December in Iceland is the darkest month of the year (average sunshine is 12 hours), fortunately it is also the Christmas month when Icelanders begin to light up their homes with Christmas lights and other decorations. While the Christmas decorations light up the darkness the Northern Lights also do that, but December is a great month to experience the Northern Lights.

Read more about Christmas in Iceland here and what to do. 

December is also cold, the average temperature is -0,2°C (31,6°F) and the average precipitation is 79 mm. You should be prepared fo all kinds of weather in December, including snow, wind, sun and occasional snow storms. There is usually less snow in Reykjavík then in the rest of the country, like in the North and the Westfjords.

Driving in Iceland in December

Driving during the winter in Iceland can be difficult and dangerous as there can be ice or snow on the road and sometimes a blizzard and a complete white out.

It is important to always check road and weather conditions before driving in Iceland during the winter. In December many roads in Iceland are impassable especially in the most remote areas in the Westfjords, North and East also the mountain roads are closed.

If you are planning on renting a car during the winter you can of course do that but we recommend renting a 4WD car with good winter tires and only if you are confident and used to driving in cold weather conditions.

The main roads are usually well maintained and the most popular tourist destinations around Reykjavík are accessible including the Golden Circle, the South Coast as well as Snæfellsnes peninsula in the West and the North part of Iceland.

If you are not comfortable driving multiple bus tours and private tours are available during the winter in Iceland.

If you decide to drive in Iceland here you will find useful tips and more extensive information.

What to wear

As mentioned above December is a cold month with average temperature of -0,2°C (31,6°F) and the weather is also very unpredictable, it can rain, be sunny, windy and snowing.

We recommend to bring warm clothes and be prepared for everything, it's essential to bring warm base layer and a parka and of course good shoes!

  • Hiking boots - If you are planning on only staying in Reykjavík then sneakers might be enough but if you will be travelling around the country and staying outside you need good hiking shoes that will keep you warm.
  • Base layer - warm layers under the clothes might be the best thing you bring to Iceland. We recommend wearing long wool or thermal underwear, you can buy it in outdoor clothing stores in Iceland.
  • Fleece or wool - The icelandic wool sweater or fleece is a must. The icelandic wool sweater can be bought all over the country in local stores.
  • Parka or water and windproof jacket - You want to wear the parka on cold days but it might also rain during the winter so a water and windproof jacket over the wool/fleece sweater is essential.
  • Water and windproof pants - It is windy in Iceland and it rains so bring the pants.
  • Hats, gloves and warm socks - Bring at least two sets of everything a lighter pair and a thick one as well.
  • Swimsuit - You are going to want to relax in our warm swimming pools or hot springs after a long day outside