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Embrace The Cold In Iceland This Winter

12/08/2015 03:00 EST | Updated 12/08/2016 05:12 EST

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Photo credit: Stephen_AU

Iceland probably isn't the first place that comes to mind when you imagine a winter getaway. In fact, the snowy weather and short winter days (December sees four to five hours of daylight each day) are enough to deter the most adventurous travelers. After all, why escape the cold to another cold destination? Or how can you expect to see any sights within just five hours of daylight?

Iceland winters offer a special experience that those who visit in the more friendly summer months never see. The following five reasons to visit Iceland in winter are guaranteed to kick your cold-weather-hating, daylight-loving instincts to the curb.

The Northern Lights

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Photo credit: Victor Montol

If you've browsed the web in search of photos of Iceland, you've probably found some awe-inspiring pictures of the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights. Iceland's iconic Northern Lights displays, which are the mesmerizing colors produced by collisions of the sun's electrically charged particles entering the earth's atmosphere, are easier to see in the longer nights of winter. The sunrises and sunsets last for hours at a time on these shorter days, which mean's you're bound to snap hundreds of postcard-worthy photos with perfect lighting.

You Can Still Swim

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Photo credit: Roderick Eime

You won't want to dive head-first into the ocean in an Icelandic winter, but you will want to visit some of the island's countless geothermal pools. These geothermal pools are heated by earth's energy, and they stay warm enough to swim inside at all times of year. The geothermal pools are typically outside, so you'll never feel like you're wasting the day away when lounging in one of Mother Earth's jacuzzis.

Reykjavik Is Always in Season

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Photo credit: Berit Watkin

Reykjavik, the northernmost capital city in the world, is a magical place surrounded by natural wonders. Visit in December, and you'll find holiday ice skating rinks, festivals, and the city's entire downtown area transformed into a massive Christmas village. However, January and February still see Reykjavik thriving with its usual happening nightlife scene, museums, art galleries, bustling geothermal pools, world-class restaurants, hip cafes, and microbreweries.

It's Not As Cold As You Think

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Photo credit: Diana Robinson

Iceland's name alone makes many potential visitors turn away, but the Land of Fire and Ice isn't as cold as it seems. You'll likely find snow on the ground when you arrive, but you will notice it's not any colder than other favorite winter destinations like Paris and New York City. Temperatures in Iceland's lowlands average 0-degrees Celsius (32-degrees Fahrenheit) in the winter months, which means if you bring a cozy jacket, you won't be deterred from exploring the outdoors.

Iceland's name alone makes many potential visitors turn away, but the Land of Fire and Ice isn't as cold as it seems. You'll likely find snow on the ground when you arrive, but you will notice it's not any colder than other favorite winter destinations like Paris and New York City. Temperatures in Iceland's lowlands average 0-degrees Celsius (32-degrees Fahrenheit) in the winter months, which means if you bring a cozy jacket, you won't be deterred from exploring the outdoors.

It's Cheaper

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Photo credit: Greenland Travel

Summer and Christmas are some of the most popular times to visit Reykjavik. However, if you head to the island in the less popular winter months of January and February, you'll see prices on car rentals and accommodations cut nearly in half. Iceland is teeming with Airbnb rentals that often go unused this time of year, so do your research wisely, and you could find an amazing deal on your winter-weather island getaway.

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