Horses at Hotel Laekur in Hella | Southern Iceland
Iceland

Why I Loved VIsiting Iceland in the Winter

When we first decided to take a winter trip to Iceland, I assumed it would be one of the coldest weeks of travel I’d ever planned. It would probably be colder than the night we spent near Mt Everest Base Camp in a plywood room without a ceiling. (it was 25 degree Farenheit INSIDE) It also would be colder than any snowboarding trip I’d been on – even that one to Quebec in February when my legs almost froze off. I mean, its ICE LAND. Land of ice.

I imagined whipping winds and frozen bridges. Iced-over eyelashes and nonstop white-out driving conditions. Basically, I expected the worst. And as I would be traveling 20-weeks pregnant, the inevitable icy road conditions made me a little nervous. Did I need crampons to walk down the street without falling on my pregnant face? I really didn’t want to risk getting hurt.

Frozen | Pingvellir National Park, Iceland

To my surprise, winter in Iceland was nothing like it was in my imagination. Sure there were iced-over roads/parking lots in some places, and when the wind picked up, I did feel the tingles of cold on my skin. But overall, the temperature was somehow at least 15 Farenheit degrees warmer than the temperature back home in New York.  The sun shined just a little bit each day. On our roadtrip along the south coast, warm coastal fogs melted the winter snow to reveal the iconic mossy landscape of this moonlike island. And for the majority of our trip, the roads were dry and clear.

Though bad weather would not have stopped me from enjoying our time in Norden, the mild conditions allowed us to drive a little further and relax just a little more. This is one of the many reasons why I loved spending time in the land of ice during the winter. Here are some more.

The Icelandic Language

I’ll never understand it but I sure do love reading it on signage and trying my darndest to sound out the words.

Icelandic road signs | Vik, IcelandIcelandic waterfall sign | Iceland

Non-Earth-like Landscapes

Regardless of the season, Iceland pretty much always looks like another planet. But add in snow, overcast skies, and dense fog, and it seems like an eerie far-away planet devoid of color and chlorophyll.

Break in the clouds | Pingvellir National Park, IcelandSea grass on the black sand beach | Vik, IcelandLayers of the Solheimajokull Glacier | Iceland

Waterfalls

Even in the winter months, Iceland’s waterfalls are flowing. The mighty Gulfoss was iced over in most places yet still humming with the coldest water you’d ever feel. And the south coast’s Skogafoss looked just as commanding from the top of the rickety probably-not-safe-for-pregnant-ladies-but-I’m-climbing-it-any-way-sorry-mom staircase as it does from the bottom.

Gulfoss frozen in the winter | Golden Circle, Iceland Skogafos | Southern Iceland

View from the top of Skogafoss | Southern Iceland

Last but not least… HORSES.

Never have I made so many roadside friends. In New Zealand, we did see a fair amount of sheep close to the road and often stopped to admire/photograph/say hello/heckle them. But there is something about an Icelandic horse that is both majestic and approachable.

Horses at Hotel Laekur in Hella | Southern Iceland hus.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/icelandic-brown-white-horse-south-coast-iceland.jpg

SAD cars Subaru Forester on a road trip through the south | Iceland

Our Subaru Forester, courtesy of the awesome SADCARS.

I can’t wait to share this trip to Iceland with you. Roadtripping amongst the snow, ice, moss, fog, and horses was one of my favorite ways to spend a winter week.

-Annie

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