With their well-known economic challenges, it’s not surprising that the Icelanders have a healthy interest in recycling clothes, household goods and other things. It’s actually not a new thing for them – perhaps living on a small island like Iceland makes you naturally resourceful in using everything as well and as often as you can. Within central Reykjavik, known as 101 (its zip code) there are a few secondhand shops I like in particular.
The first is the weekend fleamarket, Kolaportid (Tryggvagata 19) which is diagonally across from the grand new concert hall. Naturally it’s held inside – Icelandic weather is often not conducive to outdoor activities. There are stalls of antiques, but generally it feels more like a big garage sale – you have to be prepared to rummage a bit.
On any day you do sightseeing in Reykjavik, make sure you stop by Gyllti Kotturinn (Austurstraeti 8), which has clothes, shoes, etc. and some pieces by local designers – it’s not cheap, but it’s quality. And in this same part of lower downtown is Frida Fraenka (Vesturgotu 3) where you can spend hours exploring the antiques and find gorgeous funky things for your house.
On the main shopping strip, Laugavegur, are a few more stores worth visiting. There’s the Red Cross store (at number 12) where you might even pick up a fabulous Icelandic knit at a good price, and then the more expensive Sputnik (Laugavegur 51), Rokk & Rosir (Laugavegur 32) and Glamur (Laugavegur 41). Not far away is the Salvation Army store (Gardastaeti 6). But time your expedition for the afternoons as many of these don’t open until noon. Don’t expect things to be super cheap – something you’ll notice when visiting Iceland – but there are some fine purchases to be made.