Iceland Grocery Stores & Supermarkets • All You Need to Know

CameronDestinations, Iceland, Scandinavia, Things To KnowLeave a Comment

Iceland Camping Kirkjufell

Talking about Iceland supermarkets and where to buy groceries in Iceland is not the most exciting subject. However, before our trip to Iceland, we found ourselves doing some research about the prices in the supermarkets in Iceland. We found that we weren’t the only ones wondering and that a lot of people actually ask about the prices of Iceland grocery stores.

It’s an important part of budgeting and given the popularity of camper vans, Airbnb, and camping many people find themselves cooking their own meals to avoid the crazy high costs of food in Iceland. This tourist guide should help save and budget accordingly for shopping in Iceland grocery stores.

The World Pursuit Iceland

A Guide to Icelandic Supermarkets

Iceland’s Supermarket Chains

There are several different chain markets you can expect to find in Iceland. Here’s a brief overview of the different grocery stores and which are our favorites.

Bónus

This is the most prominent grocery store in Iceland. They have a number of locations throughout Iceland and you can find a number of them along the ring road. The vast majority of their stores and Iceland markets are in Reykjavik. Bónus is the budget supermarket in Iceland. The shops are the Icelandic equivalent of a Lidl or Aldi. They offer a limited number of products and shy away from name brands.

Despite having a more limited selection they still have more than enough for anyone’s basic needs. Unless you’re a gourmand Bónus will be more than enough for you. This is our pick for the best grocery store in Iceland and is what we always sought out to find.

If you’re having a tough time finding a Bonus just remember their logo is the cartoon pig with a black eye. Don’t ask us why the pig has a black eye. Maybe he got into a fight with another pig.

Krónan

Krónan is the closest competitor to Bónus. They carry a larger selection of products, more produce, and a number of health food options. Their prices are a close second to Bónus, but we did find Krónan to be slightly higher priced. They do offer a large fresh meat and fish section, but since we eat vegetarian we can’t comment on the prices. This Iceland grocery store does carry specialty food products like organic health food and gluten-free bread.

Their logo is a smiling yellow colored orange. If that’s too confusing it’s like someone painted a yellow smiley on an orange.

Nettó

Nettó is another cheap shop based in Akureyri and we saw a few other stores throughout Iceland. They sell a wide selection of products including things like clothes and children’s games. If you need a random household item we’d recommend taking a look inside.

For some reason, their logo is a hollow orange apple. If there is a talented graphic artist in need of work, I believe Iceland has some openings!

Víðir

Víðir is probably the nicest food market in Iceland. The new chain has a number of locations around Reykjavík. They have a nice selection of fresh fruit and vegetables. They also carry a wide range of healthy food and quality products. It is more expensive than the budget supermarkets but carries the best quality of food products in Iceland.

10-11

The first time we walked in one of the stores we were just seeking some Nescafe. That was until we saw the price at a staggering $13… Even our favorite addiction of Haribo were $6 a bag. The prices here are obscene and it’s unlikely any locals use the shops if they can avoid it. Our advice is to steer clear of them as they are at least double the standard Icelandic price.  Although, we did notice the tour buses conveniently made them their stop…

Costco

I can not comment on this one. However, it was a pretty big deal when Costco opened a store in Iceland. Even a few locals we talked to were excited about the prospect of the megastore. If you’re already a member we’d suggest giving the store a stop as their memberships are good worldwide.

Where To Buy Food In Iceland

We’ve seen a couple bloggers state that there are no grocery stores outside of Reykjavik, that is not true. You shouldn’t expect to find a grocery store in every little town, but the locals do have to eat and most major towns contain some form of a supermarket.

We were able to drive the entirety of the Ring Road and only shopped at Bónus every couple of days. We found an Iceland grocery store in the following towns Stykkishólmur, Akureyri, Egilsstadir, and Reykjavik.

Food Prices in Iceland Supermarkets

The food prices in Iceland vary when it comes to products in the markets. We found many food products reasonable and then we’d find produce items like an aubergine (eggplant) for $6. That’s like the cheapest vegetable next to potatoes! Iceland is one of the most expensive countries to live in the world and even the food prices reflect that.

You can still get by on a budget, but it will be limited. We found products like milk, bread, rice, frozen vegetables, and apples to not be ridiculous. As a budget saving strategy, we made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. (What American doesn’t love that?) For snacks, we ate apples and peanuts, always solid options that are healthy and keep you full.

Average Food Costs

ProductPriceProductPrice
Rice (kg)$3.50Apples (kg)$3.25
Bread$4.00Tomato (kg)$2.75
Eggs (12)$6.00Bananas (kg)$2.50
Cheese (kg)$16.00Onion (kg)$1.50
Chicken (kg)$20.00Lettuce (kg)$3.00
Milk$1.50Potato (kg)$2.75

*For those who do not know, 1 kg = 2.2 lbs

What to Budget For Food in Iceland

We ate modestly and completely vegetarian while we were cooking our own meals in Iceland. However, in 10 days of camping, we spent $225 on food. That’s just over $11 a day in food per person. It would be easy to spend more on food and I suppose we could have spent a tad bit less. We never went hungry and had plenty of snacks throughout the day.  If you’re trying to work out a budget it would be safe to budget $15 a day, as it’s always better to come in under budget than over!

Tips for Grocery Shopping in Iceland

Pick and Choose Vegetables

Iceland Groceries Frozen Vegetables

Some vegetables are affordable while others are just ridiculous. Fresh produce, in general, is high. That being said the basic staples are within anyone’s budget. Things like tomatoes, apples, and potatoes were cheap. Our saving grace for greens came in the form of frozen vegetables. They aren’t great and we usually avoid them when cooking at home; however, Iceland doesn’t grow almost any of their own produce so the best prices come in the form of frozen foods.

Forget Ready Made Food

Iceland Supermarket Ready Made Food

When we’re on the road we love to pick up ready-made food at grocery stores. It’s usually a cheap and healthy way to eat lunch. However, in Iceland we found the ready-made options to be expensive or downright bad. Expect a white bread sandwich with a hefty serving of mayo to cost between $8-$9.

Bring The Right Stuff From Home

This is really geared for campers and those doing the Ring Road. However, if you bring the right products from home it can save you a buck and make your trip much more enjoyable.

  • French Press/ Coffee Brewer: Cutting back on needless costs like coffee is an easy way to save a budget especially in a place like Iceland. I’d also suggest picking up a bag of your favorite brew as it will be cheaper than in Iceland. (*Full disclosure: We are coffee addicts)
  • Leave the freeze-dried food at home. Unless you plan on doing a multi-day hike the quick cooking food is totally unnecessary. I’ve seen a few people recommend bringing the stuff, don’t do it.
  • If you plan to camp or use a campervan make sure to bring a multi functional camping set. Although our van came with some cooking equipment it is a little limited by itself. It doesn’t hurt to pick up something like this this set is an awesome choice.
  • If you can we recommend carrying a jet boil for both campers and those in a campervan. While our van came with one burner having an additional burner can make life much easier. Like cooking breakfast and coffee in the morning!

Avoid Gas Stations

Be warned gas stations are expensive in Iceland! That extends beyond the whopping gas prices ($8/gallon)! We’ve seen a hot dog or cheeseburger meal in a gas station go for $15 a meal. The limited food products that they do carry are generally double the standard price in Iceland. Avoid! 

Don’t Miss Regional Specialties

When you travel you don’t have to eat out to enjoy local food. One of our favorite things to do is pick specialty products in countries then cook it on our own. Our two favorite products we found in Iceland were skyr and smoked charr. Smoked charr is similar to salmon, but way better and it’s worth the high cost trust us!


Now that you have your groceries sorted, check out what there is to do in Iceland!

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