Ten Bonfires Scheduled For New Year's Eve in Reykjavík Skip to content

Ten Bonfires Scheduled For New Year’s Eve in Reykjavík

By Gréta Sigríður Einarsdóttir

New Year's eve bonfire in Laugarás in Reykjavík
Photo: Golli. New Year’s eve bonfire in Laugarás in Reykjavík.

Reykjavík city officials have announced plans for ten New Year’s bonfires this New Year’s Eve, to take place in various locations in the city. These will be the first New Year’s bonfires since 2019, as the age-old custom was halted for two years due to COVID-19 restrictions.

New Year’s bonfires are a tradition reaching back to the 18th century in Iceland, stemming from the belief that if you want to have a clean slate for the new year, you have to symbolically burn away the old year and everything it represents. The tradition was first started by rowdy students but these days, it’s a family-friendly occasion, with people gathering around a fire and singing a few songs. Since New Year’s Eve is linked to folk beliefs and superstitions, sometimes elves or hidden people make an appearance.

City workers and local clubs and associations are now preparing the bonfires, according to regulations on what can be burned in such a fire, which is only unpainted wood. The only thing that can stop the bonfires from being lit is the weather – the bonfire plans will not be set in motion if the wind is above 10 m/s [22.3694 mph]. A final decision on whether the bonfires will be lit will be made before noon on New Year’s Eve, based on that day’s weather forecast.

In a press release, the city of Reykjavík states that the fires will be watched carefully and put out at a reasonable time.

Reykjavík Bonfire locations 2022

Borgarbrennur 2022. Kveikt verður á áramótabrennum á gamlárskvöld.

  • By Ægisíða, (small) 8:30 pm.
  • In Skerjafjörður by Skildinganes 48-52, (small) 9:00 pm.
  • In Suðurhlíðar, below the Fossvogur graveyard, (small) 8:30 pm.
  • Laugardalur, below Laugarásvegur 18, (small) 8:30 pm.
  • Geirsnef, north side, (large) 8:30 pm.
  • By Suðurfell, (small), 8:30 pm.
  • By Rauðavatn, north side, (small) 8:30 pm.
  • Gufunes by Gufunesbær, (large) 8:30 pm.
  • By Kléberg in Kjalarnes, (small) 8:30 pm.
  • Úlfarsfell mountain, (small) 3:00 pm.
Map of Reykjavík’s New Year’s bonfires 2022

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get news from Iceland, photos, and in-depth stories delivered to your inbox every week!

* indicates required

Subscribe to Iceland Review

In-depth stories and high-quality photography showcasing life in Iceland!