Celebrating Fishermen's Day
Fishermen's Day (in Icelandic, Sjómannadagurinn) is usually celebrated on the first Sunday in June each year. In 2022, it's held on June 12 (as June 5, 2022 is Whitsunday or Pentecost Sunday).
The tradition began in 1938 in Reykjavík and Ísafjörður in the Westfjords, and it honors Iceland’s strong seafaring heritage while giving sailors a well-deserved day off. All the ships are docked, so fishermen can spend the day with their families.
One of the best places to learn about Iceland's relationship to the sea is at the Reykjavík Maritime Museum, down by the harbor in the Grandi neighborhood. Here you can also tour the Coast Guard Vessel Óðinn.
There are excellent maritime museums in a number of smaller towns around Iceland. Look out for the award-winning Herring Era Museum, which examines the herring boom in Siglufjörður in North Iceland, and the super-scenic Ósvör Maritime Museum at Bolungarvík in the Westfjords. In East Iceland, stop by Randulffssjóhús in Eskifjörður, to see amazing artifacts in a 'sea house' that now doubles as a restaurant.
Fishermen's Day events
On Fishermen's Day, family-friendly celebrations take place around the country, with typical festivities including boat rides, speeches and dances, helpings of delicious seafood, and various other nautical fun. If you're anywhere close to an Icelandic town with a fishing harbor over the weekend, look out for some form of celebration.
Some of the biggest Fishermen's Day events (set to return in 2022 after a break due to COVID-19) are celebrated in the Grandi area, by Reykjavík Harbor – see the map of events online. A little further afield, check out the Happy Sailor Festival in Grindavík, about 45 minutes from the capital.
Where to find fab fish in Iceland
Fish are abundant in Icelandic waters. The catch of the day in most Icelandic restaurants is likely to be cod, ling or catfish. There are prolific fishing grounds around the island, so your fish should be fresh when it lands on your plate.
We've got the rundown on where to taste-test the freshest seafood around the country, from local langoustine to sublime sushi, plus seafood tours: read our guide, 'There's plenty more fish in the sea'.
Did you know?
Icelanders export the majority of their catch. Thanks to the services of Icelandair Cargo, diners in Europe and North America can be eating sustainably and responsibly caught fish that was swimming in Icelandic waters only 48 hours earlier!