Easter In Iceland: A Comprehensive Guide

Easter In Iceland: A Comprehensive Guide

Angie Diamantopoulou Author

Text by: Angie Diamantopoulou

Are you coming to Iceland during Easter? You might want to hear some suggestions! 

In Iceland, Easter is an important time for many people, especially for families. So, if you are visiting during that time, you might need some pointers on how to have an awesome time as a tourist!​

Keep on reading this guide for all the information and tips you need to know about spending Easter in Iceland!​​


First, let's take a look at what you will find in this article:

  • what is Easter like in Iceland?
  • how does Easter affect traveling in Iceland?
  • what can you do in Iceland in Easter?
  • tips from a local!

don't miss out!

Our tours are very popular! They sell out weeks or even months in advance, so make sure that you reserve a space ahead of your trip!


easter in iceland

Easter in Iceland guide

As I mentioned before, Easter in Iceland is -for some, at least -a big deal.

The population of Iceland is mainly Lutheran, with 70% of the population identifying as that religion. However, only 45% of them ​identify as religious. 

Regardless of religion and personal beliefs, Icelanders celebrate it anyway! That is because Easter is a national holiday in Iceland. That means that from Maundy Thursday to Easter Monday, offices and schools, and even many stores, are closed.​

As a result, many locals take this opportunity to go outside of Reykjavik. Popular destinations ​include ski resorts (yes, even in April!), as well as the town of Ísafjörður in the north. Many people also choose to visit family. Meanwhile, younger Icelanders might prefer to go abroad to warmer countries, especially Spain.

As far as food is concerned, Icelandic people traditionally eat lamb on Easter Sunday.​ There is no specific dish, but a roast leg of lamb is very popular. Icelanders love their lamb!

Apart from that, locals also traditionally enjoy Easter eggs! Every grocery store fills their aisles with several different Easter egg varieties in many sizes, from small to colossal!​ It is a custom to receive Easter eggs from your family, and you usually have to go on a hunt to find them!

As Iceland is a Lutheran country, locals don't have religious customs like Lent. They can eat and do anything they want!​


travelling on easter in iceland​

Iceland's state was closely connected with religion until the 20th century. While this is not the case anymore, and the majority of the Icelandic population is atheist, some laws have remained unchanged. ​

One such law involves the shutting of offices and schools. However, there are many other laws that might affect your travel and your general experience in Iceland.

Keep reading to find out how some laws will affect you before you travel to Iceland in Easter!​

​What's Off The Table

Easter in Iceland nightlife

​According to an anachronistic law (first enforced in 1926 and still unchanged), celebrations and social gatherings were strictly prohibited during Easter holidays. Naturally, the law is not completely enforced anymore

However, it still affects the way some companies operate. Stores, restaurants, bars and clubs must remain closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, from midnight to midnight. The same goes for grocery stores, liquor stores and even the local police offices!​

There is no reason to worry that you will be stranded at the airport or that you will have nothing to do, though! Tour companies, as well as hotels, operate normally to ensure that all visitors have a good time!​

Opening Hours

  • ​Liquor stores are open in the capital area on Saturday, from 11:00 to 18:00.
  • The grocery store chain Bónus is open on Thursday and Saturday, from 10:00 to 19:00.
  • The grocery store chains Krónan and Hagkaup are also only open on Thursday and Saturday. Opening hours vary by store.
  • The local police offices will be "closed" on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. They open again straight after midnight.

In downtown Reykjavik, you can find some stores and restaurants open even on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. If you have a specific restaurant or store in mind, I would recommend contacting them a couple of days earlier to make sure they are open.


WHAT TO DO ON EASTER IN ICELAND

No drinking, no gambling, no fun. With all these restrictions, you might think that there is nothing to do on Easter in Iceland. 

Lucky for you, you're a tourist! There are endless things to do, even on Easter!

If you only have a short stay in Iceland, then by all means, explore Reykjavik. Galleries, museums and, as I mentioned, some stores and restaurants are open.

However, if you are staying in Iceland before or after Good Friday and Easter Sunday, then I would recommend that you explore Reykjavik on one of the other days, and that you keep reading to find out what you can do on the Easter holidays!

​Go On A Tour

Find puffins in Iceland 2019

As I mentioned earlier, tour companies operate normally on the Easter holidays. It's the perfect opportunity to take a tour and explore Iceland!​

You can try our top-rated Reykjavik food tour! A local will walk you around the capital​ and show you the best places to eat some local Icelandic food! Plus, you'll get to learn a little bit about Iceland and its amazing history and culture

Our Reykjavik food tour is very popular and sells out fast! Make sure you reserve a place here!​

Nature lovers, you can check out the whale watching tour or the puffin tour! Both tours will get you closer to those amazing creatures than any other tour in Iceland. They also depart from downtown Reykjavik, so it's very convenient!

If you want a bit more adventure, you can join our horse riding tour, which will give you the chance to ride an Icelandic horse! They are famous for their five gaits, unlike any other horse breed. Otherwise, you can join our lava cave tour! We will take you to one of the biggest lava caves in Iceland, just thirty minutes outside Reykjavik!​

Make sure you check out all our tours here. There is something for everyone!​

Visit A Hot Spring

Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Iceland is famous for its hot springs. There are so many natural hot pools and hot springs, both around the Capital Region and further out, it's hard to list them all! We do have a guide, though, on the best hot springs and thermal pools in Iceland! You can find it here for some inspiration!​

This suggestion would, of course, be incomplete without the Blue Lagoon! They are open all year round, and it is an unforgettable experience that you can't miss!

If you would like to combine a tour with a visit to a hot spring, I have the perfect suggestion for you! Join our Golden Circle and Natural Hot Spring tour!​ We will take you around the famous Golden Circle, which includes Thingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss, and then we will visit the Secret Lagoon. You can soak in the warm water and relax in this amazing pool right in the middle of nature!

Play Some Bingo

Easter in Iceland Bingo

You might think that Bingo is just for old people. Not in Iceland!

Bingo is actually illegal on Easter in Iceland. However, people who are not religious gather in Austurvöllur in downtown Reykjavík every year to play Bingo in protest. No one has been arrested so far -probably because everyone knows the law is antiquated!

So, if you want the thrill of doing something illegal, play Bingo on the Easter holidays!


a few tips from a local

Icelandic Easter eggs

​So, you are spending Easter in Iceland. There is one thing that I think you should absolutely know. 

Eat. An. Easter. Egg.

Eating Easter eggs is one tradition that all Icelandic people agree on. It might even be their most important one! They are definitely the highlight of Easter in Iceland!

There is even a huge selection and they come in several sizes! My personal favorites? The Rísaegg from Freyja (also try the salted caramel version!) and the Hraun Egg from Góa. If you love licorice (like all Icelandic people), then you must try the Licorice Egg from Nói Síríus!


a few last words

Easter in Iceland is a beautiful period. The weather is usually nice, there is a lot of sunlight, and most importantly, there are Easter eggs!

I am certain that if you visit Iceland in Easter you will have an amazing time! I hope that my suggestions and tips will give you a few ideas, so that you can plan the best trip ever!

Is there something you think I've missed? Have you been to Iceland in Easter before and enjoyed something in particular? Let me know in the comments! And don't forget to share with other fellow travelers!​

Are you coming to Iceland during Easter? You might want to hear some suggestions! In Iceland, Easter is an important time for many people, especially for families.

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