Music & Art Nature & Environment Dec 07, 2015

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Iceland This Winter

From holiday celebrations to exciting glacier adventures, find out what makes Iceland in the winter a truly special destination!

Greig Santos-Buch, contributor to the popular blog, “The Points Guy,” recently published a riveting article on his experience in Iceland, where he took an all-inclusive tour of the southernmost part of the country with a local guide. Beyond the friendly locals and riveting Icelandic folklore, it seems what most captured his interest were the incredible landscapes and natural elements that make winter in Iceland so special. Here are five reasons to experience the beauty of Iceland this winter:

1. Northern Lights

One of the most unique sights in Iceland are, of course, the northern lights. The spectacularly colorful aurora borealis that appears in the night sky is a must-see when visiting Iceland. Winter in Iceland provides the greatest chance for seeing the lights, so it’s the optimal time to go. Check out some of Icelandair’s Northern Lights flight packages, like this stopover of a lifetime or this unbeatable deal to see the lights!

2. Unique Weather Patterns 

You might be used to the traditional winter chill – a blizzard here and there, the occasional rain. But weather in Iceland can be an inspiration in itself— intricate snowflakes the size of soccer balls, sleet, warm sun, balmy wind, gorgeous thick cloud cover and more. Icelandic winters are more than just glaciers or snow, and it’s definitely worth experiencing. And don’t be intimidated by the cold—many places in the US become much colder than Iceland every winter! Santos-Buch sites that during his trip to Iceland in February, Reykjavik was a chilly 38; but at the same time, the state of Montana was at a bitter 9 degrees!

3. Diverse Sightseeing and Landscapes

Though Iceland hosts ice caves, glaciers and lava formations year-round, winter brings a unique experience to Iceland, especially when it comes to Thingvellir National Park. The unique spot showcases the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates slowly pulling away from each other in the Silfra Fissure. But in addition to seeing these massive plates, formations and waterfalls in a winter setting, the Silfra Fissure offers scuba diving in the glacier meltwater, which has been filtered through volcanic rock for over 12,000 years. Exploring the mineral-rich waters and incredible underwater colors is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

4. Reykjavik’s Beauty 

Reykjavik is a beautiful capital to visit year-round, but it really starts showing off its charm in the wintertime, with the shops and houses decorated for Christmas and the gentle snowcapped Esja mountain range rising in the distance. Santos-Busch suggests climbing to the top of Hallgrímskirkja Church to get a great wide-scope view of the city. In addition to the gorgeous sights and friendly locals, there are so many winter activities to take part in— like the annual Winter Lights Festival, The Sónar Music festival, Food and Fun festival, New Year’s celebrations and so much more.

5. Blue Lagoon at its Best

Of course, a common Icelandic destination is the famed Blue Lagoon, one of the 25 wonders of the world and an experience in itself. But the Blue Lagoon truly shines in the winter. Not only is it a relaxing, enchanting escape from the cold; it’s absolutely magical under a snowfall. Santos-Busch related that in his snowy experience at the Blue Lagoon, “the fat and gentle flakes created a supernatural mist above the milky blue water, causing the sun to sparkle and softly glow.” Lovely!

So don’t miss out on Iceland’s sights, sounds, and experiences this winter! Plan your winter vacation with a long Christmas holiday or incredible stopover with Icelandair today, and be sure to check out The Points Guy for an even closer look at why Iceland truly shines in the winter months.