If you are planning a November trip to Iceland, then get excited my friends, because I have for you, the most comprehensive guide for November in Iceland.
Hello Team Iceland! Welcome back to my channel. My name is Jeannie and I’m here to help you plan the best November trip ever. If you are new here and you’re planning a trip to Iceland (which I’m assuming you are) then you are going to want to hit the big red subscribe button below, because every week I give new Iceland videos and I do not want you to miss any of the helpful information.
Before we get into today’s video, I want to give a little Instagram love. This one comes from Ryan and Alexis. “My wife and I are finishing our trip tomorrow. Rented a campervan and have been loving every minute. Your map was super helpful. Thanks. A friend of ours who works at Google for their maps division was impressed as well.” Wow, someone at Google was impressed with my map? I think that I can die happy now.
If you guys knew how much actual time and effort and like attention to detail I have put into that Google map, you will know how much that comment means to me. Thank you guys so much for your kind words and I am so thankful that you’re loving the Ring Road map! And now, without further ado, daylight hours, weather, driving conditions and ALL of the November things. Let’s get into it.
So just like I start every monthly planning video you guys, daylight hours is the number one thing you have to consider before you start creating your itinerary. November starts with eight hours of daylight and at the end of the month down to five. Five! Five hours of light in the sky at the end of November. Winter in Iceland. As you can see, exploring time is going to be really limited. You just have to take this into account with your itinerary.
Of course, the big benefit of this darkness is Northern Lights. Jeannie, do you have to sing that every time? Yeah, I do, because I love them. Northern Lights are my spirit animal, so I just get really excited about them. But in all seriousness, November is a great time to see the Northern Lights and a lot of people are coming to Iceland during this time to take tours and, you know, do the whole thing. Get excited because they could be out. I’m never making promises, because those things do whatever they want. If you would like to know how you can see the Northern Lights in Iceland, then you’re in lucky, because I already made a video about it, so check it out.
Weather in November. So winter is officially in full swing in November. Temperatures can be between one to eight degrees Celsius or 33 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit. Obviously getting colder as the month goes on, and obviously the further North you’re going, the colder it’s going to be. You can experience a lot of different things during this time including conditions being dry, being wet, being semi-cold, being really, really cold, being not so snowy, being super snowy.
November is kind of like that month where it’s not full snow, but it’s still like super winter, and we can have any of those things. You are likely to see during this month snow, rain, cloud, and sometimes sun. With these kind of conditions, layers have never been more important. It’s so important to pack the right stuff in your suitcase and might I highly suggest buying a lopapeysa beginning of your trip so you can layer that in there and stay extra, extra warm. If you guys are wondering what to exactly pack for your winter trip, then make sure to check out that video that I already made, including a free packing list.
Which brings me to my pro tip. Absolutely 100%, without question, you need to bring crampons for your November trip to Iceland. Everything, everything is super icy. I’m talking about the sidewalks in Reykjavik. They don’t de-ice those things! It’s just really, really slippery and dangerous. I’m talking about the hiking trails, really icy. I’m talking about the spray from the waterfalls, freezing, to make this big thick layer of ice, super dangerous you guys. If you don’t have crampons, it’s either you’re going to hurt yourself or you won’t be able to fully experience something because you can’t get there with just boots alone. Please if you invest one thing for your trip, just get some crampons. They’re not expensive. I’ve linked my favorite pair here, and you will thank me later.
Sightseeing & Road Conditions
Moving onto sightseeing in November, in Iceland. Okay, so you are free to travel about Reykjavik and the Golden Circle easily. You can also travel the Ring Road. Just be aware that the roads in the East, the North, and the Snaefellsnes peninsula have the potential to be a lot more slippery, snowy, and dangerous. It’s very possible. So, if you’re traveling the Ring Road, just know that the South is pretty well maintained, Golden Circle is easily maintained, because those are heavily trafficked areas, but as soon as you get more into the North, they’re not making that as much a priority.
And you absolutely can’t access the Highlands or I definitely wouldn’t recommend the Westfjords in November as well, because those areas get a lot more snow and the roads are a lot more difficult to drive on, so let’s just go with no during November. November is considered low season for tourism in Iceland so this means that you will not have as many travelers around at the sites, and then also during this time it’s possible that accommodations or rental prices could be a bit lower just because they want to encourage, obviously, bookings during that time.
Also fun for November is that there are certain tours that aren’t offered year-round, that are now available. Like for example, the natural crystal caves that are formed underneath the glaciers are now safe to go in, so that is an absolutely beautiful thing to experience. Highly recommend that. Dog sledding is also a tour that happens in this month, which sounds amazing to me. Snowmobiling, all kinds of things that you can do in the winter.
Driving in November. Okay, let me just say that it’s challenging, right? Let’s just be honest. It’s not easy. If you already have experience driving in snowy and slippery conditions, then you’ll be okay. You just need to make sure to take it slow and have the appropriate vehicle. If however, you don’t have experience driving on these conditions, I wouldn’t personally recommend renting a car and driving around the country.
Because these roads in Iceland are not your average roads. The conditions can be quite brutal. You’re getting high winds becoming the mountains, so maybe there’s extra snow drifts, maybe it’s extra slippery. I mean, lots of different things could potentially go wrong, so safety is always the first and foremost concern. If you don’t have experience with this, then you’re going to be feeling nervous the whole time, so really just take that into consideration before you travel or book anything.
If you’re wondering if you should rent a two-wheel drive or a four-wheel drive, I’ve already made a video about that, explaining that whole process and how you make a decision, but I will say for sure that I do believe that November is better to have a four-wheel drive vehicle, just because of the things that I was just saying with the road conditions, and you want to feel really comfortable in what you’re driving.
Along with that, as I always recommend, checking the road conditions daily, and this is no exception for November! You want to be checking road.is. They update all of the travel conditions for each road throughout Iceland every day, so that you can know if roads are closed or slippery or any of those things. It’s just really nice to have a good handle on the road that you’re traveling.
When these storms are rolling in in November, they can close the road at anytime basically, so check that first thing before you travel, and then again throughout your travel day.
Events & Fun Things
Last up are the festival and events that happen in November. The first one, and biggest one really is called Iceland Airwaves. This is a musical festival that happens in Reykjavik, featuring big names from all over the world.
The fun thing about this is that some of the concerts are
held in big venues where they charge admission, but some of the concerts are
held off venue. So, it could be, for example, in the 66North shop, someone is
performing and you can go in and watch for free. Really just be aware as you’re
walking through the city and you hear live music, go in and check it out. It’s
Another November thing is Christmas preparations. In Iceland, there’s no Thanksgiving, and so Icelanders are all about the Christmas! I have seen Christmas decorations on sale at IKEA in October, so November is when you could probably start seeing some decorations happening throughout the city and so it’s just a fun time of year.
Lastly is the lighting of the Imagine Peace Tower. This is
actually a memorial to John Lennon by his widow, Yoko Ono, and it is lit from
his birthday all the way to the day he died, so in November, the tower is still
lit and you will be able to see it from all around the city.
Okay, friends. That is all for your November planning! I hope you guys loved this video and I would really appreciate it if you give me a thumbs up, and I will see you back here next week for another Iceland video.
Happy planning, friends!