Year Round | Winter | Spring | Summer

Year Round

Museums -  Visual arts are very popular in Iceland. Reykjavik is home to more than  a dozen museums and art galleries, and there are over 50 more throughout the rest of the country. The artwork ranges from modern pieces by modern artists, to Icelandic art dating from the turn of the century.  Icelandic artists get their inspirations from the unique nature and culture of their homeland, as well as foreign influences.

Icelandic Theater - Reykjavik offers two full time Theater companies performing at the National Theater and the Reykjavik City Theater.  Plays are in Icelandic but many are internationally known as well as original productions by Icelandic playwrights. 

The National Theater, Reykjavik 
phone # 551 - 1200 & fax #: 551 - 1204. 
The Reykjavik City Theater 
phone #: 568 - 8000 & fax #: 568 - 0383.


Christmas - Iceland is a real treat for children at Christmas when no less than 13 Santa Clauses come to town bearing food and gifts on Christmas Eve. And if this isn't enough excitement, there is also a tradition known as "Shoe in the Window." This tradition begins on the evening of December first when all the children in Iceland place their best shoe in their bedroom window before they go to sleep. 'If' they have been good that day, they  receive a special treat from Santa Clause in their shoe. This continues every day until Christmas. Other than these customs the holiday is celebrated in much the same way as elsewhere around the world with the exchange of gifts and a festive meal, often ptarmigan, a game bird, or smoked lamb, eaten on Christmas Eve.

New Year's Eve - New Year's Eve is a great celebration in Iceland which culminates at midnight with a spectacular display of fireworks as well as bonfire parties held by many communities.

Thorri (February) - Iceland still celebrates many of the old Viking traditions. A good example of this is the Thorrablot which takes place during the entire month of February. During this month the Vikings celebrated with great feasts and plenty of dancing and singing because February was the fourth month of winter which meant that spring would be returning soon. Therefore restaurants and homes alike feature special menus with some of the old traditional Viking foods. Some of these delicacies include Slatur, which is sheep's blood pudding rolled in lard and sewn up in the stomach,  as well as Svith, which is a half boiled lamb's head, and of course everybody's favorite, pickled ram's testicles. Of course these foods are not part of the normal diet of Icelanders, but they are very adamant about holding on to their Viking heritage. Visit Iceland in Febuary ; it is well worth experiencing.

Beer Day (March 1st) - National Beer Day celebrates a 75 year long prohibition of beer which ended on March 1st, 1989. Highly festive celebrations are held at  pubs, restaurants, and clubs all around Iceland, as now Icelanders are one of the world's leading beer drinkers.

Trout Fishing Season (Apr. 1 till Sept. 20th) -  Anglers from all over the world have long sought out the unusually fresh lakes and rivers of Iceland.  Fishing permits may be purchased at short notice in numerous rivers and lakes.  For advice and permit arrangements contact The Angling Club of Iceland Phone #: 568 - 6050.
"Miss Iceland" Contest (end of May) - Miss Iceland is a very popular and highly publicized event in Iceland. Beautiful young girls from all over the country compete for this prestigious title. The crowned winner then goes off to the Miss World contest  where she will hopefully follow in the high-heeled footsteps of her predecessors, Hofi Karlsdottir Miss World 1986, and Linda Petursdottir Miss World 1989. 


Puffin Season -  Bird watchers and nature lovers alike flock every Spring to the Westmann Islands (20 miles south of Iceland) to view the return of the Puffin - or Lundi  from its long winter at sea. During this time millions of Puffins, the clowns of the sea, return to nest and lay eggs. Then in August a sight not to be missed is the flight of the puffling, when the young leave their nests and test their wings for the very first time. 

Reykjavik Arts Festival (May 16 - June 7th) - First held in 1970, this takes place every other year for 3 weeks in June. This international experience of art and culture  features music, theatre, visual arts, opera and ballet and attracts national as well as famous  international artists and performers.

Salmon Fishing Season (early June through mid-September) - Clean air and water are two of Iceland's major natural resources, both crucial reasons why there is a rich and proud tradition for producing some of the world's most delicious salmon.  Salmon fishing in Icelandic rivers is in great demand, so it is advisable to book at least 2-3 months in advance. For advice and permit arrangements contact: 

The Angling Club of Iceland 
Phone #: 568 - 6050.


Light Nights (June through Aug.) - A live theater and audiovisual presentation based on Icelandic Sagas, historical events, folklore and music through the ages. Shows every day except Sunday at 9pm in Reykjavik at the Tjarnarbio Theater. Phone #: 561 - 0280 & fax #: 561 - 0210.

Sjomannadagur or Sefarererīs day ( June 6)  is the greatest celebration of the year in many fishing villages. Often a holiday for the whole villiage and always for seamen, there are rowing and swimming races and a chance for the young and not so young to test their skill and strength in contests from tugs of war to sea rescue. A fun filled and light hearted occasion with lots going on.

Icelandic Independence Day ( June 17) - The day in 1944 when the country declared full independence from Denmark. The greatest celebrations are in Reykjavik with parades, street theaters and music, side shows and dancing, but throughout the country the day is a festive occasion.

Arctic Open International Golf Tournament (June 24 -27) - Sponsored by the Akureyri Golf Club, The Arctic Open is a four-day championship event open to both professional and amateur golfers. This mid-summer night golf tournament is a 36 hole international match held among the majestic snow capped mountains of Akureyri. Participants will tee off in the evening and play through the night thanks to the never setting midnight sun. For more information contact:

The Akureyri Golf Club, Jadi - Phone #: 462 - 2974 & fax #: 462 - 3846 or e-mail 

Harbour Days - During four days at the end of June, the old Reykjavik Harbor is a beautiful background to the fishmarket and maritime exhibition. The festivities include entertainment programs and a fairground.
July 8th and 9th - Jerry Seinfeld. Many people may be wondering what Seinfeld will be doing now that he has put an end to his highly successful television show, "Seinfeld." Well one thing he will be doing is travelling to Iceland!  Jerry Seinfeld must have really enjoyed his vacation to Iceland last summer because he is returning this summer to put on four performances of his Stand Up act at the Haskolabio in Reykjavik. Icelanders, who are already big fans of his syndicated sit-com, "Seinfeld," are even now looking forward to this comedic experience. Hasklolabio Phone #:   552 - 2140 & fax #: 562 - 7135.

Landsmot, or The National Tournament of Icelandic Horsemen (Jul 8 - 12) - Held at Melgerdismelar in Akureyri, Northern Iceland, this is the largest gathering of horse enthusiasts in Iceland. Iceland has more than 100,000 horses, many of which are wild. The Icelandic Viking horse is a pure breed that has not changed since the Vikings rode on them a thousand years ago. They are an extremely friendly species which live to be thirty years old, so they are a friend for life. Phone #: 462 - 7733 & fax #: 461 - 1817.

Verslunnarmannahelgi or Labor Day Weekend (August 1-3rd) - The first weekend in August is a long weekend throughout Iceland and everything is shut on the Monday. Icelanders by the thousands take to their cars and head out of town to camp in the wilds or join in one of the organized events that are held throughout the country. These range from teetotaling family festivities to to outdoor loud rock festivals. 

Reykjavik Marathon (August 23rd) - This annual event involves thousands of participants from Iceland and abroad. Marathon proper, half marathon and a so called fun run (4.3 miles). Phone #: 568 - 5525 & fax #: 581 - 3686.

Symphony Season starts in September and continues through until the beginning of Summer in June. The Icelandic Symphony Orchestra has for many years been a cornerstone of Icelandic musical life, and the orchestra enjoys great, and well deserved, popularity among Icelanders and foreigners alike. At their Carnegie Hall debut the orchestra  received rave reviews from music critic Alex Ross of the New York Times who said, "..the performance was tense, severe, fiercely expressive…staggeringly good."  The Icelandic Symphony Orchestra has already made ten records for international market. Weekly concerts are performed with various conductors and featured artists from all over the world. Phone #: 562 - 2255 & fax #: 562 - 4475.

September - Opera Iceland has its own Opera Company performing in the smallest (250 seats) and northernmost Opera House in the world. Performances begin in September and run until Easter. The Icelandic Opera phone #: 551 - 1475.

Rettir  or Sheep and Horse Round up. During the month of September farmers set off on Horseback to gather up their sheep that have grazed freely in the highlands over the summer.  When the sheep are brought down to the lowlands they are herded into pens and sorted. The end of this major event in the farming calendar is celebrated on Sep 11 in Aratunga, South Iceland with singing, dancing, and general festivities.


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