FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ICELAND IN DECEMBER
Depending on what you want to see and where you want to go in Iceland, December might be the perfect month for your holiday. Read on to find out more with these answers to commonly asked questions about visiting Iceland in December.
How is Iceland in December?
Twinkling Christmas lights and dancing northern lights are just two of the things that make a trip to Iceland in December so special. Whether you want an activity-filled break in Reykjavík or a cosy winter getaway in the countryside, visiting Iceland in December is sure to make lasting memories.
What are the best things to do in Iceland in December?
There are so many exciting things to do in Iceland in December. This is a particularly special month to visit because it’s the festive season, with fun-filled parties, bonfires and fireworks displays aplenty.
What’s more, even with short daylight hours and winter weather conditions in December, you can still visit many of Iceland’s top natural attractions. Some of the unmissable highlights are waterfalls draped in ice, glaciers, hot springs and geothermal sites.
Here are 10 of the best things to do in Iceland in December:
Enjoy a guided festive walk in Reykjavík
Attend an exclusive New Year’s Eve Party
Go on ice cave tours
Snowmobile over glaciers
Hunt for the northern lights
Soak in hot tubs and swimming pools
Venture along the Snæfellsnes peninsula
See geothermal wonders and volcanoes
Go horse riding or on a whale watching tour
Walk along unusual black sand beaches
Cultural events in December
Soaking up Icelandic culture is an enchanting experience at Christmastime. The whole month of December is an exciting time to be in the country, with plenty of colourful lights and festive food. You can have an unforgettable Christmas in Iceland.
New Year’s Eve is also a big celebration in Iceland. At midnight everyone steps outside, with champagne and sparklers, to watch the extraordinary fireworks displays. Many people stay up and party until the early hours of the morning!
We have a variety of Christmas packages and New Year tours to choose from. You could join a guided festive walk through downtown Reykjavík, admiring the twinkling lights while learning about Yuletide traditions. Or attend an exciting New Year’s Eve party, enjoying a three-course meal and songs around the bonfire.
Good to know: If you’re unsure about what you want to do in Iceland, don’t worry. Our Iceland experts are based in Reykjavík and know the country inside out. They’ll help you see Iceland your way, tailoring your itinerary by adding all the best excursions and experiences to suit you.
What are the best places to visit in Iceland in December?
The best places to visit in Iceland in December include waterfalls, hot springs, ice caves, glaciers and more. If you’re coming to hunt for the northern lights, head to remote locations where there is less light pollution. There are evening tours that can take you there from the capital, Reykjavík.
Here are some of the best places to visit in Iceland in December:
To keep occupied whilst in the capital, you may want to explore some of these fun indoor attractions too:
Learn about volcanoes at the Lava Centre
Try a flight simulation experience with FlyOver Iceland
Experience earthquakes and visit the planetarium at Perlan
Where you go in Iceland depends on how much time you have to spend. If you are only staying for a few days, your best bet is to explore Reykjavík and the surroundings.
Want to spend a week or longer in Iceland in December? Then you’ll have time to journey around the country in a full circle to reach its many beautiful corners. As well as the southern and western regions, you can explore the east and north of Iceland too.
What is the weather like in Iceland in December?
December is the middle of winter in Iceland. On average there are highs of 4°C (39°F) and lows of -1°C (30°F). There may be rainy days during your Iceland holiday in December, with an average of 40mm of rainfall. It can also get quite windy.
The weather in Iceland is unpredictable, so prepare for the cold, wind and rain if you’re planning a trip for December!
What is the temperature in December in Iceland?
In Reykjavík and Akureyri, the average temperature in December is 1°C (34°F). Generally Iceland experiences highs of 4°C (39°F) and lows of -1°C (30°F).
Does it snow in Iceland in December?
It is not unusual to get snow in Iceland in December, especially at higher altitudes. In Reykjavík, snowfall rarely stays on the ground longer than a few days, but if there’s a cold snap the capital might be blanketed with snow.
What are the driving conditions in Iceland in December?
As it’s winter in Iceland in December, the roads can be icy. That said, you can still enjoy a self-drive tour and travel around the Ring Road. You will need to rent a sturdy 4x4 vehicle to drive in Iceland in December.
If you’re thinking about renting a car in Iceland, it’s important to come prepared for winter driving. Make yourself aware of road safety precautions before you travel. For example you must drive slowly in cold weather to avoid unseen ice, and turn your headlights on, day and night.
During your trip check weather and road conditions regularly. For your peace of mind, our team is on hand 24/7 should you need to contact us at any point. And if there is an unexpected event or severe weather, we’ll get in touch and modify your itinerary while keeping you safe and informed.
When you book a self-drive tour with Nordic Visitor, your car rental comes with collision damage waiver, a GPS, unlimited in-car Wi-Fi, and a hand-marked map of your route. You also get two named drivers on the insurance policy so you can share the driving with a travel companion.
What to pack for a trip to Iceland in December?
Iceland is famous for its ever-changing weather, so we advise that you be as prepared as possible. As December falls in the middle of winter, we recommend bringing warm layers to be ready for the cooler temperatures. That way you can enjoy the natural beauty of the country regardless of the weather.
Here is a list of packing essentials for your Iceland trip in December:
An insulated or warm down jacket (it’s best if it is also waterproof)
Lightweight wool underlayers
Waterproof or winter trousers
Thermal underwear and socks
As well as these essentials, be sure to bring good sturdy walking or hiking boots depending on what activities you may want to enjoy. Also, if you’re keen to experience the famous Blue Lagoon, remember to pack your swimwear and sandals.
What to wear in Iceland in December?
Icelanders have a saying: “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.”
In December you can expect colder weather, northerly winds and even snow. For that reason, you should dress with warm layers to be ready for anything. That way you can enjoy the beautiful sights without worrying about the temperatures and conditions.
Make sure to be dressed with an insulated winter jacket and warm under layers, as well as good sturdy boots.
It’s good to know that some outdoor excursions will provide the necessary winter clothing, such as warm overalls. But if you’d like to go snowmobiling, hiking or ice caving, make sure you’ve brought the clothing essentials with you, such as snow boots.
What are the daylight hours in Iceland in December?
December is the darkest month of the year in Iceland, as this is when the winter solstice occurs. You can expect between 3 and 5 hours of daylight in Iceland in December.
In mid-December the sun rises as late as 11:20 AM and sets at 3:30 PM in Reykjavík. In Akureyri the sunrise takes place at 11:40 AM and the sunset at 2:40 PM.
Can I see the northern lights in Iceland in December?
Yes, you can see the northern lights in Iceland in December. In order to spot the colours of the aurora borealis, you need the right solar activity, a clear, dark sky with few or no clouds, and low light pollution.
In winter the nights are longer and darker than in summer. December has more hours of darkness than any other month so you have a good chance of seeing them light up the night sky.
Due to the unpredictable nature of the northern lights, we unfortunately cannot promise you will see them on our tours. But the aurora is a natural marvel that continues to inspire awe and delight, and is definitely worth putting on your travel bucket list.
How to tour Iceland in December?
There are various ways to travel on your Iceland tour in December. Depending on your personal tastes and requirements, you could either go for a guided or self-guided vacation.
Road trips in December
For a self-guided journey through Iceland, you could opt for a road trip adventure. There are many self-drive tour routes to choose from in December. For shorter stays we recommend driving the Golden Circle in South Iceland or exploring the Snæfellsnes peninsula in the West.
If you have a week or more to spend in Iceland, drive around the Ring Road for a full loop of the country. This way you can visit virtually all the stunning corners of Iceland in one trip!
Multi-day tours in December
Another way to see Iceland on an independent tour is to base yourself in one or two locations, such as Reykjavík and Akureyri. You can then explore Iceland’s highlights on day trips.
A multi-day tour of Iceland is a great way to combine solo travel with guided excursions. You can fill your itinerary with as many tour-led activities as you wish!
Privately guided tours in December
On the other hand, you might prefer to be accompanied by a local expert throughout your Iceland experience. If so we recommend opting for a privately guided tour to have your own personal guide show you the best attractions. This is one of the most exclusive ways to see Iceland.
Small group tours in December
Or you could discover Iceland with like-minded visitors as part of a small group tour. You’ll get to meet people from around the world and learn from the expertise of a local guide, who will show you the most beautiful and fascinating parts of Iceland.
On a small group tour of Iceland in December, you could visit the popular south coast or travel around the Ring Road for an in-depth tour.
Good to know: Whichever of these travel styles you choose, you’ll get all the signature Nordic Visitor benefits. These include access to our 24/7 helpline, a detailed personal itinerary, helpful travel guide and daily breakfast.
Nordic Visitor will book all your accommodation, and you can add extra nights and activities to your itinerary too.
Scroll down to learn more about Nordic Visitor’s services.