Reykjavik, Iceland: Cold Temperatures, Hot Nightlife
In Iceland, New Year's Eve traditions offer the chance to brighten up one of the darkest days of the year. With little more than four hours of daylight and sunset before 4 p.m. on December 31, the celebration starts early, beginning with 6 p.m. mass at Reykjavik Cathedral. Locals attend or listen in on the radio, then share a meal with family and friends before heading outdoors for neighborhood bonfires. Visitors wandering the city may easily come across one of these flame-fueled gatherings, where drinking, folk songs and even people dressed up as elves and trolls are not uncommon. While all of this may seem somewhat sedate, don't underestimate a country where there are no restrictions on the holiday sale of fireworks. As for Icelanders wielding firecrackers, they're not the only complement to Reykjavik's official, spectacular pyrotechnics display. Sometimes the Northern Lights get in on the act as well.