Iceland. There are certain destinations where you only go once, others where you will return tirelessly – you know it at first sight.
The itinerary was overall: to go around the island, going out as often as possible of the circular road to explore the crossing paths (our credo;)).
But this time is in February, and it changes a lot of things. It’s a bit like another journey, another world, a white, mysterious, silent, a little more dangerous planet. We’re gonna have to tame the road. Not so simple in the middle of winter…
WINTER TRAVEL IN ICELAND
Advantages / disadvantages of a winter trip
Choosing winter to visit Iceland is a very good idea! There is less tourism, the prices are lower than in summer, and of course you have the Northern Lights!
The days are shorter… but not that much: on February 15th, it’s 9:30 am to 6 pm! You can check the day here, depending on the month. On this point, I think it’s best to avoid December and January (unless your priority is the Northern Lights that require the night!).
Some small disadvantages: some places are inaccessible in winter, such as all the Highlands (the very wild center of the island), some roads are closed, not all hotels are open, some hikes inaccessible. Off-season Iceland, you know.
But what a joy to dive into a hot spring surrounded by snow-covered mountains, to visit an ice cave and to ride in all this mysterious white! The winter atmosphere is sublime. The colors are sublime. We also found the glaciers even more beautiful in winter! It’s transparent blue; it’s thick white, it’s also a very special polar light, subtle, soft, all in shades, from pink to blue… It’s a light that nourishes your thirst for adventure, that deeply marks the eyes, the spirit!
Organize a road trip in Iceland
The first time, we left alone without preparing anything (road trip of 1 month in summer). This time we tested Guide to Iceland to rent the car, book hotels and activities.
The advantage is that it costs you nothing, and you have someone to take care of your itinerary and reservations. It is a local platform specialized in Iceland, super complete, designed and managed by Icelanders. For those who like to be taken care of and have a local contact, it’s cool. They have an agency on LA main street in Reykjavík (Laugavegur 12a), so you can easily come and see them.
And I want to tell you something crazy: if you like this article and you want to make the same trip as us, send an email to Emilie (firstname.lastname@example.org, she speaks French:)) and ask her “the road trip of Carnets de traverse”! So you have nothing to do, and we can guarantee you a great trip (10 days), without tiring you to organize (and I repeat, it’s free!)! You can also ask for it as a basis to modify it as you wish…
Driving in Iceland in winter
We reassure you right away: driving in the middle of winter in Iceland is feasible.
The cars and tires you rent in Iceland are all adapted to ice. Over ten days of driving, I hardly felt the car slip or skate on the frozen roads, it was almost surprising (except once, and it scared me a little I must admit, but the conditions were hard, and we had looked for it a little).
You obviously have to be even more careful and drive even slower than in summer! In a blizzard, snow drifts on the side of the road (snowdrifts formed by the wind) can be dangerous because they surprise you when visibility is reduced!
How to dress? What equipment is needed?
Iceland in February it’s cold, let’s not lie to each other.
However, the temperatures are not horrible in itself: between -10°C and 5°C displayed at the thermometer in February, which is not so terrible considering the latitude!
No, your real enemy is WIND. With wind, a “nice” temperature of -5°C becomes rather -10°C or -15°C felt…! So you have to plan the clothes accordingly:)
The best thing is to lay layers of clothes on top of each other, that’s THE Nordiques’ anti-cold technique – and they know their subject well! It is also more practical because when you go in the sun and out of the wind, you can remove a layer easily.