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.  

New Program Helps Immigrants Start Food Trucks in Reykjavík

dumplings foreign food

Over 100 immigrants from more than 20 countries are taking part in a program that will help them develop, set up, and operate a food truck specialising in food from their home countries. Vísir reports that the would-be food truckers are attending an eight-week course co-sponsored by Innovation Centre Iceland, The City of Reykjavík, and Reykjavík Street Food.

“These are all people who want to bring their food culture to Iceland,” said Fjalar Sigurðarson, marketing director of Innovation Center Iceland. Immigrants don’t always know how to get ideas like this off the ground in Iceland, he continued – “they don’t know where they should look and sometimes don’t know the language. So they need some help getting started.”

“We’re trying to help them as much as we can,” continued Fjalar, although he was adamant that “no one is giving them anything. They have to do this for themselves and have the ideas…what kind of food truck and what kind of food [they] want to introduce to Icelanders and tourists.”

The 100 participants make up 24 different teams. During the first class on Monday, participants worked on designing their menus. A Thai family who wants to open a food truck called Baitong, which means ‘Banana Leaf,’ was among the participants, as were a Pakistani couple, and a woman from Senegal.

The course was advertised before Christmas and a preliminary class was given to introduce the initiative. A hundred and fifty people attended the introductory meeting.

Participants who succeed in turning their food truck dreams into reality will be given the opportunity to take part in street food events in Reykjavík, such as on Culture Night and June 17, Icelandic Independence Day.

“We’re hoping that this spring, Icelanders and tourists will get to try their food, which comes from every corner of the globe,” said Fjalar.