Skip to main content

The biggest and probably wildest weekend you can have in Iceland is during Tjodhatid festival in Westman Islands

You may or may not be aware that Reykjavik, capital of Iceland, has a massive reputation for being the sin city par excellence. A night out will be blissfully drunk and wonderful and chances of ending up in bed with company supposedly great.

Now, what if we were to tell you that the wild weekends in downtown Reykjavik is a mere dress rehearsal compared to the biggest outdoor festivals held in late July or early August?[blockquote type=”blockquote_line” align=”right”]One festival in particular has a fierce reputation[/blockquote]

Its name in Icelandic is Verslunarmannahelgi and was originally meant as a vacation weekend for people working in sales and services all over the country. Naturally, today everyone but those people get the weekend off and it is no exaggeration to say that between 40 and 60 percent of all Icelanders travel around this very weekend. Kinda like Thanksgiving weekend for Iceland.

A good chunk of those are traveling to attend special outdoor festivals held over this Verslunarmannahelgi. One festival in particular has a fierce reputation for being the wildest place in Iceland and remarkably takes place outside of Iceland. Well, not really, but the spot is not on the mainland. The festival of Þjóðhátíð, or Tjodhatid if we skip the Iceland letters, takes places in a beautiful old volcanic crater in Heimaey island. The only inhabited island of the Westman Islands group to the South of the country.

This festival is a must-visit place if you like…
A: getting hammered for three days straight
B: getting hammered for three days straight
C: getting hammered for three days straight

Over the weekend in question between 12 and 18 thousand people make Herjolfsdalur valley in Heimaey their home in tents and later when the tent is ruined, burned or has vanished they sleep wherever there is space. Certainly no Burning Man but for a local festival this is huge.

Officially this is a music festival with the greatest of local artists performing every night. Unofficially this is a festival of alcoholic beverages usually with some other substances thrown in for good measure. Thus when the night closes in each day this becomes a haven for any party animals.

Take a look at this promotion video below and ponder for a minute the fact that all the bad parts, or really drunken parts, have been edited out. Tjodhatid is this video multiplied by five.

Also keep in mind access is limited. Tickets go on sale in early summer should all this excite you tremendously. Official info here.