No matter what the weather is, we Icelanders love to party. Our capital city is home to many world-class festivals, many of which have become popular within the international community. It’s hard to pick favorites, but there are a few that belong on the top shelf. Here are our top five festivals in Reykjavik.
1) Iceland Airwaves
This famous festival is a must-do for music lovers. Held every year in Reykjavik, Airwaves features an amazing array of both well-known and up-and-coming musical artists. Venues are set up everywhere, giving visitors the chance to experience the city to its fullest. Local performers are naturally at the forefront here, but international artists get their time in the spotlight, too.
2) Culture Night
Known locally as “Menningarnótt,” Culture Night is an explosion of art, music, and creative energy. The name is deceptive, though – Culture Night lasts for a whole day in August. You’ll find poetry readings, short plays, impromptu concerts, and friendly strangers inviting you in for waffles. It’s impossible to walk from one end of town to the other without seeing street performers, musicians, and artists, all doing what they do best.
3) Reykjavik International Film Festival
Calling all cinephiles! This eleven-day festival takes place every September and showcases a wide variety of genres from all over the world. Independent filmmakers flock to Reykjavik during this time of year, eager to share their projects and experience new works. If you’re hungry for films that think outside of the box, this is the place for it.
4) Gay Pride
Reykjavik’s annual Pride festival is quite possibly the biggest party in all of Iceland. Every August, the streets are jam-packed with locals, both gay and straight, out to celebrate families of every color of the rainbow. The day starts with a colorful parade, which leads to outdoor concerts and all-night partying. Expect glitter, hugs, and lots of dancing.
5) Reykjavik Art Festival
One of the most well-established art celebrations in Europe, the Reykjavik Art Festival has been going strong since the ‘70s. Everything from visual art to dance and theater is on display here. The festival typically kicks off in May and lasts for about two weeks, making it an excellent excuse for a longer stay in Reykjavik.
An Icelandic festival-goers checklist
- Comfy camping chair
- A bottle of Tópas
- Guitar and songbook
- Swimsuit (hot tub anyone?)
- Lopapeysa sweater
- A bottle of Powerade