12 Best Annual Festivals in Iceland

There’s always something going on in Iceland—and whether it’s the Viking Festival in June celebrating the country’s roots, or the huge Iceland Airwaves music festival in the autumn, there’s something for everyone. Here’s a rundown of Iceland’s 12 best annual festivals by month.

Harpa was designed by Icelandic/Danish artist Ólafur Elíasson.
Iceland Airwaves is hld at Harpa Concert & Conference Hall. Photo © Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson, courtesy of VisitReykjavik.

February

Sónar Reykjavík (Reykjavík): This three-day music festival in mid-February features local and international rock, pop, and electronic bands.

Reykjavík Food & Fun Festival (Reykjavík): During this three-day festival at the end of February, world-renowned chefs occupy kitchens at trendy Reykjavík restaurants, using fresh local ingredients and lots of imagination.

March

DesignMarch (Reykjavík): Typically held in early March over four days, DesignMarch showcases the newest and best Icelandic design in pop up shops, lectures, and fun events around the city.

April

Reykjavík Blues Festival (Reykjavík): For a week in early April, blues music enthusiasts from around the world descend on Reykjavík for this annual festival that features international musicians and local artists.

AK-Extreme (Akureyri): Dedicated to winter extreme sports, AK-Extreme is an annual snowboard and music festival held in the northern city Akureyri over four days in mid-April.

May

Reykjavík Arts Festival (Reykjavík): For two weeks over late May/early June, Reykjavík is treated to exhibitions and outdoor installations of local and international artists.

A woman at the annual Viking Festival in Hafnarfjörður.
A woman at the annual Viking Festival in Hafnarfjörður. Photo © Jenna Gottlieb.

June

Viking Festival (Hafnarfjörður): Just outside Reykjavík, the annual Viking Festival in mid-June has fun reenactments of fights with traditional dress and weaponry, as well as food, music, and a market. The week-long festival is great for kids.

July

All Tomorrow’s Parties (Keflavík): The major touring music festival found its way to Iceland a few years ago. Local and international acts take the stage for three days in early July.

August

Reykjavík Jazz Festival (Reykjavík): It may seem unexpected, but Icelanders have an affinity for jazz music, and they put on a great annual festival over five days in mid-August that features local and international musicians.

Reykjavík Culture Night (Reykjavík): Held at the end of August, this day-long event is the biggest and most popular festival in Iceland, with more than 100,000 people participating. There’s live music, food, and art to celebrate the end of the summer and Iceland’s rich culture.

September

Reykjavík International Film Festival (Reykjavík): Beginning at the end of September, this 11-day festival features short films, documentaries, and features from more than 40 countries.

October

Iceland Airwaves (Reykjavík): The largest music festival of the year hits Iceland in late October/early November. More than 200 local and international artists perform at the five-day festival, which has attracted bands including Kraftwerk, Flaming Lips, and local band Of Monsters and Men.

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