So, you’re spending Christmas in Iceland, but you’ve realised that of the restaurants that are open for the holidays, many of them are fully booked. What can you do? Well, one thing you could do is just buy some groceries and celebrate Christmas at home. This is, of course, easier to do if you rented a place with a kitchen, but we have some tips for you even if you don’t. Here’s our guide to Christmas grocery shopping in Iceland.

jol

Where to Christmas grocery shop in Iceland

There are several chains of supermarkets in Iceland. In general, the cheaper ones are Krónan and Bónus, and the more expensive ones are Hagkaup and 10-11, but they are also often open for longer.

Downtown, you will find 10-11, Krónan and Bónus. Hagkaup you will find with many of the others in Kringlan and Smáralind shopping malls, as well as Skeifan shopping area.

You can buy almost any food online so if you order ahead, you might still have time to have it delivered to your hotel, or if you’re celebrating Icelandic Christmas abroad, you can get it delivered to your door.

There are also little local corner stores which will usually cost a little more but are often more convenient and charming.

When to Christmas grocery shop in Iceland

As soon as possible. All the supermarkets have restricted opening hours over the holidays.

2014-11-19-17.12.35

What to Christmas grocery shop in Iceland

This depends on your setup and preferences. If you have a full kitchen, you can buy whatever you want, but here are some of the more traditional Christmas dinner items. If you have a microwave, I have some suggestions, and if you have no cooking facilities at all, we have you covered too.

Full Kitchen Christmas Dinner in Iceland:

The most traditional Icelandic Christmas food is smoked lamb which you boil. You can cook browned potatoes (fried in sugar) and leaf-bread on the side, and of course, no Icelandic Christmas is complete without a can of green ORA beans and pickled red cabbage. With this, you should drink Christmas ale, which you can also mix yourself from Malt and Orangeade.

Microwave Christmas dinner in Iceland:

The above mostly works well but the main course is hard to boil in a microwave. You can heat the beans and eat the cabbage cold. Instead of smoked lamb, get some double-smoked lamb which you can eat without heating. It may be a bit much for your stomach to eat as a main course, but just make sure to fill up on the side dishes. For a side, instead of sugared potatoes, you could pick up some Icelandic rye bread. Or there is some very respectable “instant mashed potatoes” you can find at most supermarkets, just add boiling water.

Christmas dinner in Iceland without a kitchen

The above works pretty well, get the double-smoked lamb, the leaf bread, the rye bread, and Christmas ale. The ORA beans and cabbage you can serve cold. For a non-heat side, get some dill-cured salmon or pickled herring.

See our guide to cooking Christmas Dinner in Iceland

How much will it cost to Christmas grocery shop in Iceland?

As we said above, the cheaper options are Bónus and Krónan, the more expensive are Hagkaup and 10-11. 

The first list, with the full Kitchen, would cost about 14.000 ISK and feed 2-3 people for that price.

There’s our guide to Christmas Grocery Shopping in Iceland. Was this helpful? Did we miss any classics? What’s your favourite Icelandic food?

Rögnvaldur "Reggie" Guðmundsson
Rögnvaldur "Reggie" Guðmundsson

What's On locations in downtown Reykjavík

Opening Hours:

Contact What's On

The official source for safe adventure in Iceland is safetravel. It’s located in our Laugavegur 54 location.