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Iceland’s Winter Lights Festival Makes Good Use Of Those Long Nights

Iceland’s Winter Lights Festival Makes Good Use Of Those Long Nights

Last weekend saw the return of Reykjavik’s annual Winter Lights Festival. Here’s a few reasons why you should add this seasonal spectacle to your bucket list.

We know Iceland’s the world’s favourite destination right now for a multitude of reasons, but here’s another: every year Iceland puts on a four-day festival (called Vetrarhátíð to the locals; good luck pronouncing that) with interesting exhibitions, a swimming pool night, a snow party and art installations made of light to give the country a reason to celebrate the depths of winter. Yay!


2017’s incarnation kicked off on February 2 with the illumination of colourful lights all over the city of Reykjavik, including in a video display of an erupting volcano projected onto the stunning Hallgrímskirkja church.

The Winter Lights Festival sees over 150 events happening across different areas of Iceland’s capital, with the program a mixture of art, culture, environment, history and sports. The festival adopts the colours green and purple – the colours you’d most often associate with the Northern Lights – and displays them over buildings in the city.



The festival comprises of four main features – Museum Night, Swimming Pool Night, Snow Party and Light Art. Museum night sees events planned at 45 galleries, museums and libraries across the city, including a hot dog party (!) at the Garðskálinn bistro. Swimming Pool night sees free events take place at nine different pools, and a Snow Party takes place in the Bláfjöll mountains. All events are free of charge, except for the unmissable Northern Lights Run, which sees the streets of Reykjavik lit bright for participants as they complete a 5 kilometre fun run through town.

On the final night of the festival, the city’s street lights are turned off for an hour to let people experience the dark night sky in its purest form.

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It’s definitely one for the bucket list.

(Images: Vetrarhátíð/Facebook)

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