So, how do Icelanders cope? For once we have been there before. Especially out in the countryside people take it easy. Sometimes you just don´t get to your hair dressers appointment.. so be it. Most homes have a large freezer where milk, bread, fish and meat are stored for the days when ... well nothing goes... Power shortages are met with private power generators to keep the milking machines going and inside the house with candle light. Schools may be closed for a few days if roads are blocked... the kids certainly don´t mind.
Most of the horses are still outside and actually cope very well if provided with good hey, wind shelter, salt and access to fresh water. They have grown a big belly and a super long winter coat.
Every year around this time you will see announcements by the Ornithological Society to not forget the small birds and many people put out corn for them to pick during the harsh winter days.
Inside the houses we enjoy the long evenings with candlelight, board games and of course Christmas preparations. The Leaf bread Laufabrauð and Christmas cookies are prepared and in many households people come together for crafting such as knitting and sometimes Advent Wreahts are made from fresh evergreen branches.
From December 12th the Jule Lads are visiting the Icelandic Children one by one to give them little presents in their shoes. The first one is called Stekkjarstaur or Sheep Cote Clod and the last, arriving on December 24th, is called Kertasníkir or Candle Stealer. As you can see they differ a bit from docile old Santa Claus....
Christmas markets are opening, the most popular one in Hafnarfjörður, a beautiful historical town right outside of Reykjavík. Some of the ski slopes might be opening to give everybody a touch of looking forward to the skiing season. The many local geothermal pools are visited to enjoy a hot steaming bath underneath the starry sky and northern lights. And Jólahlaðborðin, the Christmas Buffet Season starts end of November as well. Because during winter we just need those extra calories.... 😉
So, you see – Icelandic Winter is nothing to be afraid off! Dress well, come with the right attitude and most of all: Slow down and unwind.... there is nothing more peaceful than travelling through the snow covered landscape of rural Iceland and cozying up in your cottage, guesthouse or hotel! Staying outside in the countryside also gives you the best access to the Northern Lights!
Please check out our Self – drive Cottage Adventure in South Iceland. We offer several cottages in South Iceland that sleep up to 6 adults, all of them situated within the famous Golden Circle. Some of them have their own private geothermal hot tub and are in close distance to the famous Secret Lagoon, a natural geothermal bathing spring. All the cottages are situated on a farm so far away from the light pollution of the big towns and going for a horse ride or a hiking tour right from the door steps is a perfect addition to your Icelandic adventure!
Have a look here for more information: https://www.exploringiceland.is/special-offer-iceland.html
If you don´t feel comforatable with driving in winter conditions ask us for a private guided tour for your party! Including dogsledding, glacier adventures and the hot steaming natural bathing springs!
Enjoy the Winter season!
(Photos by Meike, Steinunn and Andy )