Over the past decade, Iceland has seen a fantastic rise in tourism. With discount airline WOW air flying from the USA connecting those in North America with Europe, and discounted European airlines such as Ryanair and Wizz Air also flying to the country.
However, while Iceland may benefit from discounted flights that’s about the only thing that you’ll find on a discount in this country. Accommodation, internal travel, attractions and food are all around 50% higher than that in the USA or UK.
If you’re looking to visit Iceland on a budget then you opt for eating food from the supermarkets in Iceland rather than eating out. During our five nights in Iceland, that’s exactly what we did!
Brands Of Supermarkets In Iceland
It’s unlikely that you’ve heard of many of the supermarkets in Iceland, so I thought we’d start with a quick run-down of the supermarkets you’re likely to see when visiting the country.
Bónus and the next on our list Krónan are the budget supermarkets you’re most likely to see in Iceland. These stores aren’t anything close to the Walmart or Asda you might be used to but they cover the basic food needs.
Krónan is another budget supermarket, they are known to have a slightly better selection when compared to Bónus especially when looking at fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and specialist foods. We shopped at a Krónan supermarket in Iceland because it was the closest to our hotel.
Netto sort of reminds me of Aldi or Lidl, not only will you find an array of food and drink items here you’ll also find ‘weekly special buys’ that include random things such as toilet seats or even Icelandic knitting yarn.
Netto isn’t the cheapest of all the supermarkets in Iceland, however, they do have stores that are open 24 hours a day – so if you’ve had a late night and everywhere else is closed you’re likely to be able to get some food (or a new toilet seat) here…
If you enjoy shopping at Whole Foods in the US or Waitrose / Ocado in the UK then Víðir is the supermarket for you. It’s not as cheap as the three supermarkets above, but it does offer the best selection of quality foods in the whole of Iceland.
Hagkaup is the Walmart / Asda of Iceland. Here you’ll find a wide range of foods as well as; toys, cosmetics, homewares, clothes etc. In the terms of pricing and product availability, it’s pretty average on both accounts.
However, much like Netto one of the benefits of shopping here is that many stores are open 24 hours a day.
10-11 are convenience based stores. They offer a limited selection of products at higher prices than you’d find at other supermarkets in Iceland.
They are situated in locations to cater to the working population and tourists. The food is mediocre despite the added convenience cost so I advise only shopping here as a last resort.
If you head out of the capital of Iceland Reykjavík either on your own or as part of an organised tour then you’re likely to notice supermarkets starting with the word Samkaup and less of the bigger budget stores mentioned above such as Bónus and Krónan.
The Samkaup stores are considerably more expensive than the budget alternatives such as Bónus and Krónan and again cater to convenience.
Convenience in the sense that it’s unlikely you’re going to see another budget supermarket for miles (view the map below for confirmation). They know that for this very reason they can charge you a pretty hefty premium – and they do!
Samkaup Strax is the ‘express’ / ‘local’ alternative to Samkaup Urval. Here you’ll find less of a variety than Samkaup Urval but again higher prices.
My mind was literally blown when I found out the budget supermarket Iceland is actually in Iceland! So far they’ve opened three stores in the country centred around the capital of Reykjavík.
Iceland is bordering on one of the cheaper supermarkets in Iceland however, it comes with a limited selection focusing on frozen foods which may not be suitable for everyone – it’ll really depend on the cooking facilities you have available at your accommodation.
Where Are The Supermarkets In Iceland?
If you’re heading out no a road trip in Iceland (which I recommend you do!) then it’s handy to know where the supermarkets are – especially the budget ones!
I Heart Reykjavik is a dedicated Iceland blog, they created this awesome map with the exact locations of all the supermarkets in Iceland;
That’s our complete guide to everything you could possibly need to know about supermarkets in Iceland.
Of course, if you think there’s something we might have missed then, by all means, leave us a comment below and we’ll do our best to add it in and provide you with all the information you might need.