Narration and photos by Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir.
There are few places in the country that are frequented to the same extent as Kolaportið, the Reykjavík flea market.
Many find the chaotic and kitschy atmosphere appealing; others come looking for a bargain. Collectors like browsing through old vinyl records and quite a few people just come there to have a cup of coffee and chat with their friends.
Anyone who is interested can rent a stall at Kolaportið and sell whatever he or she pleases, which makes the flea market so diverse.
Shoppers can find second-hand clothing as well as new clothing items, food products, handicraft, jewelry, antiques, furniture, books, traditional Icelandic products as well as products imported from all around the world.
Among items on sale at Kolaportið are hand-knitted lopapeysa woolen sweaters that have proven quite a hit among foreign tourists.
The food stall is also an attraction where visitors can have a taste of the infamous Icelandic delicacy of putrefied shark.
Also on offer in the seafood section is hardfiskur, dried fish, various creations of graflax, cured salmon, and salted fish along with fresh haddock and cod. Different types of meat can also be bought, including horse meat.
Icelandic potatoes, freshly baked flatkökur (a traditional Icelandic type of flat bread), as well as other types of Icelandic breads and pastries are available and the candy stall selling licorice, chocolates and coconut cream puffs is not to be missed.
There are other interesting products on sale at the food stall, such as teas made from Iceland moss and other Icelandic herbs.
A day of shopping at Kolaportið is often ended with a cup of coffee or a scoop of ice cream at Kaffi Port, the flea market’s café, which yellow walls are adorned with old-fashioned paintings and embroidered pictures.
On the last Sunday of every month, Kolaportið regulars attend a mass in the café.
For those who are still hungry after leaving the market, the world-famous hot dog stand Baejarins beztu is located just outside, where there is always a queue.
Kolaportið opened in 1989 in the facilities of the Central Bank of Iceland. In 1994, the market moved to its current location on the ground floor of the Customs Offices on Tryggvagata, down by the harbor in the city center.
The flea market is open every Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. For more information visit the market’s official website. ESA – [email protected]This multimedia slideshow was originally published in February 2009.