Reykavik: Best for Fireworks (and a good cause)
Reykjavik’s annual NYE fireworks display is a brilliant, uncoordinated community-led effort, generally centred around neighbourhood bonfires and family events where locals buy and display their fireworks in gardens, hilltops and parks creating a vast canopy of choreographed light that rivals even the most pronounced of auroras. But it’s not all about the lights and good cheer. Rather, Reykjavik’s annual NYE celebrations benefit ICE-SAR (Iceland’s national search and rescue unit), which sells fireworks and sprinklers as a fundraising project. And it works well, as the stats show that Icelanders buy more fireworks in a week than most Europeans do in an entire year, earning the organisation more than half its annual revenue.
The skies generally start to shimmer just after nightfall, and the first big displays appear around 20:30, after the Prime Minister's year-end speech. At midnight, the sky comes alive from all angles, accompanied by a cacophonous backing track of fire engines, docked ships and more, all ringing their horns and bells to welcome the new year. Some of the best places to witness it all include Hallgrimskirka (in downtown Reykjavik) and Vigholl in nearby Kópavogur, though fireworks cruises present an intriguing, if slightly chilly, way to see the lights from the water.