See all festivals in Iceland here and find out what's happening in Iceland this week. Which events are the best and biggest, when and where are they?

There are many festivals, events, parties and celebrations in Iceland and they are all over the country, all throughout the year. They range from small country fairs to large scale music festivals with international headliners. Weekly a variety of events take place in the capital city, Reykjavík, and it's hard to keep track of everything that's happening in this bustling city.

To help you figure out what's on in Iceland, we've combined Guide to Iceland's top weekly picks in Reykjavík in this article. 

These can range from intimate music gigs with local and international performers, stand up comedy gigs, symphonic orchestra performances, theatre productions, gallery openings, special movie screenings, cabaret nights and drag-queen shows to some of the biggest festivals that make up the exciting cultural landscape of Reykjavík.

We've also listed our top 10 festivals all over Iceland, with a wide spectrum of arts and culture.

Finally, at the end of this article, you can find a list of all the different festivals that take place in Iceland, big and small.



Our top event picks in Reykjavík in upcoming weeks

What's on in Reykjavík

What's on in Iceland: 3rd week of July 2017

The art festival LungA is taking place in Seyðisfjörður from the 16th until the 23rd of July in east Iceland.

Monday 17 July 2017: Stand up comedy in English at Gaukurinn every Monday. Starts at 21:00. Free entry.

Monday 17 July 2017: Live jazz at Húrra. Every Monday at 21:00. Free entry.

Tuesday 18 July 2017: Iceland vs France football. The Iceland women's national football team is competing in the UEFA Women's Euro 2017 this month, the first game is against France and starts at 18:45. This will be screened in bars across town, many of which will have special offers at the bar, for example Lebowski Bar.

Tuesday 18 July 2017: Listen to Iceland at Iðnó. Every Tuesday at 20:00 and 21:15 (35 minute performance). 2000 ISK entry.

Tuesday 18 July 2017: Live jazz at Kex Hostel. Every Tuesday at 20:30, free entry.

Wednesday 19 July 2017: Happy hour and live jazz at Peterson suite. Happy hour(s) from 16:00-01:00, jazz between 21 and 23, open mic. Free entry.

Wednesday 19 July 2017: Saga Music 101. Every Wednesday night at 20:00 at Gamla Bíó the Icelandic Viking Sagas are portrayed in songs. 45-55 minutes show. Entry is 4,700 ISK. (Perfect to go to Peterson suite for the happy hour and live jazz before or after the show as it's in the same building).

Wednesday 19 July 2017: Nordic Culture & Dinner at the Nordic House. Every Wednesday night between 18:00-21:00 the Nordic House offers a summer package with a guided tour, 2 course meal and live music for 7,800 ISK.

Thursday 20 - Sunday 23 July 2017: The Icelandic Circus performs their new show Róló at Klambratún park. Suits both adults and kids. Show starts at 17:00 on Thursday and Friday but at 15:00 on Saturday and Sunday. The show is just under 2 hours with an interval. Tickets are 3500 ISK.

Friday 21 July 2017: Improv Iceland in English at Tjarnarbíó. Improvisational comedy by Icelandic performers that just came back from NYC and will perform in English. From 20:30-22:00. Ticket price 2000 ISK.

Friday 21 July 2017: Friday party screening of Hair in Bíó Paradís. Film starts at 20:00, entry is 1,600 ISK. English language, Icelandic subtitles.

Friday 21 July 2017: Cyberlounge electronica party at Boston. From 22:00-03:00. Free entry.

Saturday 22 July 2017: Iceland vs Switzerland football. The Iceland women's national football team is competing in the UEFA Women's Euro 2017 this month, the second game is against Switzerland and starts at 16:00. This will be screened in bars across town, many of which will have special offers at the bar, for example Lebowski Bar.

Saturday 22 July 2017: Late night horror screening of Jaws in Bíó Paradís. Film starts at 22:00, entry is 1,600 ISK. English language, Icelandic subtitles.

Saturday 22 July 2017: Drum & Bass party at Paloma. 5 year anniversary of Hausar Drum & Bass event organisers. From 22:00-04:30. Entry 1000 ISK that includes 1 free beer.

Sunday 23 July 2017: Sunday Yoga at Loft Hostel. Every Sunday there's a free yoga class at Loft Hostel from 12-13. Bring your own mat and show up early!

Sunday 23 July 2017: Free pic-nic concert at the Nordic House's greenhouse. Today Ceasetone will be playing. Every Sunday at 15:00-16:00 from 11th of June to the 20th of August.

Sunday 23 July 2017: Live jazz at Bryggjan Brewery. Every Sunday at 20:00. Free entry.

What's on in Iceland: 4th week of July 2017

This week the music festival Bræðslan takes place in Borgarfjörður Eystri on Saturday 29th of July in east Iceland.

Monday 24 July 2017: Stand up comedy in English at Gaukurinn every Monday. Starts at 21:00. Free entry.

Tuesday 25 July 2017: Listen to Iceland at Iðnó. Every Tuesday at 20:00 and 21:15 (35 minute performance). 2000 ISK entry.

Tuesday 25 July 2017: Live jazz at Kex Hostel. Every Tuesday at 20:30, free entry.

Wednesday 26 July 2017: Iceland vs Austria football. The Iceland women's national football team is competing in the UEFA Women's Euro 2017 this month, the third game is against Austria and starts at 18:45. This will be screened in bars across town, many of which will have special offers at the bar, for example Lebowski Bar.

Wednesday 26 July 2017: Happy hour and live jazz at Peterson suite. Happy hour(s) from 16:00-01:00, jazz between 21 and 23, open mic. Free entry.

Wednesday 26 July 2017: Saga Music 101. Every Wednesday night at 20:00 at Gamla Bíó the Icelandic Viking Sagas are portrayed in songs. 45-55 minutes show. Entry is 4,700 ISK. (Perfect to go to Peterson suite for the happy hour and live jazz before or after the show as it's in the same building).

Wednesday 26 July 2017: Nordic Culture & Dinner at the Nordic House. Every Wednesday night between 18:00-21:00 the Nordic House offers a summer package with a guided tour, 2 course meal and live music for 7,800 ISK.

Thursday 27 July 2017: Improv Iceland in English at Tjarnarbíó. Improvisational comedy by Icelandic performers that just came back from NYC and will perform in English. From 20:30-22:00. Ticket price 2000 ISK.

Thursday 27 - Sunday 30 July 2017: The Icelandic Circus performs their new show Róló at Klambratún park. Suits both adults and kids. Show starts at 17:00 on Thursday, at 16:00 on Friday and at 15:00 on Saturday and Sunday. The show is just under 2 hours with an interval. Tickets are 3500 ISK.

Friday 28 July 2017: An evening with Jono Duffy, stand up comedian at Tjarnarbíó. Australian comedian that's resident in Iceland hosts a mix of stand-up comedy and a late night chat show. In English. From 20:30-21:30. Entry 2000 ISK.

Saturday 29 July 2017: Reykjavík Slut Walk. An open parade to everyone that wants to show support to the victims of sexual abuse. The main goal is to stop slut-shaming regarding sexual abuse and instead bring the shame to the violators themselves. The walk starts from Hallgrímskirkja church at 14:00 and ends at Austurvöllur square where speeches and music will take place. No admission fee.

Saturday 29 July 2017: Reykjavík Poetry Brothel at Iðnó. Listen to poetry and live jazz, see some burlesque acts and have a tarot reading or even a private poetry reading. Event both in Icelandic and English. From 20-23. Entry 3000 ISK.

Sunday 30 July 2017: Sunday Yoga at Loft Hostel. Every Sunday there's a free yoga class at Loft Hostel from 12-13. Bring your own mat and show up early!

Sunday 30 July 2017: Free pic-nic concert at the Nordic House's greenhouse. Today Eliza Newman will be playing. Every Sunday at 15:00-16:00 from 11th of June to the 20th of August.

Sunday 30 July 2017: Live jazz at Bryggjan Brewery. Every Sunday at 20:00. Free entry.

Festivals in Iceland: An overview

New Year's Eve in Reykjavík

It comes as a surprise perhaps to many people that Iceland has an abundance of events and festivals each year. With a population of only 330 thousand people the country has a thriving art scene and cultural heritage, besides the locals having a great love for camping and the outdoors.

Besides Reykjavík, pretty much every village in the country throws some sort of a festival or event each year, small or big ones. There are art festivals, music festivals, camping festivals, food festivals, dance festivals, the list goes on and on.

Music festivals in Iceland

Iceland produces a vast amount of artists, some of them known internationally such as Björk, Múm, Sigur Rós, Ólafur Arnalds, Gus Gus, Emiliana Torrini and recently Of Monsters and Men.

This also results in some phenomenal music festivals, the three largest ones being Iceland Airwaves (in November), Secret Solstice  (in June) and Sónar Reykjavík (in February).

Smaller music festivals tend to take place in the countryside and include the heavy metal/hard rock festival Eistnaflug in Neskaupsstaður in July, the rock festival Aldrei fór ég suður in Ísafjörður during Easter and international Bræðslan music festival in Borgarfjörður Eystri in July. You can hire a cheap car to drive around the country, find them and have a great time in Iceland.



Camping festivals in Iceland

The weekend attached to the first Monday in August (if the 1st of August is on a Monday, then it's the last weekend in July) is know as 'Verslunarmannahelgi' in Icelandic. A bit of a mouthful. This is a bank holiday weekend and the biggest camping weekend of the year.

VARIOUS festivals take place this weekend, for example Ein með öllu (One with Everything - the phrase you say when you order a hot dog with all the trimmings) in Akureyri and Innipúkinn (for the ones that don't want to go camping) in Reykjavík.

Nevertheless, the biggest festival happening this weekend is in the Westman Islands: Thjodhatid. The population of the Westman Islands is normally just over 4000 people but rises up to 16,000 for this one weekend. It is a camping festival that starts on a Thursday and finishes on Monday.

Thursday has a 'hook-up' ball, intended for people to find someone to hook up with for the remainder of the festival. Friday evening has a massive bonfire and Saturday a firework display. Every year a special 'Thjodhatid song' is made for the festival. On Sunday night everyone in the valley where the festival takes place sing this song as well as many other known Icelandic songs together under a torch-lit sky.

A tip: The locals put up 'white tents' where they come together to eat smoked puffin and cakes and play the guitar and be merry. Knock on someone's tent and politely ask if you can join in - if you're lucky you might get some free smoked puffin, an absolute delicacy!



Country fairs and smaller festivals

There are many lovely smaller festivals such as Danish Days in Stykkishólmur, French Days in Fáskrúðsfjörður in the east of Iceland, Lobster Festival at Höfn í Hornafirði, Harbour Ball at Drangsnes in the Westfjords and Fiskidagurinn mikli (The Big Fish Day) in Dalvík, held the first or second Saturday in August.

These are so small and local that they mostly don't have a website dedicated to the event, and if they do, then it's hard to find it in English. These smaller festivals are more known due to word of mouth.

For most of these smaller ones you need to make friends with the locals so you get invited to their homes where a lot of the celebrations take place, eating, drinking, mingling and dancing.

Art, culture and theatre festivals

There are plenty of artistic festivals, and festivals that focus on a specific genre of arts in Iceland. 

This includes Reykjavík Fashion Festival, Iceland Improv Festival, Tango on Ice Festival, Reykjavík Fringe Festival, Reykjavík's Art Festival and Culture Night.



National celebrations

There are also some national celebrations obviously, such as Christmas and Independence Day celebrations. The Icelandic independence day is on the 17th of June, when celebrations take place all over the country in different forms.

And the occasional sport victory celebrations when the whole city turns into an impromptu street festival.

One thing is for certain, you'll never be short of cool, fun and interesting festivals when you're in Iceland! 



The top 10 festivals in Iceland

Following is a list of the most popular festivals in Iceland. Most of these events take place in the summertime and over the course of one weekend you might have to choose between 3 or 4 different ones.

Here I'm going to list the 10 biggest ones - but there are MANY more to choose from! You can see a full list of Icelandic festivals and events at the bottom of this article.

1. Secret Solstice Music Festival

The Secret solstice festival is a relatively new music festival in the Reykjavík music scene, with the first one only being held in 2014. This yearly festival has however quickly established itself with headliners such as Radiohead, Of Monsters And Men, Deftones, Wu Tang Clan, Die Antwoord, Foo Fighters and Prodigy to name a few.

The summer solstice happens around the 21st of June each year, when Iceland is granted with a beautiful midnight sun, and before 2014 there was a massive gap in festivities in Iceland at this prime time of summer. 



Secret Solstice always has one secret headliner (hence the name) but outrageous marketing has also helped secure its place as one of Iceland's best and most popular festivals.

Fancy attending the world's first party inside a glacier? How about partying inside a volcano with a private concert? Or on a boat?

The main stages are all in one area within Laugardalur recreational area of Reykjavík, right next to Reykjavík's largest swimming pool. It's possible to camp right by the festival, but it's not necessary.

VIP tickets with some extravagant extras are available for a hefty price tag, but a general festival pass only costs you 24,900 ISK for 4 days of partying in the northernmost capital of the world under the midnight sun.

2. Iceland Airwaves Music Festival

Icelandair throws a big music festival every year in Reykjavík called Iceland Airwaves. The festival promotes a lot of emerging and established national bands and musicians but also has international performers.

The festival takes place in November every year and in 2016 they started announcing the line-up, which included for example Björk and PJ Harvey, in February. The festival takes place in various venues around Reykjavík and in 2017 it will also be taking place in Akureyri in north Iceland.

A ticket to the whole festival costs 21,900 ISK.

A tip: If you can't afford a ticket to Iceland Airwaves or if it's sold out, be sure to check out the free Off-Venue, also taking place in various venues around Reykjavík.

3. Reykjavík Pride

Reykjavík Pride has become one of the largest festivals in Iceland, if not THE largest one! The festival celebrates the LGBTQ community and their supporters, friends and family. The entire centre of Reykjavík is taken over by colourful costumes, loud party music, people dancing and glitter everywhere!

The main day is the Saturday when festivities start with a large parade in the centre of the city, and ends with parties all night long. This celebration is free to attend.

Whether you're gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, straight, asexual, female, male, young or old - it doesn't matter. Everyone attends Reykjavík Pride. The former mayor even showed up in drag every year. The festival always takes place in the second weekend in August, in 2017 it will be from the 8th until the 13th of August.



4. Culture Night in Reykjavik

Culture Night or 'Menningarnótt' is a one day festival taking place in Reykjavík, on a Saturday normally around the 20th of August. In 2017 it will take place on Saturday the 19th of August.

Dance, design, music, art, concerts, games, pop-up shops and all sorts of interactive activities happen all over town. Galleries and museums are open and there's free entry to everything. The Reykjavík marathon takes place on the same day.

A tip: People open up their houses and invite guests to come in and have some home baked waffles for free - so it's a good way to get to know the locals and see someone's home.

5. Reykjavík's Art Festival

Reykjavík's Art Festival takes place every other year in May. In 2016 it was held between the 21st of May until the 5th of June. A variety of national and international dance, theatre, design and art will be displayed across the city.

It's possible to buy tickets to individual events and performances with varying price tags.

This is one of the oldest and most respected Art's festivals in Europe, being held since 1970. The line-up for 2018 is being worked on, come and check it out!

6. Aldrei fór ég suður Rock Music Festival

I Never Went South or 'Aldrei fór ég suður' is a free rock music festival held every year during Easter in Ísafjörður. Every artist performing is playing for the fun of it and giving their work for free.

The musician Mugison got the idea to have a music festival in his hometown for local talents and since then the festival has grown and is getting more and more popular.

Next one will take place from Good Friday to Easter Sunday 2018.

7. Food and Fun Festival

If you like food and like having fun, you should head to Reykjavík in March. The next Food and Fun Festival will take place in early March 2018.

Renowned chefs from around the world come to Reykjavík to do what they do best: make delicious food - using Icelandic ingredients. The chefs collaborate with the finest restaurants of the city and make up a menu that the restaurant serves for one week.

Each restaurant has a set menu for a set price.

Throw in a bit of outdoor adventure and Reykjavík's nightlife and then you have both food - and fun!

8. Reykjavik International Film Festival (RIFF)

Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF) takes place every year in late September for 11 days. In 2016 it took place from the 29th of September until the 9th of October. The festival shows a wide range of dramas and non-fiction films from over 40 countries.

The festival highlights independent filmmaking from all over the world with an emphasis on up-and-coming filmmakers. Basically, if you want to see something new and innovative in film, this is the place to be.

Screenings are held in cinemas in Reykjavík, mostly in arthouse cinema Bíó Paradís in the centre of Reykjavík but also in interesting new places, such as in swimming pools. In 2016 the film Frankenstein was screened in the swimming pool Sundhöll Reykjavíkur, built in 1937. (Icelanders love both movies and swimming pools - so it's a great combination!)

9. Bræðslan Music Festival

If you fancy driving as far away from Reykjavík as possible, then you'll end up in Borgarfjörður Eystri. In this small village you can encounter world famous bands, playing inside an old herring shed.

This festival takes place in late July every year, in 2017 it will take place on the 29th of July and tickets are 8,900 ISK.

Since 2005 artists and bands such as Belle and Sebastian, Emiliana Torrini, Damien Rice and Of Monsters and Men have played at this small but charming music festival. Only about 900 tickets are sold, so get your tickets early! The surroundings are breathtaking and if you really want to fit in, remember to bring a wool jumper.

10. LungA Art Festival

LungA, a small art festival in Seyðisfjörður in east Iceland has been growing every year since it was formed in 2000. When it started 300 people showed up for the final concert but now about 4000 people show up. It takes place for a week in July every year, in 2016 it took place between the 10th and the 17th of July.

Workshops take place, markets pop up, there are gallery exhibitions, fashion exhibitions, music displayed... anything you want to do is up to you to make it happen!

This is a non-profit festival that takes place in an otherwise tranquil and beautiful fjord that is swarmed with artistic people from all over for this one week.

All festivals in Iceland

Name & Website Date Location
Dark Music Days January Reykjavík
Reykjavík Winter Lights Festival February Reykjavík
Sónar Reykjavík February Reykjavík
Stockfish Film Festival February/March Reykjavík
Food and Fun  March  Reykjavík
Reykjavik Folk Festival  March  Reykjavík 
Reykjavík Fashion Festival March  Reykjavík
Battle of the Bands - Músíktilraunir March Reykjavík
AK Extreme April Akureyri
Tectonics April Reykjavík
Reykjavík Blues Festival April Reykjavík
I never went south April Ísafjörður
Gardabaer Jazz Festival April Garðabær/Reykjavík
RAFLOST May Reykjavík
Reykjavík Arts Festival May Reykjavík
Saga Fest May Stokkseyri
Breiðholt Festival June Breiðholt/Reykjavík
Vaka Folk Festival June Akureyri
Reykjavík Midsummer Music June Reykjavík
IS NORD June Borgarfjörður
Við Djúpið Summer Courses and Music Festival  June  Ísafjörður 
Independence Day celebrations June 17th All over the country
Secret Solstice June Reykjavík
JEA Jazz Festival June Egilsstaðir
Blue North Music Festival June Ólafsfjörður
Kirkjubæjarklaustur Chamber Music Festival June Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Lobster Festival June Höfn
Viking Festival June Hafnarfjörður
Skálholt Summer Concerts June/July Skálholt
Folk Music Festival July Siglufjörður
Rauðasandur Festival July Rauðasandur
Eistnaflug July Neskaupstaður
The Blue Church Concert Series July Seyðisfjörður
Frum - Contemporary Music Festival July Reykjavík
LungA Art Festival July Seyðisfjörður
Reykjavik Accordion Festival July Reykjavík
Kexport July Reykjavík
Reykholt Chamber Music Festival July Reykholt
Bræðslan July Borgarfjörður Eystri
Neistaflug July Neskaupstaður
French Days  July  Fáskrúðsfjörður                     
Krás foodmarket July/August Reykjavík
Síldarævintýrið July/August Siglufjörður
Innipúkinn August Reykjavík
Þjóðhátíð í Eyjum  August  Westman Islands 
The Great Fish Day August Dalvík
Reykjavik Gay Pride August Reykjavík
Extreme Chill Festival August Varies
Danish Days August Reykjavík
The Icelandic Chamber Music Festival August Reykjavík
Pönk á Patró August Reykjavík
Cycle Music and Art Festival August Reykjavík
Gæran August Reykjavík
Reykjavík Jazz Festival August Reykjavík
Reykjavik Cultural Festival August Reykjavík
Melodica Acoustic Festival Reykjavik August Reykjavík
Reykjavik Dance Festival August Reykjavík
Night of Lights September Reykjavík
Rokkjötnar September Reykjavík
Sláturtíð September Reykjavík
Tango on Ice  September Reykjavík 
Reykjavík Fringe Festival September Reykjavík 
Reykjavík International Film Festival September/October   Reykjavík 
Frostbiter Horror Film Festival November Akranes
Iceland Airwaves  November  Reykjavík 
Christmas celebrations December All over the country