New Year’s Eve in Reykjavik Iceland

Well friends, New Years Eve is coming up soon!

I mean I don’t want to rush the Christmas season, and TRUST me, I have some fun Christmas stuff coming up!

This week’s post comes from a question in the Facebook group. Christina and Jenny will be in Reykjavik on New Year’s Eve and were asking about recommendations for things to do. Knowing this was a question a lot of other people might have, I decided to do a whole LIVE video post answering their question in my Facebook group!

Here’s what we talked about, I didn’t want anyone to miss out on this information!

New Years Eve in Iceland - how to plan for the night out in Reykjavik. Fireworks, bonfires, and more!


Time: 6pm-8pm

New Year’s Eve starts out at home with the family and big dinner with lots of delicious food.

I know a lot of Americans are used to going out for dinner on New Year’s Eve. Since NYE is traditionally a family holiday, restaurants and bars used to be closed on this day. However, with the tourism boom, more places are staying open.

If you are coming to Reykjavik and planning on dining out I HIGHLY recommend making a reservation NOW. I’ve heard that a lot or places are already booking up so make sure to plan ahead!

Here’s a list of restaurants and open times for you!


TIME: 8:30-10:30

After dinner it’s time to bundle up and head outside for the bonfires! This is a longstanding tradition in Iceland where people gather together to celebrate the end of the year. It’s said that these bonfires are to burn away the old year to make room for the new year.

These are not your average bonfires folks. These are HUUUUGE fires with SO many people gathered around singing, and dancing, and drinking hot cocoa and having a great time. HOW FUN RIGHT?!

I’ve created a map of where the bonfires are held around the city. The bonfires usually go from 8:30 until 10:30 unless stated otherwise (I included start times on each location in the map).

If you are planning on drinking, please do not drink and drive! This is a serious offense in Iceland.

Guide to Iceland offers bonfire tours for less than $100 per person which would be fun!

Everyone is welcome to join in on the bonfire, not need to be invited. Just walk up and make friends with the locals!

Television Hour

TIME: 10:30-11:30

The next order of business is the annual comedy show called Áramótaskaup. This is an hour long television show where comedians make fun of the year’s events in politics, pop culture, news, etc. So basically like a huge SNL skit!

You will notice that promptly at 10:30pm all Icelanders will leave the bonfires and go home to watch this show – this is a highly anticipated each year!

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TIME: 8:00-10:30 and 11:30-whenever!

Thennnn we get to the good stuff.

News flash: Reykjavik is in the top 10 places in the world to watch the fireworks on New Year’s Eve. So if you are celebrating in this nation’s capital, you’re in for a treat!


Fireworks will be lit off from every corner of the city due to relaxed restrictions. So the city of Reykjavik doesn’t shoot off the fireworks, people buy them and light them off everywhere and anywhere!

It’s total madness.

Aka be careful if you’re wandering the streets!


TIME: 12:00-?

Time to get your party shoes on because now it’s time to head downtown and continue the festivities.

Iceland is definitely known for it’s night life, and NYE is no exception to that! Some bars will be open until 5pm. Remember the sun doesn’t rise until almost noon the next day, so you have plenty of time to sleep it off!

New Years Day

If you are awake and about the next day, congratulations to you!

Get a little breakfast in you and carpe the most of this four hour diem!

If you are feeling suuuuper adventurous, join the locals in Iceland’s own POLAR PLUNGE!

This event takes place at Nautholsvik beach. Icelanders and jump into the Atlantic ocean! But don’t worry, afterwards there is a warm geothermal pool to soak in. Sounds lovely, right?! Entrance is 600 ISK or ~$5 USD.

For the less adventurous, perhaps my list of 10 free things to do in Reykjavik interests you more?

Reykjavik is an absolutely amazing place to be for New Year’s Eve. There is so much magic in the air, you are sure to have a wonderful time!

Question: Will you be in Reykjavik for New Year’s Eve?





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  • Lauren @ Oh Hey! I Like That!
    December 14, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Oh now I wish I was going to be in Iceland for NYE!

    • Jeannie
      January 3, 2017 at 10:56 am

      It is truly magical for NYE! Hope you had a great holiday 🙂

  • Leanna
    December 15, 2016 at 1:53 am

    oh wow, that video is insane! I know you said the fireworks were crazy but that’s unbelievable. I’ve been trying and trying to plan a trip to Iceland, maybe NYE 2017 will be that time!!

    • Jeannie
      January 3, 2017 at 10:57 am

      Icelanders are out of control with their fireworks – lighting them off in every direction! It’s so fun to experience!

  • Cynthia
    December 15, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Fun post! I used to watch the livestream every year of the Rvk fireworks when I lived in the States (now, well…. I’m in a similar time zone so too busy getting my party on, hah) but it is definitely my top choice for celebrating NYE. For years I wanted to celebrate in Berlin too, but it’s wayyyy too out of hand now. Like war-zone, scary. I love these Icelandic traditions…. one of these days it’s gonna happen! Hope you enjoy them!

    • Jeannie
      January 3, 2017 at 10:58 am

      I’ve never cared for NYE until I lived in Iceland because they really know how to do it right! Hopefully you can join in someday! Happy New Year friend!

  • mae saechao
    December 16, 2016 at 1:29 am

    Wow, where was that fireworks video taken?

    • Jeannie
      January 3, 2017 at 10:59 am

      Not sure Mae, I just grabbed this clip off of YouTube. BUT this is literally what it looks like ALL around the city! So amazing.