New Year's bonfires (Brenna) belong to Iceland's authentic traditions, practiced there for centuries. The bonfires originate from a tradition of burning old and useless belongings, clearing space for something new. For a tourist, it's a perfect occasion to mingle with locals and take a glimpse into local culture and customs.
When and where to see the bonfires?
The bonfires are lit across Reykjavik as well as its neighboring towns on New Year's Eve. You can expect to see Brenna in such residential neighborhoods as Skerjafjörður, Ægisíða, and Geirsnef. Typically, residents gather for the show at 8:30 or 9 pm and stay outdoors for about two hours.
What to wear?
The bonfires are accompanied by songs and dancing, which partly helps to beat the cold. But despite the friendly atmosphere of the event, you'll still need some winter attire to keep warm. So you may want to put on some thermal clothes, a couple of sweaters, as well as warm boots and a coat.
Are there any tours?
Celebrating the New Year the way locals do is an absolutely unique experience you don't want to miss. That is why local operators offer special tours to major bonfire spots, including downtown Reykjavik.
Should I bring fireworks?
For safety reasons, we don't recommend bringing fireworks to the event. But if you have a few and desperately want to light them up, please do it at a safe distance from the crowd.