Kringlan – a world of happy Icelandic shopping

Kringlan  was Iceland’s first shopping mall, built in the 1980’s. Given how popular malls were back where I lived in the 80’s, I can only imagine how exciting it must have seemed at the time to get this new mall. The name Kringlan implies something round and a circular mall would be quite interesting, so you might be disappointed to learn that it isn’t round at all and is just named after the marsh it is built on.

You may have noticed that I like buying Icelandic things, and the idea of visiting Kringlan had been on my list of things to do for a while. You have to make a point of making a special trip to Kringlan as it’s not in an area that most tourists would go to. You can take the number 14 bus from the central bus stations Lækjartorg or Hlemmur. Even better, it is only a 15-20 minute walk if you are staying around Rauðarárstígur, and you get to walk through Miklatun Park which is really nice and also home to the one of the Reykjavik Art Museum buildings.

The park - nice setting and no people!

As you get closer to Kringlan, you have to make a few crossings to get across Iceland’s biggest and busiest road, but they’re all traffic light controlled and nothing scary.

WHAT? Traffic in Iceland??

Photo of Miklabraut from Iceland Review


Once there, you will find many of the same shops that you find in the touristy central area of Reyjkavik, along with some interesting homeware shops and international brands. There are also lots of typical mall-type restaurants. My favourite shop was Hagkaup, a hypermarket that carries just about anything you can think of.

Kringlan is well worth a visit, particularly if you have a couple of hours to kill and the weather isn’t great. Be prepared that it doesn’t feel particularly Icelandic and it is just a mall, but it’s an easy way to get all your shopping done in one go. Oh, and there’s also a cinema if you fancy seeing the latest Icelandic films.

There is now a rival mall, Smáralind, in the suburb of Kópavogur. Anyone been there? Is it better/worse than Kringlan?


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