Welcome to Iceland, a breathtaking country known for its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and, of course, its delectable cuisine. Iceland offers a unique food travel experience that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.
Icelandic cuisine is a perfect blend of tradition and innovation, drawing influence from its Nordic roots as well as modern gastronomic trends. With an abundance of fresh seafood, grass-fed lamb, and geothermal cooking techniques, Iceland has emerged as a culinary destination that shouldn’t be missed.
The food scene in Iceland has undergone a renaissance in recent years, with talented chefs and restaurateurs elevating traditional dishes to new heights. From fine dining establishments to cozy cafes and food trucks, there is something to satisfy every palate.
When it comes to food travel in Iceland, there are several regions that deserve special attention. Whether you’re exploring the vibrant city of Reykjavik, embarking on the famous Golden Circle tour, or venturing into the rugged landscapes of the Westfjords, each region has its own unique food culture and must-try dishes.
In this article, we will take you on a culinary journey around Iceland, highlighting the best food destinations and the dishes you must try along the way. So, pack your appetite and let’s dive into the world of Icelandic food travel!
Welcome to Reykjavik, the vibrant capital city of Iceland and a food lover’s paradise. Despite its small size, Reykjavik boasts a thriving food scene with an array of culinary delights to sample.
Start your culinary exploration in the city center, where you’ll find an abundance of restaurants, cafes, and bakeries serving up a mix of traditional Icelandic dishes and international cuisine. Don’t miss the chance to try the national dish, fermented shark (hákarl), a unique delicacy with a pungent aroma and strong flavor.
If you’re a seafood lover, Reykjavik won’t disappoint. Head to the harbor area and indulge in fresh Icelandic lobster, also known as langoustine. Whether grilled, boiled, or served in a creamy bisque, the sweet and succulent flavors of this delicacy will leave you wanting more.
For a taste of modern Icelandic cuisine, visit one of the city’s renowned fine dining establishments. These restaurants focus on using locally sourced ingredients and showcasing the creativity of Icelandic chefs. From innovative seafood dishes to hearty lamb preparations, you’ll experience the best that Icelandic gastronomy has to offer.
No visit to Reykjavik is complete without a visit to the city’s famous hot dog stand, Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. This humble eatery has gained international fame for its delicious lamb-based hot dogs, topped with crunchy onions, mustard, ketchup, and remoulade. Don’t be surprised if you spot a celebrity or two enjoying a hot dog alongside the locals.
After indulging in all the savory delights, satisfy your sweet tooth at one of Reykjavik’s delightful bakeries. From traditional Icelandic pastries, such as kleina and kleinur, to creative cakes and tarts, these bakeries offer a tempting array of treats to satisfy any sugar craving.
Reykjavik truly offers a diverse and exciting food scene that showcases the best of Icelandic cuisine. So, take a culinary journey through this charming capital city and prepare to be delighted by an array of flavors and experiences.
The Golden Circle
The Golden Circle is a popular tourist route in Iceland that takes you to three incredible natural wonders: the stunning waterfall Gullfoss, the geyser Strokkur, and the historic site Þingvellir National Park. But did you know that this iconic route is also a treasure trove for food enthusiasts?
As you embark on your Golden Circle adventure, make a stop at the charming farm-to-table restaurant, Friðheimar. Here, you’ll be treated to a unique dining experience surrounded by a greenhouse where tomatoes are grown year-round. Indulge in their famous tomato soup and other tomato-based dishes, all made from the freshest ingredients.
No trip to the Golden Circle is complete without a taste of Icelandic dairy products, and what better place to do so than Efstidalur Farm. This family-owned farm offers homemade ice cream, yogurt, and cheese, all made from the milk of their own cows. Enjoy the creamy goodness while taking in views of the surrounding countryside.
If you’re a fan of rye bread, you’re in for a treat at Laugarvatn Fontana. This geothermal bakery uses traditional methods to bake delicious rye bread in the hot sands near the Fontana Spa. Sample the freshly baked bread, slather it with butter, and savor the unique flavors that come from this age-old technique.
For those craving a hearty meal, the charming town of Laugarvatn is home to Lindin Restaurant, known for its mouthwatering lamb and seafood dishes. Using locally sourced ingredients, the chefs at Lindin create culinary masterpieces that showcase the flavors of the surrounding countryside.
As you continue your journey through the Golden Circle, keep an eye out for roadside food stalls. These hidden gems offer a chance to try local specialties such as Icelandic hot dogs, dried fish, and homemade baked goods. It’s the perfect opportunity to grab a quick snack and immerse yourself in the local food culture.
The Golden Circle not only offers incredible natural wonders but also a diverse and exciting food experience. From farm-to-table restaurants to traditional bakeries and roadside stalls, this route will satisfy your appetite for both adventure and delicious cuisine. So, be sure to savor every bite as you explore this unforgettable part of Iceland.
Prepare to be mesmerized as you journey along the picturesque South Coast of Iceland. Known for its breathtaking waterfalls, black sand beaches, and iconic glaciers, this region also offers a delightful array of culinary experiences.
Start your culinary adventure in the charming seaside town of Vik. Here, you can enjoy a meal with a view at one of the local restaurants overlooking the famous Reynisfjara black sand beach. Savor a fresh seafood platter featuring local delicacies such as langoustine, Atlantic cod, and arctic char.
As you continue your journey, make a stop in the village of Skógar and visit the Skógafoss waterfall, one of Iceland’s most stunning natural wonders. After taking in the beauty of the falls, head to the Skógafoss Bistro for a taste of traditional Icelandic cuisine. Try the Icelandic meat soup, a hearty and flavorful dish made from locally sourced ingredients.
Further along the South Coast, you’ll come across the charming town of Vík. Here, don’t miss the chance to sample Icelandic lamb, known for its exceptional quality and flavor. Visit a local restaurant or farm-to-table eatery and indulge in succulent lamb dishes, such as roasted lamb with root vegetables or tender lamb shank.
For a unique culinary experience, visit the town of Hvolsvöllur and try Icelandic geothermally cooked bread. The bread is baked in the hot ground for 24 hours, resulting in a dense and flavorful treat. Enjoy it slathered with butter or alongside smoked salmon for a truly memorable taste.
As you continue your journey along the South Coast, keep an eye out for roadside farm stands offering homemade jams, preserves, and freshly baked goods. These hidden gems are an opportunity to taste the flavors of the Icelandic countryside and support local farmers.
The South Coast of Iceland is more than just stunning landscapes. It also offers a culinary adventure that showcases the best of Icelandic cuisine. From fresh seafood and tender lamb to traditional bread and farm-fresh delights, this region will treat your taste buds while captivating your senses with its natural beauty.
The East Fjords of Iceland offer a serene and picturesque setting for food travelers seeking a taste of traditional Icelandic cuisine. This region is known for its dramatic mountains, quaint fishing villages, and untouched nature, providing a unique backdrop for culinary exploration.
Start your culinary journey in the town of Seyðisfjörður, a charming village nestled in a fjord. Here, you’ll find a delightful café called Nordic. Indulge in their freshly baked goods, including pastries, cakes, and bread, all made with local ingredients. Pair your treat with a cup of Icelandic coffee for the perfect start to your day.
Next, head to the fishing village of Djúpivogur, known for its vibrant art scene and delectable seafood. Visit one of the local restaurants and devour a plate of the freshest fish and shellfish caught in the surrounding waters. From succulent cod and halibut to tender langoustine and mussels, the flavors of the sea will dance on your palate.
For a taste of traditional Icelandic home cooking, visit the town of Egilsstaðir and try the local specialty called “hangikjöt.” This dish consists of smoked lamb, slow-cooked to perfection, resulting in tender and flavorful meat. Pair it with steamed potatoes, butter, and a side of pickled red cabbage for a classic Icelandic comfort meal.
As you explore the East Fjords, make sure to stop by farm stands and local markets along the way. Here, you can purchase fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, homemade jams, and other delights sourced directly from the surrounding farms. These treasures are the perfect way to savor the flavors of the region.
One of the highlights of the East Fjords is the town of Stöðvarfjörður, home to an unconventional restaurant called Hildibrand. This unique eatery focuses on vegetarian and vegan dishes, showcasing the abundance of local produce and the creativity of Icelandic chefs. Be prepared to be surprised and delighted by the innovative flavors and textures of the plant-based offerings.
The East Fjords of Iceland are a hidden gem for food enthusiasts, offering a blend of traditional Icelandic cuisine and unique culinary experiences. From quaint cafes and seafood feasts to farm-fresh delights and innovative vegetarian options, this region invites you to discover the diverse flavors and tastes of Iceland’s eastern coast.
Welcome to Akureyri, the charming capital of North Iceland and a food lover’s paradise. Despite its small size, Akureyri is packed with culinary delights that will satisfy even the most discerning palate.
Start your culinary adventure in the city center, where you’ll find a variety of restaurants and cafes offering a mix of traditional Icelandic dishes and international cuisine. Don’t miss the chance to try the local specialty, harðfiskur, which is dried fish that can be enjoyed as a snack or paired with butter as a spread.
If you’re a seafood lover, Akureyri won’t disappoint. Visit one of the seafood restaurants along the harbor and indulge in fresh Icelandic delicacies such as Arctic char, mussels, and scallops. The flavors of the North Atlantic will take your taste buds on a delightful journey.
Akureyri is also known for its dairy products, and a visit to a local ice cream parlor is a must. Enjoy a cone filled with creamy and decadent Icelandic-style ice cream, offered in a variety of flavors from traditional vanilla and chocolate to unique combinations inspired by local ingredients.
For a taste of Icelandic comfort food, try Kjötborg, a popular restaurant specializing in grilled meat dishes. Indulge in a hearty steak or lamb chop, cooked to perfection and accompanied by traditional sides such as Icelandic mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables.
As you explore Akureyri and its surroundings, make sure to visit the local farmers’ market to discover the bounty of the region. Here, you’ll find a plethora of fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, homemade jams, and other local delights. These treasures are a reflection of the fertile landscapes of North Iceland.
End your culinary journey in Akureyri with a visit to a local bakery, where you can enjoy freshly baked bread, pastries, and cakes. From cinnamon buns to rye bread and skyr cake, the bakeries in Akureyri offer a delightful array of treats that will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Akureyri may be a small city, but it has a big heart when it comes to its culinary scene. So, immerse yourself in the flavors of North Iceland and discover the delicious surprises that await in this cozy and food-filled destination.
Prepare to embark on a culinary adventure like no other as you explore the breathtaking landscapes of the Westfjords of Iceland. This remote and rugged region is renowned for its dramatic fjords, towering cliffs, and remote fishing villages, offering a unique and authentic food travel experience.
Start your journey in Ísafjörður, the largest town in the Westfjords. Here, you can explore a range of dining options, from cozy cafes to seafood-focused restaurants. Indulge in a plate of freshly caught cod or haddock, served with a side of crispy golden fries. For a truly local experience, try the famous Icelandic fish stew, a hearty combination of various fish, root vegetables, and aromatic herbs.
As you venture further into the Westfjords, keep an eye out for roadside seafood shacks. These hidden gems offer a chance to savor the flavors of the sea in a casual and picturesque setting. Feast on langoustine tails, grilled scallops, or creamy seafood soup, all made with love and passion by the locals.
No trip to the Westfjords would be complete without sampling the region’s renowned dairy products. Visit a local farm to taste the rich and creamy Icelandic butter, skyr (a traditional Icelandic yogurt-like dairy product), and a variety of artisanal cheeses. Let the flavors dance on your palate and gain an appreciation for the meticulous craftsmanship that goes into creating these exquisite dairy delights.
If you’re a fan of bird watching, a visit to the remote cliffs of Látrabjarg is a must. Not only will you be treated to incredible views and the chance to observe nesting seabirds, but you’ll also have the opportunity to taste the local delicacy known as “lundi.” This traditional Icelandic dish features smoked puffin, offering a unique and unforgettable flavor experience.
As you continue your journey through the Westfjords, don’t miss the chance to visit the small fishing villages scattered along the coast. Here, you can feast on the freshest seafood imaginable, straight from the icy waters of the North Atlantic. From grilled salmon to pan-fried Arctic char, every bite showcases the pristine flavors of the region.
The Westfjords of Iceland offer a culinary experience that combines the bounty of the sea with the unique flavors of the remote and wild landscapes. So, immerse yourself in the flavors of this untouched region and let your taste buds be captivated by the delights that await in the Westfjords.
Welcome to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, a place of enchanting beauty and mystical landscapes. Located in the western part of Iceland, this region is a haven for food travelers seeking a taste of traditional Icelandic cuisine combined with stunning natural wonders.
Start your exploration in the town of Stykkishólmur, known for its vibrant fishing industry. Here, you can indulge in freshly caught seafood at one of the local restaurants. From buttery langoustine tails to succulent mussels and tender fish fillets, the flavors of the ocean will leave you wanting more.
For a unique culinary experience, visit the small village of Ólafsvík and try the local specialty: “hangikjöt,” or smoked lamb. This traditional Icelandic dish is prepared by smoking lamb over a fire, resulting in tender and flavorful meat. Pair it with boiled potatoes and a drizzle of Icelandic butter for a truly authentic taste.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the small town of Grundarfjörður, nestled at the base of the iconic Kirkjufell mountain. Here, you can sample Icelandic goat cheese, produced by a local farm that specializes in sustainable and ethical practices. Experience the creamy texture and rich flavors of this artisanal cheese.
As you travel along the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, make sure to stop by the coastal town of Hellissandur and visit the fish processing plant. Here, you can purchase dried fish and stock up on this traditional Icelandic snack to enjoy throughout your journey.
One of the highlights of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is the abundance of sheep farms. These farms produce high-quality lamb, known for its exceptional taste and tenderness. Visit a local farm or dine at a farm-to-table restaurant to savor the flavors of this Icelandic delicacy.
End your culinary journey in the town of Grundarfjörður, where you can visit a local bakery and indulge in freshly baked pastries, bread, and cakes. From cinnamon rolls to rye bread and traditional Icelandic kleina, the bakeries here offer a delightful array of treats.
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula combines stunning natural landscapes with traditional Icelandic cuisine, making it a must-visit destination for food travelers. So, immerse yourself in the flavors of this magical region and let your taste buds be captivated by the delights that await on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of your culinary journey through Iceland, exploring the country’s diverse regions and savoring the flavors of traditional Icelandic cuisine. From the vibrant capital city of Reykjavik to the remote and rugged landscapes of the Westfjords, you’ve experienced the rich culinary heritage that makes Iceland a food lover’s paradise.
Throughout your travels, you’ve sampled unique dishes such as fermented shark, indulged in the freshest seafood caught from the icy North Atlantic waters, and delighted in the flavors of Icelandic lamb, dairy products, and baked goods. Each region of Iceland has offered its own culinary delights, influenced by the local landscapes, traditions, and talented chefs who have elevated Icelandic cuisine to new heights.
But beyond the flavors, your journey has also been a visual and sensory feast. From the stunning waterfalls of the Golden Circle to the otherworldly landscapes of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, the beauty of Iceland’s natural wonders has served as a backdrop to your gastronomic adventures.
As you reflect on your food travel experience in Iceland, you can’t help but appreciate the country’s commitment to using locally sourced ingredients, sustainable practices, and traditional cooking techniques. The passion and pride that Icelandic chefs and producers put into their craft have undoubtedly played a role in making Icelandic cuisine a standout in the global culinary scene.
So, whether you came to Iceland for the dramatic landscapes, the thriving art and music scene, or the chance to chase the Northern Lights, you discovered a food culture that is an integral part of the Icelandic experience. From the bustling city streets to the remote fishing villages, each destination had its own culinary treasures to offer.
As you bid farewell to Iceland, take with you the memories of the tastes, aromas, and textures that have made your journey unforgettable. And remember, should you find yourself craving the flavors of Iceland, you can always recreate a taste of this remarkable country in your own kitchen.
Until we meet again, may your food adventures continue to satisfy your wanderlust and may your taste buds continue to be delighted by the wonders of the world.