Christmas season in Reykjavík
As December graces Reykjavík, envision a world cloaked in glistening snow, where streets twinkle beneath starry skies. The air carries the enticing aroma of Icelandic holiday treats, from freshly baked gingerbread cookies to the comforting embrace of mulled wine in cozy cafes. Reykjavík's Christmas spirit is a visual spectacle, and a joyful immersion. Join us on a journey through cherished holiday traditions, from snowy Christmas walks to the exhilaration of ice skating under Arctic skies. Let Icelandic Christmas magic envelop your senses in this winter wonderland.
Walking around Reykjavik during the holidays is a good way to get in the Christmas mood. We highly recommend you spend an evening walking around the city and checking out all the amazing Christmas decorations. December is the time of year when our days are the shortest and also when snow starts making its appearance on our streets. Therefore it is very likely that there will be some white flurries around that time as you walk around and explore the many lights and decorations both in the city streets and in the windows all around, one of the biggest decorations in the city is the Christmas Cat who usually makes its appearance towards the end of November and lights up Lækjartorg Square. If you get cold you can stop at one of the many coffee houses for a hot chocolate and warm up while soaking in a taste of the Icelandic Christmas spirit. The coffee houses can be found all over the city center or you can grab a hot drink at one of the huts in the Christmas markets. The main street Laugavegur and Skólavörðustígur will be lit up and the store fronts will be displaying their holiday decorations, you might even find that perfect present for your nearest and dearest. For an added sense of fun and whisky during the festive season why not hunt for the Christmas creatures dotted around the city, every year the city of Reykjavik projects the Yule lads onto different buildings around the city for you to find.
Every year in the centre of Reykjavik you can go ice skating. The ice skating rink is located just outside Center Hotels Plaza, at Ingólfstorg. Ice skating has become a part of the Christmas tradition for many Icelanders that look forward to visiting the ice rink each year. Christmas music and decorations around the rink will get you in the right mood. Closeby you will also find a small Christmas market that sells miscellaneous items and refreshments in the spirit of the season. Skating is for free if you bring your own skates, but you can rent ice skates and helmets on site. Click here for more info.
If you want to get that cosy holiday feeling then what better way then to sit comfortably with a bucket of popcorn and watch some of your favourite holiday movies. Bíó Paradís is the last remaining functioning cinema in the city center and they offer regular screenings of indie movies and old classics. We recommend you check out their Friday screening events but especially the Christmas movies being screened during the holidays. In December, Bíó Paradís will display all the best traditional Christmas movies such as “It´s a wonderful life”, “Home Alone” or even “Die Hard” for the action movie junkies.
During the holiday season you can find a few Christmas markets around the capital area, Hjartatorg square located in the heart of Reykjavík is one of them and it will be loaded with Christmas spirit in December. There you will be able to purchase handcrafted items, souvenirs, food and other products related to the holidays. Another popular Christmas market is the one in the town of the elves also known as Hafnarfjörður which also offers a wide range of crafts, food and beverages. The markets become quite lively hubs on the weekends and often include live music events during the day.
Icelanders are very musical and the christmas season is a great time to listen to live music and get into the christmas mood. Here are a few Christmas music events you can check out if you want to get into the holiday feel and get to know some of the Icelandic Christmas music along the way. For some of you the Icelandic Christmas music might sound familiar not because they are well known Christmas tunes but because they can be well known Italian songs that have been taken in Viking fashion by Icelandic musicians back in the day before the internet and turned into Icelandic Christmas hits usually without proper permission.
The King´s Singers Advent Concert in Harpa 29th and 30th of November. Click here.
The Icelandic Symphony Christmas Concert 16th and 17th of December. Click here.
Heima um Jólin (At home for Christmas) with Friðrik Ómar, 14th, 15th, 16th, 22nd and 23rd of December. Click here.
Jól í Norðurljósum (Christmas in Northern Lights), 20th of December. Click here.