7 Reasons to Visit Iceland in Winter.

Iceland Winter

7 Reasons you should visit Iceland in Winter.

While Iceland is certainly far more popular as a summer destination, I think if I was ever to return I would go again in winter. You have endless day light in the summer and it might be more pleasant to hike but in my personal opinion unless you are on some tropical beach as a basic rule everywhere cold looks better covered in snow.

Northern Lights.

So I think first of all seeing the northern lights in Iceland illuminate the sky and subsequently the snow covered mountains below was a vision I will never forget and something you can not get in the summer months. This vision is actually far more spectacular than photos can convey. It took a couple of nights before the sky opened up for us but when it did it made all the wind, snow and negative temperatures completely worth it.

Iceland Winter

Shooting film can be difficult sometimes. Especially when you come across lighting conditions that you have not experienced before, such as this. I took so many different photos on different settings and this was the best I could come up with which I was pretty disappointed with haha but you can kind of understand.

Less People.

So something I noticed in Iceland at the main tourist spots was how many people there were. We kept saying to ourselves it is the middle of winter why are there still people here. But there was and there was quiet a lot of them.

We did get lucky at a bunch off the bigger waterfalls though. It would be snowing and windy and there was no one around which meant we got photos with out 200 other people in them and without having to wait for anyone to move. It also allowed us to move around unhindered by anyone or anything and camp where ever we wanted without being bothered by anyone.

Iceland Winter

I have only really seen photos of this place kind of crowded or with at least a few groups of people here. We didn’t see anyone the entire time so we took the chance to enjoy it el natural.

It is far less expensive.

Due to the lack of people visiting Iceland in winter the cost of everything goes down. Sometimes quite considerably, our rental van cost less than it would have in summer, our flights were really cheap and the small amount of accommodation that we looked at was actually reasonable compared to what I have heard people talking about paying.

Iceland Winter

This is Skogafoss with almost no one. Also not a very common site. Also perfect lighting conditions.

Lighting.

Due to the days being shorter in winter in Iceland the light is pretty amazing most of the time. There is not really any middle of the day light that causes glare or dulls colours. Just nice moody lighting perfect for photography.

Iceland Winter

Iceland Winter

A couple of examples of perfect lighting that were not hard to come across.

Cheaper flights.

This one is pretty self explanatory, but you can find some crazy cheap off peak flights to Iceland. We flew with Iceland air and it was super cheap.

Iceland Winter

Iceland Winter Camping

You can still camp in winter also. It is kind of cold though haha.

The Weather

The weather in Iceland during winter is harsh and unpredictable. I have read about people saying it is not that cold. I am not sure where these people are from but they are not from a place where the average low in winter is 20 degrees C and I can almost guarantee they were not sleeping in a van, not surfing and probably had hot showers once a day, the likes of which we did not see even once. It was between zero and minus 10 Celsius the entire time and colder at night. It went from almost blizzard snow conditions to raining and gale force winds that we thought were going to rip the doors off of our car. But there were also times when it would stop snowing and the wind was gone and everything looked about as perfect as I have ever seen anything look. Lakes perfectly still, snow covered mountains in the back ground and pink skies as the sun was going down.

Despite the fact that it was cold and pretty windy most of the time, as long as you have the right clothes you are going to be fine. For me personally the weather was so raw and coupled with the landscape, snow and the surfing it only added to heighten the whole experience for me.

Iceland Winter

Iceland Winter

Driving conditions are harsh but pretty fun!

The Surf.

The surf in Iceland in winter was completely uncrowded. No one. We didnโ€™t even see another board the whole time haha. I am not sure that there is a big risk of it being crowded in Summer either but I can almost guarantee that if you are there to surf you will most likely have the entire place to yourself.

Iceland WinterCold and wet but found what we were looking for.

Iceland Winter

More photos and surfing in Iceland here if you want to have a look.

 

 

30 Comments

  • My boyfriend and I were suppose to go to Iceland for NYE but decided on London instead! I’ve been wanting to go so bad especially to see the Northern lights! It would be awesome to take a road trip around hitting all the major spots! Super jelly!

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  • I’ve been to Iceland in the summer before…and am now going in the Winter in February! Very much looking forward to it being a different experience than the one I’d had before, and yes, the Northern Lights is the one thing I’m anticipating the most. But I think this ethereal and magical land will look even better in the snow too – your photos do certainly suggest this – so the extra cold will certainly be worth experiencing for the sake of the sheer beauty around ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Yeah everything covered in snow just felt so much more special! I suppose it is just not as common for most people to see and especially not me so I loved every single second of it!

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  • Winter time really can be amazing. For us living here in Sweden I’m not sure if Iceland fills our needs during the winter. We usually look for a bit more sun to survive the dark months. Landscapes can be really amazing during the winter, so I can understand why to go. Just that I would prefer a bit warmer if I go somewhere this time of the year. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Haha I completely understand this man. Where I am from it gets to lows of 23 on average so it is a little different this is kind of a special experience but yeah if you want sun and warmth it is not the right place haha

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  • My husband and I have had Iceland on our bucket list for ages, but we keep seeing photos of sites totally crowded in the summer. It’s just not our thing. Recently we’ve been toying with the idea of visiting in winter. We live in Germany, so flights are insanely cheap right now. We love to camp and hike, though, and have read some articles about the wind being strong enough to rip a car door off its hinges, as you mentioned. Yours is the first article I’ve read about someone actually visiting in winter – we’re convinced!

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    • Yeah well it is perfect in winter if you don’t like crowds. I personally hate crowds as well and am always trying of peak travel just to avoid this. Or just go into hard to reach mountains or weird beach spots. But yeah it is crazy cheap to get to from Europe. It is completely worth it!

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  • Visiting in off season is definitely an advantage. And iceland seems to be beautiful across all seasons. Although, northern lights is one phenomena for which I would definitely like to visit here in Winter

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  • I’ve wanted to see the Northern Lights for as long as I can remember. I’ve also been to the airport in Iceland like six times and never left… shame on me. Never thought about going in the winter, but you bring up some valid points. Maaaay need to see if I can go soon!

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  • Iceland is so high up the bucket list, that I don’t really know why I’m sitting here in my flat in England? I should be on the next flight to beautiful Iceland. Thanks for the great reasons to visit in winter! Tomorrow I think I will look into it a little more and see if it is a possibility to get there in the next few weeks!

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    • That is highly recommended!Especially living in England. It is so close to you!! If you have the money I would highly suggest renting a car or a camper! It was by far the best way to do things!

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  • I have always wanted to visit Iceland but never thought that it could be a winter destination too. I have always preferred visiting any destination in its offbeat season for the exact reasons as stated by you. Adding it to my bucket list!

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  • I agree. Winter is best. I’d love to do this one day but need to be fully prepared for it a well as it does require some preparation for safety reasons. I’ve been to Iceland in Oct. and it was already snowing on the top of volcanoes then – we spent 12 hours hike.. was amazing.

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    • Yeah the preparation is a must. I was so happy I had come ffrom Europe at the time and not Australia or I think I might have frozen to death. haha We did not do any big hikes like that because a lot were closed unfortunately. One of the down sides but there was still so many spectacular things.

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  • One of these years I’ve to try to go there on winter…even if I’m very sensitive to the cold :(. Anyway Iceland is such an amazing place to visit in each season, but the possibility to see the Northern Lights and maybe save a little money could be a very good reason to come back there ๐Ÿ˜€ .

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  • Wow, I just love the stark features of Iceland during winter. Did you try out any of Iceland’s food? Do tell us about the prices that you encountered so that we can plan too ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • We did not really try any traditional food. We barely spent any time in the city or near towns to be honest. We were mostly out in the middle of no where looking for waves or waterfalls. ๐Ÿ™‚
      We actually did everything from a campervan. We didn’t stay anywhere although we looked at a few hostels for our first night. But we were paying 89 Euro per for the van. Flights were really cheap from Europe but they vary all the time. I flew to Iceland from the US one time for $115 USD and we paid 250 Euro for return flights to Iceland from Copenhagen. So yeah not very expensive. I have seen them cheaper if you’re looking around all the time.

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