February in Iceland
February in Iceland, are you thinking about spending your winter holiday in Iceland? Wondering what February in Iceland has to offer? Then keep on reading to learn all about February in Iceland
Why visit Iceland in February?
February in Iceland is not the most attractive month of the year weather wise. It’s going to be cold for sure, you might get stuck in a storm somewhere, but doesn’t that sound like an adventure? If the adventure part is not enough for you, then let’s find out what else February in Iceland has to offer. First of all let’s not forget the northern lights or the aurora borealis, if you visit in February it’s highly likely you might see northern lights, learn all about the northern lights here, but remember northern lights are not something we control or have power of so you can never be guaranteed to see them. The winter months are also considered to be the best month for visiting natural ice caves so that’s for sure reason to visit, learn all about the ice caves in Iceland here and book your tour here.
Weather in February in Iceland
February is one of the coldest months in Iceland, but it is still warmer than many visitors expect it to be. You can expect a beautiful winter day at one moment and then a horrible winter storm the other moment. Thanks to the warm gulf stream, which flows in close proximity to Iceland, the weather is much milder than is usual for such a northerly latitude. Normally, most of the country is covered with snow in February. However, the capital and the south of the country will sometimes get warmer temperatures, so from time to time, the snow will melt. February in Iceland is the time of really strong storm hitting the country so it’s very important to check the weather forecast vedur.is and also to examine the road conditions road.is. You can expect the weather to change your travel plans and even some activities get canceled due to weather, it’s good to know about this and keep it in mind and be ready for your plan to change.
Driving in February
When driving in Iceland in winter it’s very important to be familiar with driving on icy or snowy ground. Learn all about driving in winter here. Normally you can drive around the ring road at this time of the year, the south coast is normally the road that is the most serviced and the further you go east and north you can expect a little bit less service. The highlands and mountain roads are closed at this time of year and very important to respect that, you can find info about road conditions and closures here. Sometimes the ring road can even get close due to storms or dangerous conditions, all the warnings and weather alerts you can monitor on safetravel.is.
I recommend you to plan more time then less for traveling in the winter, with snow and ice on the roads you can add at least 1-2 hours even more to all of you travel plans for driving in February in Iceland. For winter make realistic plans, you need more time on the road and the daylight is limited so keep that in mind when traveling in Iceland in winter.
What to pack for February
In our blog about what to pack for Iceland, you can find all the essentials you will need for your travel. Then we have also written a blog about what to wear in Iceland in winter which I highly recommend you to check out there we talk about layering and the importance of dressing properly for having a good time in Iceland.
The things that are very important to have though are:
- Microspikes (small spikes that allow you to walk on the icy surface, the parking lots and around the waterfalls can be super icy at this time of the year.
- Warm clothes, detailed list in the two blogs above, check it out.
- Waterproof clothes, people often think they don’t need waterproof clothes in the winter but Iceland has it all, even though it’s winter it can still rain!
- Hat and gloves, really important in the winter.
- Sunglasses, especially if you are driving the sun is very low on the sky at this time of the year and can really blind you when driving.
- Camera or something to capture all the amazing scenery.
What to do in February
- Visit natural ice caves, book your tour here.
- Go out and hunt for northern lights, find more info in the blog about northern lights.
- Go skiing on one of Iceland’s ski resort, in Akureyri and Reykjavík the bigger resorts you can rent all the equipment.
- Go bathe in a natural hot spring, all the hot springs are marked on our itinerary guides, buy it here.
- Enjoy the arctic sunrise and sunset, lucky for you the sunset is quite late and sunset is quite early at this time of the year. So no need to be the extreme photographer waking up in the middle of the night. Best is to google the time for the sunrise and sunset every day it’s changing fast in February, the day gets longer by more than an hour in a month period.
- Glacier walking is also something possible to do all year around.
Icelandic Holidays in February
Þorrablót, (Sacrifice Feast) is known from the saga literature, likely a midwinter celebration held in pagan times. Þorri often appears in literature as the personification of King Winter. Represented as a majestic figure, an ancient hero, a noble Viking warrior. He can be cruel and harsh, demanding and bad-tempered. We Icelanders celebrate midwinter with Þorrablót, where we come together and eat Þorramatur/ food- traditional old Icelandic winter diet, containing smoked, sour, salted and dried food. Þorrablot feasts are held all around the country, where people enjoy good food (lambs heads, rams testicles, cured shark, rye bread, dried fish and many more delicious Icelandic dishes!) Singing, dancing and drinking, the feast goes on until the late hours…..
The day here below can vary in dates depending on the year so recommend googling Icelandic calendar and you can see when these feasts come up on the year you are here.
Bolludagur is the ‘bun day’, six weeks before Easter. On this day everyone is supposed to eat meatballs, fish balls, and cream-filled buns, with an emphasis on the later one, of course! The cafés, restaurants, and bakeries are filled with cream buns in all sizes, tastes, and colors, these delightful confections are usually light in texture, and filled with both jam and whipped cream.
Sprengidagur or “Eat- Until-You-Burst-Day”, is the day after Bolludagur. Originally, it is was the Icelandic equivalent of Mardi Gras, a day of celebration and a great feast before the fasting season of Lent. This day is about eating rich, fatty, salty foods, traditionally, lentil soup with vegetables and salted meat, specifically mutton: “saltkjöt og baunir”.
Öskudagur, or Ash Wednesday, is the day after Sprengidagur, 40 days before Easter. Children dress in costumes and walk from store to store where they sing songs in return for candy, costume-wise absolutely anything goes, the more inventive the better! Many tourists and people who have come to live in Iceland from overseas pick up on the singing for candy bit and say this is Iceland´s answer to Halloween or All Hallows Eve. Icelandic children love Öskudagur as much as children in other places love Halloween, but they’re all similarity ends! There are no ghostly themes, pumpkin lanterns, or pagan undertones, and ghoulish Öskudagur costumes are very rarely seen.
Konudagur, the so-called Women’s day of Iceland. Icelander don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day but have Women’s day instead, the Icelandic male goes out of the way to show how much they appreciate the women in their lives. Not only their spouses but their moms, sisters, coworkers, friends, and grandmothers too! So if you are here on that day, treat your woman!
Icelandic festivals in February
Winter lights festival – it’s a few day festivals held in February, they light up Reykjavík city. There are also various events and things happening around town, here is the website for the event winterlightsfestival.is.
When traveling in February in Iceland you might want to spare your self some time in planning and purchase our itinerary guide, you can choose either a guide for the whole ring road or just the south coast, it can save you a lot of time in planning, check it out here.