New Years Eve in Reykjavik, Iceland: Everything you need to know for 2019
New Years Eve in Reykjavik, Iceland is the largest & most fun celebration of the year! But what makes New Years Eve special in Iceland? Where is the best place to watch the fireworks? Where should you celebrate? What restaurants in Reykjavik are open on New Years Eve? How can you Get a Reservation And What are the top things to do in Reykjavik for New Years Eve?
Visiting Reykjavik for New Year’s Eve is definitely something truly special. A once in a lifetime experience if you ask me. Christmas & NYE is a huge season in the capital of Iceland and the city will be more alive than ever! And as a local in Reykjavik, I can tell you that New Year’s Eve means mostly three things for us: AMAZING food, TONS of fireworks and the BIGGEST party of the year!
Text by: Egill Fannar Halldórsson
Here is what you will find information about in this blog post:
1. All about New Years Eve in Iceland (& special 2019 information)
2. Fireworks on New Years Eve – And where to see them!
3. Restaurants during New Years Eve in Iceland & reservation tips
4. Nightlife in Reykjavik during New Years Eve
5. All you need to know about an AWESOME New Years Eve Party in Reykjavik
Also don’t miss: The best Day Tours from Reykjavik in December
Fireworks in Iceland
For one week in the end of December the ban for fireworks in Iceland is lifted. This means that every single person above the age of 16 in Iceland will be able (and very likely) to spend their entire month salary on fireworks with that simple purpose to light up the sky! For this reason, you will hear loud explosions all around Iceland from approx. the 28th. of December and until the 4th. of January.
People play with fireworks through this whole week but of course, the peak will be the build up before New Year’s Eve and then exactly at 00:00 on the 31st. to ring in the new year with a bang! That’s something you simply cannot miss!
You will be able to buy fireworks in small trucks/pop up shops in multiple locations all around the city. If you are interested to not only enjoy the show but to participate, then don’t hesitate to try for yourself! You can find info about buying fireworks here. (website opens closer to NYE).
Where to enjoy the fireworks on New Years Eve
The sky will be lit up almost everywhere you’ll go and wherever you look. If you are staying in a hotel/apartment outside of the down town area we would recommend you to enjoy the show from any tall building or at any hill with a good overview of the city.
If however, you want to be in the centre of the show – And participate in not only your private NYE party celebration but celebrate with everyone in the city, then we have been celebrating at the square right in front of Hallgrímskirkja church for the last years. There you will find thousands of people, happy, lighting up the sky – And ready to party their ass off!
Food & Restaurants in Iceland on New Years Eve
Update 09/09/’19: Almost all of our favourite fine dining restaurants in Reykjavik get fully booked months in advance and literally all restaurants in Reykjavik get fully booked weeks in advance. It is necessary to make reservations far in advance for this night. Get in touch with us and we can recommend restaurants and help you make reservations if you like.
Throughout the years, many restaurants used to be closed on New Year’s Eve. Today, however, this is changing and mostly because of a big increase in tourism. By far most restaurants in down town Reykjavik will, therefore, be open – But with limited hours & settings.
Here is a very good thing to know: For the past two years every single food serving venue in Reykjavik has been absolutely packed for this evening. And in our experience, a lot of people didn’t even get the chance to sit down for a New Years Eve meal. I hosted a crazy New Years Eve Reykjavik Bar Crawl last year and there I met a few of my guests that didn’t make any dinner reservations – So they ended up buying sandwiches from the grocery store and eat at their hostel.
That is probably just ok but I would highly recommend you to make reservations ahead of time. And way ahead of time! Since in our opinion, New Years is not the night when you want to have a tuna sandwich! Even though it’s a fresh caught Icelandic tuna!!
Nightlife during New Years Eve
Like already mentioned, the nightlife on New Year’s Eve is the main event. It is crazy and it’s the biggest party of the year.
Locals normally meet up with friends or family for dinner on New Year’s Eve and then gather around in larger New Year’s parties after midnight. Some will stay in house-parties the entire night – But most end their night by going down town and party in the clubs.
Very few bars are open before midnight. Almost only those who are also restaurants. The few that are open usually open at midnight – Or about 1 AM as the bartenders will have some time to enjoy midnight with their families before they carry on down town to work.
From our experience from the past years, the down town area get’s really, really crowded. Which only makes the night more fun!
My recommendation: Do a little research on what venues you like to visit and I recommend you to be at your final venue when they open at 1 AM to ensure you will get in without waiting in a line the whole night.
The Best NYE Recommendation
For the largest night of the year, we partner up with a local nightclub and host an yearly absolutely awesome New Years Eve party event.
Find all the 2019/2020 NYE details here:
The celebration will begin at 10pm, so while most bars in town are closed, we’ll make sure you will be inside, warm and already dancing on tables before midnight.
… And we hope to see you there!