25 unique souvenirs to buy on your solo trip to Iceland

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Let us not get started on how envious your friends and family must be that you set out on a solo trip to the ‘Land of Fire and Ice,’ leaving them behind! I am sure you must be giving them some time on FaceTime and showing them the gorgeous landscapes as a consolation prize! 

I feel souvenirs are the perfect bundles of joy to bring back home for your closest ones! Nothing gave me more joy as a child than looking forward to the small gifts that parents would bring back from work trips and relatives from their vacation. So over time, I made it a rule to pick up gifts for friends and family on my solo trips. 

I always put in a lot of thought before buying souvenirs! After all, they are slices of your experiences from the trip! Souvenirs also capture the essence of the country—its history, culture, and art. The bonus of looking for unique souvenirs is that it helps you run a combing operation across local markets, which you would not explore otherwise!

While the list of souvenirs in Iceland is endless, I have tried to gather the unique ones in this blog! Feel free to add your finds in the comment section!

1. What about Icelandic money?

Do you remember the different currencies you gathered growing up and the fascination you felt to flaunt it when your cousins visited? I definitely do! I remember asking my aunts and uncles living abroad to share some of their local currencies with me so that I could add to my collection! 

One of the most authentic souvenirs is to bring back some local money with you. If you have young members in the family, they would love to receive some Icelandic money! They may even take it to school to show the currency to their friends while they gush about your trip.   

Do not rush for currency exchange before you board the plane back home. Keep some of your Icelandic money aside to give away as a souvenir!   

2. Buy artistic postcards

souvenirs in iceland

Well, I have a thing for postcards and for writing them then and there—at the moment! In Iceland, I went berserk looking at the range of artistic postcards. Do visit the small boutiques if you are a lover of postcards. They have designs from independent artists, and you even get a discount if you are buying them in a larger quantity! I also make it a point to post the cards from the local post office for my friends to have a feel of my real-time experiences of the solo trip! The price of a postcard is likely to range from $ .80 to $ 2. If you are on a budget trip and do not have too many funds for shopping souvenirs in Iceland, postcards are one of the best ways to bring back memories for friends!  

3. Pamper yourself with skincare products from Blue Lagoon

A visit to Blue Lagoon is clichéd but mandatory on your solo trip to Iceland. There is no doubt you will love the geothermal pool during your visit. What if you could bring back home some of the posh skincare products and reminisce about your solo trip? I did go slightly overboard and spent a fortune on some mud masks and silica body scrubs for myself. While I had no intention of sharing these as souvenirs with anyone, my mother and my girl pals just took the liberty to help themselves to the mud masks! Their logic: you took a dip in the Blue Lagoon, at least spare the masks for us!       

4. Pick up books on Iceland

There is that one person in our friend’s circle or family who are absolute bookworms and long for only books as gifts! 

I am certain that you will reserve at least one day for going around downtown Reykjavik to explore the local shops and bookstores. You will find the right pick for your loved one from there. But let me still fill you in on some of the amazing bookstores that you should check out! Iða Zimsen, Mál og Menning and Eymundsson are some of the most iconic bookstores in Reykjavik. There is a plus to these stores—their architecture and grandeur will leave you spellbound. 

If you are a lover of picking up books from hidden and quirky shops, consider visiting Bókin, Sjónarlind, Bókakjallarinn. You can pick up translated works of Icelandic literature and some books on Iceland! 

5. Little alcohol won’t do harm–buy a bottle of Reyka Vodka  

This alcohol is made with glacial water. Yes, you read it right! Distilled in the coastal village of Borgarnes in Iceland, picking up this drink is a must! If you are considering throwing a party on your return home, you can serve your guests some Reyka vodka while sharing stories of your solo trip escapades. The cocktails made from Reyka vodka are absolute delights too! So pick a couple of bottles up without fail. 

6. Throw in a couple of Viking beer cans

On a usual trip, you probably would not think of carrying some beer back home. But Icelandic beer is special! If alcohol is part of your souvenirs, then do shop for some cans of Viking beer at the airport. This way, you do not end up adding to your luggage while on the trip but still get to bring your alcohol home!

7. Pick up traditional sweaters from a flea market

If you have a long list of friends as I do, you will probably also look to shop smart so that you do not overshoot your budget. The Icelandic Lopapeysa or wool sweaters are a great way to make friends happy! They are available in a variety of colours and are super soft. 

You can buy them from fast fashion stores and boutiques if you have an adequate budget. Or, go ransack the flea markets and get yourself a good deal!

Do not ignore the other wool items which make great souvenirs too—socks, fingerless gloves, and some warm shawls!

8. Candies & chocolates can never go wrong

Liquorice chocolates and candies are super easy on the pocket. Picking up the authentic ones after a little research is perfect for gifting.

But let us get this straight. It is not a surprise that liquorice chocolates are an acquired taste and several people just react in horror to it! So if you are looking for a safe bet, pick up artisanal chocolates from Iceland. Omnom Chocolate is a brand I can vouch for. Do pick up several bars in different flavours! Your friends will keep thanking you. 

9. Pick up coffee beans from the roastery

I want to have the job of a coffee taster someday! Wait, does such a thing even exist? I have no idea! But whenever I visit a new country, I always check out the coffee roasting scenes there and even manage to attend a couple of workshops. It is probably not a surprise for you now that I do bring coffee beans back to my home country as souvenirs! 

Coffee beans are a great way to remember a place long after you have visited. Imagine thinking about your solo trip adventures once you are back to the grind while brewing your morning cuppa!

10. Icelandic records for music lovers

How many of you swear by Icelandic music and pop culture? Iceland has an amazing collection of vinyl records. No matter which genre you love, do make a stop at Iceland’s music record stores to shop for souvenirs!

Kaffi Vinyl is a personal favourite that serves hot vegan meals in addition to vinyl records at a bargain price! If you are looking for easy-on-the-pocket records, you can visit Geisladiskabúð Valda and the flea market! 

The other places to look out for are Reykjavik Record Shop, Lucky Records, and Smekkleysa Plötubúð – Bad Taste Records. 

11. What about a lava rock?

Whenever we talk about Iceland, we cannot help think of the lava flowing out of the volcanoes—what a treat it is for the eyes! What about taking home a piece of this wonder? At the Vik’s Icelandic lava show, the staff recreates a volcanic eruption and even gives you a piece of lava rock as a souvenir! Do not even think of sharing this super special souvenir with anyone! It is all yours.

12. Pick up some lava salt  

This may seem as too quirky an option for a souvenir, but your friends will thank you for this super unique gift! The volcanic terrain is home to many salt producers who commonly call their products lava salts. Imagine tossing a fresh bowl of veggies in the iconic lava salt! 

The packaging is beautiful for these lava salts, which makes them perfect for gifting. 

13. What about wool blankets and rugs?

Disclaimer: These may get too bulky to carry if you are short of space. But if you are a neat packer and still have some room in your suitcase, pick up a warm wool blanket. This is probably going to last you a lifetime, given the good quality of the blankets!

An anesthetic rug for your drawing room is another great gift for yourself to remember your trip every day!

14. Lava jewellery make for chic souvenirs

I am not fond of jewellery, but I end up picking up a lot of them on solo trips for my mother! Here is a trick that I will share with you to ensure that you pick up a genuine Icelandic piece—go for the rough-edged jewellery while jewellery shopping in Iceland. I have done enough research, so you can take my advice blindly on this. If it looks too polished, you are probably picking up a non-authentic piece. 

Handcrafted lava jewellery is a head-turner at a party! So go for it. 

15. Don’t ignore the good old fridge magnets, keychains & coasters

I know these are often looked upon as the most clichéd souvenirs. You are probably wondering if you will add to the junk by bringing these as gifts for your friends. 

Well, I disagree. I have a knack for hunting for themed fridge magnets, keychains and coasters wherever I go. You would never find me purchasing these at the touristy spots or at the airport. Instead, I find the hidden stores, some of them in the basement in downtown Reykjavik! You will find plenty of options on catching a nugget of Iceland’s culture if you look thoroughly. A fridge magnet of your special Icelandic dish, a coaster with the favourite music band—can this get any better?

16. Iceland’s perfumes are big ‘yes yes’

Iceland is a blessed country with contrasting landscapes and breathtaking sceneries. This also means that locals have tapped on natural resources to create magic for tourists. 

Natural fragrances with organic alcohol and essential oils are absolute must-haves for your perfume closet! So do consider spending on perfume from Iceland as it is not every day that you will be taking a trip there!

17. Handcrafted artworks never go out of style

You would surely want your friends’ living room cabinets to don a few items from your Iceland trip as they boast about your quality to pick up ‘treasure’ on your trip!

I typically make it a point to pick up art and craft items from local fairs on the outskirts. This way, I am certain that the handicrafts are special and do not have an over-the-counter look! Keep an eye out for homemade items, be it a candle or a miniature model of a volcano!

The city hall in Reykjavik also dons a good collection of handicraft items by local artists. You can pick up some cool stuff from here as well. It can be a curved bird, a furry sheep, or Iceland’s flag—but the intricate work will bowl you over!     

18. Pick up some art exhibits

It is obvious that it is probably not possible for you to pick up the central art piece for your living space. But no harm in bringing up smaller pieces of art exhibits for your room. 

You can consider going to the local art exhibitions. Do talk to locals about which would be the best ones! Alternatively, you can check out the cafes for these pieces. I would suggest getting pieces without the frames to save on space! You can frame them on return and even gift them to your friends.

19. Puffin stuffed animals for the young members

For the kids in your family, this is a must-pick-up. The puffin stuffed animals may be one of the atypical Icelandic souvenirs but remember you can only pick them up in Iceland! 

You will have plenty of stores in Iceland where you can pick up these beautiful-looking stuffed creatures! Your nephew and niece would love to cuddle the puffin stuffed animal as you tell them your stories from the solo trip!

20. Shot glasses for the alcohol lovers

Iceland’s boutiques have a wide range of shot glasses! You can either pick a piece or a set, depending on your budget. I typically went for a theme-wise choice while picking up the shot glasses. Iceland’s flag, puffins, silver horse, and even bikini are among the options!

21. Customised coffee mugs

There are plenty of local shops in Iceland which make cool customised coffee mugs. Do make sure you hit them up a couple of days in advance so that it is ready before your flight out. I typically customised coffee mugs with my friends’ names and a photo of me in my favourite spot in Iceland. This way, you make them a part of your trip, and they know you were thinking of them all along, even during your solo trip! 

To add to the fun, you can also get them a message in the Icelandic language and let them keep guessing what it says!

22. Anything themed on Northern lights

Seeing the Northern lights is definitely on your bucket list if you are visiting Iceland. So while choosing a souvenir, do make sure that you buy gifts themed on the Northern lights. Be it shot glasses, mugs, scarves, sweaters, Christmas balls, or travel pillow—this theme is quintessential to make it to your souvenir list!  

23. No-frill wallets 

The more I travel, I realise I want to bring back gifts but only essential ones! Over time, we accumulate a lot of stuff that becomes redundant!

Wallets are always in fashion, and people do not mind even if they have multiple ones. I have already gushed over how cool Iceland’s fashion scene is. So you can pick up a chic wallet or one embossed with your favourite theme from the visit for your friend! If you want to avoid leather, make it a point to ask for leather-free options at the store. You can also put in a couple of Icelandic currencies to make it extra special before giving it out!

24. Versatile lucky stones

You may or may not believe in numerology. But there is no reason why you should skip this absolutely superb gift! As the story goes, these stones bring plenty of good luck and energy! 

If for nothing else, pick up a stone just for the aesthetics! The other thing I liked about gifting the lucky stones is that they have versatile use! While one friend made a locket out of it, another turned it into a ring! I had brought one for myself, which I attached to my keyring, and it looked quite posh! 

25. Photographs     

You do not really need to set aside a budget for this souvenir. I am often strapped for cash on solo trips but also want to bring something back for my close ones. Make sure you take plenty of good photos during your trip.

Photographs of your favourite locations, food, cruise, or of your most exciting moment there are great souvenirs to let your friends feel special! It goes without saying you should sign them with a special message telling them about the significance of that moment! They also make for great add-on gifts. 

You do not need to burn a hole in your pocket to buy them. Just think about how you can make your closest people feel special! You would know the right thing to pick up!

Also, do not get so busy picking up stuff for others that you forget to gift yourself something from this exotic land. The visit to Iceland will remain incomplete if you do not invest in some authentic souvenirs for yourself to remember your trip by!

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Swagachi

An introverted solo female traveller on an adventure around the world.

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