New Year’s Eve in Iceland blog
|Useful information, travel tips & tours
Hello there! And welcome to the All you need to know for New Year’s Eve in Iceland 2022-2023 post. I hope you’re just about getting ready for the New Year Countdown in Iceland!
My name is Alexandra and down below I have gathered the necessary information about New Year’s Eve in Reykjavík. We’re talking opening hours, tours operating, bonfires, fireworks bars and restaurants, and so forth. So let’s get down to business. I will also get a little bit into things to do in Iceland on New Year’s Eve.
Now, unlike Christmas, Iceland’s New Year’s Eve opening times are a bit more flexible than Christmas opening hours (you can read about them here). You can expect people to be running around buying last-minute stuff, be it food, fireworks or decorations. However, opening hours on New Year’s Day are definitely less flexible.
There are quite a few tours operating on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and I’ve gathered a few of my personal favorites down below. There are also a few tours that are special to New Year’s Eve so be sure to check them out!
Weather in Iceland at New Year
The temperatures in Iceland in December are quite milder than what people usually expect. Usually we’re dancing around freezing temperatures, -5°C to 5°C (23°F – 40°F). It is worth mentioning though that this winter (2022) has been really cold so far and the first snowfall in Reykjavík came in the middle of December. Temperatures have been around -5°C to -15°C and the forecast is expecting it to get even colder.
Although the temperatures are usually mild, it’s probably the wind that will get to you! It can get quite windy and snowstorms are part of our everyday lives. So always always always check www.safetravel.is before heading out!
I recommend checking out www.vedur.is on the regular so you can make the most out of New Year’s Eve. There is nothing worse than being outside in the cold and wind and not being dressed for the occasion! So dress accordingly and although it may not be the fanciest accessory, crampons may just become your new best friend!
Unlike Christmas almost every restaurant is open but they’re usually fully booked months in advance. If you want to try your luck I recommend checking out www.dineout.is and see if there are any tables available anywhere and if so book them immediately. If there are no tables available your best bet are Street Food vendors and fast food with a mandatory caution that some of them may be closed. And as always if all else fails, there is always the Hot Dog Stand, Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur.
Bars and clubs
Let’s keep this short – most bars and clubs will be open until 4:30 in the morning with only a few exceptions. There is usually no entry fee into bars so feel free to go bar and club hopping to find something that best suits your taste and preferences. Cheers! Or as we say in Icelandic – Skál!
In Iceland, New Year’s Eve opening hours are, as I said earlier, a bit more flexible than on Christmas but on New Year’s Day almost all of them are closed. I have listed below the opening hours of most supermarkets in Reykjavík.
Hagkaup (Skeifan and Garðabær):
31st – Open until 4PM
1st – Opens at 12PM and then 24/7
Iceland (Engihjalli and Hafnarfjörður):
31st – 10AM-4PM
1st – Closed
31st – 9AM-4PM
1st – Closed
31st – 9AM-5PM
1st – 12PM-5PM
Best place to spend New Years in Iceland?
Easy! In Reykjavík. The fireworks are all around and no matter where you look there will be fireworks. If you want to be a part of a crowd celebrating the New Year, Hallgrímskirkja is definitely the place to be. However if crowds are not your thing, at this location in Breiðholt the views are stunning! I’ve also linked some tours above that are specific to New Year’s celebrations so be sure to check them out as well.
Iceland New Year Fireworks
Just like love, they are all around us on New Year’s Eve. If you wish to purchase a few then Björgunarsveitin (The search and rescue team) sell fireworks as a fundraiser for all their operations on various locations. Just be careful and mindful of people around you, wear the correct protections and take all precautions necessary. Safe Travel has a really good guide.
New Year’s Eve Bonfires in Reykjavík
There are bonfires all around Reykjavík and down below is a list with coordinates and when they start if the time has been published. If not published, assume 9PM. Note that some may cancel due to heavy winds so keep an eye out on the weather forecast.
In Skerjafjörður 9PM
Suðurhlíðar, below Fossvogur Cemetery
So if you’re wondering if Iceland is good for the New Year the answer is Hell Yeah! If not this year, come next year and party with us in Iceland!
As for how to say Happy New Year in Icelandic, it’s Gleðilegt nýtt ár
I wish you all a Happy New Year and I hope that the next year will be even better than this year!