It’s a been awhile, but I’m finally back! 3 weeks in Scandinavia flew by like a daydream. From packing to planning and everything in between. It’s been so much fun to spend my first winter seeing real snow! Going from humid & sunny Georgia weather to frigid & windy Icelandic weather was a sure shocker. Give it 5 minutes and you’ll forget about the weather. No seriously! I wasn’t sure if my body felt numb to it or the utterly stunning landscapes of Iceland took over my senses. Probably a combination of both…
From waterfalls galore, volcanic activity to drifting glaciers, I can’t put my finger on which is my favorite. The seascapes are just as strikingly beautiful as well! Aside from nature’s beauty, I have to honestly say mother nature is more brutal here than any other place I have been. Be careful of sneaky waves as currents are strong, wild and highly unpredictable. Wind speeds up to 50kms is common and especially if you are visiting in the winter seasons, be extremely careful on icy roads! Gusts of winds and icy road conditions are not friendly to tourists. Stay off F-roads for good reasons. We accidentally stumbled upon one and ignored the warnings as Google map told us to proceed. Sure enough we turn back 45 mins into it and glad we did. Find alternative routes, get a map and NEVER completely trust Google map.
We planned to drive the whole ring road this past winter but due to bad weather conditions we were not able to pass the eastern fjords to make our way up north. Once you’ll see it, know know why. Winding roads besides the seas, and mountains as far as the eye will go. The eastern part of Iceland is gorgeous, but definitely not suitable to drive in windy conditions. We were experiencing high winds, 12-16′ of snow and icy roads that morning. Needless to say, we did not go even with 4WD and winter tires. My biggest tip is to ask the locals and check weather and road conditions on http://www.road.is which updates on real time. I believe the morning updates begin at 7am Icelandic time. Weather in Iceland can change dramatically on an hourly basis and vastly from region to region.
Heading back west, our aim was for Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The night was clear and northern lights were dancing as we drove there. Getting close, it started snowing. It was like a dream! Not that I wasn’t afraid, but Snæfellsnes was covered in blankets of icy white fluff and it was really magical to drive through. Our little Airbnb cabin was at the foot of Kirkjufell and the perfect location in my opinion.
Winter in Iceland is a dream and truly a magical experience. The sunlight is gorgeous and the clear nights even better. But plan for unexpected weather to ruin your plans and be sticker shock by incredibly expensive goods. Skip the Blue Lagoon(you’ll be glad you did), go for the icy plunge in Silfra and extend your week long stay. The short daylight hours of winter make a world of a difference. Don’t fret, it’s a worthwhile adventure you’ll be heading for. You’ll have an amazing time witnessing the beauty of Mother Nature. It wasn’t hard to love Iceland.
My favorites from this trip: Gullfoss, Skogafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Bruarfoss, Pingvellir, Geysir and geothermal area, Silfra, Jokusarlon, the ice beach, Hofn(and the drive there), Vatnajokull, ice caving and glacial walking, the basalt columns on Vik’s beach, Stokknes peninsula, Kirkjufell, Kirjufellfoss and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Things we did not get to(but will): Oxararfoss, Thjofafoss, Solheimasandur plane wreck(you’ll have to walk there now), Fajadrarglujufur canyon, Fjallasarlon, Askja, Dettifoss, Hverfall crater, Myvatn lake and nature baths, Selfoss, Hrafnabjargafoss, Aldeyjarfoss, Godafoss, Kolugljufur canyon.
Have you seen my summer in Iceland post yet? If not check it out here for the most epic camping trip through lupine fields under the midnight sun!