Where to find Authentic Souvenirs in Iceland? Skip to content

Where to find Authentic Souvenirs in Iceland?

By Michael Chapman

Icelandic products on display
Photo: Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir. .

Holiday-makers looking for authentic souvenirs in Iceland will want to stop by the fun and quirky shop, Made in Ísland. Read on to learn more about what is, in all likelihood, the most genuine souvenir shop in Iceland!

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The following content is sponsored in partnership with Made in Ísland.

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Anyone travelling in West Iceland – perhaps making their way to the picturesque South Coast – will likely make a small stop at the town of Selfoss. 

At first glance, you might wonder what Selfoss has to offer visitors. On the face of it, it seems much like any other small Icelandic town. 

There is a supermarket, a swimming pool, a handful of quaint restaurants… and a diminutive population of locals who might stare curiously at you as you drive by. 

(Just joking – this isn’t the outback, after all.)

Well, wouldn’t you know that Selfoss boasts one of the premium establishments to purchase authentic, albeit quirky handcrafted souvenirs? 

An interior shot of the Made in Island shop
Photo: Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir.

What started Made in Ísland?

Introducing… Made in Ísland!

Stopping in to this charming little shop on Austurvegur 44 will quickly reveal why it’s a must-visit for anyone looking to bring a piece of Icelandic culture home.

This is not mere hyperbole. 

A quick peek inside reveals that Made in Ísland is a treasure trove of unique, locally produced items that encapsulate the spirit and charm of Iceland. It stands head and shoulders above the crowd by practising what it preaches, holding true to the notion that souvenirs in Iceland should be loyal to the island from which they hail. 

The founders of Made in Island
Photo: Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir.

Made in Ísland is a Selfoss-based, family-run business conceived of by Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir and her husband. The shop was not founded solely for profit, but as an attempt to rectify an obvious problem…  

After three decades abroad, the couple returned to discover an Iceland quite unlike the one they had left behind. In their years overseas, the island experienced an enormous tourism boom. 

Global interest in what would later be nicknamed the land of ice and fire had transformed this once quiet, rustic nation into a place buzzing with activity. Visitors continue to come from far and wide, all looking to discover for themselves just why Iceland has enraptured the world.

The dawn of “Puffin Shops”

book bookstore Icelandic literature bækur
Photo: Golli. Shoppers in Reykjavik

Once they have experienced the island’s otherworldly nature and wildlife, no less its folklore, history, and friendly community culture, most people hope to purchase a little something to look back on and remind them of their time here. 

It is a desire that has not gone unnoticed by domestic entrepreneurs.   

Anyone strolling around Iceland’s otherwise delightful capital city, Reykjavik, will observe the countless souvenir shops lining its streets. 

Inside these “Puffin Stores,” as they have come to be known, you’ll find all manner of random kitsch items, none of which are overly enticing or noteworthy. We’re talking about the low-quality, easily breakable items like: 

  • I ❤ RYK t-shirts. 
  • Ornamental puffins. 
  • Viking helmets. 
  • Hallgrímskirkja church snow globes and keychains. 
Hunting knife souvenir
Photo: Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir.

You get the picture. 

Most people don’t stop to think that, in almost every case, these products are manufactured abroad, then shipped over to Iceland for the sole purpose of providing visitors with a cheaply made, and frankly over-priced memento. 

Once purchased, they’re swiftly taken all around the world, thus only having a very brief interlude in Iceland. 

Ultimately, that makes these products about as Icelandic as the millions of foreign visitors who visit each year. These keepsakes might satisfy your everyday tourist – but true travellers want something unique, tangible, and meaningful to remind them of their stay. 

And it is here, dear reader, that Made in Ísland excels.

What authentic souvenirs does Made in Island offer?

Woollen products make for authentic souvenirs in Iceland
Photo: Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir.

As you step inside, ready to find authentic souvenirs in Iceland, you might first notice an array of traditional woollen products created by local knitters. 

Scarves, mittens, hats, and traditional Icelandic sweaters (lopapeysas) can all be found, some of which have been embroidered with decorative horse or salmon stitching. 

Ask yourself – can your fashion stylings really get more Icelandic than that?  

But clothes are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. 

Wooden Hidden Folk
Photo: Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir.

Handcrafted items by Icelandic artists

When it comes to the many hand-carved figurines on offer, each piece speaks of the island’s heritage. Take their cute, albeit somewhat eerie elf ornaments as a prime example. 

Their expressive little faces have been painstakingly sculpted from clay. Their torsos are protected with small lopapeysas of their own. Each has a character, a personality, that almost makes one feel as though they might come alive at any moment. 

(Fear not, Iceland’s elves are known to be friendly… normally.)

Be sure to pop one of these on your shelf back home. It will serve as a continual reminder of the Álfar, or Hidden Folk, who are claimed to live in a parallel dimension to our own.

Authentic souvenirs in Iceland do not come any cuter than these Elf ornaments
Photo: Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir.

What truly sets Made in Ísland apart is its quirky and playful spirit. Take a look inside and you’ll find shelves adorned with fantastic artisanal crafts. This includes: jewellery made from volcanic rock and ceramics that mirror Iceland’s landscapes. Not to mention the gorgeous picture books that explore Iceland’s mythology and history.

One of the standout features of Made in Ísland is its commitment to supporting local artisans and food producers. Iceland is brimming with creative minds. As such, Made in Island’s founders have made clear that they are dedicated to showcasing their talents.

With such a philosophy at the forefront of their business, every item in the shop has carefully curated. 

It is done so to ensure all products are of the highest quality, instilling visitors with confident they are buying genuine Icelandic goods.

Authentic souvenirs in Iceland really do not come more authentic than this. 

Does Made in Island offer traditional Icelandic food?

Icelandic food products
Photo: Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir.

Made in Ísland is not just a hub for quirky souvenirs and handcrafted goods; it also offers a delectable range of locally produced food products. 

Visitors can indulge in a variety of Icelandic delicacies. Pick from such delights as: jams, mustard, honey, and freeze-dried strawberries and blueberries. Feeling a little more adventurous? Then you’ll be directed to the goat sausages and pâté, the dried herring, and vegan cheese made from potatoes. 

The shop also boasts an impressive selection of teas, including a wide range of hemp teas. In short, there is something to suit every palate. These gourmet items, sourced from local farms, provide a true taste of Iceland, making for perfect gifts or personal treats.

Made in Island logo
Photo: Made in Island

For those craving a more immediate taste of Iceland’s culinary traditions, the food van Gobbidigott, located just around the corner on Larsenstræti in Selfoss, is a must-visit. 

Here, you can enjoy a variety of traditional Icelandic dishes prepared on the spot. 

Highlights from their hearty menu include such staples as: meat soup, Icelandic hot dogs, meatballs, freshly caught fish, and, for the particularly daring, horse meat sausages. 

Whether you’re purchasing uncooked traditional food items from Made in Ísland or enjoying a freshly prepared meal at Gobbidigott, you’ll experience the rich flavours and culinary heritage that define Icelandic cuisine.

Ready to find authentic souvenirs in Iceland?

Souvenir ornaments
Photo: Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir.

So, there we have it! Made in Ísland is a shop wholly unique to the country, and one that sells artisanal products and food items that can be purchased nowhere else.

In the founder’s own words:

"Made In Ísland is Iceland. It has brought together local artists, craftspeople, small producers and farmers under one roof."
Alda
Made In Ísland

Whether you’re a collector of unique mementos or merely seeking a meaningful gift to bring to your loved ones back home, a visit to Selfoss’ Made in Ísland is sure to provide everything you are after, and far, far more.  

After all, you’ll leave with not just authentic Icelandic souvenirs, but cherished memories and a deep appreciation for the artistry and culture of this incredible country.

How to find authentic souvenirs in Iceland

If you’re unsure where exactly to head to, you can find Made in Ísland on the below google map. Happy hunting for authentic souvenirs in Iceland!

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