The Icelandic capital is now regarded as one of the best party spots on the continent and after just one night you will see why. What makes going out in Reykjavik so different is the fact that during summer there is almost perpetual daylight so when you go into a club it’s daylight and when you emerge several hours later it’s daylight again. It feels like you have missed a whole night. As a rule, locals don’t go out very early. The social scene is very expensive so many drink at home first. As well as this most clubs remain open until about 6.00am so there really is no rush. One thing you will have to take part in while in Iceland is a runtur, the pub crawl to end all pub crawls, but be warned it again proves painful on the pocket so warm up before leaving with a couple of duty free drinks.
The International Viking Festival, Hafnafjorour
Taking place at the end of June every year, this festival is a century old cultural tradition celebrating the natives’ Viking ancestors. Featuring an authentic Viking market as well as battle re-enactments, horse shows, wrestling and numerous traditional games, this festival is highly entertaining, but it is extremely educational too. Other features and events include sailing trips on Viking long boats, pagan wedding ceremonies, theatrical presentations and whole animals being roasted the Viking way – on a spit over a fire. So, if you’re in the country while it is taking place you really should try to check out at least one day of the festivities.
Thjodhatid, Vesman Island
Home to one of the most eccentric artists of our time (that would be Bjõrk in case you were wondering) it would be strange not to give you a guide to entertainment in Iceland without mentioning one festival dedicated entirely to music. And, as luck would have it this is exactly what Thjodhatid is. Taking place for three days at the beginning of August on an island just off the south coast of the country, the setting make this concert what it is. Featuring a host of live bands who play through the night, catch up on your beauty sleep before you go.
Reykjavik Cultural Night
Taking place on August 19th every year, this is the night when everyone in the city commemorates the anniversary of the founding of the city. The atmosphere is electric where everyone takes to the streets celebrating every aspect of the arts. Open air concerts, parades, street music, outdoor theatre and a host of events transform the Reykjavik into one big party which culminates with a spectacular fireworks display. Restaurants, shops and galleries also stay open late to cater for the hordes that flock from all over the country to join in the festivities.
National Independence Day
As with Independence day in most countries, the events taking place on June 17th in Iceland literally take over the entire country. Crowds of people flock into the streets to help commemorate the birth of Jon Sigurdsson, their hero whose movement resulted in Iceland gaining independence from Denmark. A carnival atmosphere descends on the whole country with each town and village organising their very own celebrations so wherever you are, you are guaranteed a good time. It is advisable, however, to check out the goings on in a particular area before you go just so that you are fully informed. Also, stock up on energy because this one goes on well into the night.