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Things to do Around the Secret Solstice Music Festival

|May 31, 2018
Constant adventure seeker, Melissa fell in love with Icelandic landscapes and wildlife. Always looking for new outdoor experiences and the best photo spots around the island.

The Secret Solstice Festival is definitely a good reason to come to Iceland in June. The Secret Solstice Festival is one of the biggest and longest-awaited festivals of the year in Reykjavík.

Renowned stars from all over the world come to perform and celebrate at the Secret Solstice along with up-and-coming Icelandic artists in Reykjavik.

This festival gives a great opportunity to enjoy the Midnight Sun, a natural phenomenon occurring only in countries near from the Arctic Circle. Indeed, for the whole duration of the festival, the sun will not set and people can party all day and all night long without paying attention to the time of the day.

This event is the perfect opportunity to meet new people, discover Icelandic food and beers, and enjoy the local culture during the Summer Solstice. This is a special time when the sun shines at night as well as during the day. For certain June is one of the best times to visit Iceland.

Photo by Norris Niman

How the Secret Solstice in Iceland started

Since its creation in 2014, this young Icelandic festival has won accolades from the national and international press. It was described as “One of the top festivals on Earth” by Time Magazine, and many famous international artists like Foo Fighters, The Prodigy, Big Sean, Radiohead and so many more have performed, not forgetting some of the most talented Icelandic artists! Many of the Icelandic artists are not known worldwide yet, but it is just a matter of time until the world discovers more of the musical wonders Iceland has to offer. The Icelandic band, Kaleo, is a good example of the country’s rising stars, you might know them thanks to their song, Way Down We Go, which took over the airwaves of many radio stations. The festival will allow you to discover some epic Icelandic music as well as the chance to sing along to your favorite international hit songs.

Photo by Lilja Draumaland

Secret Solstice Music Festival Venues and Locations

The Secret Solstice Festival takes place in Laugardalur, a beautiful park near the historical center of Reykjavík. The event is always held around the Summer Solstice, the brightest period of the year. The festival operates on six stages, all of them have names taken from Norse mythology: Valhalla (‘Hall of the Chosen’), Gimli (‘Place Protected From Fire’), Askur (‘Ash Tree’), Fenrir (‘Fen-Dweller’ – a monstrous wolf), Ragnarök (‘The Doom of the Gods’) and Hel (‘Hidden’ – the name of a Goddess). This four-day festival can be referred to as the Arctic Coachella.

Of course, during the festival, you can enjoy a walk downtown in Reykjavík and try out some of the best bars and restaurants in Iceland’s beautiful capital. Reykjavík is a wonderful city full of charm, with unusual street art and the emblematic white church, Hallgrímskirkja, dominating the skyline.

What makes this festival even more unique are the three unique side events on offer: The Lava Tunnel, Into The Glacier and the Geothermal Pool Party. Neither of these are included in the ticket price of the festival, and the number of participants each can accommodate is strictly limited.

The Lava Tunnel could be described as an extreme musical experience because the performance takes place in a 5,200-year-old lava tunnel, formed by a volcanic eruption. The Raufarhólshellir cave is in a breathtaking natural location, the lava walls display many different colors. It is recommended that you come with sturdy boots, waterproof clothes and clothes suitable for a temperature of around 0 °C. The event is limited to 50 guests who will receive a guided tour of the cave before one of the most unique concert experiences on the planet – inside a lava tube cave. We recommend that you book your ticket as soon as possible. Transportation to and from the Secret Solstice site Reykjavík is provided, for safety reasons a maximum of two drinks per person are provided (included in the price).

Into The Glacier is the only party and concert performance inside a glacier in the whole world. Just 120 guests will get a chance to experience this unique event within the majestic Langjökull, Iceland’s second-largest glacier. Transportation, a maximum of two drinks and a short tour of the glacier are also included in the special event ticket. If you want to join this concert, you need to remember to pack warm and water resistant clothes in your suitcase, along with your summer clothes for the festival. You will need sturdy shoes, warm layers, hats, gloves and scarves and a cozy jacket, the temperature in the ice tunnel is below zero. Don’t forget to take unforgettable clichés in this Instagram-friendly environment to make all your friends jealous!

A new special event has recently popped up on the program – the Geothermal Pool Party, this year with Lee Burridge, a great DJ from the UK. Only 82 tickets will be sold, this party at a geothermal pool out of the countryside will be amazing and a great privilege – those tickets sell out very fast. Transport is provided to and from Hreppslaug, a hot spring-fed pool surrounded by unspoiled nature, just one hour by car to the north of Reykjavík. Three drinks are included with your special event ticket, as well as pure Icelandic drinking water and a sandwich. This is such an incredible and unique event you won’t want to miss out on it!

Photo from the Hreppslaug Facebook Page

Secret Solstice 2018 – Lineup and Where to Stay?

This year, for its fifth edition, the Secret Solstice Festival is welcoming Steve Aoki, Clean Bandit, Stormzy and Slayer among the more famous artists, but the list of performers is incredibly long, more than a hundred artists from all musical genres perform every year. Around 18,000 people from all over the world are expected to come to the festival.

There is a campsite by the festival, so you can camp right next to the action when you stay this close you really get the full experience. You can either bring your own tent or book a tent, there are different sizes and kinds of tent to choose from. The camping ground offers access to running water, showers and toilets. If you don’t like camping, no worries: there are lots of hotels, guesthouses, Airbnbs or hostels in the city, City Hostel is almost next door to the festival. To stay as close as possible to the festival it is good to book accommodation in the neighboring areas, so in Reykjavík 101, 104 or 105.

How to do the Secret Solstice right | What else is there to do around the Secret Solstice

Make the most of your trip to Iceland! During the day, you can join many tours as there are lots of wonderful places to explore around Reykjavík. For example, if you had too many drinks the night before, every local knows that snorkeling in Silfra is the best hangover cure around. Indeed, as you let the slow current move you effortlessly along, the 4°C clear water will completely refresh you. Don’t worry about the cold, your drysuit will keep you warm and dry. Your hands and most of your face are protected by neoprene to keep them warm but the invigorating water will still wake you up after your hard night of partying. This is the ideal way to feel really good, you also get to see the stunning colors and underwater scenery! The sensations are unique when you snorkel at Silfra between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates at Þingvellir (Thingvellir), a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The water is so clear that you really have the impression that you are flying between the different parts of Silfra, as magical scenery unfolds beneath you.

Around Reykjavík, you can also join a whale watching tour for around three hours, giving you the chance to observe these giants of the sea in their natural habitat. Puffins can also be spotted at this time of the year, so hopping on a boat is a lovely way to see these wild birds who congregate around the Icelandic shores in summertime. If you want a great exploring experience, then you should definitely join a Golden Circle tour where you will discover Þingvellir National Park (Thingvellir), watch a powerful geyser erupting at Geysir, and see Gullfoss, the most popular waterfall in Iceland. All around the Golden Circle route you will see stunning and varied scenery and interesting sights.  

The South Coast tour will give you a day which is completely dreamlike as you see wonderful views of Sólheimajökull glacier, visit Reynisfjara black sand beach, Seljalandsfoss, the waterfall which has a pathway leading behind the tumbling falls, the village of Vík and many more of the beautiful places Iceland has to offer.

Other great outdoor activities include snowmobiling on Langjökull glacier, in the middle of nowhere, where you will be totally surrounded by snow, ice and mountains. Another option is ice hiking/climbing on Sólheimajökull glacier, Sólheimajökull will introduce you to a black and white world where glacial ice meets rough dark volcanic ash.

Have you ever been to Iceland in the summer? Would you like to try out the Secret Solstice Festival? Anything else you would like to know?

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