Snow time is Show time in the Westfjords

Listen up, all ye inhabitants of warmer climes! Winters in the Westfjords are calling and you have a chance to experience what true blue, freezing cold looks, sounds and feels like. Winters in the Westfjords are beautiful, unique, and fabulous: even for those who don’t want to just sit with a cup of hot cocoa next to the fireside.

Let’s get one thing straight: an open mind and sense of adventure are as important as a thick coat and hat. The weather will most certainly surprise you.

Winter in the Westfjords arguably lasts for half the year, depending on who you ask. Certainly, ice and snow are possible from about October to April. Conversely, though, you might visit in January and find ‘warm’, rainy conditions and no snow for a few days or even a week at a time.

Embrace the unknown and revel in the lottery that is Icelandic weather!

Will it be icy-cold and calm with clear skies? Will it snow heavily? Will there be a storm? Will it be rainy? The simplest answer is probably just “yes”. And if you stay for more than a few days, there’s a good chance you’ll get to experience all the weather!

So, try to look beyond summer and choose to travel to the Westfjords in the winter instead. Believe us that the question “What does one even do in the wintertime?” is surprisingly easily answered:

Ski time tales as the Snowman watches

Despite its varied weather, Isafjordur has a good reputation within Iceland as a skiing town. Its topography was seemingly made for downhill and cross-country skiers alike – and the town maintains good facilities for both groups (as well as snowboarders, too, of course).
Whether skiing or snowboarding, or just good old-fashioned snowball fights or building a snowman, it’s fun to play in the snow – and the Westfjords region has plenty of it.

skiing westfjords

Explore the wild in a jeep

Hop into that 4×4 with your other intrepid pals and tour this remarkable region in its winter glory. Whether mountains or coast, the drive can be surprising and exciting – especially if it has snowed. Ice climbing and snowmobile tours are options too.

superjeep westfjords winter

Dip into a hot pool under the green lights

Yes, this is legitimately an activity. Believe us, there’s nothing much to rival the experience of sitting in naturally warm water admiring the northern lights.

hot spring westfjords winter

Kayaking in the chilly times

The region’s deep and narrow fjords provide a little shelter from the open ocean’s waves and winds, making it entirely possible for to kayak or take a boat ride all year round (weather on the day permitting). Even in the depths of winter, you’ll be surrounded by birds—and maybe even seals, too.

kayaking westfjords

Look north

For those not in the know, the northern lights are the visual manifestation of charged solar particles being ionised when entering the earth’s magnetic field in the upper atmosphere. Up there, it’s the earth protecting all life below from certain death. Down here, it looks like a ballet of lights, a veil of ghostly beauty caught in a gentle spring breeze, or even the spirits of the ancestors speaking to us through the ages. Their colours depend on the elements being ionized. Light greys and greens are most common, while reds and purples are rarer.

Due to the nature of the earth’s magnetic field, the auroras only appear near the poles, usually above the 60° latitude mark in the north, and below the 60° latitude in the south (these ‘southern lights’ are called the Aurora Australis). Iceland, which sits at the latitude of approximately 64° to 66° north, is thus in a perfect position to showcase the northern lights.

What’s more, the Westfjords’ mountains and fjords look spectacular clothed in the snow as the northern lights dance over them in hues of purple and green.

northern lights westfjords

Enjoy Icelandic cuisine

Lamb, fish, local cakes, biscuits and breads, local craft beer and good books…Truly speaking, the warmth never feels as good as it does against the cold.

icelandic cuisine

Of fireworks and festivities

Holiday cheer is woven into the Icelanders’ DNA, it seems. From the all-pervasive Christmas lights on every home, lamppost, hedge, and even gravestone, to the utter craziness of the firework frenzy around New Year, you’ll soon come to agree that the festive season is best enjoyed in subarctic darkness, with the white snow for company. A never to be forgotten memory!

fireworks isafjordur
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