Easter in Reykjavík 2014

Easter, like many other religious holidays in Iceland, is a family holiday where many things close down from Thursday to Monday. Many people use the Easter holiday to travel with the family and the biggest attractions are Aldrei Fór Ég Suður in Ísafjörður and skiing in Akureyri. Another thing many Icelanders affiliate with Easter is the Confirmation spring bonanza (not an official title). The custom is to invite the whole extended family to a big Confirmation party and if you’re unlucky enough to have a very big family, you will receive a lot of invitations to celebrate with your dorky teenage cousins (nephews/nieces/that kid you saw once when he or she was 2) every year.

24 hour party people

If you have 10 Confirmation parties to attend at least all those extra holidays also mean extra days to party and drown your sorrows. The holiest of the Easter days are Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Usually most bars and clubs close down at midnight the night before and they can’t open again until midnight. They do stay open till 3am on the Wednesday (technically Thursday since it’s after midnight) and on Easter Sunday. However, these rules seem to change every year and with more tourists coming to Reykjavík every year there are always more and more restaurants and bars that stay open throughout the whole thing. For most of the tour companies, the Blue Lagoon and such the Easter holiday is business as usual with no real disruptions to departures and opening hours.

The Icelandic Easter Egg (aka Páskaegg)


Icelandic people are world champions in many things, per capita of course, and without having any concrete evidence to back this up I’m pretty sure we’re world champions in Easter egg consumption too. Icelandic Easter eggs are huge (and getting bigger and more ridiculous by the year) and it’s not uncommon that children get more than one. The princess for example, with our incredibly complicated jigsaw puzzle family, has sometimes got up to four eggs. Come to think of it I think she may still have one left from last year.

The Icelandic Easter eggs are filled with candy but the most important thing is a little piece of paper with a profound proverb to guide you in your life. Many people collect the proverbs and for a few days after the Easter it’s not uncommon that the people around you will inquire what proverb you got and share theirs. Some families hide the Easter eggs for the kids but this was never a tradition with my family.

Another food tradition connected with Easter is the Easter Lamb (Páskalambið) but many people cook a leg of lamb or the back of the lamb sometime during the Easter  holiday.

Something to do during Easter in Reykjavík 2014

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If you are coming to Reykjavík this Easter I will be doing my walking tours like usual at 10 from Hallgrímskirkja church every day. Because I’ll be home alone and I have nothing better to do (except maybe re-watch the Friends series to crush some folks on QuizUp) I will also offer an extra departure at 14:00 on Thursday April 17th, Friday April 18th, Sunday April 20th and Monday April 21st. You would really be saving me from myself by booking this.


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7 thoughts on “Easter in Reykjavík 2014”

  1. Mary Gurel says:

    I love your articles and practical information. I will arrive in Reykjavik on Saturday the 19th with my daughter and a good friend. Although it is during the Easter celebrations, I know there will be so much to see and do. We are thinking about taking the walking tour on Sunday, although we do want to try and find a church service in English if possible. Can’t wait to see your country!

    1. mm Auður says:

      Hi Mary,

      The only info I could find about church service in English on Easter Sunday is a Catholic service at 18:00 in Kristskirkja.

      I have two departures on Sunday (at 10:00 and 14:00) so both will allow you to get to the service in time but the morning tour is probably better. The last chance to book the the tours is 12 hours before departure.

      Hope to see you Sunday

  2. Nora from tn says:

    My husband and I are coming in from the blue lagoon on sun April 20th. We would like to attend an easter service in English , go on your walking tour and eat in a very local not too fancy restaurant for dinner. Can you give me suggestions? I would also like to shop a little if possible 🙂

    1. mm Auður says:

      Hey Nora,

      You can book the walking tour here: http://www.tours.iheartreykjavik.net/the-i-heart-reykjavik-walking-tour/

      The service in English is in the Catholic church (Kristskirkja/Landakotskirkja).

      I tried calling a few restaurants that fit your description but they were all closed on Easter Sunday. I’m waiting for a list that is usually published with what’s open but I haven’t seen it yet. There’s no shopping in Reykjavík on Easter Sunday – something might be open on the Monday though.

    2. mm Auður says:

      Here is the list I was talking about – unfortunately there’s no mention of restaurants: http://visitreykjavik.is/easter-opening-hours-reykjavik

  3. Nora from tn says:

    Thank you so much we will sign up for the tour at 14:00 . I keep reading that we need reservations on easter sun that is why I feel the need to decide on a restaurant now. We just want to feel like we are experiencing a true Icelandic evening it can be nice or a pub whatever. So I guess anyplace you think we will see and experience local culture is fine to suggest. Will there be a place open that at lunch we can try the infamous hot dogs? Also I keep reading that I should buy mittens or a sweater at a place where they actually make them. I am assuming those places are outside of the city? Maybe on a farm? I would love to visit a place like that and talk with them and purchase but how do I get there or even know where they are?:) will any be available on easter? And are there any on our way in from the blue lagoon? I know so many questions but I am so excited To get there and have wonderful experiences !!

  4. mm Auður says:

    Yes, I would reserve a seat on Easter sunday. I know you can get a proper Icelandic lamb meal at Ferstikluskáli in Hvalfjörður (you need to call them to make a reservation) but it’s 40 minutes out of Reykjavík and probably clashes with the service at 18:00.

    I’m pretty sure the hot dog stand will be open but I’m not sure.

    I know both Mar and Kopar are open for Easter Sunday. I’ve had dinner in Mar before and liked it but I’ve never eaten at Kopar.

    A good place to buy the woolen souvenirs is the Handknitting Association on Skólavörðustígur but we cover that on the tour. They are not open on Easter Sunday but on the Monday for sure.

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