order a la carte or one of the $65 set menus for a good sense of traditional Icelandic food. The Icelandic Feast starts with Puffin, a dense meat that takes getting used to, followed by salmon and the famous Icelandic Lamb. Desserts tend to focus on skyr and fruit combinations. They usually have an Icelandic Lamb menu as well as a menu featuring Langoustines. The lunch menu is much cheaper than dinner.

Vox in the Hilton Nordica Hotel (Sudurlandsbraut 2, 354 444-5050) is arguably the best high-end restaurant in Reykjavik. Everything from the service to the bread to the intricately composed meals are Michelin-star caliber. The room is plush and modern, with a large open kitchen. The front room is a bistro so head past it to the restaurant proper for the real culinary fireworks. In late summer and fall, you can enjoy a rare treat – reindeer. Only 1,800 reindeer a year are hunted, and as a result, the dish is somewhat rare and a bit pricey ($58). Order it medium rare to savor its game flavors. An excellent duckling came with a sauteed breast and leg accompanied by a duck broth with celery puree and a mushroom crisp. Don’t miss the bread, especially the moist farmer’s bread, one of the best breads you may ever taste. The winelist is world class and the service outstanding. The best tasting menu in the country will set you back a reasonable $75 ($135 with wine) and may well include reindeer. Another option is the lunch buffet, which offers dozens of dishes for a reasonable $26 ($3 for kids 6 – 12).

Icelanders love their hot dogs (pylsa) and there are several places around town to get them. The most famous is at Baejarins Bestu (Tryggvagata and Posthusstraeti, open all day and late into the night). They only sell two things – hot dogs and coca cola. The lamb hot dogs (250KR, about $2.20) – get one with everything: fried onions, raw onions and two different sauces – make for a cheap and satisfying meal, best before or after a night of drinking.

The modern Café Loki (Lokastíg 28) looks out on the iconic Hallgrimskirkja church from a second floor perch. A good lunch spot, the café offers Icelandic Plates for $8.50 or $12 (including that infamous fermented shark), as well as a Lunch Offer including soup and flatbread with topping (lamb paté or smoked lamb) and coffee or tea for about $8.50.

For coffee, try Kaffitar, a local version of Starbucks with high quality coffee and pastries, with numerous locations around town and at the airport (Ground level). The coffeehouse Kofi Tomasar Fraenda (Laugavegur 2) is popular with students and makes a good hot chocolate.

Sandholt Bakery (Laugavegur 36) sells sandwiches, bread, pastries and chocolates. Grab a bite and a coffee and settle into the quiet back room.

Nightlife

Nightlife is a big deal in Reykjavik. On Friday and Saturday nights, the party for Icelanders usually starts at home with a few drinks before they head out on the town after 11pm for runtur, or the infamous pub crawl. Bars and clubs that are empty at 11:30pm are often full with lines out the door by 12:30am. Thankfully, bouncers are there to manage the crowds, not to keep the cool quotient high – unlike therest of Europe, the clubs are egalitarian, not to mention full of people of all ages – Icelanders like to party, regardless of the date on their birth certificate. As long as you are properly dressed – jeans ok, sneakers suspect – you will get in when there is room. There is generally no cover except for the occasional live band. The music tends to be a mix of new and old, sometimes heavily R&B and sometimes heavily New Wave. Check the local guides such as the English language What’s On in Reykjavik or Grapevine (website) for a list of who is DJ-ing and where.

Some hotspots are B5 (Bankastraeti 5), Apotek (Austurstraeti 16), Café Oliver (Laugavegur 20) and the bar at the Hotel 101 (Hverfisgata 10), which has some of the best drinks in town including a great Viking Martini made with Brennivin ($13). Pubs dominate as well and several, such as Hressingarskalinn (Austurstraeti 20), have live music. Café Cultura (Hverfisgata 18) has perhaps the best beer selection in town but in spite of a DJ in one room, it’s pretty mellow as scenes go.

Where to Stay

Hotels tend to price by season – summer and winter holidays are high season, from November to end of April is low season. All hotel rates include tax.

Editor’s Pick: A Room with A View (Laugarvegur 18, 354 552-7262, website) is well located in the center of the action. Each room is actually an apartment with a kitchenette so you can save money by cooking some of your own meals if you like. Since Laugarvegur is a main street for bars, some of the rooms can be loud on weekend nights. That shouldn’t bother you too much if you are out partying with the masses. Apartments range greatly, starting at $110 for a small studio and from $180 for a nice 1 bedroom apartment. More expensive rooms have great views of the mountains and access to a Jacuzzi. Rates are lower in off-season and they give 10% discount for stays of 7 days or more. A couple rooms do not have en-suite bathrooms so glance through the options carefully on their well-done website. The owner will lend you DVDs from his extensive collection if you ask before 8pm.

Just west of A Room with A View is the Hotel Fron (Laugarvegur 22A, 354 511-4666, website). At 90 rooms, this small hotel is simple with modern amenities such as minibar, safe and wi-fi. There is a Mexican restaurant, Santa Maria, on the hotel’s first floor. Doubles are about $175 in high season and as low as $150 in low season. Prices include breakfast.

Hotel 101 (Hverfisgata 10, 354 5800-101, website) is a cool upscale boutique hotel with a contemporary art theme. Heavy on amenities such as free wi-fi and Aveda bath products, rooms even have heated floors. In the basement, there is a small gym, jacuzzi and sauna. On the ground floor a hip restaurant and bar mixes the best classic cocktails in town. It is also perfect for couples as there are no twin beds – just queens and kings. Doubles from $365 per night.

Note that several major hotels such as the Grand Hotel, Hilton Nordica and Hotel Island are outside the center.

Sights

Hallgrimskirkja (Hallgrim’s Church, website) is an iconic sight on the Reykjavik skyline, though presently undergoing exterior renovations. The austere interior befits the country. You can take an elevator to the top of the steeple for panoramic views of the city.
Steeple Hours: Daily 9am – 5pm
Admission: $3.50 adults, $.85 children 7 to 14

The “new” City Hall sits over parts of “the Pond” in downtown. A modern concrete building, it is accessible by a narrow walkway over the water. Inside, there are tall windows overlooking the pond, a café and a large 3D map of Iceland. It often hosts local artist shows. Free admission.

The National Gallery of Iceland (Fríkirkjugevur 7, website) is a small gallery featuring Icelandic art of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Free admission. Open Tuesday – Sunday from 11am – 5pm, closed Mondays.

Reykjavik Art Museum (website) has three outlets, each featuring the works of a different artist. Hafnarhus (Tryggvagötu 17) has the collection of Erró, Kjarvalsstadir (Flokagata) the collection of Johannes S. Kjarval and Asmundarsafn (Sigtún) the collection of sculptor Asmundur Sveinsson. Hafnarhus and Kjarvalsstadir are open daily from 10am to 5pm (until 10pm on Thursdays). Asmundarsafn is open 10am – 4pm (1pm – 4pm October to April). Admission is free at each.

Whale watching tours depart from the Old Harbor from early April until the end of October. A three hour tour costs €45 for adults and €20 for kids aged 7 to 15. They can pick you up at your hotel for an additional fee. Trips are at 9am and 1pm, with an additional 5pm trip in June, July and August. Only 1pm in October. Book in advance at website. Dress warmly!

The Saga Museum (website) is located on the ground floor of the Perlan. Hours are 10am – 6pm (April – September), 12pm – 7pm (October – March).
Admission: $15 adults, $10 students and seniors, $6.65 children.

Shopping

Reykjavik has been an excellent, if pricey shopping destination for years, but the currency devaluation now means some relative bargains can be found. The Reykjavik Design district is centered on Laugavegur and Skólavoroustígur. Here you will find clothing and jewelry designers featuring modern, upscale goods. If you are a fan of black, Icelandic clothing designers will thrill you. Check out local designers at ELM (Laugavegur 1, website), Spaksmannsspjarir (Bankastraeti 11, website)  and STEiNUNN’s exquisite knits (Laugavegur 40, website)for cutting-edge fashions. For more artisan goods, stop by Kraum (Adaelstraeti 10) to see the work of 80 Icelandic designers.

Vintage is very popular in Reykjavik, with many stores selling vintage wear in the center, Laugavegur 28 is a good one. Kisan (Laugavegur 7) is a cool store that carries stylish clothes, accessories, toys, books and perfume. Kringlan Mall, away from the city center but easily accessible by bus, has a wide variety of shops as well as a large grocery store.

You will find interesting jewelry, including silver and lava rings, at Gullkúnst Helgu (Laugavegur 13, website) and a small shop displaying theunique work of our favorite jewelry artist Hansina Jensdottir at Laugavegi 42 (website).

On weekends, a giant flea market called Kalaportio (just off Geirsgata) spreads across a large industrial space. The pickings are decidedly downscale – jeans, records, knick knacks. Off to one side is an area where you can pick up snacks or local delicacies such as dried fish. If you are a fan of digging through piles of stuff, check it out on Saturdays and Sundays 11am – 5pm.

Ask for your tax free form as any purchase over 4,000KR (about $35) allows you to claim the tax back at the airport. Only forms with large refunds – refund amount over 5,000 KR as indicated on the form – require you to stop by customs first (1st floor departures area). Otherwise, just claim your refund on the second floor after you go through security.

Shops have limited hours, generally Monday to Friday from 11am to 6pm and Saturdays until 4pm. Generally shops are closed on Sundays, except for the Kringlan Mall.

What to Bring Back

If you are brave enough, Brennivin is the national firewater. You can get small bottles of it at Airport Duty Free.

Icelandic fashion is cutting edge and would be right at home on the streets of New York, Paris or London. The jewelry is exquisitely designed by local artisans.

The Blue Lagoon has a full range of beauty products available in its own stores (at the Blue Lagoon, Keflavik Airport and downtown at Laugavegur 15). They have anti-aging creams, cleansers, masks and body lotions, among other products.

Pick up some local music – the scene is vibrant and much more than Bjork or Sigur Ros.

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