Brennur / Áramótabrenna
Once New Year’s Eve rolls around, Icelanders tend to discover their inner pyromaniacs. Besides the tonnes of fireworks that are ignited every year, Icelanders also boast the unique tradition of New Year’s bonfires.
The first documented New Year’s Eve bonfire occurred in 1791 when a group of schoolboys – standing on a hill in downtown Reykjavík, which they nicknamed Vulcan (in honour of the Roman god of fire) – gathered some old barrels and lit them. Since then, the tradition of New Year’s Eve bonfires has spread throughout the country.
New Year’s bonfires have changed a bit over time though; in the beginning, they revolved largely around causing a drunken ruckus. These days, however, they’re more of a family affair, with families gathering round in a symbolic ritual of leaving the old year behind.
Bonfires take place all over the capital area. We encourage you to track one down and take part in this longstanding tradition.
New Year’s Eve bonfires in Reykjavík
The closest bonfire to the city centre, takes place on Ægisíða, right by the seaside. We suggest heading over to get into the mood for the night.
If you are staying in Reykjavik area over New Year’s here are the locations for the main bonfires on New Year’s Eve 2019.
A Most of the bonfires will be lit at 20:30 on New Year’s Eve, except for the bonfire on Úlfarsfell mountain, which is lit at 15:00, and the one in Skerjafjörður, which is lit at 21:00 following a torch parade.
Fireworks are strictly forbidden at bonfires for safety reasons. There is no organised schedule for these events, but people normally gather to sing songs and we urge to join in. Hum it till you make it.
List of Bonfires on New Year’s Eve in Reykjavík 2019
- Ægisíða, small bonfire.
- Skerjafjörður, small bonfire.
- Suðurhlíð, small bonfire.
- Laugardalur, small bonfire.
- Geirsnef, big bonfire.
- Suðurfell, small bonfire.
- Rauðavatn, small bonfire.
- Gufunes, big bonfire.
- Kléberg, small bonfire.
- Úlfarsfell, small bonfire.
Want to experience an Icelandic bonfire without figuring it all out yourself? Go on a guided bonfire tour!