If you want to experience a real Nordic winter, visit Iceland in February or March. There is just something about the darkness, the harsh weather conditions and the atmosphere that makes it different from other months. Reykjavík wakes up from it’s Christmas hangover with numerous events happening during the two months, with the Winter Lights Festival kicking it off. It’s also rumoured to be the best month to see the Northern Lights. Ten points for that. Here is a list of what keeps us going during the coldest, and shortest, months of the year!
FESTIVALS IN FEBRUARY & MARCH
Winter Lights Festival
February 6th-8th, 2020
The Winter Lights Festival will be held for the 20th time in Reykjavík this coming February. It’s an annual event celebrating the winter and the slowly growing sun light after a long period of darkness. The program offers a unique mixture of art and industry, environment and history, sports and culture with participation of the major museums, geothermal pools and ski resorts and provides entertainment for Reykjavík’s locals and guests alike. This year the magnificent glaciers are in the forefront. The opening act is Glacier Requiem broadcasting the melting glaciers on Hallgrímskirkja Church, followed by Kyrie Eleison exhibition at Ásmundasalur with the exhibition Shrinking Glaciers in their smallest form amongst many other events and installations.
Food & Fun Festival
March 4th – 8th, 2020
Held for the 19th time this year, the local cuisine scene comes alive at the Food & Fun Festival during the first few days in March where renowned chefs from either sides of the Atlantic pair up with Reykjavik’s best restaurants in the city. Together, they will prepare a menu which captivates the palate of the guests with the freshness of Icelandic ingredients.
March 25th – 29th, 2020
Design March is Reykjavíks annual design festival and takes place for the 12th time this March. The entire city is transformed into a large design venue, with exhibitions varying from architecture, product design, experience design and fashion design. Design Talks kick starts the festival with talks from world renowned designers and local thinkers that sets the scene for the days that follow. See you at Design March!
CELEBRATE ICELANDIC FOOD TRADITIONS
February holds a series of interesting, Icelandic, food traditions. Have a taste of Þorramatur, an old custom left behind by the Norse pagan tradition, but still interesting and luscious. You’ve probably heard about some of the traditional Icelandic food; sheep’s head, fermented shark and dried fish. Doesn’t sound too appetising does it? But there are some good bites in there. Dried fish is one of my favourites, and the slices of smoked lamb, called Hangikjöt, is delicious on flat bread. February 13th is the day of bean stew and salted meat, known as Sprengidagur, or Bursting Day. February 16th marks Bolludagur, or cream puff day. Personal favourite of mine. Make your way to the nearest bakery and choose one (or more!) from the many incredible flavours! Finally something that we can all agree is delicious!
TOURS TO LOOK INTO DOING IN FEBRUARY & MARCH
Embark on a glacier adventure out of the city
February is most often the coldest month out of the year in Iceland, giving great conditions for ice cave exploration as well as Northern Lights sighting. March is the last month of the ice cave season in winter so make sure to step out of the city for a couple of days to witness the incredible ice caves that are unique each year.
Join us for a tour that can allow you to tick off all the incredible things the South Coast can offer; majestic waterfalls, black sand beaches with it’s big and powerful waves, incredible gorges with impossible to pronounce names. Take time to explore this enormous Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and the icebergs which float around here glistening in the winter sun. Seals can often be spotted swimming amongst the icebergs. From there we make our way over to the Diamond Beach, where the icebergs from the lagoon flow with the tide out to the ocean and wash up on the shores of the black sand beach.
It is here by the glacier lagoon that we meet with our partners from Local Guide of Vatnajökull who are taking us to the real highlight of the trip, our ice cave adventure. Local Guide of Vatnajökull get us to a remote part of the glacier in their amazing super jeeps, so we can access one of the ice caves in the region. From where their rugged super jeeps take us it is only a short walk to witness the blues and textures of these natural works of art.
Looking forward to see you this coming February!
Hi I’m Dagný Björg, sales manager of Hidden Iceland who sometimes likes to look up from your tour requests and type up a helpful blogpost to answer some of your frequently asked questions!