What to See in Iceland in December - Practical Tips

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Incredible Iceland in December

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I went to Iceland to hunt for the immortal northern lights in the cold. I must confess, the posted photo isn’t mine.  Although I had hoped to get a great picture of the northern lights like the one above, after two nights of searching the low cloud cover and mother nature prevented me from seeing the lights. She decided we were not going to see her special show. So, when it comes to Iceland in December always remember – there is no controlling nature or the weather – no guarantees.

My Itinerary

My package included: flights, hotel accommodation according to the itinerary and the ‘Warm Bath, and Cool Lights’ tour including Laugarvatn Fontana and a northern light hunt. The tour, in reality, wasn’t as described but rather some big romantic dinner and it had little, if anything, to do with searching for my beloved northern lights. So, the hotel rebooked my tour to a hunt for the northern lights. Even with my best efforts – mother nature decided that it wasn’t going to happen.

In December, everything in Iceland is filtered by snow or rain. I prepared for snow, but got rain, lots of rain. Here is the closest I got to a photo of the northern lights. Unfortunately, it might not even be a light, and it could be a UFO, some planet, or something I can’t explain. Maybe it’s a Northern Light! (singular) the green globe couldn’t be seen by the naked eye, but only after I took the photo.

My Northern Light photo or a picture of something green in the sky

Iceland’s December Weather

Now, I am from Seattle, and I know rain. But, I haven’t known rain like this. It comes down sideways and can knock you over. Iceland’s rain has a strength all its own. Maybe it is the gale force winds that whip up unexpectedly or maybe it is the intensity of the rain, but I can tell you – this is a wet place in December!

Everything you do in Iceland in December revolves around the weather. For some reason, it is unseasonably warm in Iceland this year. So snow was not in the forecast. Whether it’s global warming or just a flukey trend, Iceland is warmer than usual. I love winter wonderlands at Christmas time, but this year – no winter wonderland in Iceland.

Icelandic Homes

Even the homes in Iceland have specially designed siding to repel rain. Thanks to this unique siding, Icelandic homes are extremely weather proof and designed, so the rain falls off as quickly as possible.

Everything Revolves Around the Rain

Let me show you how the rain affected my perspective. Even though I was wet and I couldn’t keep the rain drops off my lens, I still loved this amazing country and the gorgeous landscape.

Travel tip: Bring a waterproof camera

Away From the Elements Churches Give Comfort

Iceland's December Weather

Grafitti – Filtered by Rain Drop Textures

Iceland's December Weather

Iceland's December Weather

Chuck Norris Grill – Through Rain Drop Lens

Iceland's December Weather

Historic Locations Filtered by Rain

Iceland's December Weather

Breaks in the Rain Create Breathtakingly Dramatic Scenes

Iceland's December Weather

Ice Skating is on Hold – Until it Freezes

Iceland's December Weather

The Wind Knocks My Friend Frazer Off Balance

Iceland's December Weather

Rain Drops Filter Every Location

Iceland's December Weather

Tour Bus is Refuge from the Weather

Iceland's December Weather

Moments of Remarkable Splendor

Iceland's December Weather

A Break in the Storm

Iceland's December Weather

Iceland, even with the rain, is remarkable and I don’t regret going. You can’t be afraid of the elements if you are going to Iceland in December. As a Seattle gal, I love the rain. Love walking in the rain – my daughter grew up playing soccer in the rain. I am in to the rain!

Rain is in my DNA now. I don’t tan I rust like everyone from Seattle does. So, if you don’t know how to dress or don’t love rain, you might want to skip December in Iceland. It just leaves a little more room for those of us that don’t mind if our hair mildews.

Moonscape – A Break in the Rain

I loved Iceland regardless of the rain! What do you think the green dot is?

Read more about my trip to Iceland by clicking the links below:

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Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, and from City University, Seattle, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour foods.

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