The Icelandic winter months fall between November and March and are filled with very little sunlight. In fact, there are only four to five hours of daylight on the shortest day of the year, which falls in December. And, though it may look unbearable, the temperatures range between -10 degrees celsius (14 degrees fahrenheit) and 10 degrees celsius (32 degrees fahrenheit) on average. This glorious mix of cold and short days provide travelers with the opportunity to see one of the world’s masterpieces along with many other special Icelandic activities.
Iceland is one of the world’s best viewpoints to witness the majesty of the Northern Lights, which are curtains of color dancing in the sky in shades of green, red, yellow, or blue. These lights appear when electrically charged particles from the Sun collide with gaseous particles from the Earth upon entering the atmosphere and are most common at Earth’s magnetic poles. These reactions are not specific to Earth, however. They also occur on Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, and Saturn. But, until space travel is offered domestically, Iceland is one of your best chances at witnessing the amazing Aurora Borealis, and the winter months increase your chances of catching them, though there is no guarantee that you will. Aurora can be elusive.
Another reason to visit Iceland in the winter months is that the landscape offers a true winter wonderland to travelers. Everywhere the eye can see is blanketed in snow and ice. It is beautiful and pure as you journey into an ice cave where the ceiling is so clean and clear that it almost looks unreal, and you have to remind yourself of nature’s great artistic talents. You can continue to take in the breathtaking landscapes around you from the back of a snowmobile or atop an icelandic horse during the winter months as well. And, please remember, they are Icelandic HORSES, not Icelandic PONIES. This is very important to Icelanders and their horses, too.
It will sound silly, but you should also schedule some beach days during Iceland’s winter season, too. But, don’t pack your sunscreen and swimwear. Bundle up and wear snow shoes. The beaches will be covered in large mounds of crystal-like ice that is worth seeing. Whether you’re a master photographer or not, the scenery is so amazing your pictures will turn out as perfect as a postcard.
Another recommendation for how to spend your winter hours in Iceland is to seek out one of the thermal pools. The Blue Lagoon is likely the most well known, but there are so many others off of the beaten path that are worth finding, too. Regardless of external temperatures, the thermal pools remain as warm as a hot tub. Make sure to pack your swimsuit and enjoy some of these natural pools during your time in Iceland.
There are so many things to do and experience in Iceland during the winter that it would be impossible to list them all individually, but the highlights outlined above should serve as a jumping off point to build your custom itinerary for a wonderful adventure to this amazing country. We at Polar Front Adventure Company are excited to help you get started!