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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is Skogafoss with almost no one. Also not a very common site. Also perfect lighting conditions.
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.
A couple of examples of perfect lighting that were not hard to come across.
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.
You can still camp in winter also. It is kind of cold though haha.
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.
Driving conditions are harsh but pretty fun!
The surf in Iceland in winter was completely uncrowded. No one. We didn’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.
Cold and wet but found what we were looking for.
More photos and surfing in Iceland here if you want to have a look.