Traveling in Iceland as a Vegetarian or Vegan

30. January 2017
Vegan food

This one goes out to all you veggies and vegans out there, specifically the ones that had the bright idea to come to Iceland. Have you ever wondered what it might be like to travel to Iceland AND find all the things you want to eat? Wonder no more, we are going to tell you all about it!

In Reykjavík

For much of its history, Iceland and Icelanders have had quite a coarse diet that was largely based on meat, dairy, and root vegetables. In many ways, this is still true. 

However, being a small nation, change happens fast, and in recent times a considerable array and availability of vegetarian and vegan food have become available from a number of outlets around town, that is to say, Reykjavík, such as Heilsuhusid. You will find a range of organic and healthy foods and supermarkets like KrónanNettó, and the Hagkaup. There are some great vegetarian and vegan restaurants in town such as Glo, Café Vinyl and for some amazing vegan ice cream try Joylato (they freeze their fresh ingredients using liquid nitrogen!) as well as great sorbets from Valdís.

Here's another tip, if you want to try a world-famous Icelandic hot dog or "pylsur", but don't want to have the meat version, try an Icelandic "Bulsur". We have it on excellent authority (our own tastebuds) that they are very good!

Icelandic vegan hot dogs

Heading out

Heading out of the Capitol, things becomes a little bit more tricky. Many of the towns outside of Reykjavík have surprising availability of healthy, organic, and vegan food, especially on the south coast. However, many towns in Iceland will also be too small to carry such provisions, so the savvy traveler needs to make sure they are well stocked-up from the capitol or the nearest large town before they hit the road for a very long time.

Foggy road

The Highlands favors the Prepared!

If you are heading out into the Icelandic highlands, apart from a VERY small “mountain mall” in Landmannalaugar, which is very expensive, you will need to take everything you need with you, the includes fuel for the car. So make sure you pack and plan ahead carefully for all the things you need while in Iceland. 

Hiking up the mountains

Make sure to let us know!

If you are heading out on tour with a tour operator, even if it's a day trip, you should find out if food is included in the tour and if it is, ensure that you inform your tour operator (that includes us, Icelandic Mountain Guides) about any dietary requirements that you might have. This may cost a little extra, usually a daily supplement, but you will have the right food for you.

Icelandic Mountain Guides accommodate a range of dietary requirements, so long as there is some advance warning. A lot of time and planning goes into our tours, making sure that we have exactly the right food, we know how important it is to eat right on tour!

About the Author

Joseph Mattos-Hall

Hailing from London and born into a British/Brazilian/Italian household, Joseph came to Iceland originally to complete a master’s degree in Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Iceland: the rest is history.

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