With the colder weather and winter officially approaching, I thought it would be a great time to post about some colder destinations, starting off with Iceland! You may remember that I went there earlier this year and I only got to posting about our amazing itinerary. Now, it’s finally time to wind back up to that trip and share more about this fantastic destination – one of my all-time favourites so far, and I’m not a fan of cold weather so that says a lot.
I went to Iceland with my boyfriend in late February/early March, which was still winter there, though some of the snow was already starting to melt. While Iceland is definitely more popular in summer as there are generally more things to do and the temperatures reach normal levels, winter in Iceland is extremely beautiful.
So, I thought I would write a little list about all the best (and some silly) reasons to go to Iceland in winter and why it is really worth it in my opinion!
Catching the Northern lights
Iceland is a great destination to watch the Northern lights, and while you can still see them in spring or autumn, the long winter nights give all the time for the auroras to appear. It is one of the most breath-taking things I have ever experienced, and I can’t imagine ever being tired of it. Of course, as these are natural occurrences, there is no way of knowing with absolute certainty if you will see them, so keep you expectations low, regardless of the season!
Visiting the ice caves
Iceland is home to Europe’s biggest glacier, and there are many more all around the island. In winter, they create beautiful ice caves and visitors can also hike on top of them. These excursions only take place in winter, as part of the glaciers melt in the summer, making them extremely dangerous.
Hot springs under the snow
Since it is a volcanic land, Iceland has many hot springs and geothermal pools, the most famous being the Blue Lagoon. These can be enjoyed throughout the year, and summer will not be too warm for it, but sitting in a warm hot spring, while seeing the snow slowly cover all the nature around you and melt as it reaches the steam is something you can only experience in winter.
Snowy and epic landscapes
In winter, pretty much every landscape you’ll see in Iceland will be covered by a nice white layer of snow or ice. It obviously means you have to be more careful when walking around, but there is also something really peaceful and beautiful about a snowy landscape. The pictures I’ve seen from summer in Iceland and what I experienced in winter seemed like completely different places, so you can also go twice and see for yourself 😛
Of course, since it is the off-season and there aren’t as many people on holidays during the winter months, it also means that every famous spot will be less busy. For instance, when we went to some of the most famous waterfalls, the area surrounding them was almost empty, allowing us to truly enjoy it to the fullest.
For the same reason, the flights to go there are also much cheaper during winter than in summer, where there are many tourists coming to visit. Similarly, when booking an accommodation, it will be easier to find something towards the cheap side, than if you go during peak season. This can be very interesting especially since Iceland in general is not a cheap destination.
Perfecting your driving skills
This is a bit of a silly one, but I’m a much more confident driver since I managed to drive in Iceland, and I feel like I can now take on everything the road throws at me: snow storm? Good! Icy roads? Good! Strong gushes of wind? Good! Very narrow bridges? Good! Ability to parallel park on an uphill street covered with a thick layer of ice? Goo- no actually my boyfriend had to do it for me because I was struggling…😭 Jokes aside, the roads will test you in Iceland, and there were moments where I was definitely panicking (luckily I was not the one driving), but afterwards, I really felt more confident!
You still have plenty of things to see in summer
Most of the main and most famous spots of Iceland are located in the South of the island, which is easily accessible in winter, with less adverse weather conditions. So you won’t miss out on much anyways. However, there will be things you probably won’t be able to access in winter, especially in the North, but that means you’ll still have many things to explore in summer! I know it can be a bit discouraging if you want to visit all of Iceland on one occasion, but even though I do plan to go back one day, I’m still really happy with all the amazing things that I saw in winter, and I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything at all!
Going to Iceland in winter is a wonderful way to explore the island with less crowds and to experience some of the most beautiful things the country has to offer, such as the Northern lights or the ice caves. While it does come with its load of difficulties, I think all of it is worth it when you see the incredible landscapes and experience the power and strength of nature there – as a European living in a big city, it is really not something that I’m used to!
If this post has convinced you to book a trip to Iceland this winter, watch out for my next post, with some tips on how to survive it and have the best experience!
Would you like to go to Iceland in winter?