Iceland is more than a place of natural beauty and unbelievable landscapes. Iceland is actually a place of fascinating history and culture, meaning there are tons of wonderful museums, galleries, tours, and events each year that captivate locals and tourists alike.
No matter what time of year you’re planning to visit Iceland, there is sure to be at least one event or festival for you to enjoy while you’re here. We’ve pulled together the best annual events in Iceland so you can be sure to not miss out!
Reykjavík Winter Lights Festival – Each year in early February, Reykjavik comes to life with light. This fantastic festival marks the return of the light after the long period of winter darkness each year in Iceland. The festival is full of bright light installations set up all over the city, which are displayed onto buildings. There are also plenty of activities to take part in throughout the city where you can appreciate these glowing artistic creations. You can find more details here.
Sónar Reykjavík – This music festival every spring is a must-see for those who enjoy hip hop, advanced music and electronica. Taking place each year at the iconic Harpa Concert Hall, the event is intimate, and tickets are highly sought-after with less than 4,000 attendees each night. The festival showcases new talent from Iceland and abroad and is a fantastic way for music fans to experience what Iceland has to offer. More information can be found here.
Iceland Winter Games, Akureyri - Each year the Iceland Winter Games come to Iceland’s northern capital, Akureyri. The Iceland Winter Games are home to some fantastic competitions, including free skiing and snowboarding. Don’t miss the Sled Dogs Freestyle, Snow Volleyball or the Mountain Bike Downhill! The picturesque setting of Akureyri only adds to the charm of the event, with the dramatic mountains and fjords against the backdrop. More details about the Games are available here.
Children’s Culture Festival – For those travelling with children in April, the Reykjavik Children’s Culture Festival is a fantastic way to add wonderful memories to the trip. Reykjavik comes alive with activities and performances for children. From music and storytelling to dance, there is no end to all the fantastic ways children can enjoy the arts during this festival. You can find out more here.
Viking Festival, Hafnarfjörður – For visitors keen to learn more about Iceland’s history, the Viking Festival is the perfect event. Each June, the town of Hafnarfjörður (not far from Reykjavik) takes a step back in time to when Vikings ruled Iceland. The festival takes place over 5 days and shares various aspects of Viking culture, including food, weapons, music and much more. The market provides an excellent spot to pick up unique gifts and souvenirs. Find out more here.
Secret Solstice Festival, Reykjavík – Perhaps Iceland’s most famous festival, Secret Solstice takes place each June over the summer solstice. This unforgettable music festival takes place at the height of the Icelandic summer during the midnight sun, when Iceland sees no darkness. Each year the Secret Solstice Festival has superstar headliners and other up and coming talent that music lovers visiting Iceland won’t want to miss. More details and full line-up can be found here.
Reykjavík Beikon Festival – During the summer, bacon lovers unite on the streets of Reykjavik and take part in the Beikon Festival. That’s right, an entire festival surrounding bacon. There are a variety of activities and plenty of chances to taste traditional and unique bacon dishes amid a lively atmosphere with music and plenty of opportunities to socialise. Though the festival skipped 2017, we are hoping to see it again in 2019! You can find out more here.
Iceland Airwaves Music Festival, Reykjavík – This annual music festival is another top event in the Icelandic calendar. If you’re visiting Iceland in October and are crazy about music, you won’t want to miss this festival. Airwaves is unique in that it takes place across many venues, including Harpa, but also bars and clubs across town. Iceland Airwaves attracts some of the world’s top talent, like Iceland’s own Björk, making it worth catching if you’re in Iceland at the time.