From Iceland — Grapevine's Best Of 2017: Best Bookshop

Grapevine’s Best Of 2017: Best Bookshop

Published March 5, 2017

Grapevine’s Best Of 2017: Best Bookshop
Photo by
Art Bicnick

While high prices mean Reykjavík isn’t really thought of as a shopper’s paradise, there are still plenty of great local products you can only get here. Whether you’re hunting for a piece of Icelandic design, searching for hard-to-find vinyl by an Icelandic artist, stocking the fridge of your Airbnb, or hunting down the perfect hand-knitted lópapeysa, this guide will get you on the right track. Most of the winners are located in downtown Reykjavík, but a few are scattered throughout the greater Reykjavík area, giving you a good excuse to get out of the city centre hubbub and do some exploring. Happy shopping!


Mal og menning by Art Bicnick Mál og Menning
Laugavegur 18
While downtown Reykjavík has quite a few large book shops, in line with the city’s standing as a UNESCO City of Literature, Mál og Menning occupies a special place in the hearts of Icelanders. It has three levels with great curated displays of the latest titles, and for visitors, there’s an area dedicated to selling recent and classic Icelandic literature in the English language. “They have the most space and the best selection,” said the panel. “It has a good atmosphere—there’s no question that it’s the best in town.” The cafe is a haunt of local writers, and it hosts occasional book launches and readings, too.

Runners Up

IDA Zimsen-3_by_TimotheeLambrecq IÐA Zimsen
Vesturgata 2a
This peaceful spot is equal parts café and bookstore, so you can get a coffee and a snack while you leaf through your purchases. “Everything in there is interesting,” said the panel. “I love sitting there and looking at the books and magazines. I feel like I’m in a different country.”
Eymundsson by Art Bicnick Eymundsson
Skólavörðustígur 11, Austurstræti 18
This Icelandic book store chain has several branches with a great selection of Icelandic writing and all the latest international titles, often in both Icelandic and English. The cafes at the Skólavörðustígur and Austurstræti locations also make for great people-watching spots.

Previous Winners

2016: Eymundsson Austurstræti
2015: Sjónarlind
2014: Nexus
2013: Eymundsson, Bankastræti
2012: Mál og Menning
2011: Eymundsson, Austurstræti

You can buy a copy of the full Best Of Reykjavík 2017 magazine, posted worldwide, at

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