Welcome to Reykjavík! Explore this vibrant and creative city like a local and embrace Icelandic culture by attending one of the many events scheduled this week. You might have your sightseeing program sorted but consider spending any leftover free time at one of the many happenings colouring this week’s social calendar.
Find tours in & around Reykjavík here.
Like Iceland’s natural attractions, Reykjavík cultural lures are varied and plentiful; one evening you could enjoy the ethereal melodies of an award-winning musician, Ólafur Arnalds at the impressive Harpa Concert Hall, and the next you could be enjoying a risquée drag show at a grungey live-events bar. Whatever your interests are, there’s bound to be something for you!
Monday 17 December
End of Exams Party, Stúdentakjallarinn, Sæmundurgata 4. All Day. FREE.
For students across Iceland, December doesn’t just mean Christmas preparations and overeating; it also brings an oppressive flurry of exams. A stressful time for many, the end of semester tests will bind many to their books and libraries with little joy beyond their next energy drink.
It should come as no surprise that with the end of exam season, comes celebration! Join the students of the University of Iceland as they revel in their new-found freedom at the university bar and diner for great vibes and cheap deals!
Read more about some of Iceland’s many Christmas beers here.
As well as a DJ in the afternoon, there is an extended happy hour from 12:00-20:00 and free pints of Tuborg Christmas beer will accompany the first 100 meals to be bought from the kitchen.
Embrace the student culture of Reykjavík and have a drink with the minds of tomorrow.
Tuesday 18 December
Ólafur Arnalds Concert, Harpa Concert Hall, Austurbakki 2. 20:00. 8,900-14,900 ISK
BAFTA award-winning musician, Ólafur Arnalds, is internationally recognised for his haunting style in which he weaves many musical genres together to captivate his listeners. Ambient, classical and electronic influences can be teased from the complex stories Arnalds skillfully constructs to take you on a journey through beauty and emotion.
Arnalds has not performed in Iceland for 3-years, and so this is a unique opportunity to experience the artist’s vision on his home turf, along with his self-playing pianos!
This concert is part of a more extensive tour of the globe which has sold out in many places, including London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity and book your tickets here.
Wednesday 19 December
Nordic House Environmental Pop-up Shop, Sæmundargata 11:00 – 17:00. FREE.
If you are a friend of the planet, you may be curious as to where you can buy Icelandic gifts that are environmentally agreeable and free of plastic. Look no further! This Wednesday, the Nordic House hosts a pop-up shop exclusively selling ethical products as well as seasonal refreshments.
See Also: Sustainable Tourism in Iceland
Local environmentalists will be on hand to answer any questions and run workshops on how to better protect our planet. Locals and visitors alike cherish the unspoiled natural beauty of Iceland and should join forces to ensure it is safeguarded for future generations.
Thursday 20 December
Næs & Naughty Xmess, Gaukurinn, Tryggvagata 22. 16:00. 5,990 – 7,990 ISK
If you fancy some cruelty-free Christmas food this holiday season, then check out the vegan diner, Veganæs. Known for serving up animal product-free comfort food classics, this restaurant challenges peoples’ preconceptions of the limits of vegan food. It’s possible to veganise any favourite meal, Christmas dishes included!
Veganæs celebrates Christmas with an all-you-can-eat buffet and a drag show! The matinee performance will be family friendly and accompanied by storytelling and a special visit from Vegan Santa. It’s all about the peas on earth.
The naughty drag-show begins at 20:00 and is strictly adults only. Join the talented Ms Gloria Hole and a league of special and fabulous guests for a festive Reykjavík night out you won’t forget!
Book by sending an e-mail to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday 21 December
Andkristni, Gaukurinn, Tryggvagata 22. 18:00. 2000 ISK
Are you not feeling the Christmas spirit? Are you actively against Christmas and all that it stands for? Do you like heavy metal music? Why not join this anti-Christmas concert showcasing no less than eight different bands, all of them waiting to get your head banging and heart racing?
This hardcore event promises to deliver some of the biggest names in the Icelandic metal scene including Carpe Noctem, Sinmara, Nvll and Mannveira all for the bargain cost of only 2000 ISK. Resistance is futile.
Saturday 22 December
Christmas Buffet at Perlan (The Pearl), Út í bláinn restaurant, 11-30 – 22:00.
Embrace the spirit of the season and treat yourself to a luxury Christmas buffet inside one of Reykjavík’s most iconic buildings, Perlan (the Pearl). The landmark is characterised by its glass dome structure that sits atop six disused water tanks on a hill not far from the city centre. Its premier location and unhindered views render the restaurant Út í bláinn, one of the most exclusive in the city
As you devour your festive fest you can enjoy panoramic views of Reykjavík, twinkling in all its Christmassy finery. Expertly prepared by a team of top chefs, you can look forward to a selection of cured meats and fish as well as cooked hot dishes with lavish sides.
Sunday 23 December
Traditional Icelandic Skate Dinner, Bryggjan Brugghús
To celebrate Þorláksmessa (St. Þorlák’s mass), Icelanders traditionally sit down for a dinner of fermented skate before going out downtown to mingle and finish any last minute shopping.
Blend in and attend your very own Þorlaksmessa meal: local craft beer brewery and restaurant Bryggjan Brugghús will be preparing this funky dish for those brave enough to book a table.
But be warned: The smell of the putrified fish is incredibly strong, and it’s possible to smell it on peoples’ clothes as they weave their way through the heaving streets of Reykjavík.
Book your table here.
Will you be in Iceland over Christmas? If you fancy spending the holidays like a true Icelander, this tour for 4 persons or more is perfect! You will be picked up from your accommodation and taken to an Icelander’s house to enjoy a festive feast and local traditions. This unique experience is available until January 6th! Book now.