Iceland is a country of contrasts. The landscape is both incredibly beautiful, and also very rough and unforgiving. Winters are long and cold, and summers are short and breathtaking. This beautiful country I was born, and grew up in, is on the bucket list of many people. Most will visit over the summertime, but many also want to experience the winter with its magnificent northern lights.
The summers in Iceland are magical with the 24-hour daylight in June making everything full of energy and life. On June 20th we have summer solstice, the longest day of the year, but on December 21st we experience the shortest day of the year, with no more than 2-4 hours of light in the sky.
Icelanders spend the summertime re-charging for the rough winter that is looming. We go all in. We sleep less and enjoy life like there is no tomorrow. In contrast, the darkest months are dedicated to keeping warm, staying inside, eating good food, lighting candles, reading books, and doing indoor activities.
December is different. We fight the darkness with Christmas lights, and the country comes alive with nightlife, endless music events, festive theater, holiday feasts and general happiness. We also celebrate the fact that on December 22nd our days are becoming longer and before we know it, it is summer again.
When asked by the many people seeking advice on Iceland I tell them, go in June to experience the energy of summer, and go again in December for a Christmas and New Years’ experience like you’ve never had before. The contrasts are tremendous, but the joy is the same!