10 Things to Know About Iceland Grocery Stores and Supermarkets

Talking about Icelandic supermarkets and Iceland grocery stores 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.

A Guide to Iceland Grocery Stores

The World Pursuit Iceland

Icelandic Supermarket Chains To Shop At

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.

Iceland Groceries

Iceland Grocery Store #1: 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.

Iceland Grocery Store #2: 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 mostly 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.

Iceland Grocery Store #3: 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!

Iceland Grocery Store #4: 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 Iceland supermarkets but carries the best quality of food products in Iceland.

Iceland Grocery Store #5: 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…

Iceland Grocery Store #6: 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?

Map of Grocery Stores and Markets in Iceland

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 an Iceland 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.

What Are The Food Prices in an Iceland Grocery Store?

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.

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!

Our Tips for Saving on Iceland Grocery Shopping

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 most of their produce, so the best prices come in the form of frozen foods.

Forget the Ready-Made Food in Icelandic Supermarkets

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.

  • AeroPress: 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 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 set is an excellent 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 backpacking stove can make life much more comfortable. Like cooking breakfast and coffee in the morning!

Avoid Gas Station Food

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 the Iceland 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.

Plan Your Trip to Iceland

Iceland Camper Van Ring Road Tips

Book a Camper!

A campervan is the best way to get around Iceland on a budget. While a camper is slightly more expensive than a car, you can sleep and cook in it! Meaning you don’t have to search for any hotels or deal with expensive restaurants in Iceland.

Plus you get to sleep in nature every night and still use a heater if you wish! If you want to travel with a Happy Campers van as we did (and you should they are the BEST!) make sure to read our full review. You can easily book using this link, but make sure to book well in advance during high season.

driving in iceland

When is the Best Time to Visit Iceland?

In my opinion, the best times to visit Iceland are June, July, September, October, and December – but it all depends on what you want! June-August is high season, but it is also summer in Iceland and when you will find the most pleasant temperatures. It’s also when you will experience the most amount of daylight and get the most of our of your trip. December is great because it is winter, you stand a strong chance of seeing the Northern Lights, it’s low season, and the temperatures haven’t gone to complete freezing yet. 

However my personal favorite time to travel Iceland is during the fall months. It’s during September and October where you will see the leaves change vibrant colors around the country. Temperatures are still mild, and tourism is slowing down. You can see the full month by month breakdown for Iceland travel here. 

driving in iceland

Things to do in Iceland

There are literally so many things to do in Iceland I could write a book about it. Unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of time so I’m showing you the ultimate Iceland bucket list here. Some things that are a must do are go to an Iceland swimming pool, soak in a natural hot spring, stand under a waterfall, and see the Northern Lights.

Iceland Honeymoon

Photography Gear for Iceland

A high-quality camera is an essential packing item for Iceland if you want some great shots while on your vacation. We travel with our Fujifilm Camera and 200mm telephoto lens. Drones have sort of taken Iceland by storm and can capture fantastic footage as well. We had our DJI Mavic in Iceland, but make sure to use your drone responsibly as many locals are getting annoyed at the sight of them.

Whatever you do, do not forget a tripod for Iceland – especially if you plan on photographing the Northern Lights as you’ll need one for the long exposures.

Tep Wireless Iceland Laptop

Is Iceland Expensive?

Iceland is mega expensive. One of the most expensive countries in the entire world actually. Make sure that you plan accordingly and in line with your budget. It’s certainly possible to do Iceland on a budget of less than $100 if you are camping, cooking all your own basic meals, and traveling by public transport or score a good deal on a rental. The good news is that nature is free, and you’ll be able to see Iceland’s beauty without paying for it. So yes – it’s completely doable to have an affordable Iceland vacation.

If you plan on drinking be sure to pick yo duty free alcohol before you leave the airport. A pint of beer can easily run you $15-$20!

Helpful Iceland Travel Tips

  • Icelanders speak Icelandic, but every single person I came across spoke English.
  • The local currency is the Icelandic króna (ISK). ATM’s are found throughout the country
  • Have I mentioned Iceland is expensive as hell? Well, it is! Save money by eating in and cooking for yourself. Check out our Iceland grocery store guide for all the tips!
  • Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world; however, it’s always important to use common sense when walking alone at night.
  • Tipping is not customary in Iceland.
  • Iceland has a strong internet infrastructure and you should be able to easily stay connected.
  • To feel more at home we use Airbnb you can check out some tips and read more about getting an Airbnb coupon code hereOr just take this coupon for your first stay!
  • Sometimes it’s nice just to have a real book in your hands when traveling. We recommend Lonely Planet to get you through those wireless nights.

About Cameron

Cameron Seagle is one of the principal writers and photographers for The World Pursuit. He is a travel expert that has been traveling the world for the past six years. During this time he established a passion for conservation and environmental sustainability. When not traveling he's obsessed with finding the best gear and travel products. In his free time, you can find him hiking, mountain biking, mountaineering, and snowboarding. His favorite countries are Ireland, Scotland, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Japan.

You can learn more about Cameron on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

5 thoughts on “10 Things to Know About Iceland Grocery Stores and Supermarkets”

  1. Hey there. I am an American who has been living in Iceland for the last 5.5 years and I enjoyed your article. Just wanted to expound on the Kronan logo (which obviously doesn’t matter that much). Krona (Crown) is the national currency, so Kronan means “The Crown” or The Penny, if you will. That smiling yellow circle is actually a gold coin 🙂

  2. You say you’re vegetarian so you can’t comment on meat and fish prices, and then talk about how the smoked fish is the best?
    By the way, most Haribo candies aren’t vegetarian either, they contain gelatin from beef or pork.

  3. We’ve been to Iceland multiple times over the course of seven years. The first time we ate fish and meat, now we stick to a mainly vegetarian diet and did not do meat or fish shopping. And just because we eat a mainly vegetarian diet doesn’t mean we can’t comment on the local cuisine and encourage others to try it. You’re welcome for the free travel info though…

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