Traditions of Iceland

Without a doubt, one of the best things about traveling is being able to discover customs and traditions different from ours, especially if it is a country as magical and special as Iceland, in which ice and fire melt between grandiose glaciers, erupting volcanoes, boiling geysers, amazing waterfalls, hot springs with medicinal properties and charming fishing villages.

Today we move to Iceland to discover some of the traditions that you must take into account when visiting this country in northern Europe. As you can see for yourself, some are most curious. Do you want to join us?

Cultural activities

The first thing we want to comment on is that despite the fact that Icelanders have little free time (they have the longest working week on the continent), they participate a lot in cultural activities. And not only that, but they are great fans of literature. In fact, they are the ones that publish the most titles per inhabitant in the world.


Informal treatment

We also want to highlight that in Iceland people are cited by their first name. In fact, this is the one used as a reference in the guide telephone. On the other hand, it is important to note that everyone is protected, regardless of their status. In fact, only the President and the Bishop are formally treated.


It is very common in Iceland to invite friends and family to your home, instead of going to restaurants. If you're in this country and you're invited to someone's house, you should know that Icelanders generally take their shoes off in the receiver. Also, it is normal to bring a gift when you are first invited.



Are you interested in the topic of tips? Well, you should know that they are not very common in Iceland, except for taxi, hotel and restaurant services. Also, it is important to note that there are some exceptions. For example, it is common to tip guides fishing.


We are also going to talk about their parties, starting with Christmas, which are somewhat different from ours. For example, those responsible for bringing gifts to children are Jolasveinar, 13 elves who also do some pranks. On the other hand, you should know that on December 23 Icelanders often go out to buy the latest gifts. In addition, they gather with the family to eat Skata, a boneless fish.

One of the most important days is Christmas Eve, when many Icelanders go to cemeteries. During the night, everyone gathers with the family. As for New Years Eve, they are usually thrown fires artificial.

During the second half of January and the first of February, the famous month of Thor is celebrated, which pays tribute to tradition viking. We should also highlight the Festival of Winter Lights, three days of events dedicated to light. Other parties that should be highlighted are Beer Day, which is celebrated in March; the Holy Week; the first Summer Day, which is celebrated in April for its old calendar; the Festival del Mar, which takes place between May and June; and the Viking Festival, in June.


Finally, we want to talk to you about some curiosities. For example, in Iceland it is customary to leave the heating on with the windows open and leave the door open during the day. They even leave the car keys in the villages. On the other hand, you should know that in Iceland they drink a lot coffee and little alcohol, especially if they are going to drive. In addition, we want to comment that they usually go to the pool after work or dinner and that they are very patriotic and competitive in sports.

An Inside Look at Icelandic Christmas Traditions (June 2023)

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