Two things you should know about Icelanders: they are sweet tooths and they love coffee. Naturally, there are some great bakeries in town where you can get a sweet pastry and a cup of joe. Of course, the bakeries offer more than the sweet kleinur (sometimes called twisted doughnuts) and vínarbrauð. In most places, you can buy a loaf of delicious artisan bread, croissants with ham and cheese, and more savoury options. Here is our guide to Reykjavík‘s best bakeries.
Over the years, Sandholt grew into an institution: a favourite among Icelanders and an attraction for tourists. It is one of the oldest bakeries in Reykjavík and has been in operation under the same family since 1920. They open at 7:00 AM every morning with a delicious variety of fresh bread and mouth-watering pastries. Their recipes are a mixture of Icelandic family traditions and new, innovative ideas. Sandholt sits in the heart of Reykjavík on Laugavegur 36. The Sandholt family takes their baking seriously – which means you get seriously good quality when there. It also means the prices are a little higher than some other bakeries.
Brauð & Co.
Whereas Sandholt is an institution with one location, Brauð & Co. opted to open smaller bakeries all over town. The selection is smaller, but they have perfected the recipes for what they offer. Plus, the price is a bit lower than some of its competitors. Their kanilsnúður (cinnamon rolls) are the tastiest in town. While you can usually order a coffee at the many Brauð & Co. locations, most spaces do not have a sitting room, so you will have to take your order on the go. Luckily, many stores are close by to a perfect picnic spot. If you go for some pastries in the Vesturbær location, it is a short walk to the park benches along Ægisíða so you can sit and watch the sea while you stuff your face.
A popular Icelandic sitcom, Næturvaktin (e. The Night Shift), was filmed in Brauð & Co. on Laugavegur 180. Back then it was a Shell gas station, now there is a bakery and a café inside even though many people still think it’s “only a gas station” based on the humble exterior, where you can still also tank up. It opens at 7 AM in the morning and you can drop in for an afternoon beer there as well.
Brikk brauð og eldhús
Near the old harbour, you can find Brikk, a relatively new bakery that offers some fantastic soup alongside its daily bread and pastries. Brikk actually began in Hafnarfjörður in 2017 and expanded into Reykjavík two years later. Since then, it has been a neighbourhood favourite. The bakery specialises in sourdough bread and offers several different kinds, including a vegan option. But no matter what you order, it will be made with quality and fresh ingredients. The initial location in Hafnarfjörður is also worth a visit, overlooking the town harbour.
Deig simply means „dough“ in Icelandic. It‘s a fitting name because Deig likes to keep things simple. The head baker, Markús, grew up on the east coast of the United States, and he brought an American influence back to Reykjavík. Deig specialises in doughnuts, bagels and bagel sandwiches. We recommend stopping by on a weekday after 10:00 AM for their Poorman special: a cream cheese-filled bagel, a sweet pastry, and a drink for only 1500 ISK! They also have some of the most affordable coffee in town. The bakery is located inside the Le Kock restaurant near the old harbour on Tryggvagata 12.
A new bakery opened in 2022, literally around the corner from Brikk. Hygge Coffee and Micro Bakery is located on the mezzanine floor in the Grandi by Center Hotel. Hygge is a famous word borrowed from Danish, and the closest English translation is “cosy,” so you can imagine what the bakery and coffee shop might feel like. Known for their artisan sweet pastries, they also whip up a terrific cappuccino.
With passion in the name itself, you can bet that this bakery puts some real attention and care into its pastries. Passion is located in the Skeifan area, but it is well worth the trip. The coffee shop in the front that serves their baked goods is decorated with gorgeous chandeliers, has a little fireplace, and dark wooden panelling, which gives it an old, rustic atmosphere. A knowledgeable and friendly staff only adds to the experience. Their vegan options rival the other sweets, and we recommend trying the vegan chocolate croissant!
Perfectly located at the base of the hill on Laugavegur, Baka Baka has quickly become a tourist favourite after opening in early 2022. It can be found in a historically old house, which gives this young bakery a much older ambience. They offer many of the same traditional sweet pastries like vínarbrauð, but their savoury options are where it‘s at. Small pizzas, ham and parmesan cheese croissants, and giant ravioli are just a few of the incredibly tasty snacks you can get.
This bakery was established in 1834, making it the oldest bakery in Reykjavík and perhaps all of Iceland! And although it is now an Icelandic institution, the first master baker was German – not Icelandic! While the bakery still makes the everyday favourites of croissants and snúður, it also specialises in magnificent cakes. From birthday parties to weddings, Bernhöftsbakari has been a part of many special occasions for a very long time. You can find the bakery on the corner of Klapparstígur and Skúlagata, just a stone‘s throw from the Sun Voyager.