I'm considering a 4 night, 5 day trip to Iceland in late December or maybe January to (hopefully) introduce my husband to the Northern Lights. I grew up in Alaska so I'm quite familiar with them and their unpredictability which is where you guys come in! I'm waiting for delivery of Rick's book but in the meantime I'd love to hear what you loved and what you hated about visiting during this time frame and what your absolutely don't miss spots are considering our limited time. I want to have a list of ideas that have nothing to do with the lights to look forward to! :) TIA
If the Northern lights are a priority, Iceland is not the best choice because clear skies are far from guaranteed. The odds are much higher in your native Alaska, or Yukon, or the inland regions of northern Sweden and Finland.
We have not been in December or January yet, but have been there the first week of February as well several other winter trips and a summer trip. On that February trip, (last year), we saw the lights from the plane and then again after we landed while waiting for the Flybus. The week we were there was back to back storms, so we didn't see them again the rest of the time. That said, we have been twice in October and the lights have been amazing on both trips, so that might be something to consider.
Ironically, we were in Iceland for a while at the end of August in 2021, then home just a few days before we headed to the Alaskan bush. The night we arrived into Fairbanks the lights put on quite the show! We have seen them there as well as about 250 miles north of there and never tire of seeing them.
As for what to do, what are you interested in? Glacier hikes, ice caves, thermal lagoons, just sightseeing?
There is SO much to see and do in Iceland and your 5 days will go by so fast. Know that you will miss a lot, but you will also get to experience a lot as well.
I had a 4 night stopover on my way to Europe in December 2017.
You need to prepare for lots of darkness….not getting light till about 10am, and dark again by 3:30-4pm.
I didn’t mind it, and loved having candlelit breakfasts in my hotel!
One trick for viewing the N. Lights is to book any tour to see them for your first night there.
That way, if the forecast is unfavourable, the tour company will let you know, cancel that night, and rebook you for another night.
I was cancelled , and rebooked for the next night where I did see the Lights.