Our Favourite Souvenirs from Iceland

Our Favourite Souvenirs from Iceland

It’s a gratifying feeling when someone asks you where you got your jumper from and you get to say, ‘my recent trip to Iceland’. Or, once presented with a slab of Omnom chocolate, you can tell your nearest and dearest that it in fact travelled all the way from ‘The Land of Fire and Ice’. For this isn’t a country of shot glasses, fridge magnets and ‘all I got was this lousy t-shirt’ t-shirts. It’s hand-harvested sea salt that’s been produced from Iceland’s geothermic energy since the 17th century, skincare from the original Blue Lagoon and gripping Viking Sagas. See below for our edit of our favourite souvenirs from Iceland.

  1. Lopapeysa
  2. Blue Lagoon Skincare
  3. Omnom Chocolate
  4. Icelandic Alcohol
  5. Icelandic Sagas



You’ll find yourself wishing for winter year-round once you catch sight of a lopapeysa (pronounced ‘lo-pa-pey-sa’). For these aren’t just your run-of-the-mill jumpers, these are jumpers made exclusively from the unspun wool of the country’s hardy sheep, who battle the Icelandic elements year-round, to create a wool that is both water resistant and warm. They originally gained prominence in the forties when Iceland gained independence from Denmark, becoming a symbol of the country’s identity. Now they’re more closely associated with Nordic noir costume design. But for whatever reason why you’re in the market for one, we recommend going to the Handknitting Association of Iceland, which started life as a collective of female knitters in 1977 and now has a lovely shop on Skólavörðustígur street in downtown Reykjavik.


Iceland lagoon

Image by Zoé Fiji


Blue Lagoon Skincare

No trip to Iceland would be complete without a dunk in its famous Blue Lagoon. Founded in 1992, it was designed to share the benefits of geothermal seawater with the world. Now, just over 30 years on, it boasts a subterranean spa, two restaurants, a luxury 60-room hotel and was recently named one of 25 wonders of the world by National Geographic. So, it’s no wonder visitors want to take a slice of its salubrious qualities home in the form of its BL+ skincare. Made from geothermal seawater and raw silica mud (as well as a whole host of rich healing minerals), you can choose from mineral bath salts and moisturising creams, bath oils, face serums and silica purifying shampoos; and pretend you’re at the spa every day.


Omnom Chocolate

If you’re souvenir shopping for someone with a sweet tooth, look no further than Omnom Chocolate. The only bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Iceland, Omnom has become sort of an Icelandic institution – think of it as their answer to Cadbury – thanks to its blend of Icelandic milk and beans from Nicaragua, Tanzania and Madagascar. Head to Omnom’s ice cream and chocolate shop to taste-test their cocoa concoctions and choose from flavours such as Black N’Burnt Barley, Cookies and Cream and Lakkris (licorice) and Sea Salt to take home with you (the latter is considered a national delicacy, so we recommend grabbing a bar even if you aren’t feeling the flavours). Closely rivalling Omnom’s chocolate is the packaging it’s wrapped in. Designed by local illustrator Andre Ulfur Visage, each bar comes in envelope boxes featuring colourful geometric designs inspired by Icelandic animals and elements.


Iceland bar and cafe

Image by Zoé Fiji


Icelandic Alcohol

The spirit of Iceland comes in the form of Brennivin, the country’s signature aquavit. Meaning ‘Burning Wine’ in English, this black label bottle came to be after the end of Iceland’s spirit prohibition in 1935. But with an alcohol content of 37.5%, it certainly isn’t to be had in a hurry. Made from fermented potatoes and flavoured with caraway seeds, it’s the perfect addition to a margarita and rum cocktail and is now one of the most popular souvenirs from Iceland. Ever since beer was re-introduced to the country on 1st March 1989 (a day now known as Bjórdagur or ‘Beer Day’), craft beer has become increasingly popular, with over 20 commercial and microbreweries, as well as a plethora of pubs and bars, ready to explore.


Icelandic Sagas

Bookworms take note. If it’s a page turner you’re after as a souvenir from Iceland, look no further than its Sagas. Written in the late Middle Ages, these proses have transcended time and remain one of the country’s best sellers, in picture book, eBook and hardback form. They are real life Lord of the Rings, chronicling the stories, myths and folklore of the ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries. They are the perfect example of Iceland’s deep and long-held appreciation for the written word, where heroes weren’t just Braveheart-style warriors but poets, like Viking Egill Skallagrimsson, who channelled his temper and sharp tongue into sensitive and often sorrowful poetry.


Written by Naomi Pike

Header image by Daniel Farò