Winter Lights Festival Iceland

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Are you planning to have a trip to foreign countries? Then, you shouldn’t miss visiting Iceland. This country is rich with sceneries and culture. With volcanoes, natural hot springs, geysers, geothermal pools, waterfalls, and winter lights Festival Iceland can truly make your travel experience a perfect and memorable one.

One of the exciting events in Iceland is the Winter Lights Festival in Reykjavík. This is an annual event that happens in Reykjavík in the midwinter. The Festival rejoices both the growing light after a period of gloom and winter world.

Winter Lights Festival Iceland
Festival highlights

About the Festival

Its program is a combination of environment and history, art and industry, culture and sports. It is filled with a museum night, Northern lights run, and a pool night. The Festival also provides entertainment for Reykjavík’s guests, locals, and the like.  

The Winter Lights Festival is perfect for everyone, and each event is free of charge. Along with all the key thermal pools and museums in the Reykjavík area, its ski resort also participates in the fun. To brighten up the whole city, there are countless stunning lights and light installations.  

Festival Dates

When you are in Iceland, you will definitely experience a white Christmas. You might even expect reindeer to come along the corner. Reykjavík showcases a festive air, and there are various open-air music events, not to mention excellent dancing and mouth-watering dishes.

Winter Lights festival usually takes place in February, and for 2024, organizers are yet to confirm the specific dates of this amazing festival of lights. During the Festival, the light installation will be irradiated every night. Every guest is free to take a long walk around the area and witness its light installation. However, this year’s Festival of lights will concentrate on drawing attention to outdoor art areas and light installations due to pandemics.

During the festival dates, guests and participants can also experience pool night. They can experience Iceland’s unique thermal pools without spending any amount of money. Pool night includes music and pool illuminations, fun in-pool events, and the like. If you are fortunate, you might even get a chance to witness the Northern lights while relaxing in a perfect hot tub in the open-air pools.

All swimming pools are available to guests, from 5-10 P.M. Every night of the Festival, six light installations will be installed. Therefore, guests can check out and witness the pince-nez as they walk throughout the area. Above all, there are also some guests who livestream the light show from the light exhibition. So, you can watch it from your smart devices.

Where It is Located and How to Get There?

Iceland is a part of the Schengen Agreement. It means that every visitor needs a Schengen visa to visit the area. Reykjavík has an airport called Reykjavík Airport or RKV. However, it is only utilized for flights from and to nearby places of Iceland.

If you come from another country, you will first land at Keflavik International Airport or KEF. This is a one-hour away from Reykjavík, and it is actually a small airport. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about finding your way around or getting lost.

There is no exact location for the winter lights festival. The Festival can be witnessed in several places, depending on the activities you opt to see.

To get to the city center, tourists have four options to choose from:

  • Rent a Car — If you have a driving license or know how to drive, you may consider this option. Renting a car may also be a cheap way to go to the city center.  If you are planning on renting a vehicle, you may prefer to pick it up at the airport.
  • Take a Grayline Bus or Flybus — Tourists often consider this option since most buses are visible along the terminal exit. It is also quite cheaper compared to public buses. However, they may charge more if they will drop you off at your place or the hotels you stay in.
  • Transport via Public Bus — This is considered the cheapest option. Iceland has a bus system open to the public called Straeto. It operates Bus 55 that plies from Keflavik airport to Reykjavík route, usually in the main bus terminal of the city center.
  • Take a Shuttle or Minibus — There are various shuttle companies that could take you to your hotel without switching or stopping cars. These are also available at the terminal exit.

Whatever options you prefer, expect that you will enjoy the Christmas light festival in Reykjavík. Your travel is all worth it.

Other breathtaking lights festivals in Europe are:

Berlin Festival of Lights

Copenhagen Light Festival

Festival Hours

Whether you are planning to visit the place during weeknight or weekend, you don’t have to worry about it. The place is open from 6 P.M. to 10 P.M.

Winter Lights Festival Iceland

How Much it Cost to Visit the Festival?

There are several costs to visit the Winter Lights Festival. Commercial rates for limos, minibusses, and cars are $35. It also costs $100 for huge group vehicles like motorcoaches and buses. These prices, however, may change or vary so it is best to inquire with websites or social media channels.

Upon entering at the entrance, you have to pay using your cards or cash.  The rates are still the same, even during weekends.

Weather and What to Wear?

When visiting Reykjavík, you also need to consider what you will be going to wear. Bear in mind that locals in this area dress both smart and casually. While technical gear is quite common in restaurants and bars, always bring with you a couple of dresses that can be worn when spending ample time in the area.

When driving and planning to witness the fairy lights in the city, you have to wear fewer clothes. The weather in Iceland changes so quickly, and therefore, you have to prepare a couple of dresses to match the climate.

3 Hotels Nearby

If you are planning to visit Reykjavík to witness its light Festival, you need to know where will you going to spend your night after a long day. For your guide, here are the top hotels you shouldn’t miss considering:

Canopy

This hotel can be found around Laugavegur street. It is a few walks away from the harbor, museum, and cathedral. Canopy is one of the top hotels in the area that offers modern suites and rooms with espresso machines, fancy art, mini-fridges, and breakfast. The best thing about this hotel is its historic heritage rooms. Each room is carefully restored to add personal touch suitable for every tourist. This hotel also has complimentary bicycles and libraries.

Hotel Borg

This is one of the historic and luxury hotels in Reykjavík. It offers one two-story tower suite, Art deco-style rooms, and overlooking Austurvollur. Each room features custom-made furnishings, vintage paintings, parquet flooring, and large tubs. Since it is a few meters away from shopping streets, every tourist will enjoy the place without worrying about their transportation.

Alda Hotel 

This hotel offers simple but contemporary rooms and suites. They also offer tea or coffee-making facilities. Each deluxe room has ocean and mountain views, allowing each visitor to relax while enjoying its sceneries. They also have attic rooms, balconies, and suites with balconies and living areas. In case you want to roam around, Alda Hotel is also a few meters away from the harbor and Hallgrimskirkja church.

There are still more hotels in Reykjavík. You can easily find them while roaming around the city. All you have to do is to pick what suits your budgets and preferences.

What to Eat? – 3 Restaurants Nearby

Apart from the blinking Christmas lights and festival events, Reykjavík is loaded with fine-dine restaurants and bars, and these include the following:

Messinn

This is a small restaurant that serves mouth-watering Scandinavian dishes. This place offers the most delicious meals at affordable rates.

Krua Thai

This is also a small resto situated along with the Hallgrimskirkja Church. Kru Thai offers huge bowls and plates of Thai favorites.

Fish and More

This restaurant offers traditional Plokkfiskur, haddock, and cod cooked with herbs, onions, and potatoes. They served this meal with veggies, rice, butter, and a traditional bread call rugbrauo.

You may also visit other food stalls or restaurants like Icelandic Fish and Chips, Vitabar, Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, and many more before or after enjoying the twinkle lights trees in the city area.

More Things to Do in the Area

Apart from the Christmas light show, tourists can enjoy the area by visiting breathtaking places in Reykjavík. After watching twinkle lights, you have to unwind at the most renowned geothermal spa called Blue Lagoon.

You may also consider the Golden City tour. This tour will take you to the different islands such as Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir Hot Springs, and Kerið.

Just like other tourists, you may also enjoy the South Coast Tour. IT is often combined with other tours and a long hour of hiking experience in the Sólheimajökull Glacier.

Experiencing twinkle lights and stunning sceneries in the area will truly change the way you travel. You and your family will definitely enjoy this place. From daytime to nighttime, you can visit any place you want.

Can’t wait to witness the Winter Lights Festival in Iceland? Then, book for your flight, reserve your hotels, and be ready to create a memorable experience with your loved one now!

FAQ

1. What are the parking options during the Winter Lights Festival in Reykjavik?

Answer: Reykjavik offers several public parking garages and street parking. However, due to the popularity of the festival, parking spaces might be limited. It’s advised to use public transportation, walk, or consider parking further out and then walking to the main event areas.


2. Is smoking permitted during the Winter Lights Festival?

Answer: Iceland has strict smoking regulations. Smoking is prohibited in enclosed public spaces, including festival tents or indoor events. If smoking outdoors during the festival, please be considerate of other attendees and dispose of cigarette butts responsibly.


3. Can I bring my pets to the Winter Lights Festival?

Answer: While Reykjavik is generally pet-friendly, given the crowds and nature of the festival, it might be more comfortable for pets if they are left at home. If you do decide to bring a pet, please ensure they are on a leash and are comfortable around large crowds and loud noises.


4. How long does the Winter Lights Festival last?

Answer: The Winter Lights Festival typically spans several days, with various events, performances, and light displays happening throughout the duration of the festival.


5. Are there food and beverage stalls during the festival?

Answer: Absolutely! Reykjavik’s Winter Lights Festival features a variety of food and drink vendors, providing both traditional Icelandic delicacies and international fare.


6. What items should I avoid bringing to the festival?

Answer: It’s recommended not to bring large bags, alcohol (unless sold on-site), or drones without prior permission. Always check with specific event guidelines or the festival’s official website to ensure compliance.


7. Am I allowed to take photographs during the festival?

Answer: Yes, visitors are welcome to capture the beautiful light displays and festivities. However, for commercial photography or drone usage, it’s best to seek permission from the event organizers.


8. Is the festival accessible for individuals with mobility challenges?

Answer: Most of the public spaces in Reykjavik where the festival events take place are accessible. However, due to weather conditions and the city’s landscape, some areas may be challenging. It’s recommended to check specific venues or events in advance if concerned.

Sources:

https://visitreykjavik.is/winter-lights-festival

https://visitnordic.com/en/attraction/reykjavik-winter-lights-festival

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