These locally-owned Reykjaviík stores are decidedly not Viking-themed gift shops.
You haven’t truly experienced Iceland until you know its scents—smokey pinewood, florals, and sugar amongst others—all of which you can find at Fischer, a family-run shop and aromatherapeutic experience from wall to wall. Built inside the former studio of Jónsi Birgisson, lead singer of prolific Icelandic band Sigur Rós, the store offers skincare, perfumes, and home goods, along with a small cellar museum that documents Icelandic history through smell.
Currently helmed by Birgisson’s sisters, Lilja and Sigurrós, Fischer is equally influenced by nature as it is by art. Inside, each member of the family expresses their craft, whether it be through handmade essential oils or photo prints available for purchase.
“Running a small boutique is hard everywhere, but it’s extra hard here in Iceland. It’s a tiny market and everything around us is super expensive—so when you walk into a small boutique, you can be sure that it was made with 100% passion,” says Lilja.
Here, the co-owner shares five other stores in Reykjavík where that local passion shines bright, from a shop founded by “the Vivienne Westwood of Iceland” to the most famous record store in the country.
“Hildur Yeoman is like the Vivian Westwood of Iceland—a total badass that has paved the way for a lot of female designers. She has her own unique style and a very well-designed store where you can enter her world.”
“If you want to own handmade porcelain by Icelandic designers, this is the place. I am a total sucker for handmade porcelain and love the work of Guðný Hafsteinsdóttir, which you can purchase there among other amazing artists.”
“A trendy, eco-minded boutique stocking edgy house-brand and other designer apparel for men and women. Bára Hólmgeirsdóttir is a legend here in Iceland and was one of the first to talk about waste in fashion and finding new creative solutions. She makes new clothes from old ruined ones.”
“Stefán Svan is a total fashion guru in Iceland and has his own store that everyone has to visit. It’s a concept store with a mix of selected Icelandic and international design.”
“The Shed is a small, curated shop and beautiful gathering space created in the private garden of Ýr Kára and her husband, Anthony. It’s located in Hafnarfjörður, which is a very beautiful port town 10km outside of Reykjavík—well worth a visit. It’s nice to have a walk with a cup of coffee and visit the museum there, Hafnarborg.”
“A record store and indie music label under one roof, offering coffee, live gigs, and specialist literature. This is a legendary place that has helped a lot of Icelandic musicians (for example, Sigur Rós!).”