Grocery stores in Iceland are absolutely essential to visit if you are spending a long period of time in the country or if you are trying to see Iceland on a budget. While everyone knows that going out to eat while visiting is ultra expensive, no one really talks about grocery stores in Iceland. We are here to tell you that Icelandic grocery stores are actually really great and not scary at all for foreigners [you can breathe a sigh of relief!]
5 Things To Know About Grocery Stores In Iceland
#1: Grocery stores in Iceland really aren’t that expensive
Grocery stores in Iceland are actually super affordable places for foreigners to shop. Unlike almost everything else in Iceland [gas, liquor, accommodations, dining out], prices at grocery stores in Iceland are relatively similar to shopping at your average store in America or Europe. For example, frozen pizza may cost $4-5 USD, chips cost $2 USD, and bread costs $3. All super reasonably priced when you consider that a simple hot dog and a drink can cost $15 USD from a gas station. If you want to save even more money, you can buy freeze dried food online before you travel and bring it with you to Iceland!
#2: Grocery stores in Iceland offer tons of recognizable brands
Brand snobs rejoice! Grocery stores in Iceland cater to their many tourist shoppers by offering tons of brands we all know! From Doritos and Lays to recognizable frozen and canned food brands, there are plenty of options for those who want a taste of home. The country receives a ton of visitors from America, Europe, and Asia, and grocery stores in Iceland do a great job stocking some items that will remind us all of home.
#3: All grocery stores in Iceland are not created equal
Whether you are venturing to south Iceland or driving the whole Ring Road, it is important to recognize that not all grocery stores in Iceland are created equal. If you can, do the majority of your shopping in Reykjavik and just pick up perishables from other stores. Some grocery stores in Iceland offer a ton of selections while others are no larger than a gas station store. Despite this fact, all Icelandic grocery stores offer fresh produce, frozen goods, and dry foods. The difference will be in selection, size, and price.
#4: Bonus is the best for range of options/price
Although there are multiple different Icelandic grocery stores, you are going to want to shop at Bonus whenever possible. Bonus stores are easy to find because they are bright yellow with a huge pink pig logo. Bonus stores are mostly located near Reykjavik/surrounding area, with a few in west Iceland. Other stores such as Kronan or Netto don’t offer nearly as large a selection of affordable food products. Think of Bonus as Iceland’s version of Aldi and you are golden.
#5: You don’t have to bring your own bag
Unlike Aldi and many stores in Europe, grocery stores in Iceland provide their shoppers with free bags upon checkout. If you don’t get why this is such a big deal, then you have never shopped at a store that requires customers to bring their own bags or pay. That being said, if you want to help save the earth, bring a foldable shopping bag in your luggage. You can buy a ton here for under $3!
Don’t forget to pack these 5 things for your trip to Iceland:
1. Balaclava:. Since Iceland is so windy, skip packing a scarf that will blow off and choose a balaclava instead. They protect your face and neck from arctic winds for less than $10 and they won’t blow off like a scarf. Balaclavas tuck into your shirt and can be worn underneath a hat so you can enjoy all the protection they have to offer without all the bulk.
2. GoPro: If you are looking for an easy way to capture great photos and videos during your trip to Iceland, a GoPro should top your Iceland packing list. You can invest in a GoPro that is top of the line or stick with an older model like the GoPro Hero 3 which is what we travel with. GoPros are durable and waterproof and perfect to pack for a trip to Iceland.
3. Daypack: Since you won’t be trekking your suitcase around, a daypack is the perfect travel item to carry your essentials for the day including a snack, extra clothing, water bottle, etc. If you want to add a daypack to your Iceland packing list, Look for one that folds up so you can pack it in your luggage and take it out upon your arrival.
4. Extra Food: Since going out to eat in Iceland is super expensive, bringing extra food is a great way to save some money. Even though grocery stores in Iceland are reasonably priced, it doesn’t hurt to pack some freeze dried meals. Buying them online or at your local grocery store will be a fraction of the cost of buying food in Iceland.
5. Wool Socks: There isn’t too much to say on why you should pack wool socks other than wool is the single best fabric for keeping you warm and has been for centuries. We tried to do a winter trip without wool socks and it was a huge mistake.
Shopping in Icelandic grocery stores is quite a pleasant experience and much less stressful and expensive than you would imagine! Comment below and let us know if you have ever shopped in Iceland!
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