Start planning your festival tour in Iceland
A country known for its remote and wild landscapes, Iceland is quickly becoming one of the hottest destinations for festivals of music, art and culture. Festivals and carnivals in Iceland range in size, from as small as county fairs to large-scale music concerts with international headliners. With festivals all throughout the year, there's never a bad time to visit Iceland for a festival.
What makes Iceland festivals and carnivals so special?
Due to its remote location, over 600 miles from Norway and around 180 miles from Greenland, Iceland is usually thought of as a peaceful, quiet destination. But come during festival season, and you’ll find a country with a wild party spirit, and get to see some incredible arts and culture in some spectacular locations.
The most iconic festivals to experience in Iceland
From music to film to even a camping festival, there’s something for everyone in Iceland. Book a trip to attend one of these festivals for an unforgettable experience.
Party hard at Iceland Airwaves
Iceland has produced some world-renowned musical talents, including the likes of Bjork and Of Monsters and Men. That means that there's never a shortage of incredible music festivals, and Iceland Airwaves is no exception. Held annually in November in hard-partying capital city Reykjavik, this festival spans four days and always features the hottest new music, both in Iceland and internationally.
Go wild at the Westman Islands Camping Festival
The weekend closest to 1 August is known in Iceland as Verslunarmannahelgi and signifies the biggest camping weekend of the year. Festival-goers set up white tents in the Westman Islands, which sees its population quadruple over the course of the weekend. Bring your own canvas and expect to enjoy fireworks and campfire sing-alongs among some of Iceland’s finest nature.
Get cultural at Reykjavik Arts Festival
Held annually in May since 1970, the Reykjavik Arts Festival showcases the very best Icelandic art, ranging from dance troupes to theater performances and fashion design. The fortnight-long celebration of the arts sees street performers and unique installations bring the small capital city to life.
Go to a unique concert at Secret Solstice
When it comes to festivals, Secret Solstice is a must-visit. Taking place in early June each year, you'll dance to some of the biggest artists in the world in some of the most beautiful Icelandic locations. Fancy jamming out to Radiohead inside a volcano? How about seeing your favorite band inside a glacier? The atmosphere and energy at Secret Solstice is truly thrilling, as each year has one secret, big-name headliner.
Catch a film at Reykjavik International Film Festival
The premier festival in Iceland for movie lovers is the Reykjavik International Film Festival. There are 11 days of screenings in some of the city’s coolest venues, covering all manner of genres.
Tips for visiting one of Iceland's festivals and carnivals
Iceland is known for its rock and metal scene, and each year the big music festivals attract hundreds of thousands of travelers, so you’ll need to book far in advance to ensure you get tickets for many of them. For some festivals, like Secret Solstice, it's recommended that you purchase a ticket with camping, especially if you intend to stay for the entire festival.