Exploring the Otherworldly Iceland in Winter

Wintertime in Iceland was by far one of my favorite trips. And I hate being cold, so it MUST have been amazing.
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Ice caves, northern lights and dog sledding!

 

Read More About Iceland and Packing Tips

“You like the cold.” This was an actual statement made to me on my recent trip up to Churchill, Canada. I was instantly incredulous. Only insane people like being cold. But I allowed the statement to sink in. This was my second trip to the sub-arctic in as many years. Gasp! Who am I??

Midnight sun and temperate weather are excellent reasons to visit Iceland during its summers. Though I would like to offer that there’s magic in this Nordic country’s winter weather. Swirls of snowflakes flurry around you in determined spirals as if whipped by mischievous elves. Icy surfaces force you into a...

What do I pack when I go hiking or trekking? Whether it’s jeep riding through the sands of the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan, nomadically moving ger camps across Mongolia’s Eurasian Steppe or exploring the rocky geography of Northern Arizona, I’ve got several go-to items that make it into my bag. During my most...

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About the Author

Hi. I’m Juliana Dever and according to science I have some sort of "exploration" gene. Embracing this compulsion, I spend a lot of time hurtling around the planet in metal tubes experiencing other cultures and writing humorous essays about it. Enjoy.

36 Comments

  1. Lauren Peckham / May 13, 2015 at 1:22 pm /Reply

    These photographs are amazing. At the moment just here to live vicariously through your journeys, thanks for taking us along. The site looks great, can’t wait to hear about your summer travels and see the pictures.

    I love to travel but have never been brave enough to venture out on my own quite yet. It’s good to see other women do it though, hopefully one day giving me the courage to be able to as well.

    • Juliana Dever / May 16, 2015 at 12:01 am /Reply

      Thanks Lauren. I’ve done a lot of both. Sometimes I love the solitude, sometimes I wish I had a friend with me to share experiences with as they happen. But more important is not whether or not you travel solo, but that you travel, so just keep getting out there and exploring!

  2. Pam / May 13, 2015 at 1:46 pm /Reply

    This is absolutely beautiful! Iceland is on my list to visit!

    • Juliana Dever / May 15, 2015 at 11:55 pm /Reply

      It should be! Such a fascinating country. I’ll see if I can’t put together a post on what I did while I was there.

  3. Almudena / May 13, 2015 at 2:26 pm /Reply

    Congrats! Incredible pictures!

    Iceland is definitely on my list. I always considered visiting it in spring/summer. After seen all your pictures, tweets, etc. now i NEED to go in winter. And that aurora borealis? I can’t be more jealous. I need to see (and photograph) one like that! 🙂

    I would like to have more info about your trip. Would you consider a post about Iceland like those in the ‘Stories’ section?

    • Juliana Dever / May 15, 2015 at 11:49 pm /Reply

      I will try and go back and write a post about Iceland. It seems like something many other also want to read about. I can’t wait to go in summer when the sun barely sets, but yes, visiting in winter is breathtaking and between ice caves and the aurora borealis, these are things you won’t get to experience any other season.

  4. Patty / May 13, 2015 at 2:39 pm /Reply

    I love the pictures, Juliana!! What month did you go? I was supposed to go this past March but trip was cancelled due to a freak winter storm in Iceland – they cancelled all flights from NA! Friend wants to reschedule for October, but I fear it’ll be dreary & blah, not the winter wonderland I imagine you experience.

    • Juliana Dever / May 15, 2015 at 11:46 pm /Reply

      I went to Iceland over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays this past year. I can’t speak for October, but December was perfect. Not too inclement, the weather was cold (but not brutal) and typically sunny except for a day here and there. I hope it’s just as wonderful when you do make it there.

  5. Anthea / May 13, 2015 at 2:41 pm /Reply

    Wow Juliana,
    What an amazing start to this blog! I just got to read all the posts so far. Iceland looks absolutely incredible and as a fellow traveller it is up there on my list. I can’t wait to see some of these things for myself. I am curious whether you are going to back-date your trips to include past tips and amazing places you uncovered? Or just future trips?
    Your about me page was golden. I really loved it and your advice to people that anyone can do it. Really resonates with me.
    Would also love to see a wishlist for where you want to go/re-visit! *coughs* Australia…
    Enjoy Poland and Europe and looking forward to the updates while I am stuck working on my funds and holiday days on work to jet set again.
    Anthea

    • Juliana Dever / May 15, 2015 at 11:44 pm /Reply

      Thanks so much Anthea. Well of course you know there is much to see in Australia and I haven’t been to all of it, so I’m sure a return visit is definitely in order. I may continue to add some trips that have already occurred but I want to tell the stories as they happen and are fresher in my mind. We’ll see. And yes, you must go to Iceland.

  6. Phil Lipton / May 13, 2015 at 3:32 pm /Reply

    Great format. All the best with this great new site. Phil

  7. Storm / May 13, 2015 at 5:16 pm /Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing all of this! I have just planned a trip to Iceland this winter and it’s fantastic to see all your photos and read all your wonderful stories of other places and people. Can’t wait to read more

    • Juliana Dever / May 15, 2015 at 11:28 pm /Reply

      You are welcome! Oh I am so happy to hear that you are going to Iceland in winter – it’s like no other place. I know I haven’t written about it yet, but I really recommend dog sledding and if you can go ice caving do it! I also really recommend renting a house closer to Jökulsárlón, like in Vík so that you cut down on your drive time. Otherwise you’re looking at a 4-hour bus ride each way if you decide to go glacier hiking, etc. Have so much fun on your trip!

  8. Alex / May 13, 2015 at 5:30 pm /Reply

    Your pictures of Iceland are absolutely stunning but I want stories!!! <3

    • Juliana Dever / May 15, 2015 at 11:15 pm /Reply

      Thank you Alex! I will try and go back and write stories of Iceland. You don’t think it will be too weird if I don’t write stories in real time? I don’t want to confuse anyone with where I am in time and space. If nothing else I should share how I crashed an Icelandic family’s christmas…

  9. Shannon / May 14, 2015 at 11:56 am /Reply

    Iceland was a surprise for me. On a whim we went one weekend while living in London and it was one of the most unique, “otherworldly” places I’d ever been. So glad you caught the Northern Lights. We did, too (photos to prove it… otherwise it never really happened… right?). And of course, there’s the ubiquitous Blue Lagoon to rejuvenate before the plane ride home.

    Lovely shots. 🙂 And congrats on the site! Looks fantastic!

    • Juliana Dever / May 15, 2015 at 11:02 pm /Reply

      Oh, I was itching to go to Iceland for a while so I made hubs go with me, and I know he loves me because he went in the WINTERTIME! I fell completely in love with the country and can’t wait to go back in the summer. Thanks for checking out my site, wow, was it so much work to get up and running!

      • Shannon / May 16, 2015 at 12:55 pm /Reply

        You bet – it’s looking great! 🙂

        Haha… we went in October… I think? I can’t imagine how freezing it must have been in the winter, but clearly quite beautiful. Brrr. I was pretty amazed at the landscape. I think my favorite part was just driving around and catching glimpses of steam rising in the distance – and the sort of isolated, “What planet are we on?” uniqueness that is Iceland. My favorite photo from this is probably the rustic farmhouse (http://www.cameraandcarryon.com/snapshot-reykjavik/).

        Maybe, mayyybe, one day we’ll make it back in winter (brr!!!). 😉

  10. Heike Behrmann / May 23, 2015 at 2:50 am /Reply

    I just got to stop by your site. A good friend of mine moved to iceland last year. Since then I “travel” through the world wide web to see some impressions from iceland and to do some preparations for visiting some day. I really love your photographs. They make me want to get there even more.
    Hubby and kids have to come along 🙂

    • Juliana Dever / May 26, 2015 at 10:17 am /Reply

      Hi Heike, thank you! Yes, I love Iceland and plan to go back in the summer. But Iceland is one of those places that is truly worth the visit in the winter! I hope you get to see it soon!

  11. Christian Baum / May 27, 2015 at 10:33 am /Reply

    Great images! Wow! I’m an Iceland fan and booked my second trip for this summer. The landscapes are so amazingly diverse, you turn around a corner and see something entirely different and new and won’t find it anywhere else in the world! Winter seems to be awesome as well, never thought of that… Gotta harass the Missus into it one day, I guess. 😉

    Thanks for the inspiration, happy traveling!

  12. Jill / May 27, 2015 at 10:55 am /Reply

    Would love to read more about what you suggest – heading to Iceland at the end of the summer for 10 days. Food, sights, history, parks, hikes – whatever you think are the must-dos!

    • Juliana Dever / May 29, 2015 at 7:59 am /Reply

      I will try and get a post up about it. I’m knee-deep in trying to keep up with my current travel, but I promise if I can, I will. Just note that all of my recs are of the wintertime variety – but I can’t wait to go back in summer myself!

  13. Sofie / June 9, 2015 at 6:54 am /Reply

    Hi Julianna,
    First of all I just wanna say thank you so much for sharing your amazing stories and photos with us! You have inspired me so much and you have opened my eyes for a lot of places I hadn’t even thought about visiting before. I’m only nineteen and I’m graduating school this summer. Yay! After that, I finally have some more time to travel and explore the world. I have always enjoyed traveling and I’ve been to a lot of countries in Europe with my family through the years and I have also travelled all the way from my little hometown in Denmark to Los Angeles alone. And even though traveling alone might seem scary at first it’s amazing how you explore everything in a whole new way when you’re on your own. I have met a lot of amazing friends on my travels that I wouldn’t be without.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is thank you so much for continuing to amaze me and giving me the courage to keep exploring! You are a big inspiration to me and I hope that one day I’ll get to do what you do! You rock Julie!

    Lots of love and the deepest admiration
    Sofie

    P.S. I love goats too…and Castle 😉

    • Sofie / June 9, 2015 at 2:41 pm /Reply

      Omg I’m so sorry Juliana! I accidently misspelled your name :/ God I feel stupid now because I’m not even old enough to use the excuse that I pressed the wrong button haha 😉

  14. Lynette / June 9, 2015 at 7:51 pm /Reply

    I do most of my travelling by myself – although there are times when I would love having someone to share it with I would much rather travel solo than stay home!
    Fortunate that I live far enough north that I have seen the Northern Lights on more than one occasion – they are pretty spectacular dancing (&singing) across the sky in a rainbow of colours!

    • Juliana Dever / June 11, 2015 at 9:30 pm /Reply

      Good for you Lynette. When I travel alone I like to seek out walking tours. It’s a great way to get to know a city and I usually wind up making friends along the way!

  15. Hannah / June 10, 2015 at 8:52 am /Reply

    Hey Juliana,
    i LOVE this blog! These pics are just amazing!! And the one with the dogs… Im so jealous:D I always wanted to travel to iceland and id love to read something about your trip! Its so inspiring to read your blog, i cant wait till summer so i can travel myself! In which city have youve been? *mentalyplanningatriptoiceland* 😀
    Im looking forward to your next post. Keep going!
    Love

    • Juliana Dever / June 11, 2015 at 9:32 pm /Reply

      Hey Hannah – thanks so much! Dog sledding was definitely a factor in me wanting to visit Iceland in winter. Everyone is asking, and it’s abundantly clear that I need to do a post or two about what I did while I was there. Give me a month or two and then I’ll put something up. 🙂

  16. Eugenie / June 11, 2015 at 11:48 am /Reply

    Oh god, I’ve been wanting to go to Iceland for about 4 years now, and this is just reinforcing that *need* to go! Awesome photographs! Looking forward to your post about what you did in Iceland so I can steal some ideas get some inspiration!

    And Mongolia next! Now, that’s where I’ve been wanting to go since I was about 15 and still haven’t been yet. 🙁 Will you be travelling by yourself on this trip? I’d definitely like to hear what its like to travel around Mongolia as a single female.

    • Juliana Dever / June 11, 2015 at 9:34 pm /Reply

      Hi Eugenie, I’ve had waaaaay too many requests. I will do a little time-machining and post something about Iceland after Mongolia. For this trip I’m traveling with a girlfriend. I’ll be sure to let everyone know how it goes!

  17. Elisa / June 15, 2015 at 4:54 am /Reply

    Iceland is gorgeous, thank you for sharing your experience and wonderful pictures! I can’t wait to hear more about Mongolia (I hope that you’ll see Mongolian goats 🙂 )

    Have a nice day!

    PS: Do you plan to go to Africa someday 🙂 ?

  18. Edna / October 6, 2015 at 1:54 am /Reply

    I just stumbled across your site and totally dig it! I read what you said in a TBS interview about how if you miss out on something for work because you’re in Angkor Wat, so be it — LOVE that attitude.

    Also, my first trip to Iceland was in the winter too and even though I’m terrible at being cold, it as so worth every second. I recently went again this summer, and I have to say, the winter is so much better.

  19. Kelly / January 2, 2016 at 7:33 am /Reply

    Hi and Happy New Year,

    I can relate to being a travel addict and constantly dreaming about being elsewhere. This year I’ll be traveling to Iceland and perhaps the Faroe Islands! I think I read that you saw the aurora borealis while in Iceland. If this is the case, were you part of an organized tour? Can you recommend one? Or if made your way without a guide, can you provide information on what to do to experience the aurora borealis on my own in Iceland?

    My travel companions and I are starting to research our trip. Any input will be greatly appreciated!

    • Juliana Dever / January 7, 2016 at 8:38 am /Reply

      Happy New Year! So I guess “do a proper post about Iceland” should be high on my list of things to do for 2016, eh? 🙂 Iceland is magical, especially in winter and I can’t wait to go back! I did write a round-up of things that I did on my Facebook page, which is a good place to start, here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/cleverdeverwherever/posts/857090577702715.

      As far as the Northern Lights, I didn’t take an organized tour, my friends and I rented a house as a home base for a couple of nights in Vik and got super lucky. Let me know how your planning goes!

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