New Year’s Eve in Iceland drawing crowds from around the world

It is believed that some 4,000 foreign tourists are currently in Reykjavík to celebrate the New Year – which is around 500 more than were in the Icelandic capital last year.

According to Visit Reykjavík the majority of guests are staying in hotels, but guesthuses and hostels are also busy – and according to staff at the city’s biggest tourist information bureau, visitors this year seem particularly interested in eating and drinking well and in visiting the cities museums and swimming pools, Ví reports.

The imposing Hallgrímskirkja cathedral has been especially busy with tourists; while the newest attraction, the Harpa conference and concert centre, has also been well attended. The distinctive building itself has been an especially popular draw, but staff also say interest in concerts has been running high.

For those not in Reykjavík and wishing to enjoy the spectacle of many hundreds of tonnes of fireworks being let off across the city, a webcam has been set up to view around the world. Overseas web surfers are reminded, however, that between 22.30 and 23.30 GMT on New Year’s Eve the most popular television programme of the year is on (a comedic round-up of the year’s events) and almost everybody will be inside to watch – leaving the skies eerily quiet for an hour in between the mass release of fireworks, which starts as early as 21.00. Fireworks in Iceland are largely sold by charities and sports clubs, and in many cases it is the year’s biggest fundraising event.

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