Whilst Iceland is most famous for its picturesque landscapes, endless hours of daylight, fiery volcanoes and of course, the northern lights, the island also has a fantastic nightlife scene to offer.

This guide tells you all you need to know about the bars and nightlife in Iceland. 

Location

The best nightlife in Iceland can be found in Reykjavik. Reykjavik is a small city, which means you don’t need to worry about travelling great distances between bars and entertainment venues - you can easily walk! The majority of the clubs and bars will be found on and around the main street, Laugavegur, which you will find in downtown Reykjavik. There are plenty of pub crawls that you can join if you want to experience a variety of venues. 

Interestingly, many of the bars serving coffee during the day, transform into a nightclub with a dance floor at night!

Live Music

Live music is a key part of Reykjavik’s nightlife and you will be spoilt for choice when deciding which performances to enjoy. From hard rock to jazz, Iceland is full of emerging talent and the atmosphere is always lively. 

Man wearing a denim shirt playing the guitar

Aside from live music in the bars, Iceland is also home to a number of music festivals. The most commonly known are Sónar Reykjavík, which is held every year in February, and Iceland Airwaves, a 4-day festival that is held in November. 

Party Time

The majority of Icelanders will start their nights out at home with friends, drinking and celebrating, before heading into the bars and clubs. This means you may not find the street filling up until after midnight - which is when the Reykjavik nightlife really starts! Heading into the bars and clubs before this is a great way to avoid the queues. 

During the week you will find that bars and clubs close around 1 am, but at weekends the partying really does last all night. 

If you enjoy craft beers, be sure to sample some of the offerings from the local microbreweries - you won’t be disappointed. 

4 craft beers lined up on a table

Dress Code

Iceland's nightlife dress code is stylish! Icelanders like to dress smartly, so ditch your walking boots for shoes and enjoy the night!

The dress code is more relaxed in the bars and you’ll be warmly welcomed in pretty much anything, but it’s recommended to stick to the following for nightclubs:

  • No trainers
  • No hiking clothes
  • No hoodies or tracksuits 

Remember to bring your warm coat, you’ll be thankful for it when you’re out and about. 

Rules to Remember

With all of this in mind, it is important to remember that in Iceland it is forbidden to drink alcohol in the street, so be sure to respect this rule during your trip. You will also find that nightclubs do not serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 20 and some bars may refuse to serve anyone under the age of 22. 

When arranging your itinerary for your trip to Iceland and planning all the tourist hotspots that you want to visit, be sure to include some time to experience Reykjavik's nightlife.