The ultimate guide to food shopping in Iceland

I’m often contacted by worried travelers that have read that supermarkets are scarce and difficult to find in Iceland. The truth is that there are a lot of supermarkets spread around the country but they are not all created equal. Reykjavík has a pretty good selection of supermarkets in all price ranges (well, cheap isn’t really a price range we are familiar with but cheap for Iceland is a range we know) but once you drive out of the city the options are somewhat lacking.

There are obviously more supermarkets and convenient stores available around the country but these are the main ones – listing everyone would be too time consuming and this has already taken a while. Below the map you will find a short explanation of each chain and if you follow the links you will find the opening hours.


View Grocery stores in Iceland in a larger map

 

other Others

Melabúðin, Sunnubúðin, Pétursbúð and Kjötborg are all reminders of a different time when little corner shops were owned by people and not corporations. They all have their unique charm, personal service and above average prices but it doesn’t matter because you feel like you are supporting an endangered specie. Somebody made a marvelous little documentary about Kjötborg that you should definitely check out.

Kostur is a privately owned supermarket in Kópavogur that sells a lot of American products that you won’t find anywhere else and in bulk. They are fairly cheap and align themselves with Bónus and Krónan in their marketing efforts. They have pretty good daily offers but in my mind they are more of a novelty shop than a place I do my shopping

Nóatún used to be a chain but now there is only one store left, in Austurver in Reykjavík. It’s like the Rolls Royce of Reykjavík supermarkets when it comes to prices but with a homely corner store feel. They have hot food that you can buy by weight at noon which is surprisingly cheap but the rest is a bit pricey. Also have all kinds of gourmet sauces and spices and meat and fish counter where you can by fresh meat and fish by the kilo.

Fjarðarkaup is some kind of a smallish hypermarket, quite similar to Hagkaup. They sell almost everything! Unlike Hagkaup, this is not a chain, but a single family owned store in Hafnarfjörður.

 

This post and map were last updated on June 23rd 2017

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82 thoughts on “The ultimate guide to food shopping in Iceland”

  1. Meliisa Martikkala says:

    Thank you so much for including this post as part of your blog. It will prove to be a great help on my upcoming travel to Iceland!

  2. Erin says:

    Very timely; we will be in Iceland for two weeks in Sep-Oct and plan to self-cater for at least part of the time … esp. for snacks and lunch. Hubby, who is the shopper in our family of two, has been researching supermarkets, but I’m going to share this post with him as it is such a good overview.

  3. Laurène Alicia says:

    Hi Auður 🙂
    I’m an expat’ living in Reykjavík and I love your articles !
    Thank you for the time you spend on this map, it is VERY useful !! Great idea 😉
    Just wanted to let you know that there is one new main supermarket missing : the Nettó in Grandi, right in front of Bonus. I went there last week, it was crowded but good and it’s open day & night so that can be quite handy for tourists.

  4. ahmed says:

    Hello, does Kronan have organic fruits and vegetables? Also, does it have most healthy foods?

    1. mm Auður says:

      They have some selection of organic fruits and vegetables yes, it’s not great but better than Bónus for example. They also have a good selection of “healthier” options plus of course all the other normal stuff that is healthy when cooked right.

      1. Luciana says:

        Hi there, I have a bit of a silly question. I was actually wondering whether Bonus and Kronan in Reykjavík have free parking lots or whether it is paid street parking?

        1. mm Auður says:

          Depends on the store – the ones in Grandi have free parking lots.

          1. Luciana says:

            Thank you! Would that happen to be the one located at 1 Hallveigarstigur? Thanks!!

        2. Jean says:

          free parking lot for the ones i’ve been to 🙂

  5. Jay Bell says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to research and produce this. My wife and I are finding it very useful on our driving holiday! Thanks again.

  6. Sophie Carr says:

    Was just googling about Icelandic supermarkets as I will be travelling there in March (for about the 6th time!) and wanted to know where I could stock up (as I’ll be mainly self-catering) in the East and South-East, so this is extremely helpful; thanks very much for compiling it!

  7. Steve Ramos says:

    I’ll be traveling to Iceland from the US for a week in early May. This is a very “Ameri-centric” question, but will food be marked in English as well as Icelandic?

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    1. mm Auður says:

      The food in the supermarket will only be marked in Icelandic if it’s local produce but most menus are in English too and we import a lot so you should be good 🙂

  8. Melanie says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I will be driving the Ring Road in May, and will need to self-cater because I have food allergies (gluten). You mentioned that Kronan has selection of those kinds of foods, do you know which of the other grocery stores do? And are things like “Gluten Free” usually mentioned on food labels (in English)?

    1. mm Auður says:

      Since most of the gluten-free products are imported I’m sure most of the labels is at least in English too.

      Most of the stores have something to offer but Krónan and Víðir have been best in my experience. Hagkaup and Nótatún also have good selection of normal products (haven’t really checked the rest but there might be at least something) but they’re a bit more expensive. I was also told Kostur has a good selection but I’ve never been there so I can’t say for sure.

  9. Bob Kopp says:

    This is great information, thanks. We are going to be spending some time where the chains are not found, Bildudalur for example. What sort of food shopping is available there? Will we need to carry 3-4 days of food with us until we get back to a more populated area?

    1. mm Auður says:

      I’m not sure about Bíldudalur but there are at least a couple of shops in Patreksfjörður which is close by. It’s a little bit more expensive to shop at these smaller places but nothing to worry terribly about. You would probably feel it more if you had to live there and shop there always.

  10. Kasia says:

    Thank you for information about gluten free stores 🙂
    I really appreciate it!

  11. Jill says:

    Thanks for this list! Is tofu found in most grocery stores? Would you recommend a certain grocery store that carries a wide selection of tofu and other plant-based protein/items.

    thanks!

    1. mm Auður says:

      You know, I don’t even know what a package of Tofu looks like so I just don’t know.

      Anyone else here that can shed some light on this?

  12. Kevin Belanger says:

    Yes, tofu is available at many supermarkets. Not as many varieties/firmness options as in Europe/America. Also, such specialty items tend to be expensive.

    FWIW, I studied at Háskola Íslands back in 1995-6 and ate completely vegan fare for most of the school year. It was expensive but an interesting way to discover hidden gems like Graen Kostur and the various health food shops.

  13. Biekje says:

    Thank you for this!
    Helps me a lot during my trip through Iceland 😀

  14. Stan White says:

    I’ll be visiting Iceland from the US in July, 2014. This food market information has been very helpful. My question has to do with getting “cash back” when making purchases. Is it possible to get extra cash money beyond the purchase price when buying food and other items in markets? Using a credit card to just get money is very expensive and it would save a lot. This is common practice in the US. Thank you.

    1. mm Auður says:

      At least at some point you could round the amount up to the next thousand in some places but not all of them. I wouldn’t count on it.

  15. Stan White says:

    Thank you for the info. It’s nice to know what to might expect so I can plan accordingly.

  16. Lauren says:

    To the English-centric question… 😉 I just spent two wonderful weeks traveling around Iceland. Despite best intentions to learn at least a smattering of Icelandic before my trip, I was not able to dedicate as much time as I’d hoped. We shopped in Bónus most often, but also Krónan and Nettó. I was able to figure out what was on the shelves by the pictures or other obvious clues – most packaging looks the same everywhere I think! What I wish I had spent a little time on was to learn the names of some basic staples whose packaging was not always so obvious. Yes, the bright red jam with small seeds was raspberry, but the paper container in the dairy..? Butter? Cheese? The various types of dairy (and non-dairy alternatives) were mystifying. Also varieties of bread. If you need specifics for diet or allergies, you would be best off learning those related words! Otherwise, a bit of mystery shopping added to the adventure.

    I am working hard on my Icelandic now, though. I promise better behavior next trip!

  17. Rieko says:

    Thank you so much for the list !!
    This list was very helpful on our trip.
    My husband and I want to visit Iceland again.
    Thank you so much !

  18. BARTHE ANAIS says:

    Hello thanks for your blog, i think it will be very helpful for me these next months 🙂
    I would like to know if there are some supermarkets where you can buy food by internet and they ship food at home ?

    thanks for your answer
    🙂

    1. mm Auður says:

      I think Hagkaup and Nóatún deliver locally.

  19. Phil says:

    We’re spending Christmas in Iceland – and absolutely loving your blog, what a great resource! On the question of supermarkets, do you know whether they’re normally open on Christmas Eve? We arrive on 24 December, will be staying in self-catering accommodation and just realised that we may struggle to find food if places aren’t open. Many thanks!

    1. mm Auður says:

      Unfortunately nothing is usually open on Christmas eve – the last shop closes around 16:00

    2. Audrey says:

      Hi Phil,
      I’m having the exact same predicament as you had last year, what did you end up doing in the end? I will be arriving into Reykjavik at 3.30 – 4pm into a self catering apartment and I’m afraid I never even thought about the catering side of things. Do you have any advice?
      Thanking you!

  20. Sarah says:

    So glad to find your blog, as we are planning a 2 week drive around and through the middle of Iceland in Aug 2015, and were wondering where to buy food for lunches and other meals when we have self catering hotel.

    On another point, I had previously found a tour for a glacier hike on Langjokull and boat tour on Hvitarvatn for 15,900 ISK per person with 8 – 15 get 30 per cent discount, the tour starts at 13:30 and takes about 3hrs, your need hiking boots & warm clothing, but I forgot to record who to book it with, so was wondering if anyone knows who runs this tour?

    1. mm Auður says:

      I can’t find anyone doing tour like that but that doesn’t mean that somebody is not doing it, it might just mean that their website can’t be found on Google. Send the folks at http://www.west.is an e-mail and ask, if anyone knows they should since this is their area.

      1. Sarah says:

        Thanks, I’ll try that.

  21. betsy says:

    Are any grocery stores open on May 1st in Reykjavik? We just found out that May 1st is a national holiday, but we’re arriving on May 1st to drive the ring road and stay in airbnbs.

    1. mm Auður says:

      10/11 and stores like that are usually open. Bónus might even be open but if they are it wouldn’t surprise me that it would be open like it was a Sunday.

      1. betsy says:

        thanks! that helps a lot.

        and things will be open again on may 2nd, right?

        1. mm Auður says:

          yup.

  22. Patrick says:

    Just another thank you for the information. My wife’s third visit, but my first. If not exactly by necessity any longer, we still spend like students on most of our travels. Keep up the good work!

    From Minnesota (US)

    P.S. It has been rather warm here lately, hasn’t it?

  23. Laura says:

    This is so helpful, thank you!!!

  24. Eva says:

    Hello. This site is very helpful! I wonder if the stores, like bonus or kronan, have wc? Many stores in sweden does so we are used to that.

    1. mm Auður says:

      WC as in toilets? There’s usually a bathroom in Bónus, don’t remember seeing one in the Krónan shops.

  25. Claire Fairhurst says:

    I too wish to thank you for this post, it is very useful, as is your website.

    I am wondering, do the supermarkets have trolleys? Also, do they give out bags for your shopping? In the UK, some supermarkets charge for bags and others trying to encourage shoppers to bring their own bags.

    Also, is recycling of packaging encouraged? My husband and I are travelling around Iceland in a campervan and I was wondering if we should be separating our rubbish so that it can be recycled.

    Thanks!

    1. mm Auður says:

      Most of the supermarkets have trolleys and you have to buy the bags. Recycling is encouraged but it can be difficult to find out how to recycle on the road.

    2. Danielle says:

      Me and my friend were more excited than we probably should have been about buying a reusable shopping bag from Bonus – we love that pig! i havnt used it yet, but might be something you want to look out for if you are so inclined 🙂

  26. Mark Taylor says:

    Many thanks for the helpful post.

    I was wondering whether you could expand on the availability of wheat, gluten and dairy free foods in Iceland.

    Thanks in advance.

    Mark

    1. mm Auður says:

      There are products available and the best places to get them, if you want to go to a supermarket, is places like Krónan and Víðir. Then you can also go to places like Heilsuhúsið in Laugavegur and the little health store on the corner or Klapparstígur and Njálsgata.

  27. lex says:

    Thank you for this! So helpful!

    1. mm Auður says:

      Glad you find it useful!

  28. Marzia says:

    Hi Auður,
    your maps is very helpful, we will travel with a campervan around the iceland, and because the post is of 2013 I was wandering whether the supermarket maps is still update or some of the supermarket locations listed in it are changed or closed.
    Thank you in advance
    Marzia

    1. mm Auður says:

      I haven’t updated it because it was a lot of work to do in the beginning but most of this is still valid.

  29. Jacob says:

    Hello! I’m planning a trip in which most of the food will be self purchased and prepared. Do these stores tend to carry common US items such as granola, granola bars, peanut butter, and other substantial on-the-road type foods?

    1. mm Auður says:

      Yes. We have peanut butter and granola bars.

  30. there is any kind person who can help me to find the e-mail contact of
    Whole Seafood ehf. Vallarási 7-9 310 Borgarnes
    and send it to me by e-mail to:
    bernard@gourmetline.it ?
    Thank you very much in advance .
    Bernard Journo
    Roma

  31. Whole Seafood ehf. Vallarási 7-9 310 Borgarnes
    thank you

  32. Michele says:

    This is a nice overview of the different grocery stores! Our rental house is close to both a Bonus and a 10-11 so I’ll be sure to pop into both. It will be fun to see the bottom and top type stores. We’re planning on catering our own breakfast and a handful of other meals. And snacks. 🙂

  33. Nancy says:

    We will be in Iceland from Dec. 24 through Dec. 30. We arrive early on the 24th. Will there be food markets open on the 24th and 25th? Restaurants? We want to stay in Reykjavik three nights and on the Golden Circle three night. Which should we do first?

  34. Rad says:

    I love this. I wish I had seen this before I came to visit. I love Icelandic supermarkets- they have the best snacks!

  35. Tsvetomir Iliev says:

    Great article. Thank you for that

  36. Dan W says:

    My family is all gluten free (I and our kids are moderately gluten intolerant, and my wife has Hashimoto’s so she must avoid gluten too). We visited Iceland last summer (2015) so I can comment a bit.

    We found that Bonus stores did generally have a decent selection of GF items, including pastas, flatbread and other crackers, rice cakes, a couple kinds of cookies, etc. Bread was mostly limited to “mini baguettes” in a blister pack but they were surprisingly good – better than some of the GF breads we find at home in the US. The Bonus store in Reykjanesbaer (just outside KEF airport) and (I think!) Borgarnes had pretty good selections, while the Akranes Bonus had less. I may have gotten the Akranes vs Bornarnes Bonus stores reversed in my mind, though.

    The Netto store in Borgarnes also matched the better Bonus stores we found in terms of GF options, and the Samkaup Urval in Grundarfjordur (Snaefellsness peninsula) was surprisingly decent with GF choices for a small store.

    Basically we found that we could meet our needs at the above stores. Selection wasn’t as much as we’d find in most larger US towns, but it was more than adequate for the week we were there. It helped that we stayed at Airbnb cabins with cooking facilities. When you’re not cooking is certainly is good if you like Wasa-style flatbread crackers (as we’ve enjoyed on previous trips to Nordic countries) because they’re affordable and widely available – plain, or with caraway, or with rosemary, all delicious. It helps even more if you like hardfiskur (dried cod), which can perform like flatbread or rice cakes as a base for butter, jam, cheese, etc., but with a lot more protein. I understand the locals eat it more or less like bread.

    I think it might be harder to go without dairy in Iceland than without gluten, since so much of the cuisine is based around butter, cheese, skyr, etc. and I didn’t see a lot of dairy free substitutes, though I wasn’t looking very hard.

    Prices for most of these items were more than you’d pay in the US for similar GF items (already expensive), but not double or anything outrageous like that. I’m planning a solo trip back to Iceland this summer (fell in love with Iceland!) This time I’ll be on a tighter budget, and mostly hiking and biking, so I’ll need lots of high energy food, and I plan to hit some of the same stores. Sounds like I had better visit Kronan too. Unlike the previous trip I’m not going to bring much food from home, because I know I can get the basics there, at least in the larger towns. I don’t think I’ll bring much more than a jar of peanut butter (cheaper at home) and a few of my favorite energy bars I can’t get in Iceland.

    I’m going to spend more than half my trip in the Westfjords this time, and would be curious if anyone knows how if the Isafjordur Bonus location is smaller than the others, or has fewer gluten free options. Trying to figure out how much to stock up in Reykjavik before hopping the plane north.

  37. Jean says:

    I want to take a moment to thank you and your big heart to write so many useful and helpful articles on your blog. I am planning to visit in December and have been researching a lot of travel questions and 99% of the time google points to one of your posts!! I really hope I get to take your tour when I’m there.

    1. mm Auður says:

      I’m glad you are finding the blog helpful 🙂

  38. Kiri says:

    Hi Auður,

    This is a long shot, but do you have any idea why sometimes the Bonus pig looks drunk and sometimes does not?
    This drove me crazy while I was over there trying to understand if there was meaning behind the two different logos!

    🙂

    1. mm Auður says:

      This is a good question, maybe it depends on how much it has had to drink that day? 🙂

  39. Debra says:

    Hello, I am going to Iceland Sunday the 27th November and I have been researching budget supermarkets and cheaper places to eat, thankfully I came aross your Blog !!!!!!!!! So glad I did as it has put my mind at rest, We are only going for 5 days and with a tight budget for food, I hope we don’t starve during our time there lol.
    Kind Regards
    Daisy

  40. Kevin Farthing says:

    Auður, many thanks for a a great blog. Just wondering if you had any details for the Christmas Eve opening times for the various supermarkets. I like to think we have planned ahead but cannot find any info for the opening times (or more importantly, closing times) on December 24. We fly in at 0930hrs but depending on what tome the shops close will depend if we buy in Reykjavik or later in Selfoss. If you have any details it would be much appreciated by quite a few of us I guess. Many Thanks , Kev

  41. Dan says:

    Hello,
    Just curious. How much is a bag of Doritos potato chips (average size) in USD at these super markets? Or like a quart of milk and bottle of coke? Just wondering how much they mark up the price.

    1. mm Auður says:

      It depends on the store.

  42. SILVI says:

    Dear, thank you for your very interesting website!
    About food and drinks, alcohol (like beer or wine) is it possible to buy in supermarket you indicated?
    We will rent a camper and to food shopping the first day of our holiday!
    Thank you! ?

    1. mm Auður says:

      Food you can buy in supermarkets, alcohol you have to buy in special state-run alcohol shops.

  43. Monica says:

    Hi – Might be a silly question but does Bonus and all the other supermarket accept credit cards? Or is it cash only?

    1. mm Auður says:

      Yes – you should probably read this post, it touches a little bit on how widely credit cards are used in Iceland:

      http://www.iheartreykjavik.net/2015/05/what-currency-do-you-use-in-iceland/

  44. Efekan says:

    Hi there!
    Just wanted to remind that Samkaup Úrval and Samkaup Strax stores are being rebranded as Kjörbúðin, which-as much I heard from some locals- are more affordable than their predecessors. Kjörbúðin has already opened in Sandgerði and Garður in the Reykjanes peninsula and Seyðisfjörður, Eskifjörður, Fáskrúðsfjörður, Þórshöfn and Djúpivogur in the east.
    More information here: http://www.samkaup.is/verslanir/kjorbudin/
    And Auður, have you ever been to one of the new Kjörbúðin stores?

    1. mm Hrannar - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      Hi Efekan.

      No, we have never been to a Kjörbúðin store. As the matter of fact our newest member Hlíf has been working on a complete update on the grocery store post that we will post soon. Stay tuned 🙂

  45. sara says:

    Can you buy soy milk in Iceland in grocery stores?

    1. mm Hrannar - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      Hi Sara

      Soy, almond, oat, rice and more (if there is more) 🙂

  46. Noga says:

    Thank you for this post!
    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. mm Hrannar - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      Hi Noga

      The last time I checked there are around 20 Bónus stores in the capital area. There are also always Bónus stores in towns close to Reykjavik. Like Borgarnes, Hveragerði and Selfoss. So if you are headed out of town you can shop at your first stop.

      Here you see locations for all the Bónus stores – https://www.bonus.is/find-your-store/

      -Hrannar

  47. ida says:

    Hi
    I am an expat, for two weeksin Reykjavik and I wonder if there is a possibility to buy groceries in the online shop with home delivery
    I am very busy and my work ends when almost all markets are closed except of course some kind of which is really expensive
    thanks
    Ida

    1. mm Ásta - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      Perhaps at Hagkaup? But they also have stores that are open 24 hours, so you would be able to go there in person. I don’t think the lower price stores have online grocery shopping.

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