Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Travel

What to bring back home? Five great ideas for souvenirs worth buying

By Staff

  • Souvenirs If you don't want to stock up on refrigerator magnets and witty T-shirts you should check these out. Photo/Iceland Magazine

  • Things you should NOT bring back home: Taxidermied puffins! While it might seem like a clever souvenir, customs laws in many countries (including the US) prohibit the import of migratory birds, their parts, nests or eggs. A safer bet is to stick to the other type of stuffed puffin!

Finding authentic and affordable gifts and souvenirs to bring back home from a trip can be a challenge. There’s always the option of stocking up on refrigerator magnets, funny T-shirts or stuffed puffin dolls at the airport or one of the “puffin stores.” But if you want to bring back home something more authentic you should check out some of these great gift ideas!

#1 Icelandic Brennivín

There is no better way to make an entrance at a party than whipping out a bottle of Brennivín with its signature black label. The unique taste (caraway and cumin) and high alcohol content ensure that you and your friends will remember the experience of “Black Death” for years to come.

Best place to buy: The duty-free store at Keflavik airport.

#2 Omnom Chocolate

The only Icelandic bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer Omnom is a favorite among Icelandic chocolate addicts: The quality is simply superb, and the stylish packaging makes Omnom the perfect take-home present for all your friends who love design and/or chocolate.

Best place to buy: The Omnom factory store at Grandi.

#3 Stockfish

Icelandic stockfish, harðfiskur, is the perfect healthy high protein snack. Plus: It can be stored for years. Harðfiskur is usually made from cod, haddock or Atlantic catfish. The fish is gutted and cleaned and then dried in cold air, ideally in temperatures just above freezing.

Best place to buy: Kolaportið flea market in downtown Reykjavík or any local supermarket.

Note: Unless you want to pay extra for Viking themed marketing and whimsical packaging you should avoid the expensive gift-packaged stockfish.

#4 Icelandic football jersey

One of the things Iceland is known for is football. The “Viking War Cry” was one of the most memorable moments of the 2016 EURO and earlier this summer Iceland made history when it became the smallest nation ever to play at the World Cup.

An authentic Icelandic football jersey is a great souvenir and the perfect gift for any sports fan: HÚH!

Best place to buy: You can find football jerseys in most of the “puffin stores” in downtown Reykjavík. (Locals refer to souvenir stores as “puffin stores,” because they tend to sell a lot of puffin merchandise.)

#5 Authentic woolen sweater

Nothing says Iceland like an authentic hand-knit lopapeysa! Iceland is one of a few countries where sheep outnumber people: At the end of 2017, there were 457,893 sheep in Iceland and 348,450 people. Without the wool from their sheep Icelanders wouldn‘t have survived the inhospitable land, with its dark and cold winters. They are incredibly warm, the coarse wool repels water, and if well-made they last for years.

Best place to buy: The Icelandic Hand Knitting Association on Skólavörðustígur street.

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