Iceland Smart shopping
Shopping is something af a national pastime in Iceland and eagerly shared with its visitors. While the general price level is similar to the other Nordic countries, "smart" cosmopolitan buyers will love Iceland for its particularly competitive fashionwear and designer labels. Tax-free shopping is widespread and the souvenirs - particularly wool, handicrafts and gourmet foods - are unique.
As the capital, Reykjavík is the natural centre to shop until you drop. There´s a choice between the quaint downtown main shopping street of Laugavegur, where you´ll find plenty of boutiques and speciality stores as well as more "touristy" places, and the Kringlan mall which boasts some 150 shops, restaurants and services, accessibly located in the "new city centre" within walking distance from several of the city´s main hotels.
Also well worth browsing is Skólavörðustígur, a street just off Laugavegur, with its boutiques, exclusive gourmet shops, arts and crafts galleries and several jewlery design studios. And a big favourite for its bargains, rarities and character is the Kolaportið flea marked, downtown on the harbour front.
Outside Reykjavík, the newly opened Smáralind mall in neighbouring Kópavogur is the largest in the whole of Iceland. Akureyri in the north also has a pleasant pedestrian precinct in its high street as well as an impressive new mall, Glerártorg. Most regional communities offer souvenirs, often featuring local arts and crafts. For late deciders or travellers on quick stopovers, there´s also an impressive range of duty-free shops at Keflavík Airport.
Souvenirs tend to be in a high quality and craftsmanship bracket and are quite often linked to lifestyle. Woollen goods combining tradition and fashionare the classic souvenir, now joined by jewellry, lava ceramics, skin goods and other items old and new. Healthcare products (geothermal and herbal) are a recent innovation, while salmon and roe caviaar head the list of favourite foods to remember Iceland by.