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5 Photos That Prove You Should Visit Iceland in the Winter

I know, I know, everyone wants to come to Iceland for the green grass, flowing waterfalls, and the multi-colored mountains of Landmannalaugar.

I can’t argue, Iceland on a warm summer day is hard to beat (mind you…”warm” in Iceland is around 14 degrees celsius…it’s the arctic remember!) With breathtaking mountainous landscapes, never ending waterfalls, and black sand beaches, Iceland is an outdoor paradise.

In the past few years, there has been a 30% increase in tourism in Iceland. Photos on Instagram highlight Iceland’s hidden gems to the palm of your hand. More airlines are offering routes to Iceland.  Even Good Morning America has done sent reporters to broadcast from a glacier and an active volcano!

When planning a winter getaway, I’m sure Iceland isn’t the first place that comes to mind. It’s just dark and cold there, right? Well I’m here to show you why winter in Iceland is definitely worth a trip!


The Icelandic Horse

As if these guys weren’t adorable enough already, now they just look awesome against a white background. Bonus, they are super friendly! This one just walked up to me and would have let me pet him all day!

Icelandic Horses - 5 Photos That Prove You Should Visit Iceland in the Winter | Life With a View


Natural Geothermal Pools

Fact: Icelanders LOVE their pools, and when they are naturally heated from nearby hot springs, it’s even better. Iceland is filled with hot pots that are out in the middle of nowhere. This is the oldest pool in Iceland and is situated at the base of a glacier. This pool is slightly hidden and requires a short hike to get to, but totally worth it. It is highly likely that you would be the only one there!

Geothermal Pools - 5 Photos That Prove You Should Visit Iceland in the Winter | Life With a View


Golden hour sunsets that last for days

Turns out there is a positive side to the long dark hours of winter. During winter, the sun doesn’t get very high in the sky, and as a result, the golden hour seems to go on forever. I can’t even count how many breathtaking sunsets I have seen so far!

Golden hour sunsets that go on for hours - 5 Photos That Prove You Should Visit Iceland in the Winter | Life With a View

Waterfalls like you’ve never seen them before

The first time I saw Gullfoss I was like “wow, that waterfall is so big and beautiful!” But the second time I saw Gullfoss, I was like “OMG that is out of control goregous!” The combination of the clear blue water, the ice around the falls, and then the sunset was an amazing sight to see.

The Northern Lights

Of course one of the BEST parts about visiting Iceland in the winter is the breathtaking Northern Lights. In fact, I think this is a big reason why people visit in the winter, and with good reason! These wonders of nature were the number one thing on my bucket list for a long time, and Iceland is an incredible place to see them. There are a lot of factors that make for good Aurora viewing, but if you’re lucky you will be able to see these green beauties dancing across the sky!

READ MORE:   10 Rules for an Epic Iceland Road Trip

Read more: How to See the Northern Lights in Iceland

Northern Lights - 5 Photos That Prove You Should Visit Iceland in the Winter | Life With a View

 

FYI

Here are some helpful tips to make your Iceland winter vacation the best it can be!

Sightseeing

The best thing about visiting Iceland in off-peak tourist season is there will be less people at all of the popular stops. This means you don’t have to want 10 minutes for people to clear the area, and thus your waterfall photos will be prime! Since most attractions in Iceland are smack dab in the middle of nature, everything is still “open” during the winter season. I recommend using extreme caution when approaching these areas. Often times there will be signs telling you where to avoid, listen to them. Waterfalls are particularly dangerous because they form ice along the walkways. Be a smart traveler!

Saving money

Because they aren’t in as high of demand, certain accommodations might be slightly cheaper during the off-peak months. If you’re really looking to save money, I recommend a guesthouse or hostel. This also allows you to cook your own meals which will save you a lot of money!

Read more: 19 ways to Save Money in Iceland

Driving
Like I said, the weather in Iceland can change very quickly, and this can affect travel around the country. Be extra careful when driving, and always check road conditions.

Weather

Contrary to what you might think, Iceland in the winter is actually not that cold! The jet stream effect means that the coast of the island hovers around -5 to 3 celsius on average. (The interior gets much colder!) However, the weather in Iceland is ALWAYS changing, so be prepared for all conditions! One thing to note: because Iceland has very few trees, wind is often the biggest and most inconvenient factor during travels. The high winds of Iceland are nothing to take lightly, especially when it comes to drifting snow.


 

Question: Would you consider visiting Iceland in the winter?

 

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5 Photos That Prove You Should Visit Iceland in the Winter | Life With a View

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  • Ali
    October 19, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    Hi there! I am headed to Iceland at the end of next month with my husband. This may sound silly, but I just HAVE to see these horses! I saw a photo many many years ago of an Icelandic horse and that very photo is what made me want to visit! Are they easy to spot during the winter?

    • Jeannie
      November 7, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      Hey Ali, not silly at all! The Icelandic horses are so beautiful and also friendly! You can see them along the road while you are driving and a lot of times if you walk up to the fence they will come up to you. I would suggest not feeding them though, out of respect to the owners. Have a great time!

  • Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad
    February 7, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    Oh I’m so desperate to see the Northern Lights! It’s been a dream of mine for so long. That plus waterfalls and geothermal pools is an incredibly enticing combo! Oh and cute ponies. Yeah basically I’m checking out flights now…

    • Jeannie
      February 8, 2016 at 2:11 pm

      Haha, I know right?! Iceland has it all! I know there are some great deals on flights from the UK 😉

  • Marcella @ WhatAWonderfulWorld
    February 5, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Wow, these photos are just stunning! It really does look like a winter wonderland *swoon*
    I visited Iceland a few years ago during winter, and loved it 🙂

    • Jeannie
      February 5, 2016 at 8:29 pm

      Thank you Marcella! So glad to hear you visited in the winter, each season is unique and beautiful in it’s own way!