Many people gave me confused looks when I said I was going to Iceland in the winter. I was asked many questions, but the main one was probably
But isn’t it COLD?
…especially when I mentioned that I was looking forward to visiting the famous Blue Lagoon.
I have to say I arrived to Iceland with a very bad bronchitis and fever, so I didn’t dare going to the hot pools (I know I missed out but I will do next time!) and I postponed my visit to the Blue Lagoon to the last day of my stay. I thought this way I was going to feel better in the meantime, and also I was going to relax after an intense week exploring as much as possible of the country. So yeah, I admit I was slightly worried too.
To answer the question straight away, no, it’s not too cold. Back in February when I went to the Blue Lagoon, the temperature of the air was pretty low, around 0°C, but not as cold as you would expect it from Iceland, right?
During my week in Iceland, I had some sunny days, rainy days and some snow too, but the temperature never went below -2°C or so. Pretty impressive if you think that on the same days back home (in Italy) it was colder! On sunny days, especially when I went to the Golden Circle and South Coast, we had up to 7°C which was really nice and enjoyable. I only felt really cold at night while waiting for the northern lights, and when I walked very close to a glacier (I felt like an olive in a cocktail).
Going back to the Blue Lagoon subject, here’s what you need to know about it if you’re afraid it will be too cold.
When you arrive to the structure, you will have super warm changing rooms and showers (you have to shower! It’s obligatory otherwise you’ll be scolded by the guardians) and you will be given a bathrobe.
Then, to walk into the hot pool, you can either:
- go outside and then down the stairs into the water (requires a couple of seconds in the cold), or
- enter the water from the inside, and then walk through something like a curtain and you will find yourself in the outside pool. This way you will never have to walk in the outdoors.
Either way, you won’t feel too cold. The water is 38-40°C so very hot, and a warm, romantic, cozy steam covers the whole place. When you need to get out, it’s usually just for a few seconds until you reach the sauna, steam bath, or another side of the pool. So you won’t have time to feel cold, really!
Now that I think of it, I’ve been to a thermal spa in Italy once and it was somehow similar, and we had snow all around. Still, people think it’s cool. So why is the Blue Lagoon such a big issue? Just go and enjoy it!
They say it’s better not to put your hair in contact with the water at Blue Lagoon, because it makes it really dry. But I have to say my ears got really cold from time to time so I did put my head underwater. But at the end of the day, I didn’t have problems with my hair. Put a lot of conditioner on your hair before entering the water and you’ll be fine!
Still not convinced that it’s not that cold in Iceland even during the winter? Okay then, let’s see if from a scientific point of view.
Without the Gulf Stream, Iceland would live up to its name.
-Páll Stefánsson, Atlantica, February 2013
I found some really interesting information on the Icelandic Iceland Review/Atlantica magazine during my stay. Here are some really cool facts that will make you change your mind about the weather in Iceland:
- Thanks to the Gulf Stream, Iceland and Norway are inhabitable. For their latitude, these two countries have a fairly mild climate.
- The Gulf Stream encircles Iceland, causing the ocean temperature around the island to be high for its latitude of 64-66° north.
- Labrador, Canada, is at the same latitude and is nearly uninhabitable because of all the ice and a much colder climate.
- Grímsey, Iceland’s northernmost inhabited island, which lies on the Arctic Circle, has an average air temperature of 3°C (37°F), while the ocean temperature is 5°C (41°F) – two degrees warmer than the air temperature, because of the Gulf Stream.
- The Gulf Stream starts in the sea of Florida. It takes it more than 6,000 kilometers (almost 4,000 miles) and about 679 hours (28 days) to reach Iceland.
I would totally go back to Iceland (and the Blue Lagoon, and the hot pools) on February: the weather is OK. You can get a lot of snow but also bright, sunny (and fairly long) days. Plus there is a huge bonus – the Northern Lights!
Thanks to Blue Lagoon for offering me a complimentary ticket. I had a great day and my skin looked better than ever afterwards!