Iceland Winter: Travel Tips to Prepare for the Weather

Things you Need to Know About Iceland Winter

There’s nothing quite like Iceland winter anywhere on earth. Winter is a fabulous season for visiting this unique country for various reasons: it’s less crowded, the hotels and flights are cheaper, and you can see the majestic Northern Lights.

Before you start packing, we’ve prepared several important things you should know about Iceland winter travel.

When is winter in Iceland?

There is an official First Day of Winter in Iceland, with roots back in the old Norse Calendar. According to these old scripts, there were only two seasons in Iceland: winter and summer. Thus, the first days of each season were very important.

The old month of Gor is the first winter month during which the first day of winter typically happens.

In English, Iceland winter starts in November and ends in March.

The darkest months of the year happen during Iceland winter, and the shortest day of the year happens on December 21st, right before Christmas. It has daylight for only about four to five hours. Luckily, Icelanders love Christmas decorations and the entire country is twinkling with Christmas lights. Every street and every garden are lit and they provide an incredibly cozy, fairytale-like atmosphere, making up for the lack of natural light.

What is winter like in Iceland?

Until December 21st, daylight time gets shorter every day. On the darkest day of the year, the Sun rises at 11:21 and goes down at 15:29. If it happens to be a cloudy day, you won’t even get those four hours of light – it will be dark throughout the entire day.

 

You should be prepared for gloomy weather and lack of sunlight if you visit Iceland during winter. However, all the natural wonders and unique experiences will make your Iceland winter trip unforgettable.

Iceland winter weather

If you’re reluctant to experience Iceland’s winter temperature, you should know that most common assumptions are usually not true. Icelandic winters are pretty mild, only a little colder than Eastern European countries. 

Reykjavik winter temperatures drop down to -10 °C and go up to 10 °C. Anyone wondering if Iceland is cold should know we all agree that this is not a warm tropical country. However, the average temperature doesn’t get to the freezing point – it’s usually just above it.

 Even though the temperatures aren’t too harsh, the weather is very unpredictable in Iceland all year round, and especially in winter. You can expect an abundance of snowfall during the winter months, and also know that the wind tends to turn things around in seconds.

 

What to do during Iceland winter?

Wintertime offers many unique experiences that will make your trip to this beautiful country unforgettable.

Here are some of the most interesting things to do in Iceland during winter:

See the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights are nature’s unique, dazzling display that offers an incredible experience. No two auroras are ever the same, and each new display is more mesmerizing than the previous one. Winter is the prime season for watching the Northern Lights.

Discover the Ice Caves

The amazing ice caves allow you to walk inside a glacier, as crazy as it may sound. The experience is one of a kind and winter is the only season when you can get this one of a kind experience so make sure not to miss it.

Go Glacier Hiking

If you want to experience raw nature and surreal landscapes with gorgeous scenery, you should go glacier hiking. With spectacular views everywhere you look, you will appreciate the power of nature and enjoy every second being there.

Bathe in Iceland’s Geothermal Pools

Can you imagine bathing in a hot geothermal pool in the middle of winter, with snow and ice all around you? Iceland’s geothermal pools offer a unique experience that has to be on your bucket list.

Iceland winter travel tips

–   Pack properly: the three most important things to invest in when going to Iceland in winter are waterproof winter pants, a waterproof winter jacket, and waterproof snow boots. If you want to stand on glaciers and walk around the ice, you will need the right equipment to stay safe.

–   Planning is everything: Tourism is strong in Iceland all year round. While it’s busier in the summer, winter is also popular for visitors because of the unique experiences it offers. The Northern Lights are on many people’s lists, so make sure you plan and book your flight, car rental, and accommodation on time.

–   Be prepared: The cold loves eating your batteries. You will need to charge your phone a lot more often than you normally would, so it’s best to pack some backup power packs. Aside from your phone, your camera batteries will also go dead quickly so make sure you have a back up for it, too.

Iceland is gorgeous during winter. It’s the only time of the year when you’ll get a strong possibility of seeing the Northern Lights. Also, taking a dip in a hot pool on a cold winter night is one of the most exhilarating activities you will ever have.  

You can access all major Iceland attractions with a reliable winter Iceland camper rental. Contact us for more information and to plan your trip today!