Iceland New Year’s Eve Traditions: Fireworks and Elves

New Year’s Eve is upon us, and it is time to celebrate. And what better place to ring in the new year than Iceland? Here we do not just raise our glasses and yell out happy new year! No, there is much more to the Iceland's New Year's eve traditions and celebration.

In fact, it is one of the biggest events in Iceland, full of fun, fireworks and strange things roaming in the dark. To understand why New Year’s celebration is so unique in Iceland you really must experience it for yourself.

Annual firework show among icebergs at Ice lagoon Jokulsarlon, Iceland
New Year's Eve firework show at Jokulsarlon, Glacier lagoon in Iceland. 

World Greatest Firework Show

First of all, the fireworks in Iceland on New Year’s Eve are insane! It is the biggest firework show you will ever witness. Each year Icelanders buy hundreds of tons of fireworks, which are blown up in a matter of minutes. Creating the most amazing show.

Fun fact: Most Icelanders buy fireworks from the Icelandic rescue squats. So, all that money is not simply being burned for fun, it is also going to a good cause. And, if you see the show, you know how supportive we are.

This of course means, you can also buy fireworks for yourself and support our rescue squats if you are in Iceland on New Year’s Eve.

If you are spending this amazing night in Iceland, I recommend going to Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavik to get the best view of the fireworks in Iceland.

New Year’s Eve Bonfires

People blowing up tons of fireworks is however not the only fun New Year’s Eve tradition in Iceland. We also go to a New Year’s Eve bonfire. They are more regulated than the fireworks and are not just lit up in front of people’s homes.

These are massive bonfires where we gather around the fire to sing, drink, and just have fun in a warm glow. Local bonfires can be found all over Iceland and are completely free to attend. Just follow the orange glow and join in.

New Year's Eve bonfire in Iceland.
New Year's Eve bonfire in Iceland.

Elves in Iceland

I cannot talk about Iceland's New Year’s Eve traditions without mentioning the elves. They do not visit regular folks that often except on New Year’s Eve. You see New Year’s Eve is one of the few nights of the year where the elves of Iceland show up.

For your information. Elves in Iceland, also known as hidden people, are human sized and extremely beautiful. Kinda like the elves you might have seen in the Lord of the Rings movies.

According to Icelandic folklore people should avoid crossroads at New Year’s Eve, as the elves might try to lure them away with gifts. If tempted, it will drive you to madness. So better stay away from that.


Biggest Party Night in Iceland

If you want to party in Iceland, New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest party nights of the year. After the bonfires and fireworks, we go out and party. It is a tradition to go downtown, hit the local bars and celebrate well into the night.

There is of course more to celebrating the new year in Iceland, but you really just need to come see it for yourself.


There you have it. If you like fireworks, bonfires, parties, and mystery, celebrating New Year's eve in Iceland should be on your bucket list! So, come over and join the fun. It is the most amazing local celebration you will ever find in the world!

If you want to enjoy New Year's eve in Iceland, you need a good rental car. Make sure to book with Blue Car Rental for the best and fastest car rental service in Iceland. Ensuring that you will not only have a memorable night but the best time on your Iceland vacation.

If you like to learn more about Iceland, see our blogs about Icelandic Culture. There you can also find other Practical info on traveling in Iceland, which we highly recommend.







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Lava Tour Horseriding

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