Iceland is a wonderful place to visit, no matter when you decide to go. With dramatic landscapes, impressive scenery and wildlife in abundance, there is always something to do here. This outstanding European island is perfect for adventure seekers and explorers as the rural terrain is neverending.
If you plan to travel to Iceland in December, you’re in for a treat! With holiday celebrations, plenty of snow and frosted vistas, visiting in winter provides the perfect opportunity to see how magical the country is.
Whether you’re planning to visit Iceland with family and friends or for a romantic getaway, there is something for all here. Catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, or dive deep underground as you explore impressive ice caves. No matter how you choose to spend your time in Iceland, exploration and adventure are waiting at every twist and turn.
To learn more about Iceland in December, keep reading as we have all the information you need below. From the weather, to what to do and see, plus key events and attractions, you can visit this magnificent country with all the best places in mind!
Weather in Iceland in December
Before booking your trip, it’s best to assess the weather in Iceland in December. This is one of the coldest months in the country, with average temperatures of around -2°C to 4°C. The landscapes glisten under frost, and the peaks sit in the backdrop dusted with snow.
If you’re travelling to Iceland in December, it’s important to bear in mind that the roads can be icy, creating tricky driving conditions. However, winter is the perfect time to visit this beautiful island, especially if you’re seeking an authentic Christmas break.
Remember to pack appropriately during this time as the weather can be unpredictable in Iceland in December. Tourists who choose to visit here also find that the main attractions are much quieter than in the summer, allowing you to navigate this stunning country with ease.
What to Do in Iceland in December
There are so many things to do in Iceland in December, it can be hard to narrow it down! From outdoor activities to remote adventures, you will never find yourself bored here. Keep reading for a little more information on the best things to do during the colder months!
Marvel at the Northern Lights in Iceland in December
It comes as no surprise that so many choose to visit Iceland for the magnificent Northern Lights. With shorter days, December provides the perfect time to catch a glimpse of the stunning Aurora Borealis. There are only four hours of sunlight during this time, meaning you are left with a further 20 hours to make the most of the spectacular lights.
Some excellent tours will take you to the best places to see the Northern Lights. Alternatively, head to the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon to make the most of the outstanding natural phenomenon. Not only will you catch an impressive shot of the lights from here, but the surrounding scenery provides a dazzling setting for all to enjoy.
Relax in Hot Pots and Hot Tubs
Despite the cold temperatures and snowy weather, Iceland in December is the perfect time to make the most of the natural hot pools. With hot tubs scattered throughout public pools and hot pots in the most magical locations, there is no better way to spend your time here.
Swimming is a popular pass time across Iceland, with pools in many of the major towns. These are great places to enjoy some time with the family, or somewhere to simply relax and unwind. The temperatures are nice and warm, making for a pleasant contrast to the chilly climate!
For those who prefer to relax in nature, a trip to one of the hot pots is sure to impress! You will find these nestled away in the most secluded of areas. With mountainous surroundings and icy landscapes, relaxing in one of Iceland’s geothermal areas provides an unmatched experience.
Explore an Ice Cave
Ice caving is another popular attraction for locals and tourists alike in Iceland. These spectacular caves allow for a unique experience whilst visiting the country. December is a particularly excellent time to visit, as three of the glaciers experience tunnelling.
This is one of the best ways to learn more about Iceland’s unique natural landscapes. The stunning caves glimmer with shades of turquoise and blue, allowing for a magical experience when delving deep underground.
It is worth noting that ice caving should be enjoyed with an experienced guide. These natural formations can be unpredictable and have been known to flood. Exploring with an expert allows you to see all that they have to offer, whilst in safety.
Diving into freezing waters might be the last thing on your mind when visiting Iceland in December. However, you will be shocked to know that with the right equipment, this is a wonderful experience for many.
Adventurers tend to head to Thingvellir National Park to make the most of the snorkelling during December. This is where the Silfra fissure is located, the best place for diving in Iceland during winter. The area is situated between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates and as water from Langjokull glacier feeds into Silfra, the plates begin to drift apart, providing exceptional snorkelling opportunities.
As you explore the waters around Thingvellir, you will undergo an unmatched experience. Much like checking out the ice caves in December, snorkelling is also best with a guide. This way you can take a dip in thick wetsuits made to keep the heat in, alongside making the most of the other safety equipment provided.
Due to the risks associated with snorkelling in Iceland in December, there are certain requirements that visitors must meet. Divers must be over 16 years of age, at least 50 kg in weight and 150 centimetres in height. This is to ensure the safety of all when partaking in an outstanding diving experience in Iceland.
Catch a Glimpse of Fascinating Wildlife
Iceland is a great place to visit any time of year for its fascinating wildlife. However, December allows for some particularly interesting sightings. This is one of the best times to get up and close with whales as they dip in and out of the icy waters.
Some of the best places to catch a glimpse of these giant beauties are Faxafloi bay in Reykjavik and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Tourists usually partake in tours during this time, as experienced guides know the best places to get up and close to these magnificent whales.
Whilst out on your whale-watching adventure in Iceland, there will also be opportunities to see much more intriguing wildlife. Keep an eye out for seals, dolphins, puffins, arctic foxes, reindeer and much more.
Key Events in Iceland in December
There are many excellent events and festivities throughout December in Iceland, making it a particularly lively time to visit. As locals begin preparing for Christmas and tourists head here to make the most of the white landscapes, you will find plenty to do and see. Below should help get you started on what to look out for during this time.
Christmas in Iceland
There is no better place to enjoy a white Christmas than Iceland. The country’s landscapes glisten under frost and snow, festive lights shine throughout the towns and there are many events to enjoy during this time.
A trip to Reykjavik during the holiday season will provide guests with a particularly lovely experience. Wander through the streets where you will discover Santa Clauses at every twist and turn. Ice skate in downtown Reykjavik and enjoy the exceptional shopping during this time. There are also many cosy eateries around the city, perfect for those seeking a little warmth and hearty grub!
Winter Solstice takes place on the 21st of December and attracts lots of tourists each year. This is when the Imagine Peace Tower on Videy Island lights up until the 31st of December. You can even get up and close to this celebration by taking a ferry over to the island.
The light installation was created by Yoko Ono in memory of John Lennon. You can see the words ‘Imagine Peace’ written in 24 different languages, for people from across the globe. This provides an excellent time to experience a unique part of Iceland’s traditions, alongside an excellent trip out for all.
New Year’s Eve in Iceland
New Year’s Eve is celebrated in many countries throughout the world and Iceland is no exception! If you happen to visit the island during this time, you will discover many vibrant celebrations for all to enjoy.
Head to downtown Reykjavik where you will find streets littered with pretty lights, alongside shops and restaurants filled with happy locals and tourists. There’s ice skating to enjoy, incredible food, and an exceptional firework display.
Pair this with frosty temperatures and cosy winter clothing and you’re in for an excellent New Year’s Eve in Iceland. There is no better way to make the most of the festive season than a trip to this magical country.
What to Pack for Iceland in December
Due to Iceland’s colder temperatures and harsh winds, it’s important to pack appropriately to make the most out of your trip here in December. The sun can shine pretty bright during this time, so layers are often advised, as this means you can adjust your clothing accordingly. Below covers all of the essentials to help ensure you can enjoy all that the country has to offer, whilst in complete comfort.
- An insulated and waterproof jacket
- Plenty of layers
- Waterproof gloves
- A warm fleece
- Fleece lined leggings
- A knitted hat
- A balaclava
- Bathing suit
- Waterproof winter boots
- Thick socks
- Waterproof trousers
- A warm scarf
- Camera or smartphone
- Portable charger
- Travel adaptor plugs
- Memory cards
- Shower gel
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Reusable water bottle
- Maps and guidebooks
- Hot water bottle
There may be other items to add to this list, but this should help get you started. It’s best to start packing ahead of your trip so that you can add to this as you go. Keep an eye on the weather the closer it gets to your getaway to ensure that you’re prepared for all types of weather when visiting Iceland in December.
We hope that after reading our tips for visiting Iceland in December you can now visit during this time with all this information in mind. A trip here provides visitors with a unique experience and a chance to create memories to last a lifetime. With snow-covered landscapes, exceptional scenery and fascinating attractions, December provides a wonderful time to see this beautiful country.
If you’re planning to visit Iceland in December to see the top sights, you’re likely in need of transportation. Fara Car Rental have an excellent range of vehicles to choose from, including well-equipped 4×4 drives, perfect for those travelling in winter conditions. Browse the range to find the perfect one for you and get ready to see all that Iceland has to offer at your own pace!