Winter season in Iceland
The winter season in Iceland goes from November to April: the weather can be challenging and the days are shorter but, on the bright side, it is off peak season, there are less tourists, prices are a little lower than during the summer and everything is much calmer and peaceful.
In the peak of winter in Iceland, there are only 4 or 5 hours of daylight, but how can you make the most of it?
Winters in Iceland can be tough, the driving conditions can be quite challenging and, unless you are used to driving in these conditions in your own country, I would not recommend renting a car in the winter. If you are experiences and want to drive yourself, make sure you always check the road conditions and take safety precautions.
There are often storms, many roads are closed to traffic, some roads just become ice sheets so it is always good to let someone else take care of you. And with a private tour, you can plan your day with the help of your experienced guide and make the most of the few hours of daylight in Iceland.
Which tours to take in the wintertime in Iceland.
The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon and they are never guaranteed, but you certainly have more chance to see them when there are many hours of darkness. The Northern Lights can sometimes be seen from the city but, if you want more chances, you should go on a tour. I would recommend a private one because with special super jeep cars you can reach places buses cannot access and you have an expert guide with you who will take you to the best places to see the Lights and will have tips to help you taking nice pictures you will show everyone at the end of your trip.
Winter is the best time to visit the beautiful ice caves that can be found in the biggest Icelandic glaciers.
Amazing and always different, they are a great option if you are looking for some adventure during your trip in Iceland in the winter.
Short Sightseeing Tours.
If you are in Iceland in December/January, you will only get a few hours of sunlight so the best sightseeing tour you can take are the popular Golden Circle and the Reykjanes Peninsula Tours.
Both are day tours from Reykjavik, both are a few hours long and they are very doable with the amount of daylight we get in the winter.
The Golden Circle is of course a very popular destination, you will see some wonders like Geysir and Gullfoss but if you want something calmer and off the beaten track, I would definitely recommend the Reykjanes Peninsula: This Peninsula is a hidden gem, full of geothermal wonders, lava fields and amazing cliffs, which look even more spectacular in the wintertime when covered in white. And why do I think this is a great tour? Because at the end of your Reykjanes Tour, you can add a stop at the Blue Lagoon and maybe see the Northern Lights while relaxing in this amazing hot pool.
Relax in hot springs and swimming pools.
There is nothing I like more than sitting in a hot tub in Iceland in the winter.
There are many public swimming pools around the city where you can go for a swim or just relax in a hot tub, some even have hot tubs and steam baths. If you are outside Reykjavik, do not despair… there are swimming pools in almost every town and village, big spas like the Blue Lagoon, the Secret Lagoon, Fontana Baths or the Natural Baths in Myvatn, and natural hot springs where you can bathe in nature.
Enjoy Reykjavik’s museums and amazing cafes.
When it is dark and cold outside, in those long Icelandic winter days, there is noting better than sit down in a cafe downtown Reykjavik with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and some delicious Icelandic pastries. You can read a book, bring your computer or just enjoy some people watching.
And of course you can check out Reykjavik’s interesting museums, like the Saga Museum, the Whales Exhibition or the art museums.
Enjoy the Holidays
If you are in Iceland over Christmas, you will notice Icelanders like their Christmas Lights, maybe also because they brighten up the long winter days. You will have a chance to meet the 13 Icelandic Santa Clauses (read our previous blog https://icelandpremiumtours.is/2017/12/12/the-yule-lads-icelands-very-own-13-santa-clauses/ if you want to learn more about them) and to experience the New Year’s Eve craziness with all the bonfires and the fireworks all over Reykjavik.
So if you are planning to come to Iceland over the winter, do not be scared of the long dark days. Just wrap up in a few layers of clothes and try to make the most of your days up in Iceland, this tiny country that is so beautiful and has so much to offer in every season. And don’t go crazy about trying to fit everything in, just enjoy the winter quietness and you can always come back in the summer for those never ending days when you can see so much .
Text: Elisa Maccagnoni – Iceland Premium Tours