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winter lights festival reykjavík

Winter Lights Festival 2023

It’s no secret that it gets dark in Iceland in winter, but Icelanders don’t let the darkness get them down. The dark winter nights have their own special charm about them. Celebrating the dark winter nights is what the Winter Lights Festival is all about. 

The festival offers a range of events, where the many faces of Reykjavík culture are revealed. Art and industry, environment and history, sports and culture come together when all the major museums, the swimming pools, and the Harpa music hall join forces and put on an amazing variety of events, all over the city.

There will be several exciting exhibitions and art installations set up around the city. You can catch the 3D light show Ofbirta at Hallgrímskirkja, an inflatable commentary on the environment titled Lifandi Votlendi (Living Wetlands) at Reykjavik City Hall, and Uppljómun, a wish for enlightenment on Austurvöllur. We also recommend checking out Aftur í Garðinn, a visual and audio-experimental experience hosted at 12 Tónar. On Museum Night, the National Gallery will reveal the final addition to the now-complete permanent exhibition in the House of Collections on Hverfisgata 6. Keep your eye on the advertisements along Bankstræti and Lækjargata – not everything is what it seems!

Museum Night, Feb 3

On Museum Night, the museums across the whole capital will open their doors to the public at 6 PM, and remain open till 11 PM. Museum night is not only a chance to visit your favourite museum, free of charge, but most of the museums are also putting on special events and offer their visitors a chance to see, hear, and even taste the museum in a different way. 

Special Museums Night buses will transport guests between museums, free of charge.

See the programme and the Museum Night bus schedule at

Northern Lights Fun Run, Feb 4

This 4-5 km run through the city centre is not a timed race but an experience where lights, music and beats transform your run into something special. With fun stops scheduled along the way and a music and lights event by the finish line in the Reykjavík Art Museum, the Northern Lights Fun Run is a great way to engage with the city centre in a whole new way. 

Swimming Pool Night, Feb 4

There aren’t many things that beat sitting in a geothermal hot tub underneath the stars (even Northern Lights if you’re lucky) and feeling toasty warm. On Swimming Pool Night, 12 of the pools in the Reykjavík capital area open their doors to visitors. Entrance is free of charge from 17-22!

During the evening, many of the swimming pools will host special events, creating a unique atmosphere, and encouraging guests to take part, dance, sing, or just relax and enjoy the moment.

Light Installations

To celebrate the winter darkness, artists from all over the world have created light installations in the city centre. The works of art range from an interactive lights display over the cover of Harpa, to a group of artists creating a new work of art over the course of the festival. The installations will be on from 19-23 all festival long so be sure to catch them all!

See the programme at

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