Iceland was recently rated as one of the best places to spend Christmas, much to the surprise of many Icelanders. It’s not that the Icelandic people don’t get festive during the Christmas holidays – they certainly do. But most Icelanders celebrate the Christmas holiday in the comfort of their own homes, and many shops, restaurants and public services shut down completely over December 24 and 25. A better holiday on which to visit Iceland is New Year’s Eve.
If you thought Reykjavik partied hard on the average Friday or Saturday night…well, you haven’t seen anything yet. On New Year’s Eve in Reykjavik, many people dine with family, while others book a table at one of the city’s best restaurants. Then, at midnight, it seems the whole town lights off fireworks at the same time. During the rest of the year, average folks need a special permit to light fireworks off on their property. This is the one night of the year they are free to go wild with the fireworks, and they certainly do! Looking out over the city at midnight is a magical sight to behold, as seemingly thousands of fireworks shoot up into the night sky Once the fireworks have fizzled out, partiers take to the clubs, dancing and drinking the night away, often until 5am the next day.
I don’t know about you, but I’m dreaming of going back to Iceland, and New Year’s Eve sounds like the perfect time to go. With cheap flights in Europe so readily available, it’s easy to plan a budget trip to Iceland, especially during winter off season when prices are even lower. And who wouldn’t want to ring in the New Year away from home? Forget the stress and annoyance of throwing the perfect party for your friends or spending hours trying to secure the perfect dinner reservation. In Iceland the party is right there in the streets, and the big fireworks show costs nothing to watch. Ringing in the New Year in Iceland, your biggest concerns will be what to wear in Reykjavik…and maybe how many Icelandic hot dogs is too many at 5am.
Photo by Kristin Sig