One of Iceland’s biggest holiday weekends means plenty of festivals

This is one of the busiest travel weekends of the Icelandic summer, despite it not being a public holiday.

The first weekend in July is traditionally a good time to get out into the countryside as July is much like August is in France and Italy. In other words, lots of people take the whole month off work. That is part of the reason why there are no official public holidays in July.

In celebration of July’s arrival (along with unseasonal cloud, high winds and rain), there are at least six civic festivals in towns around the country.

An Icelandic civic festival traditionally involves barbecuing, team games, outdoor concerts, and dances. The towns of Holmavik, Thingeyri, Akranes, Bolungarvik, Hofn and the Westman Islands are all holding festivals.

Holmavik’s is called Happiness Days. Thingeyri has a Viking theme and sailing trips on the town’s replica Viking ship. Akranes is celebrating its Irish heritage with its annual Irish Days festival. Bolungarvik is celebrating its market traditions. Hofn is holding its annual lobster festival and the Westman Islands are celebrating the anniversary of the end of their destructive volcanic eruption in 1973.

Police are closely surveying traffic leaving Reykjavik today, including Coastguard helicopter backup which will likely result in many speeding fines. They will be doing the same when people return to the capital on Sunday and Monday.

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