Music is one of the best parts of the Christmas season, and Iceland goes all in this time of year. With the Advent season already upon us, Christmas concerts are in full force. Here are some holiday (and some not-so-holiday) music events to watch out for.
We also have information on opening hours for museums and the thermal pools in Reykjavík during Christmas.
The best Christmas concerts in town
Christmas at Röntgen Bar with Silva & Steinn
Where: Röntgen Bar
When: December 15, 06:00 PM
Admission: 4,990 ISK
Silva Þórðardóttir and Steingrímur Teague, collectively known as Silva & Steini, are set to enchant with their love for Christmas carols at a concert on December 15 on Röntgen’s upper floor. The duo, accompanied by drummer Magnús Trygvason Eliassen and bassist Birgir Steinn Theodórsson, will perform a diverse array of Christmas songs. Some may feature on their upcoming Christmas album, adding a delightful surprise element. The event promises a festive musical experience, showcasing the duo’s passion for holiday tunes hidden in the depths of sheet music drawers.
Björgvin’s Christmas Guests 2023
When: December 16, 08:00 PM
Admission: 11,990-19,990 ISK
Björgvin’s Christmas celebrations is THE Christmas concert in Iceland. For the last 15 years, Iceland’s créme de la créme of the music scene unites and infuses the nation with the the absolute maximum of the Christmas spirit that is possible. Björgvin’s guests this year include Ásgeir Trausti, GDRN, Gissur Páll, Helgi Björnsson, Ragga Gísla, and Björgvin’s daughter and favourite sidekick, Svala. If you want the ultimate Icelandic Christmas experience, head to Björgvin’s kitschy Christmas concert and you’ll be in the height of the holiday cheer!
Christmas with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Where: Harpa, Eldborg hall
When: December 16-17 at 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM
Admission: 3,500-4,200 ISK
Further information: en.sinfonia.is
The Iceland Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas concerts have been enormously popular among listeners of all ages. Featuring young musicians, ballet dancers, soloists, the Reykjavík Girls’ Choir, Páll Óskar, Jóhanna Guðrún, and Kolbrún Vökudóttir, the performances promise Yuletide joy. Maximus Musicus, a musical mouse, requests his favourite Christmas song from the orchestra, turning the audience into a festive choir. Master of Ceremonies is Barbara the Clown, and the conductor is Ross Jamie Collins. The Reykjanesbær Music School Bell Choir sets the festive tone with carols before and after the concert at Hörpuhorn. This concert is for the inner Christmas child in us all.
Icelandic Christmas Food Market
When: December 16, 11:00 AM- 05:00 PM+
The Iceland Food Market is the oldest and largest food market held in Iceland. Farmers, fishermen and small producers from all over the country bring a variety of products to the event. You can expect a unique atmosphere where producers themselves promote and sell their products with pure passion. Iceland’s food market focuses on the origin of food, the care of producers and the experience of consumers. Everybody is welcome.
Where: Harpa, Silfurberg venue
When: December 17, 6:00 & 9:00 PM
Admission: 12,990-14,990 ISK
If we had to put one face to Icelandic pop music right now, we’d have to go with Bríet. Since the release of her 2020 album Kveðja, Bríet, she’s earned herself a place in the hearts and ears of the nation. She has also become famous as a spectacular live performer, known for her showmanship, warmth, and sincerity. At her upcoming two concerts in Harpa’s Silfurberg concert hall, she’ll be performing her beloved hits, in addition to some Christmas remixes.
Emmsjé Gauti: Jülevenner
Where: Háskólabíó, close to the University of Iceland
When: December 22 & 23, four concerts
Admission: 5,990-11,990 ISK
For the sixth consecutive year, Emmsjé Gauti and Jülevenner are set to rock Háskólbíó’s roof off in a Christmas extravaganza. The guest lineup, featuring Steindi Jr, Sigga Beinteins, and the legendary Tvíhöfði, along with surprise guests, promises a stellar show. Brace yourself for a Christmas like no other, as a thousand bells chime in harmony when Emmsjé Gauti kicks off the holiday season at Háskólbíó. It’s best to snag tickets early, as Emmsjé’s shows are notoriously known to be sold out! Get your tickets on tix.is
Bubbi Morthens’ Þorláksmessa Concert
Where: Harpa, Eldborg venue
When: December 23, 10:00 PM
Admission: 6,990-11,990 ISK
Bubbi Morthens doesn’t need to be introduced. In case, you still don’t know who he is: Bubbi is THE most beloved troubadour in Iceland and for most Icelanders (of all ages), an iconic legend. This year is the 39th Þorláksmessa concert on December 23. Indulge in some traditional and delicious (irony alert) skate (skata) the afternoon before, and then head to Bubbi’s concert in the evening to properly get ready for the ultimate Icelandic Christmas experience. No guarantee you will be let in though, as the skate stinge will probably not leave your side until next year’s concert.