April in Iceland also means Easter, and with that comes public holidays. If you’re travelling here during Easter, it can be helpful to know how these holidays affect certain businesses in the country.
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During a public holiday, it’s important to know what your options are for dining and groceries. The last thing you want is to wake up starving only to find that you have no options for food except a gas station tuna fish sandwich.
See also: April in Iceland
Here are a few tips to help you out this Easter.
Where can you buy groceries in Reykjavík over Easter?
Throughout the Easter weekend, there are quite a few official national holidays. There is also a law that states that no stores are to be open on Good Friday. The reason for this is that traditionally you are not supposed to do fun things or conduct business on this day.
The major grocery stores in Iceland still follow this traditional model. The main grocery store in downtown Reykjavík, Bónus, has the following opening hours over the Easter Weekend.
Thursday 18th April OPEN 10 am to 7 pm
Good Friday 19th April CLOSED
Saturday 20th April OPEN 10 am to 7 pm
Sunday 21th April CLOSED
Monday 22th April 11-18
There are only two days throughout the weekend where the grocery store is closed, but it would still be worth checking on the Thursday or Saturday to see if you’re going to need to stock up on essentials.
If you get caught in a tight spot, there are other options. Iceland’s version of 7/11, which is called 10/11, is usually open on public holidays.
They have a selection of ready-made meals and a small grocery section. You can also buy things like toiletries, cigarettes and travel items here.
The prices are higher than if you were to purchase the same goods from a dedicated grocery store, but if you run out of toothpaste on Good Friday, it is well may be the only option.
Where can you buy liquor in Reykjavík over easter?
The cheapest place to buy booze in Iceland is at the duty-free when you land at Keflavík airport. You can typically tell who are the locals when you land; they will be in the duty-free shop making sure they fill their trolley with the maximum amount permitted.
Once you leave the airport, the only place you are allowed to buy alcohol to take with you is at a government-owned liquor store. These are called ‘Vínbúðin’ and are spread around the entire country.
The Vínbúðin in downtown Reykjavík is located in Austurstræti, the pedestrian street at the end of Laugavegur.
Vinbúðin has limited opening hours for most of the year. They are never open on Sunday, and throughout the week they are typically closed by 7 pm.
Opening hours for Vinbúðin are restricted to only one day over the Easter period, so if you plan on having a few bottles of something to unwind with at the end of an exciting trip, you should take note and stock up.
April 18th Holy Thursday CLOSED
April 19th Good Friday CLOSED
April 20th Easter Saturday OPEN 11 am to 6 pm
April 21th Easter Sunday CLOSED
April 22th Easter Monday CLOSED
Where can you go for dinner and drinks in Reykjavík over Easter?
Traditionally, gambling and drinking are not supposed to happen on these days. Many businesses are closed on Good Friday; however, in the past few years, this has started to change slowly.
Many restaurants and bars started to notice that there was a large number of tourists in the city without options available to them for dining. As a result, there’s a significant number of businesses that now remain open throughout all of Easter.
Bars can apply for a special license to remain open, and a lot of the ones in downtown Reykjavík have started to do this.
Below is a list of places that have let us know they will be open on Good Friday. There are certainly going to be more than these but most of the bar and dining options will be in the centre of town, so it’s worth having a wander to see what strikes you.
Hlemmur Mathöll – Laugavegur 107, 105 Reykjavík (next to the Hlemmur bus terminal)
This food hall has a range of cuisine options to suit most tastes presented in an open market style setting.
Open all of Easter from 7 am to 11 pm
Grandi Mathöll – Grandagarður 16, 101 Reykjavík
The younger brother of Hlemmur Mathöll. This has a similar vibe with a harbour setting.
Open all of easter 7 am to 11 pm
Lebowski Bar – Laugavegur 20a, 101 Reykjavík
Inspired by the movie ‘The Big Lebowski,’ this bar is a favourite with tourists. They specialise in ‘White Russians’ and have a great menu of burgers, fries and sides.
April 19th Good Friday 11:00 am to 4 am
April 20th Easter Saturday 11:00 am to 4 am
April 21st Easter Sunday 11:00 am to 3 am
April 22nd Easter Monday 11:00 am to 1 am
Their kitchen is open every day from 11 am to 10 pm.
Bastard Bar and Brew – Vegamótastígur, 101 Reykjavík
This venue specialises in beer and excellent snack food. They make their own brew, and the vibe is cosy.
April 19th Good Friday 11:30 am to 4 am
April 20th Easter Saturday 11:30 am to 4 am
April 21st Easter Sunday 11:30 am to 4 am
April 22nd Easter Monday 11:30 am to 1 am
Their kitchen serves food all of those days from 11:30 am to 10 pm
Kaffibrennslan – Laugavegur, 101 Reykjavík
A coffee house with a relaxed atmosphere. Their menu has both breakfast and lunch items like waffles and sandwiches. They usually have a large selection of cakes and sweet treats. Brennslan also serves beer, wine and basic mixed drinks.
April 19th Good Friday 9 am to 1 am
April 20th Easter Saturday 9 am to 1 am
April 21st Easter Sunday 9 am to 9 pm
April 22nd Easter Monday 8 am to 11 pm
Hard Rock Cafe – Lækjagata 2A, 101 Reykjavík
This three level venue has a restaurant, bar, merchandise store and basement performance venue. On Good Friday, Faroese pop-funk band ‘Mark the Messenger’ are holding a free concert in the basement at 9 pm
Open all of Easter. 11 am to 10 pm