Published July 2, 2010
We just published our second annual Best Of Reykjavík guide today, full of favourite things as selected by our esteemed panel of colleagues and your suggestions. Something weird happened when we went to print though and the section about shopping and commerce somehow didn’t get printed. What the! Boy, is there egg on our faces. Anyway, here it is for your enjoyment, and be sure to check back soon for all the other awesome categories of great stuff in this city!
Best place to shop for touristy stuff: Handprjónasambandið
There are now a lot more tourist shops around in Reykjavík than when we researched this category last year. The fact remains unchanged, however, that Handprjónasambandið offers the most authentic, useful and plain nice Iceland-memorabilia out there (unless you’ve got a thing for stuffed puffin and volcanic ash-in-a-bag). Handprjónasambandið sells the ultra-traditional, always-stylish hand-knit sweater, as well as a plethora of other hand-knit items (their name does translate as “The hand knitting association,” so go figure). They sorta rule, we think
Runners-up: The more trendalicious of you might make your way to the Farmers Market store. They also sell a lot of knitwear, but with a stylish, modern twist (“their sweaters look really cool”).
Best place to get a trendy haircut: Rauðhetta og úlfurinn
Rauðhetta og úlfurinn are pretty much verging on institution territory when it comes to trendy haircuts. In fact, that’s what some of your write-ins suggested, as in: “they are Iceland’s hairdressing institution, especially since the place is ancient in ‘fashion years.’ It’s unusual for any place to keep their stature for so long in the fickle word of fashion, but they keep doing it.” It comes with a price, of course.
Runners-up: There were many nominations for all sorts of “unofficial” hairdressing joints that we didn’t really feel comfortable recommending (we don’t want to get anyone arrested for “unauthorised hairstyling” or anything). But you should seek them out if you’re into it. Some folks also mentioned Slippurinn as a fresh new place to shed them locks.
(2009: Rauðhetta og úlfurinn)
Best place to shop second-hand: The Salvation Army store
A veritable treasure chest for those that don’t mind digging around a little for their threads, the Salvation Army store has a lot of nice variety “that you can sink yourself into for hours on end,” as well as “unbeatable prices,” and a nice central location.
Runners-up: The Red Cross stores all have some very nice items on offer, it’s for a great cause and a lot of folks were rooting for them to get the prize. Maybe next year?
Best place to shop for high fashion: KronKron
KronKron have been supplying the fashion conscious crowd with high-end designer wear for many years now. Well stocked with a plethora of interesting and innovative international brands and designers that can make you look all sophisticated and world-weary at the drop of a hat, they’ve managed to “constantly stay ahead of the curve.” Oh, it comes at a price, but beauty is pain and all.
Runners-up: In the same league, GK caters to a “slightly older crowd,” but they’ve been doing it with style and panache for a very long time.
Best haberdashery: Herrafataverzlun Kormáks & Skjaldar
There really never was any doubt as to who would score the title here. Shopping at Herrafataverzlun Kormáks & Skjaldar is always a fun and interesting experience, the store clerks are knowledgeable and helpful and you can walk out looking like a Mad Men extra (note: they are probably the reason why so many local dudes walk around looking like Mad Men extras).
Best place to shop organic: Yggdrasill
Even though they moved location, from Skólavörðustígur to Rauðarárstígur, Yggdrasill are still the reigning kings of this category. They’ve got pretty much everything you need for some healthy and/or “health conscious” living in Iceland in stock – except for willpower.
Most welcome addition: Fiskmarkaðurinn við gömlu höfnina
We have no idea if this place is going to stick around for winter, but we want to give it a large BIG UP while they’re here anyway. Fiskmarkaðurinn við gömlu höfnina (“The fish market by the old harbour”) is open every Saturday from 10-17, and they are, well, a fish market. You can buy fresh fish, processed fish and all sorts of other stuff there, mostly fish-related. It really is one of those places that has been sorely lacking in Reykjavík up until now, and we are hoping they’re not going anywhere.
Runner-up: Frú Lauga is another equally welcome addition to the Reykjavík foodie scene. They offer