There are plenty of reasons why you should consider coming to Iceland during the winter time. Of course, that midnight sun and bright blue sky is appealing, but if you ask me, the winter is when the real magic happens.
If your aim is to get the best possible photographs, then the winter might just be your best friend. While the day is short in the period from October to February (peaking on December 21st with only 4 hours of daylight), the sun casts a beautiful glow during much of the day.
You wont have to wake up at 4 AM to catch the sunrise, nor do you have to stay awake until 12 PM to see the sunset. Instead, you can sleep in, have a chill breakfast before heading out – all without a single worry about missing out on all the magic... unless we are chasing northern lights of course!
The fact is, that the quality of sun-light during the winter often is better for taking pictures than during the summer when the light is harsh during a big part of the day. The down-side to the winter light is of course the limited supply of sunlight hours.
Beat the crowds and enjoy the unique serenity that Iceland has to offer. The number of tourist significantly increases during the summer time, while in the winter time, you still can get lucky and have some of the main attractions almost all to yourself.
This goes in hand with the previous point. Fewer people means less demand, meaning lower rates. Hotels often have good deals during the winter time as well as do car-rental companies and airlines.
Here are a few exciting options for accommodation that you could consider to stay at during your winter visit:
- Hotel Sigló – which is located in the beautiful town Siglufjörður in the north of Iceland you can find more information about the hotel and the things happening on Hotel Sigló
- Hotel Grimsborgir, which is a gorgeous hotel located close Þingvallavatn and a great way to end a Golden Circle tour.
The same applies for car rentals that often might have better rates. A thing to keep in mind is that road-condtions will be bad and you are going to need a 4x4. Here are few good options:
- ISAK (some of the best modified jeeps in Iceland – great if you plan to do some real into-the-wild type of thing) See more on ISAK 4x4 Rental
- For more cars, check out the complete selection of Jeeps and SUV's
For obvious reasons you cannot see the northern lights during the summer (ok I’ll explain it anyway; you will need a dark and clear night sky – meaning no midnight sun for you my friend ).
Northern lights are incredibly amazing and something you likely will remember for the rest of your life (unless you are a Local like me and have seen a ton of these - still gets me super excited every time though).
There are many northern ligths trips and tours you can do, to name a few interesting:
- 6 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | Jokulsarlon, Ice Cave & Diamond Beach - If self-drive is your thing, then consider this trip as it includes many highlights around Iceland and great chances for seeing the Northern lights.
- Northern Lights Holiday by Lake Myvatn | 5 Day Trip - The North part of Iceland is a great place for Northern Lights and this trip will take you to see the northern lights at some of the most beautiful places in the North.
- 5 Day Winter Package | Ice Cave - Northern Lights - Golden Circle & Blue Lagoon - This trip covers the South and many of the highlights in Iceland. Have you ever dreamt of seeing the northern lights dancing over the glacier lagoon? - This trip might just make that dream come true.
Last but not least, there will likely be snow – if not in Reykjavik, then somewhere else around the country. Again Siglufjörður is almost guaranteed snow – same applies for Snæfellsnes, West Fjords and the North in general. Some of my favourite endeavours in Iceland include snow and ice - it gets me every time.
If snow and total whiteout is your thing, you could consider doing some of the following tours:
Snowmobiling: Golden Circle Jeep Tour with Glacier Snowmobiling
Dogsledding: Dog sledding in Mývatn
A walk inside an amazing glacier cave: Into the Glacier
Then let the pictures below convince you!
I hope you will enjoy your Iceland winter advententure!
All the best,