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5 Things To Know About Grocery Stores In Iceland

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 | Iceland Travel Tips | Iceland Grocery Stores | What To Do In Iceland | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

Credit: Jackie White

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! If you are going on an Iceland tour, pick up some snacks to eat during the tour as well!

5 Things To Know About Grocery Stores In Iceland | Iceland Travel Tips | Iceland Grocery Stores | What To Do In Iceland | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

Credit: Wendy Bockman

#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.

5 Things To Know About Grocery Stores In Iceland | Iceland Travel Tips | Iceland Grocery Stores | What To Do In Iceland | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

#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.

5 Things To Know About Grocery Stores In Iceland | Iceland Travel Tips | Iceland Grocery Stores | What To Do In Iceland | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

Credit: Rudy De Meulder

#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 Things To Know About Grocery Stores In Iceland | Iceland Travel Tips | Iceland Grocery Stores | What To Do In Iceland | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

#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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41 thoughts on “5 Things To Know About Grocery Stores In Iceland

  1. Andrea W.

    Thanks for sharing! It’s intimidating to navigate other countries when visiting. I’m not sure I will find myself in Iceland, but I love this peek into their culture 🙂

  2. Linda M

    I have huge dreams to travel. This article was especially interesting to me, because I am vegan & its of huge importance to be able to find quality vegan food during international travels. I believe it’s doable in Iceland after reading this, Victoria.

    1. Follow Me Away Post author

      Yes! Vegan food isn’t too hard to come by in Iceland as they have many of the same offerings as the USA. 🙂

  3. Kelly | A Pair of Passports

    Such a creative post! One of our favorite things about AirBnbs is that we can cook in our own apartment, even if we are just staying for a night. (That’s not to say that we often do, haha!). Grocery store shopping & home cooking is a great way to save money while traveling – or at least prioritize spending on more important stuff 🙂

    1. Follow Me Away Post author

      Yes! We love going to the grocery while on vacation, especially for drinks and snacks for day trips.

  4. Anne

    Great tips! Thanks, we are going this weekend (2nd trip) longer this time! Staying at an Airbnb place so will def need the grocery store! I love exploring grocery stores in different places, it’s fun!

    1. Follow Me Away Post author

      Yay!! Have so much fun! We love staying at Airbnb in Iceland…one of the best ways to see the country!

  5. Ambra

    Just á little nit picking from a local. Grocery store aren’t catering to tourist with their selection. We import a lot of foodstuff and my generation was brought up eating Cocoa Puffs and Cheerios for breakfast. I’m soon to be 60. So nothing to do with tourists. We have imported foods from both Europe and the US for a long time.
    Bonus is low cost as is Kronan and Netto (the last being open 24 hours selling yarn at great price). Hagkaup is more upscale to be found in several locations with a broader selection of goods (clothing, housewares, yarn, books and toys) in their 24 hour store centrally located in the city. We have two Iceland stores also 24 hour. And there is Kostur which carries a lot of products from the US (lots of Kirkland). 10-11 are overpriced limited selection shops that cater to working people and tourists.
    Then there is Fru Lauga, a cute organic food store. Costco will open this fall. Use Google maps to find these places.

    1. Follow Me Away Post author

      Thank you for this wonderful comment!! We love education and learning as much as we can! That is wonderful the grocery stores are just selling what they would usually sell, our bad for thinking otherwise. YES! We heard about the Costco! We have them in Florida and they are awesome so you are in for a real treat! Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Follow Me Away Post author

      Yes! Bonus is the best. We always travel with a small folding reusable bag and you are right, such a good thing to use!

  6. Jonathan

    Great advice ! We stayed airbnb in Reykjavik plus another area and bonus was amazing ,also fun to look round !
    They had a great selection of goodies so much so that we left plenty of food for the next people to stay and yes it’s a good idea to stock up for your road trip as the gas station food is pretty limited and expensive ! Good luck to everyone who gets to experience this magical island !

  7. Jody

    We lived in the grocery stores while we were there! We had all 3 of our kids and my wife’s parents and we stayed in a home in Selfoss. They were starting to recognize us in Kronan! They had way more than we thought they would and sometimes we would just have to Google something if we were sure what it was! Fun adventure for sure. I’m headed back for a photography trip in July. I’ll be stocking up with food every chance I get!

    1. Follow Me Away Post author

      Yes!!! Grocery stores are a life saver! What photography trip are you going back for? Sounds really awesome!

  8. Anna

    Heres just a few friendly pointers from a local and some advice. Although it’s irrational the Icelander in me couldn’t help but get annoyed when I read the bit about catering to tourists at our supermarkets. We are wayyyy more than just a tourist attraction, still I understand that it would be an easy assumption to make 🙂 I also wanted to point out that with the exception of the tinny clear bags that rip instantly stores don’t give you bags for free!!! You pay a few króna for each bag, I recommend carrying a tote bag with you to save money and for environmental reasons 😉

    Also I always recommend packing a lunch for day trips instead of buying hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches for 10$ on the road everyday its a tourist trap and prices go up every year. When I have friends visiting I recommend save our money for going to a nice meal and a few drinks in the city at the end of their trip instead, we have a lot of really good restaurants to choose from like Apotekið right downtown and Kopar by the old harbour trust me its worth every penny.

    1. Follow Me Away Post author

      Thank you for your comment!! As a Floridian, we know how you feel about being seen only as a tourist attraction sometimes. That is not what we meant. In Florida, we do cater to other cultures so that other visitors have things they are familiar about when they are in our state. Not to say to get rid of the Icelandic identity. I hope that clears things up 🙂

  9. Hanane

    Hello, thank you for this awesome article!
    Im planning to go for a 8 days road trip in iceland in september. Im planning on going to one of the grocery stores and buy all the food/snacks/drinks i need for the trip. How much do u think will be the amount of the expenses?
    Thank you!

    1. Follow Me Away Post author

      Depending on what you buy, you could do it all for under $100USD, even cheaper if you will stick to the basics!

  10. Jenn Stanley

    Costco also just recently opened in Iceland between the airport and Reykjavic. If youre renting a car, this is a great option too!

  11. David

    Hi! Congratulations on this post. Really helpful. My wife and I are traveling with our 18-month-old son, and our concern is if there will be enough grocery around the country. I looked up for Bonus, Kronan and so on supermarkets, who aren’t that common especially at east and north of the ring road (as you said). We’re traveling for 15 days and would like to know if it’ll be difficult or not to buy veggies and fresh food all over the country. And, if there’re restaurants on the way (I read such differents things on the internet).
    Thanks a lot!

  12. Axel Diego

    On thing nr. 2; Icelandic stores usually always charge for a plastic bag. Unless it’s clothes or specialiced bags, which you probably do pay for in the upper price ranges. Unless you wanna carry everything in vegetable bags that are available at the counter.

  13. Noga

    Great post! thank you!
    Do you have an exact address of a big Bonus branch in Reykjavik that you can recommend?
    I’m planing to go in mid-august and trying to find a cheap place to buy all the basic things I will need for the trip.
    Thanks 🙂

    1. Follow Me Away Post author

      We are not sure but you can google it once you get there! There are many of them and they are easy to find! Just put it in your GPS and it will come up 🙂

  14. flaffle

    We spent two weeks doing the Ring Rd. this winter and the grocery stores saved us a ton and were just fun. Even with the language barrier on labels, we could figure most things out and were amazed at the variety of affordable and healthy foods you could get. We made the mistake of being lazy and going out to eat a few times and blew waaaaay too much money – enough to cost a night each time in a nice guesthouse. Anyway, between using grocery stores and cheap hotdog stands otherwise, we kept it nicely in check. I highly recommend taking advantage of Skyr (awesome sauce yogurt) and if you see Doritos, get the “Cool American” flavor for giggles. We only stayed in guesthouses which all had awesome facilities for storing and preparing food too which just makes it so easy. Great article and wish I had seen this when prepping for our trip!

    1. Follow Me Away Post author

      Yay!!! You did exactly what we did and it seems like you saved a ton of money too! We only went out to a noddle shop in Reykjavik one time and it was like $10USD a person but only because we could’t cook in our hotel room!

  15. Yoda and Dalek

    Love the post! We found Bonus to be a lifesaver on a budget as well (referred to us by an Icelandic colleague). 6000 ISK worth of groceries lasted us our 4 days in Iceland. We’d also like to add that your Iceland photos are simply incredible and we love them to bits 🙂

  16. Stephanie Holst

    We were there last week and another thing to add is that Bonus stores have limited hours! Most of the stores we visited were closed by 5 or 7 pm. It took some planning as we were on the road most days, we either had to make sure we were in a town early or hang around in the morning until the stores opened up around 10 or 11 am. Also, they’ve started charging for bags.

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