Iceland in winter. It’s a hot topic. When I was asking around about it before I booked this trip I got extremely mixed reviews. Some fellow bloggers told me in no uncertain terms to NOT visit during winter in any circumstances. While others told me to try it out but it would be a big gamble with the weather. Most people agreed that it would be hit or miss.
We visited Iceland from November 16 – 22nd, so it is not yet the dead of winter, but the conditions are still “wintery” enough to write this post. We have had a GREAT time.
This is why I think you should ignore the naysayers and visit Iceland in the winter… even if it is a gamble with the weather.
Why you should travel to Iceland in the winter
1) It’s Iceland…. it’s supposed to be cold
I mean it’s in the name right? Iceland! We have battled a few snow storms and extremely cold temperatures during our stay, but that is all part of the experience. While driving past frozen waterfalls, snow covered horses and white mountains we said to each other… “I can’t imagine this place would be as beautiful if there was no snow.”
2) Shorter days
You are thinking…. “shorter days… why is that a good thing?” So I’ll tell you…. we have gotten to experience the sunrise and the sunset EVERY SINGLE DAY, without getting up super early, or staying up super late. At the time of our visit the sun was rising around 10 am and setting between 4 pm and 5 pm. An added bonus: the incredible hues in the sky reflect onto the snowy fields and mountains, creating some really stunning vistas. Dan went nuts for landscape photography during these times.
3) The drama!
Everything appears more dramatic here in the winter. Mountains are covered in snow, the Icelandic horses are shaggier and the waterfalls are frozen. Yes that’s right, frozen waterfalls.
4) The light show
One of the main reasons that people come to Iceland during the winter is to see the Northern Lights. Seeing the Northern Lights is fairly reliable, although you do need to have fairly clear skies. IF you want a better idea of what your upcoming Iceland trip will be like in terms of seeing the Northern Lights, you should check out the Icelandic Meteorological Offices “Aurora forecast“.
5) Save money!
Winter is the low season which means there will be plenty of accommodation options and tour providers that offer discounted rates in order to attract the limited number of travelers in each region. Everyone had always told us how expensive Iceland was going to be, but we found that our costs here were less than in New Caledonia, Australia, and even Canada.
6) Less crowds
Low season also means less people all crowding around that super awesome geyser or waterfall, making your experience a lot more personal. (and also making it easier for you to get people free photos!)
We hope that if Iceland is on your bucket list, that this post helps dispel some of your apprehension about traveling in winter. Of course, as I said before, it is hit or miss with the weather and you need to be prepared for that. Also, come back on Thursday for our post about why you should travel to Iceland in the summer which will detail all the things that winter travel prevented!