Trip Planning to December's Reykjavik Iceland, & Around Iceland

Sign up for Kate's newsletter and receive a free travel photos e‑book.Subscribe

Feature

December’s Wonderland Iceland

By  | 

Honestly, I expected that Reykjavik Iceland wouldn’t have a lot of daylight in December. But, didn’t realize how dark and wet it would be. Even though I followed the weather for several months and did my homework, I didn’t expect the flat light of Reykjavik. It is unique. What was surprising about Iceland to me is that the temperature on most days is identical to Seattle, London or Istanbul – but, Reykjavik, Iceland is December’s winter wonderland. The December sun rises around ten a.m. and sets at around three p.m. So, in the winter be prepared for mother nature to run your day and to provide a light show.

Brief History of Reykjavik Iceland

Iceland is one of the oldest inhabited locations in the world and still pristine. The language is very close to the language the ancient Vikings spoke. Words like a rucksack, saga, and reindeer are all Icelandic words. About 93.2% of Icelandic people speak this ancient language. However, most folks in Iceland also speak English.

The population of Iceland is around 330,000 people. You will find that Iceland also has loads of emigrants from Schengen Area countries. Iceland is sometimes considered the fifth Nordic country and the recent emigration crisis of Europe hasn’t reached Iceland. Reykjavik is the largest city and the capital, the location of foreign embassies, and the center of all things Icelandic

December Weather

If you go to Iceland in December, like I did, be prepared to enjoy the rain. Bing lots of layers of waterproof clothing. Lastly, you shouldn’t be afraid of the dark. The sun only shines for about 6 hours. I know I am repeating myself, but the lack of light, the flat light, and rain affected me a lot. The most important advice I can give is – make sure everything you wear is waterproof.

What I Wore

I wore a North Face lined waterproof light weight jacket and a Columbia Sports waterproof long jacket. Under the outer layer, I wore silk undershirt and long underwear. This clothing combination is the perfect outfit for the weather regardless if it’s snowing or raining. It continuously rained while I was there.

Tour Buses

You will go crazy on a tour bus if you do it every day, one day is fine. The reason why you will go crazy is that when the sun is out – you want to be able to enjoy it. Tour buses don’t make any unscheduled stops for sudden sunbursts and random acts of sunshine. I didn’t want to be stuck on a tour bus with some women barking orders at me while I watched the fleeting sun. But, I booked the tours because I think I was being lazy. Next time I will book a photography tour. Iceland is the best place for photographers. So, if you are a driver – I recommend renting a car. See the sights at your speed and schedule. Iceland is a place you can drive to see the sights.

Travel tip: Try to stay away from hiring too many tours.

Fly Bus

Most people use Fly Bus to go to and from the airport. I was very disappointed with Fly Bus. Their service made me feel like a piece of meat. On the way from the Blue Lagoon to the airport, their service is shabby – they leave early. So go to the stop at least 30 minutes early – because they do leave early. You feel upset if you are abandoned in the rain, as I was by Fly Bus. I know Iceland has commoditized its services to be efficient, but Reykjavik Iceland is so beautiful, it would be nice if tourist were treated better,

Travel tip: Be wary, Fly Bus will leave early from the Blue Lagoon!

I met a local small tour bus agent when I needed help, and he was extremely helpful and kind. Try to hire Skuli Unnar Sveinsson at Nordic Travel and Norraena, +354 570-8600 and [email protected] When Fly Bus left without me at the Blue Lagoon, he offered me a ride to the airport which is about 20-25 minutes from the Blue Lagoon.

What Does Reykjavik Iceland Look Like?

It was dark and raining every day that I was in Reykjavik Iceland, with torrential rain and gale force winds when I was there. I love the rain. I am from Seattle. So when the sun broke, I loved it and appreciate it so much. Occasionally there were some sun breaks. The occasional sun breaks seemed to happen when I was on a bus going from one place to the next..Therefore, I didn’t get to enjoy the little bit of sun because I was stuck on a tour bus.

Because I was missing out on Iceland’s little bit of sunshine, I hired a wonderful person to show me around. Hiring him was a great decision. It didn’t cost that much considering how much I saw and that he stopped for sunshine breaks.

How to Hire Local People

At the reception desk in my hotel, I told them, I was looking for a person to hire for sightseeing. The reception desk called a friend who is working to get his taxi license. He picked me up at my hotel and we negotiated a rate – about $120.00 for three hours. I asked him to pick the route. Again, this was another good bit of luck. Honestly, it was one of the best parts of my trip – because when the sun came out, he stopped and let me out of the car to take a few pictures.

My advice, hire small local tours or individuals as I did – Frazer was the man I hired. He was excellent! [email protected] and at Facebook at Reykjavikexpert.is

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

Here are the extraordinary things Frazer showed me while the sun was out.

Landakotskirkja – Catholic Church

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

Hallgrímskirkja – Luthern Church

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

Reykjavik Seltjarnarneskirkja – Church

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

Chruch in the Center of Town

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

The Beach and Coastline

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

The Harbor

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

The Opera House and the Harbor

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

The National Competition – Art Mound

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

The Cod Drying in the Shack at the Top – Nice view too!

Reykjavik – the town

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

The Famous Hot Dog Stand

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

The Ice Skating Rink — that wasn’t very frozen

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

The Homes of Reykjavik

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

Graffiti

December's Wonderland - Reykjavik Iceland

Art is everywhere in Reykjavik – from museums, shops street art and street animations – it’s a vivacious place.

In my opinion, one of the best parts of my trip are the people I met. They certainly aren’t stuffy or stiff like the manikins at Natura.

Solo Female Traveler

In Reykjavik Iceland, you will find many solo female travelers. I was fortunate to meet a lovely gal at my hotel from Singapore. She was traveling solo. Her English was perfect, and I wish I had more time to get to know her! But, if you are single and want to travel to Reykjavik Iceland this is a great place for solo travelers, and travelers 50 plus and at all stages of life.

Don’t be Afraid of the Seasons

You will meet beautiful people on your trip to Iceland. So don’t be afraid to go in December.

Suggested related posts

Open Air Museum

Iceland Itinerary

Golden Circle Tour

Copyright © 2019 Capetown-Rio, Inc. USA. All rights reserved. Republishing is allowed only with written permission. All photography rights on this page belong to Capetown-Rio, Inc. and the author. Do you have a question, business proposal, or speaking opportunity? Please contact me here.

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, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring new cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour or spicy foods.

4 Comments

  1. Michele

    December 27, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    I loved your photos and your description of the light. It still looks very desolate and bleak to me but I’m guessing the people make their own lives less so with activities with friends. This is so different than what I would have imagined! Thanks for the tour!

    • Kate

      December 27, 2016 at 3:59 pm

      Some people from Iceland can’t wait to leave. Other people love the lifestyle and never leave. You would love it there. So much to see. Next time a photography tour – ICELAND is the place for photography …the natural beauty is intriguing.

  2. Eric || The Bucket List Project

    December 27, 2016 at 11:14 am

    I LOVED Iceland! Its amazing because I went in April and it was blanketed in white but your there in December and it looks snow free! I totally missed out seeing the catholic church, Landakotskirkja. That looks great.
    Loved the hot dogs!

    • Kate

      December 27, 2016 at 11:25 am

      Thanks, Eric, I loved Iceland too. You are right – no snow in December – we have a mixed up planet don’t we? Anything and everything I saw was the ultimate adventure. From out of this world, an otherworldly place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.