Supermarkets & Groceries in Iceland: 5 Things you should know

By Michael Chapman

Supermarkets & Groceries in Iceland: 5 Things you should know

Which supermarkets in Iceland are best for travellers on a budget? What kind of food is available for purchase, and what hours are stores open? Read on to find out five essential things you should know about supermarkets and groceries in Iceland.

Among the most commonly shared facts about Iceland is its expensive cost of living, especially when compared to other countries across Europe. When it comes to Iceland grocery shopping, the story is not too much different; you’ll likely find the prices more than you’d initially expect.

Icelanders rely on imported goods, everything from clothes to electronics and snacks. As you can imagine, this means that each item comes at a more significant expense, which is often a shock for guests accustomed to cheaper locales. Fear not, though; whatever Iceland grocery store you visit, you are sure to find all you need available to purchase on their shelves.

Shopping in times of Covid-19
(Unsplash. Photo Credit: Imants Kaziluns)

Wallet-conscious travellers need to know how to keep their costs down when in the land of ice and fire. One of the best methods of mitigating your expenses is purchasing food, drink and other necessities from any of Iceland’s supermarkets. For the purposes of this article, when we mention buying some Iceland grocery, we are referring to shops throughout the country, rather than Iceland supermarket specifically.

In fact, grocery shopping in Iceland should be considered a necessity, whatever your budget. Preparing your meals is always a cost-effective option, especially considering the prices in petrol stations and other small shops located on the Ring Road. For example, a mere soda and hot dog will likely set you back $15 USD, or £11 GBP. Who really needs that when the budget is already stretched?

Given the costs you’ll already be putting forward for accommodation, vehicle rentals and activities, it’s much wiser to keep conscientious about your food purchases throughout the holiday period. That’s not to say you shouldn’t head out to explore Iceland’s fine dining restaurants, but eating out should be thought of as a treat if you hope to return home with any cash at all.

The cheapest supermarkets in Iceland are Bonus and Kronan

The two largest and cheapest chains are Bonus and Kronan, the latter coming out as just a tad more expensive. Iceland groceries don’t come more bog standard than this, making both supermarkets a favourite for residents and visitors alike.

Note that there hasn’t been a price test conducted over all supermarkets in Iceland since 2019, so costs will likely differ year to year. If you have any doubt as to the price of an item, you can often scan its barcode at one of the many price-check outlets situated around the store.

However, rest easy knowing Bonus and Kronan are always the go-to supermarkets if you’re looking to save the pennies. Getting your fill of Iceland grocery doesn’t need to break the bank!

Both supermarkets promote a bright yellow colour scheme and can be found close by to most major urban settlements in the country. You’ll know you’ve arrived at a Bonus if you see their pink Piggy-bank mascot, while a smiling coin represents Kronan.

Bonus and Kronan offer a wide selection of food and drink items, though they differ in brands. All necessities are available to purchase; fresh fish and meats, cheeses, milk, bread, fruits and vegetables. Any extra items you might need, from toothbrushes to sunscreen to sunglasses, can also be located at either store.


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There are a range of other supermarkets in Iceland

Fruit and vegetables on sale in Iceland
(Unsplash. Photo Credit: NRD)

Netto is a mid-scale supermarket that offers a wide variety of food, drinks and goods. It is not much more expensive than Bonus and Krona, so it makes for a suitable alternative that should be far away from the cheaper markets. In addition, many Netto stores stay open throughout the night, making this a good choice for those who arrive in Reykjavik in the early hours of the morning.

Hagkaup is the supermarket that branches off from just food, offering clothes, toys, cosmetics, garden furniture and many other items. In this way, the store resembles a mall more than your average grocers, and you can spend a decent half-hour perusing the many wares on offer.

10/11 is one supermarket to be avoided as it almost entirely catered to tourists or those too lazy to walk an extra half-mile to a cheaper store. While there is very little difference in the wares offered, the price differentiation is astronomical and without consistency from store to store.

Krambudin is much the same, though a different company owns it. However, if you do plan on shopping here, expect your bill to be around 50% higher. So why not ask yourself, are you so flush with cash that you don’t mind being robbed in broad daylight? No, we thought not. So best keep the purse strings tight, eh?

Fruit on sale in an Iceland supermarket
(Unsplash. Photo Credit: Fikri Rasyid)

The supermarket chain ‘Iceland’ can also be found here, though there are far fewer stores than, say, in the UK or the rest of Europe.

Previous price tests have shown Iceland to be the most expensive supermarket in the country, which is odd considering its focus on frozen meals. However, having lived in this country for over five years now, I’ve never personally witnessed anyone shopping in an Iceland supermarket, which begs the question as to how they remain open.

Perhaps most guests forgive the expense in exchange for snapping a picture in front of the supermarket’s sizeable white lettering if only to add a fun, meta contribution to their holiday album. For those without much sense of humour, this could very well be the high point of your holiday abroad. Iceland in Iceland, after all… now that’s funny…

You can buy classic Icelandic food!

A classic Icelandic hot dog
(Unsplash. Photo Credit: Andy Wang)

Grocery shopping in Iceland can be a fun activity in itself if you approach it with the mindset of trying out new and delicious meals.

For centuries, Icelanders relied on whatever food was available, mainly fresh fish, other seafood, and lamb. Over the years, these ingredients have been perfected and make up the foundations of modern Icelandic cuisine.

Skyr is another old yet widely popular dessert eaten every day by Icelanders, either as part of a healthy breakfast or a quick snack between meals. Though the plainest flavours boast a yoghurt consistency and taste, Skyr is a curdled cheese, similar to that eaten in Russia and Germany. Many people enjoy eating Skyr paired with oats and berries, while others are happy to eat it as is.

Another popular dish in Iceland is plokkfiskur, better understood as mashed white fish served with potato and, in some cases, cheese, with a side of buttered rye bread.

The Icelandic food listed above is just a handful of examples of what Icelanders commonly eat. For genuinely adventurous eaters, you’ll find more intimidating options in the form of liver sausage, fermented shark, or hanged meats.

You’ll find recognisable brands on sale in Icelandic supermarkets

Famous brands can be found in Iceland
(Unsplash. Photo Credit: Nico Smit)

Well, we’ve presented you with some ideas about what the Icelanders like to eat, but there’s always the chance you’re something of a philistine when it comes to eating overseas cuisine. If you are, fear not; there are hundreds of international brands ready for purchase and will bring with them all the comfort you’re used to at home.

For quick snacks on the road, you can grab crisp brands like Doritos, Pringles and Lays. If you are more of a sweet-tooth, you’ll find classic chocolates like Twix, Snickers, Oreos and Hersheys. While none of these are healthy, per se, they might give you a minor dopamine hit, a little reminder of home on your travels.

Of course, there are many other well-known brands beyond the world of snacks. For example, the world-famous Heinz company offers nearly its full range of sauces and tinned goods. UK visitors can also find the likes of Coleman’s Mustard and Branston Pickle, should they keep an eye out for them when browsing grocery stores in Iceland.

For travellers coming from beyond the west, there are many South-East Asian grocery stores in Iceland. Here, you can buy all manner of noodles, fish and rice dishes, and exotic ingredients you might not have expected to find on this lonely, sub-arctic island.

Other useful information about shopping in Iceland

yellow and red apples
(Unsplash. Photo Credit: gemma)

Despite what you might think, Icelanders are busy people, so rely on self-checkout to get in and out of the shop quickly.

When it’s time to pay, you’ll likely find only a few cashiers on duty, so it’s best to scan the items yourself. Employees keep a keen-eye on the self-checkout machines throughout the day, so there’ll be no five-finger discounts unless you’re prepared to spend the night in a Reykjavik jail cell.

Self-checkouts bring us to another important point. Icelanders are bona fide plastic payers, meaning credit and debit cards are the go-to choice for transactions rather than cash. Many places across the country do not accept cash, so always be sure to keep your cards handy on your person when travelling.

Plastic bags are also no longer available in many supermarkets, with brown paper bags offered as an alternative. Be aware that these are also not free, and you will have to pay a few extra krona should you forget to bring your own bag with you.

man in t-shirt shopping
(Unsplash. Photo Credit: Atoms)

In times of COVID-19, all grocery stores in Iceland have implemented hand sanitisers at their entrance. Though most restrictions have been lifted here, it is still important to keep distance between you and other shoppers.

While we’re taking notes, be aware that any product containing an alcohol level above 2.25% is not sold in Icelandic supermarkets. You can only buy beer, wine and spirits in state-run liquor stores.

Guests should also be aware that much of Iceland’s fruit and vegetable produce is imported, meaning it is far from fresh. This can be particularly irritating for vegetarians, vegans, or any traveller conscious of healthy eating habits.

One of the most disappointing shopping experiences that occurs regularly in Iceland, for instance, is to buy an avocado only to find at home that it has already begun rotting on the inside. Because of this quick degradation, shoppers should plan to eat their fruit and vegetables soon after buying them.

Opening Hours for Grocery Stores in Iceland

(Unsplash. Photo Credit: Zuzanna Adamczyk)

Below, you can find the opening hours for each of Iceland’s supermarkets. Do note, however, that opening hours for Iceland supermarkets are liable to change on holidays. Always make sure to check the company website before heading out to grocery stores in Iceland so as not to interrupt your travel plans.


(Monday – Thursday) 11.00 – 18.30

(Friday) 10.00 – 19.00

(Saturday – Sunday) 10.00/11.00 – 18.00


(Monday – Sunday) Hours differ between stores. See here.


(Monday – Sunday) 09.00 – 21.00 or Open 24 Hours


(Monday – Sunday) Hours differ between stores. See here.


(Monday – Sunday) 07.00 – 12.00


(Monday – Sunday) 24 Hours

Again, please be aware that opening hours for supermarkets in Iceland change from time to time, so always be sure to check the website before setting out.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, shopping at supermarkets in Iceland is sure to save a penny or two, as long as you’re aware of which shops boast the best prices. What Iceland grocery store you choose to visit is up to you!

Aside from the days you decide to eat-out at a restaurant or cafe, be sure to pack your lunches and snacks with items bought from either Bonus or Krona, or any other cheap Iceland grocery store you come across. Remember; you’re bound to get more bang for your buck when purchasing Iceland groceries over ready-made meals.

If late into the night you’re feeling peckish, or are in sudden need of bathroom necessities, 24/7 shops like Netto and 10/11 are your best bet. Though you might not think it considering the diminutive size of this country, grocery stores in Iceland mirror larger countries in being available for late-night buys.

Whatever the situation, there’s a supermarket, food mart, corner shop or grocery stores in Iceland that will provide you with all you need.


Travelling to Iceland?

Check our overnight tours with a driver guide that includes a one night stay in a bubble.
See Guided Tours

*Starting from ISK 74.900 per person

bubble in iceland