The ins and outs of New Year´s Eve in Reykjavik
New Year's Eve in Iceland is a cozy, fun filled affair, whether you are celebrating with family, friends or both. Families and friends in Iceland usually gather at home for a New Year's Eve meal, followed by the annual Áramótaskaup. A sort of Icelandic SNL it is an Icelandic comedy show that pokes fun at the past year's events in Icelandic society, whether it's our politicians, public figures and local celebrities or whatever natural phenomena our island has conjured up this year like volcanic eruptions for example.
Once the comedy show is over and as the clock nears midnight, Icelanders gear up in warm layers, armed with fireworks bought from the Icelandic Association for Search, Rescue & Injury Prevention, supporting a good cause. Icelanders will spend large amounts for these explosives, making it one of the biggest expenses in Icelandic households over the holidays. Not the food or the wine (although that is a pretty big expense here), but these ephemeral smokey firestarters that over the years have caused many an injury big and small.
At midnight, the entire sky in the capital area lights up as locals ignite their own fireworks – a legal and lively tradition. The funds from these purchases aid in supporting the rescue association, they are volunteer based which means that these funds help keep both Icelanders and visitors safe as they travel around the island, get stuck in snow drifts, get lost on the highlands or get too close to active eruptions, making the celebration even more meaningful.
Choosing where to enjoy this impressive firework display is part of the fun, you need an elevated area with good visibility. Popular spots include Hallgrímskirkja which gets quite crowded but doesn´t offer a good viewpoint over the whole capital area, Arnarhóll does offer a good view over the west part of the city but not over the whole area, the path from Harpa to the Sun Voyager gives a wider range of views onto the bay and over the capital, in our personal opinion the areas in front of the University of Iceland, and the Perlan area over the best views over the whole capital area, also the path along the street Ægisíða. So we encourage you to give some serious thought to where you would like to enjoy the firework display and remember to wrap up warmly.
After the spectacle, the night continues with some opting for home parties while others venture downtown, where the festivities keep going. The bars will be open until late in the night somewhere between 4 and 5 am but be advised that taxis are a hard commodity to come by at this time so be prepared to walk if you can or be patient and dress warmly. New Year´s Eve in Iceland is a night filled with joy, laughter, and a dazzling display of fireworks against the Icelandic sky. And we cannot wait for you to enjoy it the way we do!