The first Monday of each August is Iceland’s ‘tradesmen’s holiday’ and the weekend around it, Verslunarmannahelgin (the Tradesmen’s Weekend) has become Icelanders’ biggest annual travel weekend.
In decades gone by, almost the entire city of Reykjavík would clear out to festivals in the countryside this weekend, leaving the city shops, restaurants and nightlife spookily devoid of life.
These days the city will not be noticeably quiet—not only because of the large number of tourists, but also because of the Innipúkinn music festival which keeps a generous handful of locals at home to enjoy some of the country’s top music acts at indoor venues around the city center.
Despite this, many thousands of Icelanders will be on the move today for the long weekend.
Headline destinations include the Þjóðhátíð festival on Vestmannaeyjar—by far the most famous Verslunarmannahelgi event. This year’s line-up includes some of Iceland’s most famous acts, like Páll Óskar, Sálin hans jóns míns and FM Belfast.
The Westfjords capital of Ísafjörður again plays host to the European Mud Soccer Championships this weekend, which is just as much riotous fun for participants and spectators as it sounds. The days of ‘sport’ are followed by evenings of live music, including Blaz Roca, Retro Stefson and Skítamórall.
The East Fjords town of Neskaupstaður hosts the annual Neistaflug festival, with all sorts of family friendly events and activities, as well as live music from Í svörtum fötum, Todmobile and Vintage Caravan.
Other significant Verslunarmannahelgi events are taking place in Akureyri, Vatnskógar, and Hvolsvöllur.
The forecast is for light winds, showers, sunny spells and chillier-than-ideal temperatures over most of the country.