In the minds of many winter in Iceland is extremely cold and harsh. It is not uncommon for people to imagine something similar to a Siberian winter. In reality the Icelandic winter has an average temperature of 0° C (32°F), that is less than many cities in the US and many European countires. But due to wind and the ever-changing weather you should always bring good winter clothing and be prepared for anything. You should also make sure to have the latest information on weather and road conditions. But the best thing about Icelandic winter are the adventures you can have all around the country. Here I want to tell you about some of the amazing things you can do in East Iceland this season.
- See wild reindeer. East Iceland is the only part of Iceland where reindeer live wild. The best season to find them is during winter because they spend summertime further inland away from human population. In the colder season they come down to lowland in search for food.
- Take part in cultural events during Dagar Myrkurs or “the Days of Darkness”. This is an unofficial festivity where companies, clubs and localities in East Iceland join hands to lighten up the dark days of this season with interesting events. This year the Days of Darkness take place from 2nd to 6th of November. You can follow us on Facebook where we share any events we hear about in the area during these days and all-year-round.
- Super Jeep tours in the highlands. As snow covers the mountains and highlands of Iceland we get a chance to drive to places otherwise only accessible by foot. Since the snow and frozen ground protects the delicate nature below it is possible to drive specially equipped super jeeps off-road. This is a very popular activity among locals in East Iceland. It is also a great adventure you shouldn´t miss when traveling in Iceland. Join us on our tour up Mt. Kistufell to see for yourself.
- Find frozen waterfalls. When the weather gets colder many of Iceland’s stunning waterfalls freeze over. Due to the high mountains in East Iceland this part of the country has a wide selection of waterfalls. They come in all shapes and sizes making the smaller ones quick to freeze while the larger ones may not freeze until the weather gets really cold.
- Ski or snowboard in the great ski areas of Oddsskarð and Stafdalur. Both ski areas have some great slopes surrounded by stunning scenery. You can rent skis or snow boards at both ski areas. The opening season will depend on how the snow accumulates and can be found on the respective websites. If you happen to be in Iceland during opening season why not take a day away from driving and slide down the slopes in Oddsskarð or Stafdalur.
- See the Northern lights. Since the towns are small and farms are scant East Iceland is a great place to hunt for Northern lights. You can also take some great photos free from light pollution. All you need to do is to go outside on a night with clear sky and hope for a show. Or join us on our Northern lights tour where we show you some picturesque places to enjoy the show and take photos.
- Bathe in warm swimming pools with the locals. When it´s cold outside it may sound strange to go swimming. But relaxing in a hot tub is actually a very popular activity among Icelanders all-year-around. One thing to remember when bathing is Icelandic swimming pool is to heed to the rule that everyone has to wash carefully without swimwear before entering. Failing to do so is frowned upon by locals since the pools have low levels of chlorine and rely on the bathers cleaning them selves to stay clean.
In East Iceland the swimming pools in the following towns are open all year. They make for a great place for a relaxing winter visit. Those towns are Djúpivogur, Fáskrúðsfjördur, Eskifjörður, Neskaupstaður, Egilsstaðir, Seydisfjörður and Vopnafjöður.
- Admire snow-covered mountains and valleys. In East Iceland the valleys, mountains and peaks create stunning landscape whether summer or winter. The snow-covered peaks and windblown ridges make a fantastic contrast in the scenery.
- Visit Petra’s stone collection. Walk around this beautiful collection of colorful stones and minerals collected by one woman through her lifetime. On their website you can find opening hour and a lot of interesting information about Petra and her stone collection.
- Winter hikes and other out doors activity. The cold is no reason to stay inside the car or a hotel the whole trip in Iceland. Good winter clothing is all it takes. You can take short hikes from your car or join in on organized hikes ranging from short Yoga hikes to full day hiking tours.
For further inspiration check out 10 reasons to visit East Iceland and Top 10 things to do in East Iceland in summer or take a look at our tour selection.