December in Iceland; What you need to know.

northern lights sea trips reykjavik

December in Iceland transforms the country into a captivating winter wonderland. With the nights growing long and dark, it’s the perfect time to witness the Northern Lights painting the Arctic skies with their breathtaking displays. The picturesque Icelandic countryside is typically blanketed in a pristine layer of snow, creating a magical landscape.

This is the season when winter activities truly come to life. Adventurous travelers can explore Ice Caves and snowmobiling adventures amid the serene snow-covered surroundings. Moreover, the country is adorned with festive Christmas lights, casting a warm and inviting glow across towns and cities.

As you immerse yourself in the winter charm of Iceland, keep an eye out for a local tradition—the Christmas Cat. The Christmas cat is a part of Icelandic folklore. In Iceland, we have 12 yulelads, their mother (Gríla), their father (Leppalúði), and their cat. The cat is believed to be giant and it comes to town on Christmas if you haven’t cleaned yourself properly and put on new clothes for Christmas.

You can also experience the true essence of Christmas by visiting the ice skating rink at Ingólfstorg Square. You can book your ice skating slot beforehand.

December in Iceland promises a unique blend of natural beauty, exhilarating activities, and the enchantment of the holiday season, making it an ideal time for an unforgettable Icelandic adventure. Just keep in mind that this time of year has become more popularm with tourists, in recent years. Christmas time is now considered high season in Iceland. This will increase prices and reduce availability when it comes to hotels and activites.

What’s the weather like in December in Iceland?

December in Iceland is cold. The average temperature is just below freezing, and there will be some ice and snow underfoot. That said, there can be really bright sunny days as well as very grey wintry ones so be sure to pack your sunglasses along with your thermals. Why not have a look at our guide of What to pack for Iceland.

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Weather in Iceland from Meteobox

Can you see the Northern Lights in December in Iceland?

The short answer is; YES!

The nights are long in December which increases the chances of seeing the auroras. In order to see the Northern Lights you need three things; Clear skies, lots of solar energy, and night time. In the middle of summer we don’t get all three! We have had some fantastic displays of aurora in Reykjavik in December, and although if they are really strong you can sometimes see them in the city itself, your best chance to see them is to go on a tour. At SeaTrips we study the skies carefully, so we know when to head out and where to look! Plus you get to relax on a gorgeous yacht.

Time and date chart from icelandcloseup

Can you see puffins in December in Iceland?

No, by December the puffins are back out at sea, they are ocean birds after all and only come here to breed in the summer months. Learn more about puffins here. You can visit them on in Reykjavik harbour on our brilliant tours with our passionate crew.

Can you see whales and dolphins in December in Iceland?

Yes! You can see many different species of whales and dolphins all year round in Iceland, however many adults go to warm waters to breed during the winter so there are fewer here.

December in Iceland is quite cold. As a benefit of going on a whale tour with us in is that you can relax inside a warm yacht whale we sail out and search for whales.

You can come whale watching with us on our yachts all year round. Our passionate crew is dedicated to exploring these beautiful mammals.


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