What is it like to thrift shop in Iceland? My experience

By Micaela Zaslabsky

In the past few years Iceland has become a bucket list destination for adventurous and sporty people. There are many types of tourism, different ways of travelling around the island. If you are a foodie, if you just want to unwind, if you want to surround yourself with a unique culture, and especially if you want to live new and amazing experiences, Iceland offers it all.

Iceland’s flag

Last week I visited Iceland for the first time.

In a wild burst of adventure (uncommon for me) I booked several expeditions and tours there (I happened to have had a few days free). Among the many seemingly extraterrestrial activities I could have booked, I chose the relatively harmless whale watching tour. It ended up making me more wet than when I finish taking a shower.

Spotted dolphins while whale watching

Afterwards, the biggest issue was walking back to my accommodation with soaking wet feet in my former “boots” (now heavy and soaked sponges). So, I decided to go bargain hunting. I hoped I would find cheap shoes that were my size and small enough to carry them in my hand luggage bag for the return flight home.

I have always loved thrift shopping. Who doesn’t?

For this reason, I had already done some research about where to go. Now let me tell you, there is no need to do that. Icelandic people are very acquainted with the concept of second-hand shops. The main high street of Reykjavik, Laugavegur, has several options from upscale “vintage” to really cheap used-clothes stores. Thrift shopping is a culture for Icelanders. Reusing is an important part of their frugality, namely because a lot of items end up being very expensive due to heavy taxation.

Street Art in Reykjavik

It was in the Red Cross (Rode Krossin) store where I found the best pair of shoes I could ask for given the circumstances. Some of the shops I found in Reykjavik on other blogs were also very helpful. Click here to check them out.

Icelandic Red Cross

Here I leave you with some tips for going thrift shopping on the island! I hope you find them useful and come across some amazing Icelandic additions to your wardrobe:

  • Everything is going to be expensive there, so instead of being close-minded about it, just take time to compare items and stores.
  • There are a lot of cool vintage locales, so if you are into that, don’t forget to check out stores in Reykjavik centrum.
  • If you have in mind purchasing one of the cool Icelandic sweaters, first check the second-hand shops. There are a lot of them and many for less than half the price!
Street signs in Reykjavik

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