As a frequent flier, you have doubtless noticed that some airports restrict their duty free items to travellers to non-EU countries and that ranges can be monotonously similar. Often, shops are not open when you have an evening departure and, after your flight has landed, all the shops in town are closed for the night. Not so at Keflavik Airport, where the comprehensive service and tantalising products have earned Keflavik Airport Duty Free Stores the honour of Business Destinations’ Best Airport Tax Free Shopping Service Provider, Europe, 2013.
Founded in 1958, duty free in Iceland has grown to three shops and a fashion store in the departure lounge and, unusually, one in the arrivals area of Keflavik International Airport too. They provide products from cosmetics to confectionery, electronics to music, wine to fashion and more – a large proportion produced by skilled craftspeople from Iceland’s 320,000-strong population. Crucially, the shops are open for all flights, both outgoing and incoming, with staff always available to offer suggestions and advice.
Iceland used to be Europe’s best-kept secret, but now its doors are wide open to visitors, revealing a culturally advanced society, stunning landscapes and beautiful, pollution-free nature that is the envy of the world. Its musicians, artists and designers have won worldwide recognition for their quality and style. Annual festivals, such as Icelandic Airwaves and Design March, attract large audiences.
The exponential growth of tourism in recent years has fuelled a demand for Icelandic products. The Duty Free Fashion shop is a highlight in the departure lounge, offering the latest creations for both men and women by dynamic local designer labels. This includes the elegant ‘slow fashion’ brand, Ella, created by Elínrós Lindal and a team of talented Icelandic women who understand and appreciate elegance and quality.
The exponential growth of tourism in recent years has fuelled a demand for Icelandic products
Farmers’ Market, with its strong ties to the vibrant Icelandic music and design scene, draws on its Icelandic roots to combine classic Nordic design with chic modernity. Huginn Muninn’s unconventional shirts are crafted with traditional tools by skilled tailors, who apply the patience, honesty and timeless expertise of their tailoring heritage.
Then, there is RE101, whose collection is proof that ethnic and environmental correctness, quality and timeless design can be brought together in harmony using strong, locally produced fish skin to make hand-crafted shoes in vibrant colours with the natural patterns and smoothness of the salmon. Every shoe is handmade by artisans in a traditional family-run business. KronKron offers a range of dramatically coloured ladies’ scarves, tights and leggings, dresses and shoes that are both comfortable and eye-catching.
Alongside these unique Icelandic labels are top international brands such as Boss, Burberry, Mulberry and Spaniard Chie Mihara’s shoes. These respected brands are available at unbeatable prices.
Besides the fashion store, other duty free stores in Iceland provide practically anything you want. Popular products include the great selection of wines and spirits, such as Reyka and Katla vodkas, Tópas and Opal Vodka shots, Fjallagrasa and Birkir shots, Björk Liqueur, Blueberry, Rhubarb and Crowberry Liqueurs, and naturally, the Viking, Boli and award-winning Egils Gull beers.
Confectionery is well represented too, with top chocolatier Haflidi’s hand-made chocolates and truffles, the Noi Sirius and Freyja ranges of sweets and liquorice, and a wide range of well-known brands that make the perfect treat when you land – if only you can resist temptation during your flight…
For the young – and young at heart – jigsaw puzzles of beautiful Icelandic landscapes, wildlife such as the horses, lambs and puffins, make lifelong gifts. A range of traditional toys and stuffed animals make great souvenirs that children will cherish.
Land of health and herbs
Icelandic herbal oils and cosmetics sit next to international brands, offering health-giving herbal benefits from the country’s mountains, pristine valleys and hot springs. Brands include Sóley Organic, Blue Lagoon, Dr Bragi, Zopure, Una and Purity Herbs along with fragrances by Ella, Gyðja and True Viking.
Recent Icelandic breakthroughs, built on 10 years of biotechnology research, have introduced a new concept in skincare, called BIOeffect. The EGF cellular activator, a protein copied from human skin, tells the skin to speed up its renewal process. A revolutionary creation from leading biochemistry and dermatology specialists, the serum and day cream nourish and replenish cells, bringing a youthful glow to even the most stressed or sensitive skin, without harmful chemical compounds.
The shops are both duty-free and tax-free and are open to all passengers of both departing and arriving flights, day and night, with competitive prices that are frequently the cheapest in Europe. These discounts apply regardless of what passport you hold or which country you are flying to or from. That’s the nice touch of the Vikings. Keflavik Airport is also comfortable and warm, heated by geothermal energy from the peninsula, so you can shop in comfort, no matter what the weather outside.
The arrivals shop is found right by the luggage carousels, so it’s both quick and easy to do your shopping while your luggage is being unloaded. The wine, spirits and beers section is the largest in the country and up to 50 percent cheaper than city prices.
Of course, if you’re visiting any local residents during your stay, they will appreciate that you took the time to stock up – they’re Vikings, after all! Whether starting your holiday, stopping over, or ending your trip, the airport’s duty free stores will give you lasting warm memories of the Land of Fire and Ice.
For more information visit www.kefairport.is/English/ShopsRestaurants