Reykjavik Excursions Blog
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5 festivals and 5 sports events in Iceland

What to do in Iceland?

24/5/2017 Blog


Secret Solstice

A yearly music festival held in Laugardalur in Reykjavík around the summer solstice. This year‘s biggest artists are The Prodigy, Foo Fighters, Rick Ross, Big Sean, Chaka Khan, and Richard Ashcroft. It‘s possible to buy tickets to side-events which include sightseeing as well.

Viking Festival


From the Viking Festival in Hafnarfjörður. Photo from here.

The Viking Festival dates back to 1995 and is held in the second week of June, coinciding with Iceland‘s Independence day on the 17th. The emphasis on authenticity and that you get the feeling you just walked into a market filled with merchant Vikings coming from afar.


This metal festival has taken place every year in Neskaupsstaður in East Iceland since the summer of 2005. The festival is wholly indoors and is held the second weekend of July. The inhabitants of Neskaupsstaður is about 1400 but during this weekend the number doubles. The festival consists of about 30-40 bands, most of which are Icelandic. However, bands from the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, U.S.A and other countries have also taken part in the festival through the years.

Reykjavik Jazz Festival

The jazz festival strives to present only the best jazz musicians in Iceland. The festival is during the second weekend in August. The Reykjavik Pride Festival and The Great Fish Day in Dalvík are during that weekend also, but unless you decide to go to Dalvík in North Iceland, you should be able to enjoy both the Reykjavík Pride Festival and the Reykjavík Jazz Festival.

The Festival of the Sea

Iceland's biggest industry is the fishing industry and since 1938, Icelanders have celebrated the Seaman's Day on the first Saturday of June. In Reykjavík, the whole weekend is now a family festival in Grandagarður (West Harbour) which starts early on Saturday morning and lasts until Sunday afternoon.

The European Championship in Swamp Soccer

Swamp Soccer in Ísafjörður, photo from here.

Every year the European Championship in Swamp Soccer is held in Ísafjörður during the first weekend of August. Verslunarmannahelgin or Labour Day Weekend is one of the biggest travel weekends of the year for Icelanders, and many music- and family festivals are dotted around the country.

Swamp soccer is, as the name would suggest, a filthy sport. It‘s good to ducktape your shoes to your feet, so they will not get stuck in the mud. The rules are also a bit different than in regular football. There are six players in a team; all throws from the sideline and corners, are kicked. There are also the pink card (if you hurt someone, accidentally or not, you must kiss the booboo) and the black card (for severe fouls, offenders must play with a black head-bag for two minutes).

Tweed Ride Reykjavík

13316963_1192506140780693_1081032510634686787_oTweed ride Reykjavík, photo from here.

The first Tweed Run was in London, 24 January 2009 and was organised through Lindon Fixed Gear and Single Speed, an online cycling forum. Since then the event has grown and has been held in many cities around the world. The first Tweed Ride in Iceland was 16 June 2012 and has taken place every year since then.

Arctic open

In a land where the sun hardly sets during summer, why not play golf at midnight? The Arctic Open Gold Championship is hosted by Akureyri Gold Club in North Iceland.  It is an international event with golfers from various parts of the world. The biggest tournament included 120 participants.

Reykjavík Marathon

The Reykjavík Marathon is held on Reykjavík‘s culture night every year. The marathon itself is run on flat, well-paved roads. Usually, about 1000 people run the marathon and 2000 the half marathon, which makes both races less crowded than in many other places. The marathon is also a family event since you can also run 10 kilometres, the 3 kilometres fun run or children‘s run distances.

The Golden Circle Challenge

This cycling competition is held every year in Iceland. Three routes suit both professionals and beginners, and all routes start and end at Lake Laugarvatn.

The Golden Circle is one of the most famous sightseeing routes in Iceland and includes Þingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area and Gullfoss waterfall.

The three routes are gold, silver and bronze. The Gold route is 106 km long, the silver route is 60 km long, and the bronze route is 48 km long.

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