Celebrate New Year's Eve in Iceland

Do you want to celebrate the new year with style and experience the best firework show? Then join us in Iceland for New Year’s Eve. Every year Icelanders buy over 500 tons of firework and at midnight the show begins, something you won't forget and of course then there is the party downtown after the show.

New Year’s Eve is celebrated all over Iceland so wherever you are staying you can go to a bonfire, buy fireworks or just watch the fireworks at midnight. Everyone can buy fireworks on New Year's in Iceland and they are sold by the Icelandic Rescue Team all over the country. Just ask a local or the hotel you are staying at where the closest firework sale is.

The biggest firework show is of course in Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital and largest city. You can see the fireworks from almost everywhere but the best view is from a tall building or an open area. popular places were people often gather around to watch the show is by Hallgrímskirkja church, on the hill by Perlan, by the Reykjavík city hall and the pond or on Sæbraut road by the ocean and the Sun Voyager or Harpa Concert Hall.

Things to do in Reykjavik on New Year's

  • Go to a bonfire - There are usually several bonfires all over Reykjavík for example by Ægissíða street in Vesturbær, Laugardalur valley and by Geirsnef recreational area close to Elliðaár river.
  • Dine out - Many restaurants in Iceland are open on New Year's but they usually get fully booked so we recommend to reserve a table in advance.
  • Watch the fireworks - find the perfect spot to watch the fireworks, dress warmly, bring a blanket and maybe some champagne.
  • Go to a party - Get invited to a local party or go downtown after midnight.
  • Book a tour - New Years Eve tour, bonfire tour or watch the fireworks from the sea.
  • You can also find all kinds of winter tours here.

How Icelanders celebrate New Years

Families or friends usually come together around 6 PM and enjoy eating good food together. It varies what people have for dinner on New Year’s but some common dishes are ham, crackling pork, ptarmigan or smoked lamb. Some people like to dress up with all kinds of hats and masks, it is also popular (especially among the kids) to have inside bombs (they are not dangerous) and all kind of decoration.

After dinner some people to go to a New Year’s bonfire but it has been a tradition for a long time in Iceland and most towns light their own bonfire that usually begins around 8 PM - 8:30 PM. The location for the bonfires are usually announced in the local paper few days before, but you can always ask a local or the hotel you are staying at. Children enjoy going to the bonfires, they often get a sparkler to hold, sometimes the Santa Claus or the Yule Lads show up and some of them end with a firework show that is usually held by the rescue team of Iceland.

Almost everyone are back home by 10 PM and don’t be surprised if the streets are very silent by then and no one is around. At 10:30 PM one of the most popular TV show in Iceland begins, it is called Áramótaskaupið and is a comic show where comedians make fun of the most popular events of the year in Iceland. These are manly events that got a lot of attention in the news and mostly they make fun of the politicians, almost everyone in Iceland watch the show every year. It is possible to watch the show on the national TV station, RÚV.

After the show people get dressed up to go outside and then the firework show begins at midnight. Almost everyone in Iceland fire up at least one firework, some by a lot of it, and then everyone enjoys the fantastic show together. Once all the fireworks have been fired most Icelanders go to home party. In Reykjavík some people go downtown to party, in the past not that many clubs or restaurants were open on New Year’s but that has actually changed. Then people party together until the next morning, whether it is at a home party or downtown.

Happy New Year 

If you are also spending your Christmas in Iceland make sure to check out our Christmas blog.

If you need more information or want us to plan your vacation don't hesitate to contact us - [email protected]

This website uses cookies to provide full user experience. Refer to our Privacy Policy for details. Privacy Policy