Mini Guide to Iceland

Festivals

Secret Solstice

Held annually around June 21, Secret Solstice is a rather “young” festival — it started in 2014 — which quickly grew to become one of the biggest in the country. In just a few years, it enjoyed headliners such as Radiohead, Foo Fighters, and Wu Tang Clan.

It has an inclination for rock bands, DJs, and hip hop with many local and international artists. As the name implies, revelers can dance all night long, or rather, all day long as it happens during the midnight sun natural event.

Reykjavik Art Festival

The Reykjavik Art Festival is a celebration of theater, dance, poetry, art, and design, attracting people from all over the world. It was established in 1970 and it’s one of the most respected and forward-thinking festivals in Europe. It takes place at the end of May or beginning of June and spans for two weeks with programs for all ages.

Aldrei fór ég suður (Rock Music Festival)

Every Easter in Ísafjörður, thousands of people gather to attend Aldrei fór ég suður, a rock festival, which is entirely free. There’s absolutely no entrance fee and none of the artists gets paid either as it’s sponsored by local and international companies. It tends to feature up-and-coming artists, which receive equal time on stage as the headliners.

People and Culture

While Icelanders may seem somewhat unapproachable at first, that’s definitely not the case as most are generally extremely friendly. Because of the Old Norse patronymic system, rather than surnames, they use their parent’s first names; because of that, they tend to address each other by their first name and don’t ever use titles such as Mr. or Miss.

Some people believe in huldufólk — the hidden people — which are similar to elves and part of an ancient Icelandic belief.

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