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A Complete Guide to Celebrating New Year's Eve in Iceland

If you're looking for a unique and unforgettable way to ring in the New Year, then Iceland might just be the destination for you. New Year's Eve in Iceland is celebrated in a big way with fireworks, bonfires, and traditional Icelandic food.

The festivities last well into the early morning hours and offer a chance to experience the country's rich culture and traditions. In this guide to New Year's Eve in Iceland, we'll take you through everything you need to know to make the most of this magical night.

 New Year's Eve in Iceland

What Do Icelanders Do on New Year's Eve?

New Year's Eve in Iceland is a unique and unforgettable experience that should be on everyone's bucket list. Icelanders take their New Year's Eve traditions seriously, with impressive fireworks displays, bonfires, and traditional Icelandic food at the center of the festivities.

The Iceland New Year's fireworks show is a significant highlight of the night, starting at around 8:30 pm and lasting for several hours. It culminates in a breathtaking display at midnight, where the sky lights up with various colors and sparkles. Bonfires are also an essential part of Iceland's New Year's Eve celebrations. There, people gather to share stories, sing songs, and enjoy traditional Icelandic food.

If you plan to visit the country during the winter season, don't miss the opportunity to experience Iceland's New Year traditions. The celebrations offer a glimpse into Iceland's rich culture and traditions, making it an unforgettable experience. For more information on Iceland's winter activities, check out our Iceland in the Winter guide.

New Year's Eve in Reykjavik

New Year's Eve in Reykjavik is a festive and exciting event that brings locals and tourists together to celebrate the start of a new year. The city comes alive with street parties, live music, and dazzling fireworks displays that light up the sky over the city.

Reykjavik's main fireworks show at midnight is a spectacular sight not to be missed. Visitors can gather in designated areas around the city to watch the display and join in the celebrations. Bonfires are also an important part of the festivities, where people gather to warm up, share stories, and enjoy traditional Icelandic food.

New Year's Eve in Reykjavik is an excellent time to experience Iceland's unique traditions and culture. If you plan to spend New Year's Eve in Iceland, include Reykjavik's New Year's Eve celebrations in your itinerary. For more travel tips and information on the best time to visit Iceland, check out our Best Time to Visit Iceland guide.

Reykjavik new years eve

Bonfires in Reykjavík on New Year's Eve

In Reykjavik, New Year's Eve bonfires are a large part of the festivities. Icelanders celebrate by lighting up the night sky with vibrant fireworks and bonfires. Whether you're a local or a visitor, the bonfires provide a warm gathering place to socialize with friends and family while taking in stunning city views.

The smell of burning wood fills the air as people of all ages huddle around the fires, exchanging traditional Icelandic holiday treats and cheering each other on as they prepare for the countdown to midnight.

As the clock strikes twelve, the sky erupts in a dazzling display of fireworks that illuminates the entire city. If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind New Year's Eve experience, gather around one of Reykjavík's bonfires and celebrate with the locals.


Áramótaskaup is an annual New Year's Eve comedy show that has been a beloved tradition in Iceland since 1966. The show features a satirical take on the year's events, mocking politicians, celebrities, and other notable figures. It is broadcast on national television, and almost everyone in Iceland tunes in to watch it while waiting for the clock to strike midnight.

The show has become so popular that it is now considered an essential part of the New Year's Eve celebrations in Iceland. Many people plan their evenings around it. Áramótaskaup has played a significant role in Icelandic culture and society, offering a humorous and critical reflection on the country's current affairs.

Its popularity has only grown over the years. It is now considered an iconic part of New Year's Eve in Iceland. Watching the show has become a part of the annual ritual for many Icelanders. Visitors can also enjoy the unique and hilarious experience of Áramótaskaup to get a taste of Icelandic humor and satire.

Iceland new years traditions

Should You Celebrate New Year's Eve in Iceland?

Traveling to Iceland for New Year's Eve is an unforgettable experience. The country offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural festivities that make it a perfect destination for anyone looking to celebrate the new year uniquely.

Iceland's new year's celebrations are known for their incredible fireworks displays, bonfires, and traditional food. In addition to the festivities, Iceland is also a great place to see the northern lights, which are often visible during the winter months. This natural wonder adds an extra element of excitement to the new year celebrations.

If you are interested in traveling to Iceland for New Year's Eve, then you should check out some New years in Iceland packages that offer a complete experience. These packages often include accommodations, transportation, and access to various events and activities. They are an excellent way to make sure you get the most out of your visit, and they also provide a great way to save money.

Best Places to Watch Iceland's New Years Fireworks

Iceland's New Year's fireworks are world-famous for their incredible displays of light and color, and there are plenty of great places to watch them. Whether you want a bird's-eye view of the city or a cozy spot on the ground, there's a perfect place for everyone.

Here are some of the best places to watch the Iceland New Year's fireworks:

  • Perlan - Öskjuhlíð: This popular spot offers a fantastic view in all directions and is a great location to catch the fireworks display.

  • Víghóll - Kópavogur: This hill in Kópavogur is usually packed with people of all ages and is a great place to experience the lively atmosphere of Iceland's New Year's fireworks.

  • Hallgrímskirkja - Skólavörðuholt: The famous church is a downtown location that provides the perfect vantage point to see Iceland's fireworks. The surrounding area is always buzzing with excitement and festivities.

  • Fireworks cruises: For a unique experience, consider a fireworks cruise, which allows you to see the fireworks display from the sea while enjoying a party atmosphere with champagne and warm overalls.

Iceland fireworks

Safety Tips for Celebrating New Year's Eve in Iceland

Celebrating New Year's Eve in Iceland can be an unforgettable experience, but it's important to stay safe while doing so. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Dress appropriately: Iceland can be very cold, especially at night, so wear warm clothing, including a hat, gloves, and a jacket.

  • Wear comfortable shoes: If you plan to be out and about all night, wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking on icy sidewalks.

  • Be mindful of fireworks: Iceland's New Year's fireworks are beautiful, but they can also be dangerous. Always follow the instructions on fireworks packages and avoid setting them off near other people, animals, or buildings.

  • Stay with a group: If possible, celebrate with a group of friends or family members to stay safe and have a great time.

  • Leave your car: Avoid driving or parking your car during New Year's Eve festivities, as the streets can be especially crowded. Consider taking taxis instead.

New Year's Day in Iceland

New Year's Day in Iceland is a time for relaxation and recovery after the festive celebrations of the night before. Here are some of the things you can expect to see and do:

  • Take a dip in the Blue Lagoon: The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland's most popular attractions and is a great way to relax and unwind after the previous night's festivities. Just be sure to book your tickets in advance!

  • Enjoy traditional Icelandic food: Many restaurants and cafés offer special New Year's Day menus featuring traditional Icelandic dishes, such as hangikjöt (smoked lamb) and laufabrauð (leaf bread).

  • Attend a New Year's Day concert: Reykjavik hosts a variety of New Year's Day concerts featuring local musicians, which can be a great way to start the year off on a high note. From classical music to jazz, there is something for everyone.

  • Take a walk: Many Icelanders take a walk on New Year's Day to enjoy the crisp winter air and beautiful scenery. It's a great way to get some exercise and clear your head.

Santa Klaus at Jokulsarlon

Frequently Asked Questions About New Year's in Iceland

Is Iceland good for New Year?

Yes, Iceland's New Year's celebrations are unique and memorable. The country offers a variety of activities, fireworks displays, bonfires, and traditional food that make it the perfect destination. Additionally, December in Iceland is an ideal month to visit as it offers a chance to witness the northern lights.

Can I buy fireworks in Iceland for New Year?

Yes, you can buy fireworks in Iceland for New Year, but only from December 28 to January 6. The sale of fireworks in Iceland is limited and individuals need to obtain a permit to purchase and use them. Iceland's fireworks sales support the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue.

What restaurants in Reykjavik can you recommend for New Year's Eve?

The best Reykjavik New Year's Eve restaurants we recommend are Grillmarkadurinn, Fish Market, and Sjávargrillid. These restaurants offer a range of traditional Icelandic dishes and international delicacies.

What to wear during New Year's in Iceland?

When celebrating New Year's Eve in Iceland, it is essential to dress for the cold weather. We recommend wearing layers of clothing to keep warm, such as a wool sweater or jacket, warm trousers, and thick socks. Additionally, you should wear comfortable waterproof boots since snow may be on the ground.

How does Iceland celebrate New Year's?

Iceland celebrates New Year's with various festive activities, such as bonfires and fireworks.

The festivities usually involve plenty of fireworks, bonfires, and traditional foods. People in Iceland often gather to watch the Áramótaskaup show, which provides a satirical look at the year's news.

Unforgettable Experiences Await You in Iceland on New Year's Eve

Spending New Year's Eve in Iceland is an unforgettable experience that should be on everyone's bucket list. From the spectacular fireworks displays to the unique traditions and warm hospitality, Iceland has something special to offer every traveler. To make the most of your trip, consider renting a car in Iceland. Public transport is limited during the holidays, and renting a car will allow you to explore the country at your own pace.



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