Icelanders go a little mad on New Year’s Eve and blow up around 500 tons of fireworks in a couple of hours. And no, they aren’t official fireworks shows sponsored by the city. Instead, everyone stocks up on fireworks and the whole family goes out to the street to light them before midnight. It’s an amazing show, all over the greater capital area. The New Year’s Eve routine for many, if not most, Icelandic families is:
- Dinner around 19:00
- Bonfire at 21:00 (in various places all over the city)
- Watch the Áramótaskaup on TV at 22:30 (satire making fun of stuff that happened during the year)
- Go out and light fireworks at 23:30-ish.
Best places to watch fireworks in Reykjavík
- Perlan – Öskjuhlíð. This is a very popular place and the view is fantastic in all directions. Be there around 23:30 at the latest. There will be a lot of cars and a crowd so be on time, so you don’t miss the show.
- Víghóll – Kópavogur. There’s a hill in Kópavogur, right next to Reykjavík, that’s called Víghóll (translates to: Killer hill, sort of). It’s usually jam packed with people, in various states of drunkenness, and the atmosphere is great!
- Hallgrímskirkja – Skólavörðuholt. You probably already know this one. All the cool people who live down town walk up to Hallgrímskirkja church to see the fireworks. It’s a wonderful place since you´ll already be downtown and ready to party.
- Fireworks cruises. This is a relatively new thing in Iceland, but we’re heard that people love it. You get on a boat and see the fireworks from the sea! Usually, you get a glass of champagne and warm overalls, so it’s a party as well!
If you want to participate you can buy your own fireworks in special stores after December 26th, you´ll see them all over town. At least get some sparklers and join in!
But, as the Icelandic saying goes: Walk slowly through the doors of joy.
That means: Party hard, but not too hard!