Iceland’s food scene has not always received the warmest of receptions overseas. You’ll often hear tales of sheep heads and fermented shark, but please don’t let these dishes put you off, as in reality, these are only a select few out of a whole range of delicious foods to try in Iceland.
Let us tempt you with farm-fresh ice cream, chocolate factories and delicious tomato soup, shall we? Take a look at our curated list of the top food experiences every foodie needs to do in Iceland.
1. Omnom Chocolate Factory Tour
Reykjavik's very own Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory experience, Omnom is an internationally renowned and multi-award winning bean-to-bar chocolate brand celebrated both nationally as well as around the world.
This Icelandic success story goes back to 2013 when Kjartan Gíslason and Óskar Þórðarson began experimenting with different flavours and textures of chocolate in a converted petrol station in Reykjavik.
After their small-batch chocolate bars received overwhelming responses they set out on turning their dream, making the world’s best chocolate using only the finest ingredients, into a reality. Today, their production has outgrown the petrol station and their factory can now be found on Reykjavik's harbourfront.
Using many iconic Icelandic flavours, such as liquorice and skyr milk, their chocolate bars can now be found all around the island. Omnom offer a chocolate factory tour, where you’ll get the chance to sample plenty of delicious chocolate in their test lab. You’ll also learn more about the company’s Icelandic roots, as well as the meticulous chocolate making process. This tour is a must-see for any foodies visiting Reykjavik!
How to get there: The Omnom chocolate factory can be found in the Grandi harbour area in downtown Reykjavík. The address of Omnom is: Hólmaslóð 4, 101 Reykjavík
2. The Reykjavik Food Walk
Even if you’re only briefly visiting Iceland for a day or two, there’s still plenty of chance to sample as many Icelandic specialities as possible with this brilliant walking tour. The Reykjavik Food Walk was rated Iceland’s #1 Food & Drink activity, and there’s really no surprise why.
On a side note, if you’re looking for the infamous rams testicles, sheep head or fermented shark dishes, then this is not the tour for you. Instead, the Reykjavik Food Walk focuses on the absolute best and most delicious traditional cuisines that Icelanders are truly proud of.
On the tour, you’ll stroll through the cosy streets of Reykjavik for four hours with a knowledgeable, fun local guide and visit six uniquely Icelandic restaurants. The tour will include places from iconic ‘must-visit restaurants’ to secret local hangouts that are off the beaten tourist path.
You’ll get to try free-roaming Icelandic lamb, a local cheese tasting, the iconic Pylsur from a famous Icelandic hot dog stand, fresh seafood dishes, traditional Icelandic ice cream from an age-old family recipe and much more depending on the season and the day you’re visiting. If this sounds like something you’d enjoy then you can book your tour directly on the Adventure Market.
How to get there: The walking tour is all over Reykjavik, but the initial meeting point is at the Harpa Music Hall, which is right on the harbour front. The address is: Austurbakki 2, 101 Reykjavík
3. Icelandic Goats Cheese at Háafell
Icelandic goats are an ancient breed of domestic goats whose origins date back to the early settlements of Iceland over 1100 years ago. The breed was on on the verge of extinction when their population fell from 3,000 in the 1930s down to only 70 in the 1960s. Today, thanks to the extensive efforts of Haafell, as well as the Icelandic government, there are over 900 of these Icelandic goats on the island.
At the Háafell farm, visitors can meet and play with the goats - who happen to be very people-friendly. Amongst the goats, you’ll find a movie star named Bambi, who starred in the Game of Thrones TV series.
At the farm, you’ll also find horses, sheep, dogs, Icelandic chickens and cats. You can also sample some of the farm-fresh goat cheeses on display and try-out some other goat products, including bath cosmetics, creams, soaps, leather and other handicrafts in their farm shop. This food experience is a fantastic day trip from Reykjavik, especially if you’re travelling with children.
How to get there: Háafell is about an hour and a half drive from Reykjavík. Follow Route 1 north of Reykjavik for an hour, then take a right on Borgarfjarðarbraut (Route 50), and follow this road for another thirty minutes. The address of Haafell is: Hvítársíðuvegur, 320 Borgarnes
4. Geothermal Tomatoes at Friðheimar
This family-run geothermal farm, located just off the main Golden Circle route, is the ultimate experience for any foodie. Friðheimar (Fridheimer) farm has been in operation since 1995, where the owners Knútur and Helena have been growing tomatoes and other vegetables ever since. However, this isn’t just any tomato farm.
What makes Fridheimer farm so unique is that the greenhouses run entirely on local geothermal energy sources. Today, the greenhouses produce over one tonne of tomatoes every single day.
Inside these brightly lit greenhouses, you’ll find a cosy restaurant serving, you guessed it: tomato dishes! You probably weren't expecting to come to Iceland to try the perhaps world’s most delicious tomato soup, served with unlimited freshly baked bread. Adding to the experience is the fact that your table will be nestled between the tomato vines.
There’s also the opportunity to learn more about the greenhouses and how they source their energy. You’ll also find a little gift shop where you can buy all sorts of tomato souvenirs to bring back home.
How to get there: Fridheimar is found in the small town of Reykholt, which is located on Route 35. It’s an excellent lunch stop if you’re completing the Golden Circle Tour - why not book this private food tour of the Golden Circle?
5. The Reykjavik Beer Tour
If you like beer and you find yourself in Reykjavik, then this The Reykjavik Beer Tour is a must-do experience. For three hours you will explore the beer culture of Iceland with a knowledgable and fun local guide.
Beer in Iceland goes back to the very first Norsemen settlers who drank a fair share of the drink, and it’s often referenced in old poems and texts. In 1915, a total ban on alcohol meant that Icelanders went thirsty for most of the 20th century until the ban was eventually lifted in 1989. Since then, beer has made a full-fledged comeback and the pub and bar scene is stronger than ever.
On the tour, you will work your way through four of the best pubs and bars in the capital, including the only microbrewery in Reykjavik, the best micro-bar in town, a pub that serves the largest selection of Icelandic beers, as well as a hip gastropub. In total, you will have tasted at least 10 different Icelandic beers, as well as traditional bar snacks.
If you enjoy beer and you want to find out more about Icelandic beers then you can book this tour directly on the Adventure Market.
6. Icelandic Farm-Fresh Ice Cream at Efstidalur
Located on the Golden Circle route is a small family-run dairy farm. Efstidalur has been in family hands since 1750, and today its a team of four siblings who run the farm. Inside, you’ll find a small ice-cream parlour with a selection of flavours using milk from their very own cows. You won’t taste ice-cream any fresher than this! In fact, you can even watch the cows whilst enjoying your ice cream, as it’s all in the same building as the barn.
To top things off, they make the waffles fresh on site too. As well as an ice-cream parlour, there’s also a small shop where you can buy the iconic Icelandic Skyr yogurt, as well as a restaurant serving traditional local food.
How to get there: Efstidalur farm is an hour and a half drive from Reykjavik on the Golden Circle route. Address: Bláskógabyggð, 801 Laugarvatn
7. Geothermal Bakery
Have you ever tried bread that’s been baked using only the power of the earth? If you haven’t then Iceland is your chance to do so! Rúgbrauð is a traditional Icelandic rye bread which is baked in a special wooden cask that’s been buried in the ground near a hot geothermal spring. It’s left to bake for 24-hours, and the outcome is a crustless, dark and dense bread that has a slightly sweet flavour. It’s delicious with some butter and is traditionally served with an Icelandic fish stew dish called plokkfiskur. You can also enjoy it with smoked salmon, pickled herring, or cheese.
Laugarvatn Fontana, a geothermal bath some 80km from Reykjavik, and located on the Golden Circle route, offers a unique rye bread experience. Before relaxing in the geothermal waters you can watch how the bread is prepared, as well as how it’s dug up from the hot black sand. You also get the chance to sample it for yourself.
There are two tours a day so make sure you book your tickets in advance. This is definitely an experience worth doing if you’re interested in learning more about this Icelandic bread!
How to get there: Fontana is located on the Golden Circle route, about an hour and fifteen minutes from Reykjavik. The address is: Hverabraut 1, Laugarbraut, 840 Laugarvatn