The event calendar in Reykjavík City is jam-packed with festivals, parades, citywide celebrations and much more.
Here below are big highlights of the year, but once you know your dates, you can find out what else is going down in the capital.
Originally an event for Icelandic composers to premiere new work, the festival now includes a host of international composers and performers with most concerts held at Harpa, Reykjavík’s illustrious, new concert hall.
The Winter Lights Festival shakes the city awake in the sleepy midwinter darkness. The Festival celebrates both winter and the growing light after a long period of darkness. The program is a mixture of art and industry, the environment and history, sports and culture. The events are usually free of charge.
Food & Fun brings chefs of note from all over the world to Iceland and pairs them with local chefs to create exciting new dishes based on Icelandic ingredients. It’s a thrilling time to be in the city and everyone is either heading out for a legendary meal or recovering from one.
As a Nordic country, design occupies a special place for the nation, although the Icelandic design is markedly different than its Scandinavian counterparts. During these days Reykjavík crackles with creative energy with exhibitions, workshops and other events all over town.
On June 17, 1944, the Republic of Iceland was officially established as Iceland claimed its independence from Denmark, and the day had been celebrated as Iceland’s National Day ever since. Festivities are organized across the country.
The city’s artwork overflows from Reykjavík’s museums and runs out into the streets. The entire capital becomes the stage for a citywide, month-long exhibition with installations and performance pieces around every corner.
Secret Solstice is an annual four-day festival during featuring a lineup of up-and-coming performers alongside established performers. It’s quite a show.
The Festival of the Sea is an extension of Fishermen’s Day which held on the first Sunday in June. The celebration reflects Iceland’s heritage as a nation with close ties to the sea. The program centred around the Old Harbor includes family-friendly events with a fishy theme.
This colourful event brings tens of thousands of people into the city centre every year to show solidarity with Iceland’s LGBTQ community. The festival is also one of the most vibrant and popular events in Reykjavík’s cultural calendar.
Since 1996, Reykjavík has been celebrating its multitude of talent and rich history with Culture Night, an extravaganza evening where the city explodes with cultural events across numbers of venues. All festival events are free of charge.
The Reykjavík Marathon is held during the day of Reykjavíks’ Culture Night. The marathon itself of run on flat, well-paved roads and is a family event with a choice of courses.
The annual Jazz Festival is an increasingly prestigious event in the international jazz scene at the end of summer.
For over a week all of Iceland goes to the movies to see what their countrymen have cooked up over the year as well as a full lineup of international films.
Iceland Airwaves is by far Iceland’s largest music festival with over 200 acts, drawing thousands of music fans and the music press from all around the world to Reykjavík for a 4-day, all-you-can-rock citywide concert.