If you are planning to visit Iceland in November — you are in for a treat. November has been considered one of the best months to visit the country. The weather is colder and windier, as winds start upping their pace. However, it is not as icy as December and January, making it the perfect month to visit the country – if you are up for the challenge. It is advisable that you pack several layers with you as the temperatures shifts throughout the day.
Another important factor to consider is the significant reduction in the flux of people who visit the country, during this time of year — if you are looking for a calmer, less crowded holiday, this is the best period to visit Iceland.
How to plan for November visit to Iceland?
During winter, fewer airlines have direct flights to Iceland meaning you will have fewer choices when it comes to airfares. Visiting travel sites such as dohop.com to find the cheapest and most comfortable fares is a good idea, and booking your ticket well in advance can save you money. Regarding accommodation, you will have equally many accommodation providers to choose from in November as you would in July, but much less demand as there are fewer travellers coming to Iceland, meaning, you can do a real bargain when choosing where to stay. And you don’t necessarily need to book your accommodation in advance, like you do with your airfare, as hotels tend to offer great last minute deals for low season months. The same goes with car rentals and tour operators. Just make sure to contact them directly to get the best deals.
What to pack?
Although not the most attractive form of clothing, you should pack thermals as it helps to stop body heat from escaping while staying outside. In November, you will most likely experience rain or sleet, combined with wind. Therefore, something made from a durable, water-resistant material is a perfect choice, as you want your gear to be protected when facing the elements.
Weather in Iceland in November
In general, the month of November is cold in Iceland and you should prepare yourself for any kinds of weather. This means, as stated earlier, adding several kinds of layers to your luggage. The average daily temperature is around 3°C, with the lowest usually around 0°C and the warmest averages around 5°C.
In terms of precipitation, Icelanders usually go through 20 days of rainfall in November and you can expect to see white and icy grounds, especially at higher altitudes and in the northern parts of the country.
To add to that, there can very well be storms in winter in Iceland, with or without snow, so please be careful when planning on driving in Iceland in mid or late November. There will definitely be a chance of windy weather, accompanied by perhaps icy and snowy roads.
What about attractions in Iceland in November?
Here are the things you cannot miss if you visit Iceland in November:
Although not guaranteed, November has been considered the best time of the year to witness this magical moment of light play due to the reduction of daylight hours. Moreover, the likelihood of this solar phenomenon to occur is much greater during this time of the year. If you are lucky, prepare to witness a mesmerising natural and organic performance fluorescing lights in the skyline.
Ice Caves and glaciers
Another great thing about November is the inauguration of the ‘Glacier season’. Iceland possesses a plethora of glaciers, and, some of these propelled the creation of non-artificial glacier caves, which can be visited as soon as the winter season begins. The season to explore these icy gems begins in November and stretches out until March.
Glacier caves are known for their blue-tinted ice colour. This is due to the density and thickness of the ice, propelling the absorption of all colours, expect the colour blue — hence the blue shade. If you’re planning on attending a glacier cave tour, it is advisable to research and read through the tour description, as to know exactly what to expect.
Hot springs are one of the most iconic and popular attractions in Iceland. Diving into warm water after enduring the colder temperatures throughout the day seems like the perfect plan if you’re aiming to rest. The most popular hot spring in the country is the Blue Lagoon. The location is ideal, if you’re looking for somewhere to rest before your departure or when you arrive in Iceland.
Apart from Blue Lagoon, there are many other hot springs and outdoor nature pools that you can explore, throughout the country
Visiting local swimming pools
While on holiday, going swimming is both refreshing and relaxing, and if you want to get to know the locals, there is no better way than to visit a local swimming pool and soak in the hot tub, while listening to local Icelanders, debating about politics and other talkative issues.
No matter where you‘re heading, there will be a swimming pool nearby. Icelanders simply love bathing in the geothermal heated, clean water and it has been part of Icelandic culture throughout the centuries. In the old days, Icelanders made use of the geothermal energy and the hot springs it produced. Nowadays, the swimming pools are a bit more modern, although the hot springs are still active and quite popular.
Find out the best swimming pools in Iceland here: https://classiciceland.com/swimming-pools-in-iceland/
Snorkelling at the Silfra Fissure
Another rather fun outdoor activity you can sign up for is snorkling. The Silfra fissure, a rather deep fissure that was formed by the drifting of two tectonic plates — the Eurasian and the North American— is known to be a wonderful place to snorkelling. It is located at Thingvellir national park, on the Golden Circle route. It is the only location in the world in which you’re able to snorkel between two continents. Quite amazing!
Please note: In order to pursue this activity, it is necessary to book a snorkel guide who will guide you throughout the entire activity.
The Golden Circle in November
Winter is one of the best times to see Iceland’s famous “fire and ice” contrasts in action and the Golden Circle will give you exactly that. With sights like gurgling hot springs and gushing waterfalls against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. You will have the chance to experience Thingvellir national park, witness the hot springs at the Geysir area and witness the amazing Gullfoss waterfall. If you plan to drive the Golden Circle yourself, you need to make sure that your car has winter tires (preferable studded) in case there will be ice or snow on the roads. Also, check the road and weather conditions before you head off. As daylight is very short this time of year, you should plan your day well so you´ll get the most of the daylight while exploring Thingvellir national park, Geysir and Gullfoss waterfall.
The Diamond Circle
The diamond circle, similar to the Golden circle, is a collection of amazing attractions, ranging from hot springs, glacial rivers, vivid flora and fauna, geothermal mud pools, terrific canyons and geological wonders. Under most circumstances it should be accessible in November. Among the attractions on the Diamond Circle Route are many of Iceland’s most spectacular places, including: Godafoss, Dettifoss, Lake Myvatn, Husavik, Krafla Crater and more. Same goes here, make sure to have winter tires and check the weather forecast beforehand.