You might have heard of Reykjavik, the biggest and also the capital city of Iceland. Once you step foot in the city you will discover that it is a lively place with a very active nightlife, and it is known to be one of the best cities for music festivals in all of Northern Europe.
Even in the wintertime, this city doesn't sleep, and locals celebrate Christmas by transforming the streets into a winter wonderland filled with warm market stalls and bright Christmas decorations. These Christmas markets are a highlight of Iceland during the holidays and you should visit a few of them, but not before you go to Bounce luggage storage in Reykjavik to drop off your suitcases. Then, get ready for a memorable time celebrating the season!
Christmas Market at Hjartagarður
For some quality Christmas spirit and festive fun, head straight to Hjartagarður Square! This classic European Christmas market has everything that you need to celebrate the holidays and is open on most days throughout the month of December.
At the square, you will find cute wooden stalls set up, each featuring a different retailer who can sell you unique handicrafts, festive snacks and warm drinks like hot chocolate. Take your time strolling around the market to admire the Christmas lights twinkling throughout the area. You might even catch a glimpse of Santa Claus or other festive characters wishing guests a Merry Christmas!
What to do near Christmas Market at Hjartagarður
After you've finished shopping at the market you should head to Rainbow Street; this pedestrian-only area is a fantastic spot to explore and not only is it beautiful, but it is also home to lots of small restaurants and shops that you can check out.
Hafnarfjörður Christmas Village
This Christmas village is sure to get you in the festive spirit this holiday season! It is held at the Thorsplan Plaza and, with the help of local companies, it is expected to be one of the best Christmas markets in Reykjavik. It will be open for visits on Advent weekends up until the day before Christmas Eve.
Get ready to do some shopping at the twenty or so market stalls which sell a wide selection of Icelandic crafts, as well as festive food and drinks. The market usually features live music concerts and other exciting events, like horse-drawn carriage rides! Keep an eye out for the Yule Cat or the Icelandic Yule Lads, the local versions of Santa Claus! In previous years they have also set up an ice skating rink. There is something here for the whole family to do.
What to do near Hafnarfjörður Christmas Village
Hafnarfjörður is located a little way outside of the city center, so we suggest that you explore the rest of the area while you are here. Check out the live music venue called Bæjarbíó, maybe you can go to a show after visiting the market!
Traditional Christmas Market at Árbær Open Air Museum
One of the most popular places to go for a traditional Icelandic Christmas experience is the Árbær Open Air Museum. The museum remains open every day but the holiday festivities only happen for the first three weekends of the Advent season in December. The market will encourage you to be hands-on and offers lots of interactive activities and annual crafts that people of all ages will enjoy.
Some of the activities that you can participate in include baking traditional leaf bread, making Christmas tree decorations, crafting candles and knitting. Check the stalls for some traditional foods like smoked salmon, skate and smoked lamb. All of the Icelandic Christmas creatures will be hanging out around the market, like the Christmas Cat and Kertasníkir. The latter is a character that is known for stealing candles, so keep a close eye on yours if you take part in the candle-making activity!
What to do near Traditional Christmas Market at Árbær Open Air Museum
While you are at the Árbær Open Air Museum you should definitely take a few hours to walk around and explore the displays. This attraction does a great job of explaining the history of Reykjavik! The area surrounding the museum is beautiful and has some picturesque places where you can take a walk and enjoy the Christmas magic.
Classic Christmas Market at Ingólfstorg Square
The Christmas market at Ingólfstorg Square features one of the best Christmas events in the city. It is usually open for the entire month of December until just before Christmas Eve so you can take advantage of the festivities for most of the Christmas season. In the heart of the market is a man-made ice rink, and if you bring your own ice skates you can use the rink for free! You will also have the option to rent skates if you don't have any.
Surrounding the square you will find appropriately decorated wooden huts lined with sparkling lights and Christmas trees. Of course, delicious food and homemade Icelandic delicacies, as well as hot drinks like mulled wine, are available for purchase along with souvenirs and gifts.
What to do near Classic Christmas Market at Ingólfstorg Square
If you want to move on from the Christmas cheer of the market, you can have a quick history lesson and visit The Settlement Exhibition, a local history museum with exhibits explaining facts about the Vikings from the 10th century. The Reykjavik City Museum is close by as well!
Hlemmur Food Hall
Calling all foodies! This Christmas food market is sure to be your favorite on the list with appearances from fantastic restaurants, cafes, bakeries, grocery stores and even an ice cream shop. Although you might expect that it would be too cold for ice cream, this food hall is held indoors so you can escape from the cold for a while! Opening hours should be running on weekends from the beginning of December up until Christmas Eve.
You can have an entire Christmas buffet with all of the food that is served here, and there are dishes from all sorts of cultures available. If you head outside of the market you might see a Christmas tree sale as well as Christmas concerts or other live entertainment and performances.
What to do near Hlemmur Food Hall
If you are somehow still hungry you can go on a food tour down Laugavegur, a local street with all sorts of restaurants and eateries. Go see what kinds of Christmas buffets they have going on!
Christmas Celebrations in Downtown Reykjavik and Beyond
The entire city turns into a Yule town in the wintertime, and there are even more Reykjavik Christmas markets just outside of the city, like the Laugardalur Christmas Valley or the Icelandic Design Christmas Market outside of Heiðmörk Woods. This Christmas forest is also where the Oslo Christmas Tree is picked which is a special tree that, when lit up, marks the beginning of the holiday season.
There is no doubt that Reykjavik is a magical place during the holidays, so take advantage of the season and participate in as many of these traditional activities as you can!