New Years Eve in Reykjavik: 2017
New Years Eve in Iceland is one of the largest & most fun celebrations of the year! But where is the best place to watch the fireworks? Where should you celebrate? What restaurants in Reykjavik are open on New Years Eve? And what are the top things to do?
Visiting Reykjavik for New Year’s Eve is definitely something truly special. Christmas & NYE is a huge season in the capital of Iceland and the city will be more alive than ever … even though it will be cold! 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 2017 New Years Eve in Iceland
2. Fireworks on New Years Eve – And where to see them!
3. Restaurants during New Years Eve in Iceland
4. Nightlife in Reykjavik at New Years Eve
5. The Ultimate New Years Eve Party in Reykjavik, Iceland
See Also: 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!
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!
Need to rent a car? Find the best deals on rental cars in Iceland here
Food & Restaurants in Iceland on New Years Eve
Update 25/08/’17: Most of our favorite 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.
Our best NYE Recommendation
For the past years we have hosted absolutely awesome NYE Reykjavik Bar Crawls and wild New Years Eve parties. For this New Years, 2017 we have decided to host our famous Reykjavik Bar Crawls to warm up for the new year celebrations on Thursday (28th), Friday (29th) and Saturday (30th.). Read all about it & secure your spot by clicking the link above!
However, for the largest night of the year, we have teamed up with Austur, the largest nigthclub in Iceland to host the ULTIMATE New Years Eve Party in Reykjavik, Iceland! The largest club in town will be packed with awesome guests from all around the world and locals alike, fun music, NYE decorations, good vibes and then we will run outside to witness the breath taking fireworks – only to hop back in and dance the New Year in with style!
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!
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