December Delights in Reykjavík
The month of December will offer a packed programme of events in Reykjavík, formally launched on 27 November with the lighting of the Christmas lights on the Oslo tree on Austurvöllur. The event begins at 16:00, and some of the Icelandic Yuletide Lads (jólasveinar) are expected to make an appearance.
Visit Reykjavík has organised a programme of events in the centre of Reykjavík every Saturday in December: the Yuletide Lads will be here and there, choirs will be singing, and various mythical characters will pop up in unexpected festive events. Reykjavík’s delightful Christmas Creatures will appear on walls around the city from 1 December – including a brand-new Creature, who will definitely make an impression! The Christmas Creatures are intended to draw the attention of Icelanders and visitors alike to the special attractions of Reykjavík. Add to the fun by taking part in the Find the Christmas Creatures game, and answering some easy questions about them. Forms for the game are available at City Hall and the Reykjavík Art Museum sites at Hafnarhús and Kjarvalsstaðir – where you can also see all the Christmas Creatures.
The Christmas Forest in City Hall will be especially impressive this year, with various fun events in December.
In December Ingólfstorg square is transformed into a skating rink, which will be ceremonially opened on 1 December at 20:00. It will be open throughout December from 12:00 to 22:00. Admission is free. Skates and helmets are available for hire. Around the skating rink will be a Christmas Village selling a range of food and drinks. Christmas decorations and festive music will complete the Christmas feeling. Nova, in collaboration with Samsung and the City of Reykjavík, opens the rink on 1 December.
The Harpa concert hall will host more than 35 Christmas concerts – probably a record! And there will be events for all the family in Harpa on Saturdays.
The Árbær Museum opens on Sundays in December for its Christmas programme: visitors, young and old, wander from house to house on the museum site, experiencing old-time Christmas preparations, while those merry pranksters the Yuletide Lads peep in at the windows and check out what’s cooking. Children and adults dance around the Christmas tree and sing along to classic festive songs.
The Laugardalur valley is transformed into Christmas Valley in December: you can visit the animals in the Reykjavík Park and Zoo, skate around the Christmas Tree at the skating rink, visit the Ásmundur Sveinsson Museum and Sculpture Park, walk around the Botanic Gardens, warm up with roasted almonds and cocoa at the Flóran Café/Bistro, and finish up with a swim at the Laugardalslaug pool. And you may even come across the Christmas Cat (a traditional bogey-cat of Icelandic Yuletide lore), who has settled down in the Zoo for the Christmas.
The Reykjavík Forestry Association’s Christmas market is an annual design and crafts market held in the Heiðmörk nature reserve outside Reykjavík, open every weekend in Advent 11:30-16:30. And at Hólmsheiði you can pick out and cut down your own Christmas tree; every weekend until Christmas from 11:30-16:30.
Check out all our Advent festivities: Christmas.visitreykjavik.is.