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Iceland Mag

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12 reasons you should visit Iceland in the off-season

By Staff

  • Kirkjufell mountain, Snæfellsnes peninsula Iceland has a lot to offer during the off-season. Photo/Followmeaway.com

Although the vast majority of travellers visiting Iceland come for the midnight sun of the brief sub-arctic summer more and more people are discovering that Iceland has a lot to offer during the winter months. The reason is simple: Iceland has a lot to offer during the off-season months!

Travel bloggers Victoria and Terrace visited Iceland this winter and listed seven reasons why the off-season is the best time to visit Iceland. We would like to add five more reasons, bringing the total to 12!

The 7 reasons why the off-season is the best time to visit Iceland, according to Follow me Away blog:

#1 The flights are cheap as hell
#2 You might catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights
#3 Smaller crowds make travel more enjoyable
#4 Accommodations are more affordable
#5 Iceland is simply magical in the winter
#6 Visiting during the off-season doesn’t automatically mean “snow”
#7 The off-season is a photographer’s dream

We mostly agree with this list: Although we would like to caution travellers that accommodation in Reykjavík in December, especially around the Holidays, is still quite pricey! 

However, we would like to add the following five reasons:

#8 Hot tubs and warm pools

Bláa lónið, blue lagoon,

The blue lagoon In addition Iceland has countless public pools with amazing views and all the geothermal hot water you need to keep warm while you soak in the middle of a winter storm with howling winds and sleet. Photo/GVA

One of the things that makes Iceland inhabitable is the plentiful green energy, especially the geothermal power which keeps Icelanders warm. And heats our pools! The best known geothermal soaking spot in Iceland is the Blue Lagoon. But you should not miss out on the many public pools. 

Read more: 5 of the best swimming pools in Reykjavík and the capital region

Icelanders are known to be mad about their swimming pools; It‘s where people gather at the end of the day, all year round, to unwind and have a little tête-à-tête. A visit to the hot tubs during winter is a terrific experience. Sit outside in the warm water and enjoy some stargazing, and if you are lucky, the Northern Lights.

# 9 The winter storms

Storm

Fighting the elements While you should' head out on long hikes during those winter storms, battling the elements can be reinvigorating. Photo/Vilhelm

Bad weather has its charm! While it is not advisable to embark on long hikes or head out to the roads when severe weather warnings are in effect, the winter storms do have their charm: If you get stranded due to a several storm one of the best things you can do is simply to dress well and head out for a short hike! Taking the scenic coast walk in Reykjavík becomes a battle with the elements that you won't forget!

Read more: Tallest wave on record confirmed to have formed in the ocean between Iceland and UK

The geothermal pools and hot tubs are another perfect place to enjoy those winter storms. 

# 10 The short days and the darkness 

Hallgrímskirkja, jól, snjór, winter, vetur

Hallgrímskirkja The endless darkness makes the limited light of winter even more magical Photo/GVA

The darkest days of winter can be very dark and very long: At the winter solstice, on the 21st of December, daylight lasts for only 4 hours and 8 minutes in Reykjavík. Towns and villages in the Westfjords don't glimpse the sun for weeks in winter.

Read more: What’s the best time to see the Northern Lights in Iceland?

Don’t let this discourage you from visiting Iceland during winter, because the limited daylight, the snow, and ice can give a completely different experience. And more darkness increases your chance of glimpsing the Northern lights! 

# 11 The winter coat of the Icelandic horse 

Hestar, Gígja Einarsdóttir
The Icelandic Horse You need a thick winter coat to withstand the Icelandic elements in winter. Photo/Gigja Einarsdottir

It is not just Icelanders who have survived the darkness and winter storms through the centuries. The small but sturdy Icelandic horse was brought to Iceland with the Viking settlers, more than 1100 years ago, and it has survived alongside and served its human caretakers ever since.

Read more: The Icelandic horse is highly intelligent and friendly, says animal behaviourist

The Icelandic horse has several unique characteristics, including its three layered winter coat. Their special, three-layer coat, which helps the Icelandic horse to survive the freezing Icelandic temperatures, makes these adorable animals even cuter. 

# 12 Winter tours and adventures!

Whether it is ice caves or snowboarding, visiting in the winter offers adventures which aren't really available during the summer! 

Read more: Watch an amazing video of snowboarders conquer the Westfjords' mountains

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