While travelling in Iceland during the winter season, I experienced a visceral sensation of being somewhere extraordinarily unique in the world. Everything was so new, so unexpected and so special that the entire trip is engraved in my memory as one of the most exhilarating adventures I have ever embarked on. Here are 5 inspiring reasons to visit this ethereal country during the colder months:
- The already otherworldly landscapes emanate even more magic
With the sun never rising too high in the sky during the winter months, the sunrises and sunsets I witnessed created the kind of bewitching light that photographers lust after. The moody atmosphere perfectly mirrors the beauty of Iceland’s pristine countryside, with dreamy, snow-covered fields blurring into the distant hazy ocean. At times, it was almost impossible to distinguish the horizon which created an ethereal continuation of sea to sky.
- The weather, however unpredictable, will elevate your experience
Despite warnings about travelling to this northern country in moody February, I was not deterred and felt confident that as a Canadian, I could handle anything it would throw at me! I did survive a storm or two, but remember only the awe of seeing dark, misty clouds rolling in and out of the Reykjavik harbour on a whim, the whipping winds awakening all of my senses and the joy of feeling unseasonably warm sunshine filling my pores for a brief moment. It was thrilling to be at mercy of the constant change and flow.
- The colour palette of the country is simply dreamy
Winter in Iceland is composed of stunning colour contrasts and muted, dream-like tones. Jet-black volcanic rock surrounded by the purest untouched snow is a vision to behold. I also encountered every shade of blue imaginable- one vista in particular encapsulated a visual layer cake of pearly white snow, pale blue lakes and an azure sky topped with pristine clouds.
- Your sense of place in the world is magnified
It was truly an indescribable feeling being so remote and so far north during the season of Iceland’s essence. While visiting Reynisfjara black sand beach on the south coast, our guide explained that if I was to head out into the ocean due south from our location, I would not hit land again until I reached Antarctica. I found this to be simply awe-inspiring and it created an acute awareness of where I was on Earth. The opportunity for these profound moments of presence are vast, whether you are walking on a glacier or witnessing the separation of two tectonic plates at Thingvellir National Park.
- The power of Mother Nature knows no bounds here
To witness the geographical marvels and cosmic performances of Iceland in the winter chill is to feel alive. From the deafening bellow of half-frozen waterfalls, the palpable building tension of geysers and vast stretches of uninhabited land, to the mystique of the northern lights and being surrounded by snow covered mountains in the dark, this place is a true feast for the senses. I experienced a deep respect for our planet during my time here and would say that a journey to this part of the world in the off-season is decidedly incomparable.
Would you visit Iceland in the winter? If you have, what was the most inspiring aspect of your trip?