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Iceland in December: What to know?

|October 22, 2021
Anthropologist, social media guru, Icelandic nature and food enthusiast.

Iceland in December is a magical place, filled with lights, laughter and thrilling activities. Don’t let the cold scare you!


ICELAND WEATHER IN DECEMBER

Photo by Fernando Garcia

Now enter full winter month. December is one of our coldest months in Iceland and the 21st of December the darkest day throughout the year. The sunrise takes place around 11:30 am and sunset is around 3:30 pm. In the Westfjords many say no light is seen as the high mountains cover the little light trying to shine through and the sun never reached high enough in the sky to go over them. To me, this is the coziest time and I welcome any snow since it adds light to the scenery.

Prepare for cooooold but amazingly beautiful settings. Like they used to sing “it’s Christmas time there’s no need to be afraid” enjoy the snow and enjoy Iceland in its true nature!

Daylight doesn’t change a lot during December, on the 1st of November you will have about 5 hours of daylight but the 30th about 4 hours. This is very important to keep in mind in all travel plans in December in Iceland.

Temperatures in December in Iceland are usually very cold but like everything having to do with weather in Iceland it’s quite hard to predict. The average low is about -2°c or about 28 F and the average high is about 4°c or 49 F. It’s important to note though that these are numbers for Reykjavík and anything out of the city will be colder and windier. Even though these numbers might not sound freezing don’t be fooled, when the constant breeze is added to it, it feels a lot colder!

Check out for more information about the Iceland weather.

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING ICELAND IN DECEMBER

  • Daylight is extremely limited, make plans around it.

  • Most of the shops are open until at least 10 pm until the 24th.

  • The 23rd of December is Þorláksmessa, then everyone walks down Laugavegur street, finish Christmas presents and have a drink. You simply must join!

  • The weird smell you will find on the 23rd of December is of the fish Skate that we cook in a very old-fashioned way and it smells A LOT.

  • The Liquor store is closed on the 25th of December and 1st of January.

BEST TOURS TO DO IN DECEMBER IN ICELAND

MULTI-DAY TOURS

Photo by Jim

Many of the hotels are filled up and it’s quite challenging to know what is open when and roads are slippery and some even impassable. Joining a guided multi-day tour will prevent you from having to worry about any of this. All is taken care of and you just sit back, relax and enjoy the show. Your guide will know where to go, when to go and where to take you.

We offer anything from 2-6 day tours and here you can take a look at the variety of Multi-Day tours during December in Iceland.

HORSEBACK RIDING TOURS

two dogs and white Icelandic horse

At this time of the year, the horses are the most fluffy and the most adorable. Horseback riding in the snow on a friendly and hairy Icelandic horse is a unique experience you will never forget and it’s something the whole family can enjoy together but is equally as fun to do as a solo traveler.

ICE CAVE TOURS

December is the coldest time in Iceland the ice caves are the most stable. The caves are absolutely stunning and you have a few options you can choose from.

GOLDEN CIRCLE & SECRET LAGOON TOURS

Photo by Damian Moore

Þingvellir national park a historic paradise, Gullfoss waterfall king and the infamous Geysir are explored all before soaking in the oldest swimming pool in Iceland surrounded by natural hot springs and steam. The perfect day in Iceland.

CAN YOU SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS IN DECEMBER IN ICELAND?

Happy Man Watching Northern Lights in Reykjavik

Yes, December is the darkest month in Iceland, with only a few hours of daylight. This means that you have a very good chance of seeing the Northern Lights during your holiday visit. Join a Northern Lights tour for the best chance of spotting them!

Where can you see the Northern Lights in December?

You have a chance to catch the Northern Lights all over Iceland, even downtown Reykjavik. The best places to glimpse them are outside the capital, away from the city lights. Book a Northern Lights tour and join our local guides who know the secret spots and best places to see the Northern Lights.

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