Food Festivals in Iceland – From Traditional Feasts to Street Food

Enjoying Icelandic hot dogs

Travelling to a new country isn’t just about seeing the sights, it’s also about experiencing its vibrant culture and flavours. If you plan to visit Iceland, particularly during the spring and summer months, you’re in for a treat beyond the breathtaking nature. For the travelling foodies amongst us, here’s a list of the top food festivals in Iceland to spice up your stay. 

 

Food and fun festival

Each year, foodies flock to Reykjavík for the Food and fun festival. Over the festival weekend, a selection of the city’s finest restaurants flaunt their culinary talent, offering not only amazing food but also the opportunity to immerse oneself in Reykjavík´s vibrant nightlife – the ultimate fun night out. 

What sets the Food and Fun Festival apart is the collaborative effort between participating restaurants and internationally acclaimed chefs from around the globe. These culinary maestros engage in friendly competition, tasked with crafting a three-course meal using exclusively Icelandic ingredients.

Typically held in March, from Wednesday through Sunday, the festival sees approximately 20 restaurants participate each year, ensuring a diverse and tantalising culinary experience for attendees.

 

Götubitinn – Reykjavík street food festival

Street food has experienced a significant resurgence in Iceland recently. With food halls appearing on almost every corner, the passion for exceptional and diverse street food has soared to new heights. Annually in July, the Reykjavík Street Food Festival brings together the city’s food trucks, offering a weekend of exploration through various culinary delights.

The festival made its debut in 2019 and has since become a staple event, taking place every year in Hljómskálagarður park, nestled in the heart of Reykjavík city.

With nearly 30 trucks participating each year, there’s undoubtedly something to tantalise every palate. Live music, play areas and bouncy castles all form part of the festivities, alongside the opportunity to vote for your favourite bite and crown Reykjavík’s best street food.

 

The Annual Icelandic beer festival

Perhaps not your conventional food festival but The Annual Icelandic beer festival is an event that Icelanders hold in high regard. Spanning four days, this festival commemorates the legalisation of beer in March 1989, marking the end of the prohibition in Iceland, which had been in force since 1915.

Throughout the festival, all guests have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Iceland’s beer culture, trying out various beers and meeting the faces behind the breweries. The final event features live music, exclusive beers as well as a menu centred around beer.


Artisan food fayre

Twice a year in spring and winter, the bustling heart of Reykjavík comes alive with the aroma of freshly harvested goods and the buzz of excited chatter. Nestled within the grandeur of Harpa, Reykjavík’s Music and Concert Hall, local farmers, fishermen, and artisanal producers gather under one roof for a culinary extravaganza unlike any other.

Over the course of two days, this specialty food market unveils an array of locally sourced delicacies and artisanal treasures. From farm-fresh produce to innovative gastronomic delights, there’s something for every taste bud. Rub shoulders with the trailblazers of Iceland’s food scene and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of local culinary traditions. 

 

Þorrablót – The Icelandic midwinter feast

Every year, from late January to late February, Icelanders honour the old Norse month of Þorri with a traditional midwinter feast known as þorrablót [θɔrraplouːt]. This celebration brings people together to raise a toast with Brennivín Icelandic liquor and indulge in traditional, yet unconventional, fare.

Throughout the month of Þorri, many companies and restaurants host these traditional feasts, serving the preserved foods of our ancestors. Smoked, salted, dried, pickled, and fermented meats and fish take centre stage, including delicacies such as fermented shark, ram’s testicles, and singed sheep heads.

If you find yourself travelling to Iceland during the winter months, be sure to keep an eye out for one of these authentic midwinter feasts to experience a taste of Icelandic tradition.


With these food festivals you will be sure to have a great taste of Iceland during your stay. If you are travelling outside of the big festival season,
here you can find a selection of both private and group tours that every foodie will be sure to enjoy.  

Food and Fun Festival Returns to Reykjavík

A waiter holding two dishes in Hlemmur Food Hall

Fifteen Reykjavík restaurants will take part in the 20th edition of the Food and Fun Festival, which returns to the Icelandic capital March 1-4, mbl.is reports. Foreign chefs will be invited to cook at the restaurants, where they have the opportunity to get to experiment with Icelandic ingredients. Hungry foodies will be able to book a table around mid-February.

“There are a lot of foreigners that attend the festival, there are a lot of tourists that are curious about Icelandic cuisine,” says Siggi Hall, a master chef and one of the festival organisers. “Once upon a time there were few tourists at this time of year but that’s no longer the case. Today, many people come here for the food, because the food is without a doubt the third or fourth attraction, besides nature and the northern lights.”

Food and Fun was originally organised to attract tourists to Iceland during the off season as well as to showcase the country’s agricultural and seafood products. During the festival, foreign chefs from the USA and Europe team up with local restaurants to create gourmet menus at affordable prices. As the festival website points out, not only do the foreign chefs get to know Icelandic ingredients, but they can also make locals see those ingredients in a new way, such as using Icelandic skyr for sauces rather than desserts.

In previous editions of the festival, celebrity chef judges have also been invited to rate the culinary creations, and three chefs have been chosen as finalists to compete for the title of Food and Fun Chef of the Year. A list of participating chefs and restaurants from past years is available on the festival website.