Reykjavik Events and Festivals

(Reykjavik, Capital Area, Iceland)

Crowds gathering for a festival in Reykjavik's city centreMany traditional events, important festivals and seasonal activities take place each year in Reykjavik and play an integral part in preserving its rich heritage, offering endless things to see and do. Each February, Bolludagur (Bun Day) is a particular favourite with the Icelandic locals and is in keeping with their love of food and drink.

Lovers of the theatre will enjoy a trip to one of the regular shows at the Icelandic Opera House (Islenska Óperan), the Reykjavik City Theatre (Borgarleikhusid) and also the National Theatre of Iceland, which is located on the Lindargata. Festival goers should look out for the Independence Day each June, the Reykholt Music Festival in July, and the Menningarnótt (Culture Night), which has become known for its carnival atmosphere, street entertainment and dazzling fireworks.

Reykjavik Calendar of Festivals and Events 2014 / 2015


  • Thorrablot - mid-January to mid-February, feasting with a definite Viking theme, with plenty of hearty Viking-inspired food and drink, along with loud music and raucous dancing


  • Food and Fun Festival - throughout February, attracting many leading chefs from around the world, who cook at restaurants throughout the city for this week-long gastronomic event
  • Winter Lights Festival - throughout February, something to brighten up the long and dark winter months, based at Laugardalur Park
  • Bolludagur (Bun Day) - mid-February, featuring a range of tasty cakes, sweets and chocolate from various shops, bakeries, cafes and other eateries in Reykjavik
  • Sprengidagur (Bursting Day) - mid-February, taking place annually on Shrove Tuesday, when locals enjoy hearty meals before the lengthy period of lent


  • Beer Day - March 1st, an opportunity to sample many beers from the breweries throughout Iceland. Beer Day also remembers the country's relatively recent abolition of prohibition in the late 1980s


  • First Day of Summer Festival - mid-April, a historic Icelandic event heralding the arrival of warmer weather, with sports, live music, processions, dancing and markets


  • Listahátio i Reykjavik (Arts Festival) - May and June, held every other year since the early 1970s and featuring a host of colourful events and exhibitions of art
  • Rite of Spring Music Festival - throughout May, a popular alternative music event with a range of concerts, showcasing everything from jazz to folk music


  • Iceland Air Horse Festival - June and July, something for equestrian lovers everywhere, with everything from horse racing and show jumping, to trade stands selling an array of equestrian-related goods
  • Sjomannadagur (Festival of the Sea) - early June, also often referred to as the 'Seaman's Day' and celebrating the region's rich maritime heritage, with boat races, entertainment and live music concentrated around Reykjavik Harbour
  • Independence Day - mid-June, a national holiday throughout Iceland, held each year on June 17th and featuring a procession through the streets, along with various parties, live music and other events
  • Summer Solstice - late June, held on the longest day of the year, when many bars stay open all through the night, when the midnight sun shines


  • Reykholt Music Festival - mid-July, held over a weekend each July and based around the city's historic Church of Reykholt, where a number of classical music concerts take place
  • Reykjavik Accordion Festival - throughout July, this historic instrument has long been an important part of Iceland's heritage and is played in front of large audiences at venues such as the Arbaejarsafn


  • Verslunnarmannahelgi (Labour Day Weekend) - early August, celebrated throughout Iceland and a great excuse for a party. Many concerts take place around Reykjavik
  • Hinsegin Dagar (Gay Pride) - mid-August, an important gay pride procession, with countless costumed participants, live music, dancing and plenty of parties, lasting around four days in total
  • Menningarnótt (Culture Night) - mid-August, one of Reykjavik's biggest festivals, resembling a carnival and features many street entertainers, waterfront fireworks and plenty of food stalls
  • Reykjavikur Marathon Glitnis (Reykjavik Marathon) - mid-August, both international athletes and Icelandic runners compete in a number of different races, passing through the streets of the city centre
  • Tango on ICEland Festival - late August to early September, a rather surprising opportunity to enjoy some exceptional Argentinean dancing, with the tango being a particular crowd pleaser


  • Rettir (Sheep and Horse Roundup) - early to mid-September, a chance to watch some Icelandic sheep herding as the holiday season comes to an end
  • Iceland Jazz Festival (Jazzhátio Reykjavikur) - late September to early October, a series of well-supported jazz concerts performed by many leading jazz musicians from Iceland, throughout Europe and beyond
  • Reykjavik International Film Festival (Kvimyndahátio i Reykjavik) - late September to early October, first held in 1996 and now lasting a total of ten days, with international film screenings at various central cinemas and theatres


  • Iceland Airwaves - mid-October, a true showcase of Icelandic music at its very best, with countless concerts held all around the centre of Reykjavik and often attracting big names


  • Unglist - early November, lasting ten days, this is an established festival first held in the early 1990s for young, up-and-coming artists, photographers, dancers and musicians


  • Yule Festival and Celebrations - early December to January 6th, seasonal Christmas festivities take place all around Reykjavik, including a range of colourful decorations and Christmas trees, along with plenty of parties, live music and more besides