All year round, there’s something interesting happening in Iceland, both in Iceland’s capital Reykjavik and throughout the country
Spring events in Iceland
Reykjavik Folk Festival takes place at the beginning of March, featuring singing and music from many different countries, performed mostly on acoustic instruments.
“DesignMarch”, Iceland’s most important annual design and architecture festival, takes place in Reykjavik, in March each year. The festival showcases the best of the local design scene alongside exciting international names in design and architecture.
Spring is the perfect season for a birding trip to Iceland, when most bird species are abundant. The Puffin and all other migrant birds have arrived and, at this time year, typically 70-80 species can easily be spotted. Even in downtown Reykjavik you can see vibrant birdlife.
Summer events in Iceland
The First Day of Summer in Iceland is celebrated on the first Thursday after April 18. It’s a national holiday with colourful parades and entertainment in the streets.
Summer in Iceland is an ideal time for exploring Iceland’s nature. Some of the activities include horse riding, bird watching, fishing, sea angling, hiking on glaciers or just relaxing in geothermal pools in the wild. April to mid-September anglers from all over the world seek out the beautiful fresh lakes and rivers of Iceland. Salmon fishing in Icelandic rivers is in particularly great demand, from early June to mid-September.
National Tournament of Icelandic Horsemen (Landsmót hestamanna) usually takes place in June-July and it’s the largest gathering of horse enthusiasts in Iceland.
Seaman’s Day and Festival of the Sea is the greatest celebration of the year in many fishing villages across Iceland, celebrated the first weekend in June, with fun and contests: rowing, swimming, tug of war and sea rescue competitions. All Icelandic fishing vessels are in port and the crews celebrate with their families and visitors.
June 17 is Iceland’s National Day – The Icelandic Independence Day celebrations. They include colourful ceremonies, parades, speeches held out in the open, and also street theatre, sideshows and outdoor dancing in the midnight sun, all around the country.
Autumn events in Iceland
Laufskalarett (Laufskálarétt) in Hjaltadalur in Skagafjord (Skagafjörður), North Iceland, is the most popular horse corral, or round-up, in Iceland. It usually takes place at the end of September and every year it hosts an enormous number of guests.
Iceland's annual sheep round-up (Réttdagur) also takes place during September. Farmers set off on horseback to gather up their sheep from highland pastures, to shelter in the lower fields for the winter. The end of these major events in the farming calendar is celebrated with singing, dancing, and general festivities.
In Reykjavik, autumn is the time of music, dance and film festivals. The Iceland Airwaves Festival is usually held at the end of October (beginning of November), featuring a blend of up-and-coming and long-established Icelandic bands, as well as promising new bands from Europe and the USA. The festival showcases Iceland's alternative/indie musical talent and attracts more visitors to Iceland than any other event.
The work of art Imagine Peace Tower, a light beacon, is lit every year on October 9, on the island of Viðey (Videy) near Reykjavik. Winter schedule for Videy starts in September, with weekend ferry sailings.
Winter events in Iceland
Wintertime in Iceland is both magical and fun. It’s the high season for the Reykjavik cultural scene, with a great variety of museum exhibitions, concerts and theatre shows on offer.
Aurora Borealis, Northern Lights, sightings season is between September and March. Aurora Borealis is best viewed away from the city lights. Taking a Super-Jeep safari to “hunt” for the elusive Northern Lights, while experiencing the stunning Icelandic winter landscapes along the journey, is an unforgettable adventure.
Advent and Christmas in Iceland are a time of exceptional beauty and fairy tale atmosphere. Reykjavik shimmers and sparkles and is full of various events, concerts, markets, arts and crafts exhibitions.
New Year’s Eve festivities in Iceland are simply magnificent. Throughout Iceland, thousands of fireworks illuminate the skyline and enormous bonfires are lit, as people get together to celebrate the arrival of the New Year.
A more detailed list of events in Reykjavik and around Iceland can be found on our Calendar page.