This is probably the northernmost big jump free ski competition in the world. Icelandic Winter Games held its 3rd festival in 2016 and is one of the fastest growing winter festivals with events such as ski- and snowboard competitions, on jumps carved from the snow and the Icelandic National Dog Sledding championship. Not to mention the “Volcanic Big Air” free-ski and snowboard competition, “Peak to Surf” ski tours on the Troll peninsula, Arctic horseback riding, snowmobile competitions and much more.
In 2015 Iceland Winter Games merged with ‘Blizzard’ the North-Icelandic festival, making it the biggest winter festival in Iceland with over 60 events in a week, introducing all that north of Iceland has to offer in terms of winter activities. Major tour operations participated in the games, taking guests on amazing tours in modified super jeeps, helicopters, and snowmobiles.
Iceland Winter Games has two main events, the AFP Gold Free-ski competition and the IWG open snowboard competition with impressive prizes attracting some of the best skiers and snowboarders in the world each year.
Outdoor and winter sports activists will enjoy a great variety of interesting and exciting events to watch or participate in – all in the most breathtaking landscape.
AKUREYRI EXTREME: 7.-10.April
Akureyri Extreme was first held in 2002 as an idea to promote snowboarding in Akureyri. Today the festival is held over four days with events scheduled in Mt. Hlidarfjall and in downtown Akureyri. For the main event, a terrifyingly high big jump is set up out of fifteen Eimskip shipping containers in the middle of downtown Akureyri.
The Eimskip Big Jump is the highlight of the festival and it scheduled on Saturday night. It is broadcasted on national television and streamed online. You need to be invited to make the big jump as the festival organizers need to know that the riders have the skills and guts to handle such an extreme jump.
Another big event at the festival is the Burn Jib Session. It is located in Akureyri center with lots of music and mayhem. It consists of burning rails, live music and famous riders making a show for spectators. The session ends with a party at the festival’s local party place.
The AK-X Downhill at Mt. Hlidarfjall is another exciting event at the festival. It is basically a snowboarding race where competitors start at the top of the mountain and race for the bottom. To make things more interesting, poles have been stuck randomly in the slope and whoever manages to grab a pole on their way down enters a lottery draw. As an added feature, riders need to carry an open can of Burn energy drink the whole way down, where the amount of spillage is measured for added time.
DONALD DUCK SKI COMPETITION: 20. – 23.April
The Donald Duck Ski Competition is a local’s favorite and is particularly popular amongst families. The competition has been hosted annually in Mt. Hlidarfjall at the end of April since 1976. It is one of the biggest ski events in Iceland and is intended for kids at the age of 6 – 15 years old. Every year around 800 kids from all over Iceland get together in Mt. Hlidarfjall to have fun and compete in cross country skiing, alpine skiing and snowboarding. Fun social events and prize ceremonies are held in downtown Akureyri every night during the festival.
WEEK OF JOY IN SKAGAFJÖRÐUR: 24. – 30.April
The Week of Joy in Skagafjordur is a nationally renowned festival that celebrates arts and culture with lots of history and tradition. The diverse range of events should suit the interests of everyone, with the focus on music, art, drama and interesting exhibitions.
FISHERMEN’S DAY: 5.June
The sea and its produce are highly significant for Icelandic society so seafaring culture is celebrated every year on Fishermen’s Day, which is generally on the first Sunday of June. The Fishermen’s Day is celebrated in most towns and villages in Iceland with various events. Icelandic people use this opportunity to appreciate the hard and dangerous work, and the sacrifices the fishermen of our country make to catch our precious fish. All Icelandic ships and boats are in harbor, this weekend allowing fishermen and their families to relax and enjoy the maritime festivities.
VAKA FOLK FESTIVAL: 15. – 17.June
The annual VAKA Folk Arts Festival in Akureyri presents a unique opportunity to enjoy the best of traditional folk music, dance and handicraft from Iceland, Scandinavia and the British Isles. The festival features 4 days and nights of music and dancing under the midnight sun. With concerts, workshops for all ages and ability levels, informal song sessions and social dancing, VAKA Folk Festival aims to provide something for everyone.
AKUREYRI CAR EVENTS: 15. – 18.June
Bíladagar is one of the largest motorsport event held annually in Iceland. During the festival, all cars, motorcycles, and other general motor sports vehicles are celebrated and numerous events such as races, drags, drift shows, displays are scheduled for visitor’s entertainment. The Akureyri Car Club runs a camping facility for those enthusiasts who’s like to stay close to the actions for the whole of the festival. The festival also offers open training tracks and Go-kart rentals for guests.
The Akureyri Car Club is one of Iceland’s oldest auto clubs and was formed in 1974. It has hosted a variety of events throughout the years with an ever growing annual calendar. They host facilities in Glerárdalur Valley with 1/8 drag strip track, a great Formula Off-road arena, mud bogging pit and are equipped to hosts go-kart, drift, and auto-x events. The annual Car Days week is the club’s biggest event, with thousands of spectators attending each year.
ICELANDIC INDEPENDENCE DAY: 17.June
17th of June is the Icelandic Independence Day. We celebrate our independence from Danish rule and the founding of the Republic of Iceland on the 17th of June 1944. The program and events on this day varies from year to year, but usually involves a parade in the streets, speeches and plenty to eat and drink.
ARCTIC OPEN GOLF TOURNAMENT: 22. – 25.June
This international gold tournament takes place around the June Summer Solstice. It is the northernmost golf course in the world, Akureyri’s Jaðarvollur Golf Course that hosts this unique and annual golf event. The golf tournament attracts golfers from all over the world with a records number of international participants being 120 and every year the number of enquiries increased. You do not need to be a professional golfer to participate as there are competitions for amateur and/or enthusiast golfers as well.
A game of midnight golf might seem as an unlikely prospect to many enthusiasts and few golfers have been able to experience golf during the night. This is your opportunity to participate in an event that features around the clock golf in mid-summer at high latitudes.
AVIATION DAY: 25.June
Aviation day is held in the end of June each year in Akureyri. During this day, you will have the opportunity to view new and old air crafts of various kinds, and even see some of them in action as in the weekend’s program is the Icelandic National Aerobatics Competition as well as an array of displays and other activities. Coffee, waffles, and grilled hot dogs are available on site. This is an ideal way for families to enjoy a day out in Akureyri.
Aviation Day is at the Aviation Museum at Akureyri Airport. It is located in a new building which measured over 2200 square meters. Aviation and Akureyri have had a close relationship since 1928 when the first scheduled passenger flight operated in Iceland arrived in Akureyri. The museum exhibits a range of airplanes and other artifacts related to Icelandic Aviation History.
ICELANDIC FOLK MUSIC FESTIVAL: 6. – 10.July
Those interested in traditional music will enjoy the popular Icelandic folk music festival held annually in Siglufjordur. It takes place on the first weekend in July and offers its visitors a variety of events. Artists from different countries take part in the festival by giving concerts, courses, and lectures, however, the main focus of the festival are traditional Icelandic folk music such as rimur songs, two-part organum, folk dances and psalms. The festival has received an award, recognizing it as an outstanding cultural event in the Icelandic countryside.
HRÍSEY FESTIVAL: 8. – 10.JULY
Hrísey Festival has been held in July since 1997. During the festival, the locals of Hrisey invite people to visit the island to enjoy a weekend of family fun. The festival starts on a Friday evening with organized adventures for kids, teenagers, and adults. The main events are on the Saturday and continue throughout the day and go on into the night. Expect to enjoy music and local foods, let the kids have fun on the adventurous playground or go on a tractor trailer ride. In the evening there is a program on the stage in the village center, campfire and a sing-along.
MEDIEVAL TRADING WEEKEND AT GÁSIR: 17. – 19.July
Each year in July the old medieval trading site at Gásir comes to life yet again and its market is recreated. The interactive medieval market event takes place over four days with daily demonstrations of medieval crafts, games, and traditions. The villagers dress up in medieval costumes and can be seen recreating medieval crafts such as spinning wool, wood carving, tanning, blacksmithing and much more. Shows of medieval sword fighting are held displayed daily and festival guests can join in with medieval ball games and archery. Traditional medieval food and cuisine will be available for guests to try, such as the traditional lamb soup.
THE GREAT SEALCOUNT: 22.July
The Great Seal Count takes place in Húnaþing vest in July each year. This is an excellent opportunity to try something you’ve never done before but will always remember, plus you can get a glimpse of the seals around Iceland. The coast line of Vatnsnes and Heggstaðanes is divided between staff of the Seal Center and volunteers and together they group count seals in the area. The coast line is divided into smaller areas so everyone should be able to find a suitable distance. Please note that seal counting is not suitable for children under 5 years of age, and kids 5-15 years old must be accompanied by adults.
MÆRUDAGAR: 22. – 24.July
On the last weekend in July, Húsavík invites people from around the region to celebrate together for a weekend of family fun and activities. The locals decorate the town in different colours to divide Húsavík into three parts, each part with its own theme for the celebration. The festival has grown immensely every year and is now one of the biggest of it’s kind in northern Iceland. The program is diverse, and everyone should be able to find something that they find interesting. Music is always a big part of the festival with numerous musical act and concerts throughout the weekend. The highlights from last year’s festival included laser tag in the forest, barbecues at the swimming pool, a ram show, an arts and crafts market by the harbour, or a motorcycle exhibition at the gas station.
EIN MEÐ ÖLLU FAMILY FESTIVAL: 29.July – 1.August
Ein með öllu is a family festival held during the Bank Holiday Weekend in late July/beginning of August. The festival starts with open air concerts on Thursday night continued by a varied and non-stop schedule until Sunday night when the festival ends with a sing-along and a magnificent firework show.
Ein með Öllu offers a variety of entertainment for people of ages, including an open air concert downtown Akureyri every night along with playgrounds for the kids, performances, and many other events. Carnivals, bag jumps, paintball, laser tag and a Tivoli are amongst the activities available for guests in the recent years. Make sure you check the timetable as there are also a variety of fun things to do in the surroundings of Akureyri.
HERRING ADVENTURE FAMILY FESTIVAL: 29.July – 1.August
The Herring Adventure festival in Sigufjordur references the great herring era when the village flourished with herring industry from the beginning of 19th century until 1970. The festival was first held in 1991 and takes place during the Bank Holiday weekend in the beginning of August of every year. The festival aims for put together a varied schedule for individuals of all ages, and it offers great opportunities for local artists to showcase their work. In addition, well-known Icelandic musicians and entertainers provide guests with fun experiences and cultural event provide opportunities to learn about Icelandic history, culture and traditions.
THE GREAT FISH DAY IN DALVÍK: 4. – 7.August
Dalvik celebrates The Great Fish Day on the second Saturday of August every year. On this day, the whole of the community invites guests to an all you can eat seafood buffet on the harbor where everything is free! On the Friday night before the locals of Dalvik open the doors to their home to welcome visitor and serve fish soup. The Great Fish day is attended by 30.000 people every year, who come together to eat fish and enjoy a great day in Dalvik. The fish is cooked on the harbor, on an 8-meters long grill. A total of 12 grill stations are used to grill various types of fish, such as haddock, cod, salmon, redfish, salt cod and catfish, all cooked with different ingredients. All courses come with bread and beverages. The entertainment is diverse throughout the day. Fish exhibitions, cruises at the fjord, art shows, street theater and music of all kinds can be enjoyed while eating freshly caught seafood.
THE ARCTIC HANDCRAFT AND DESIGN SHOW IN HRAFNAGIL: 4. – 7.August
This is a market, perfect for finding authentic souvenirs and handcrafted gifts for friends and family. Around 100 individuals are selected to sell their exclusive handicraft, art, and designs that are often based on Icelandic traditions. Some of the most popular materials that you can find there is the Icelandic wool, the delicate skin of lamb or reindeer, not to exclude the luxurious fish leather. Simultaneously, there is an agriculture exhibition, that introduces all the new tools and technologies in Icelandic agriculture.
Enjoy an afternoon exploring the core of Icelandic culture through handcrafts in the beautiful environment of Reykárhverfi around 10 kilometers south of Akureyri, surrounded by the pleasant mountains of Eyjafjordur.
VATNAJÖKULL NATIONAL PARK RUN: 6.August
This is an excellent opportunity for all runners to take on a challenging, but magnificent trail run in Northern Iceland where scenic landscapes are all around. The run is held in the beginning of August each year and the number of runners increased every year. Participants can choose from three distances, from Hljodaklettar to Ásbyrgi (13,2 km), from Hólmatungur to Ásbyrgi (21,2 km) and from Dettifoss to Ásbyrgi (32,7 km).
AKUREYRI TOWN FESTIVAL: 26. – 28.August
The birthday of Akureyri is celebrated annually in the last weekend of August. The opening ceremony of the festival takes place on the Friday evening in the Botanical Garden. Each year the festival takes on a different theme with numerous of events happening throughout the town during this lively weekend. Everybody should find something of interest as the events include culture, music, outdoor activities, sports, family fun, exhibitions, street art and much more.
NORTH ICELAND LOCAL FOOD FESTIVAL: 1. – 2.October
Local Food Festival is one of the biggest food festivals in Iceland. The main focus of the festival is to promote the northern parts of Icelandic food culture. The festival program is varied and covers the whole Northern area. You can attend daily events such as food lectures, food craft competitions, tours to food companies, cooking lessons, demonstrations on how to work with local foods. In addition, a range of food tours are available and restaurant experiment with special menus with Icelandic food tradition as an emphasis. The aim of the festival is to extend the concept, and connect events to promote Icelandic food culture in Iceland, and abroad.
The exhibition is held annually in Akureyri’s Stadium. Participants at the exhibition in 2013 were more than thirty, and the exhibition has expanded every time it has been held in terms of exhibition space and attendance. Besides traditional exhibitions, this is also a sales exhibition also offers various events such as competition between chefs and auctioning of generous food baskets where the proceeds have gone to charities as well as an award for outstanding entrepreneurs.
The exhibition reflects the strength of the North as the largest food production area of the country and is therefore, an ideal promotional platform for companies and individuals in the sector to draw attention to the production, food culture, catering, food tourism and trade issues related to this.