Iceland in Winter, what an adventure. Not only is Reykjavik one of the best places to spend Christmas and New Years but also this is among the best times to photograph one of the most exciting destinations on earth.
We were lucky with our rent-a-car being a brand new fully optioned Toyota Landcruiser. After a few days "warm-up" in Reykyavik and its surrounding we went off driving around the Island. First day 4am we decided to drive land inwards discovering the first tourism spots but since it was snowing "a little" we realised quick, convinced by some 30+cm fresh snow on the main road, it was time to turn around and have a cosy day in town.
We decided to drive around the Island against the clock. Typical for Iceland photography this was much of a waterfall to waterfall tour, and even more typical it was snowing, snowing and snowing. Seljalandsfoss as a first highlight, to Skokafoss to missing some of the best spots (plane wreck, etc) in this area due to the weather. Joekulsarlon was
A little bored with fjordur after fjordur we thought we could cross the mountain LOL. Yep, it was snowing and 10 minutes up the first hills a truck driver was blocking the road all across with his tank attached. Insisting to pass he advised us not to as by now the route was closed. We moved on to Reykjahild and a day later Akureyri, where we would have loved to stay a little longer for some skiing.
Another highlight sure was our little mountain pass trip from Oelafsvik to Arnarstapi, excited of the stunning snow landscape, the cosy warm car we missed the little detail of the pass being closed since days. Driving up the mountain, it started snowing and storming more and more until we couldn't see much more than 3-5m. Road markers vanished in the snow and the car really had opportunity proof itself. Cosy turned into spooky silent in the car, up the road most obviously was underneath the fresh snow very icy and the only good news to it was "we were still on the road". Once the road started sloping downwards we were almost relieved just concerned about our guesswork staying on the road. Only the next day we realised how crazy it was not to turn around when we had first doubts...
Aurora Borealis - Yes, we were lucky. Not only did we find the most reliable forecast website fast but also we managed to stay near the area where it was forecasted. Checking in we asked our host for some advise when, where etc to go and were told they'd wake us up once they see the first signs. Even in Winter the little private hotel was full of travellers from China etc and while we asked to be kicked out first we obviously didn't tip well enough. Lucky we woke up right when they started alerting guests on the other end of the hotel, were ready and out before anyone else could get ready. Our host was obviously stunned advising he was just about to wake us up as well. Lucky as we are we were right next to Kirjufell presenting a stunning setting for this spectacle.
Most we enjoyed, of course, Reykjavik, Joekulsarlon, Akureyri, Godafoss and Kirkjufell Areas. With more time this list sure would have been endless.
We sure want to do Iceland in Winter again, at least one more time but also a summer visit ideally outside the main tourism season was added to our list.