Icelandic traditions

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 , where ice and fire merge between great glaciers, erupting volcanoes, boiling geysers, jaw-dropping waterfalls, medicinal hot springs, and charming fishing villages.

Today we move to Iceland to discover some of the traditions that you should keep in mind when visiting this northern European country. As you can see for yourself, some are very curious. Would you like 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 quoted by their first name. In fact, this is the one used as a reference in the phone book . On the other hand, it is important to bear in mind that everyone is familiar, regardless of their status. In fact, only the President and Bishop are dealt with formally.


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



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


We are also going to talk about their parties, starting with Christmas, which are somewhat different from ours. For example, those in charge of bringing gifts to children are the Jolasveinar , 13 elves who also do some tricks. On the other hand, you should know that on December 23, Icelanders usually go out to buy the last gifts. In addition, they meet 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 meets with the family. As for New Year’s Eve, fireworks are usually thrown.

During the second half of January and the first of February, the ancient Month of Thor is celebrated, which pays tribute to the Viking tradition. We must also highlight the Festival of Winter Lights, three days of events dedicated to light. Other festivals that should be noted are Beer Day, which is celebrated in March; the Holy Week; the first Summer Day, which is celebrated in April by its old calendar; the Festival of the Sea, which takes place between May and June; and the Viking Festival, in June.


Finally, we want to tell you about some curiosities. For example, in Iceland it is customary to leave the heating on with the windows open and to leave the door open during the day. Even in the villages they leave the car keys in the car. On the other hand, you should know that in Iceland they drink a lot of 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.