Iceland in November — 5 good reasons to visit
MAY 2020 (updated)
I’d had a long-standing fascination with Iceland, more so after watching the film, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Captivated by the dramatic landscapes and ever-changing scenery, I traveled to Iceland in November with my parents.
While many people will say that the summer season’s the best time to travel, I’ve to disagree.
Iceland’s an incredible country at any time of year. However, there’s something truly special about visiting just before the long, and cold, winter draws in.
Reasons to visit Iceland in November
1. It’s less crowded
November, in general, is a good time to travel. Being the month before Christmas, many people usually spend this time saving for presents rather than traveling.
In short, this translates to less tourists in typically popular destinations.
Take our flight to Iceland. It was evident from looking at the lines, that our plane would be busy, but not full.
We noticed the same thing when arriving at Keflavik Airport. Complete calm and tranquility running through the airport — a characteristic that extends beyond the front doors.
Extraordinary remoteness — Iceland in November
Just endless flat lands surrounded by rocky and rugged terrain. It’s one of the most remote, and most stunning, landscapes I’ve ever visited.
Taking a tour in Iceland for me is compulsory. There are so many places to explore, and a tour guide helps you see them all.
What’s more, find a good one, and they’ll most likely throw in some added local highlights.
2. The weather’s bearable in Iceland in November
I’ll be the first to admit that I detest the cold.
I can just about handle the wind and rain, but add snowstorms to the equation, and I’m out.
Thankfully, the temperatures are bearable traveling to Iceland in mid-November. Snow was forecast to start the week after we left, so we could still enjoy seeing the sights without feeling the freeze.
Coping with the weather in spectacular Gulfoss
“…there’s something truly special about visiting just before the long, and cold, winter draws in.”
3. Iceland’s healing properties
As well as being a superb educator, travel also helps you to heal from personal burdens.
During the time of our visit, I was going through a really difficult period. The solitude and calmness of the Icelandic landscape helped me to process my thoughts, and ultimately to move on.
Saying that, traveling to Iceland in November is ideal for anyone seeking the same need for solitude.
Iceland’s arctic climate, and its howling winds bitterly sweeping across the mossy landscape instantly dries away any tears.
Couple this with hardly any people around plus dramatic coastlines and vistas. By the end of our trip, I returned home with a clearer head and an optimistic outlook.
Iceland in November — physical healing in Iceland
Of course, Iceland also has plenty of places where you can literally heal your body as well as your mind.
The hot temperatures in the natural hot springs have many health benefits.
Its mineral-rich properties in the water can help to combat acne, respiratory problems and pain relief. Taking a long dip in the thermal waters is also said to have anti-ageing benefits too.
Popular springs include The Blue Lagoon close to Reykjavik, and the Secret Lagoon in the south of the country.
Don’t miss seeing the natural geysers in Iceland
4. Things cost less in November
Like its neighboring countries, daily expenses such as food and transportation quickly add up. It isn’t the most purse-friendly destination, but you can visit Iceland on a budget in November.
Visiting in the low season is definitely cheaper. Shop around if you’re planning on doing a tour, or hiring a car.
Prices of food stay the same throughout the year. Before buying, be sure to check the quality of the fruits and vegetables. I didn’t see anything fresh, or of great quality, in several supermarkets we went to in Reykjavik.
Eating out at restaurants can also be an eye-watering and sobering experience, but enjoy it while you’re there.
If you enjoy a regular glass of wine or beer, I highly suggest stocking up at the duty-free store in Keflavik. It works out more cost-effective and you can comfortably drink as much as you want.
Cheap eats in Iceland
To save money for day trips, I recommend heading to the local bakery.
They’ve a great selection of freshly-made sandwiches, local breads, drinks and other snacks. You should also visit the local supermarkets. Ours was the Bonus store, and we bought snacks and drinks, which were perfect when on the go.
Icelanders love their soup, especially in the colder months. And one variety we saw in nearly every cafe, was the lamb variety.
There’s also always a vegetarian option available, but I’ve to say, we saw lamb soup almost everywhere.
Last money-saving tip: fill up on tap water. The water in Iceland is very clean and drinkable too.
Before leaving your Airbnb or hotel, be sure to fill up your water bottle and save heaps when you’re on the move.
Cheap, filling and the perfect accompaniment to lamb soup
5. Attractions aren’t as busy in Iceland in November
You can’t come to Iceland without visiting some of the country’s best sights.
And, if you choose to visit in November, there’s a good chance you won’t have to compete for the best Instagram spots.
The Golden Circle
If you only have a few days to visit, I absolutely recommend doing The Golden Circle tour.
On our particular tour, there were around 10 people, which was a perfect size group.
We also saw the original Geysir and explored the outstanding Thingvellir National Park.
Thingvellir National Park — less busy in November
The Blue Lagoon — Iceland in November
Look up reviews for the Blue Lagoon, and you’re sure to find a mixture of responses.
Some good, some really bad, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth the cost.
For us, it was worth it. It’s a relaxing, and unique, experience, and once you’re in those warm waters, you won’t want to get out.
I found little difference, price wise, booking directly with the Blue Lagoon, or with a tour company. However, it’s still wise to shop around — you may just get lucky, more so if visiting in November.
Price of the Blue Lagoon
There are 3 price tiers for a day visit to the Blue Lagoon. They are comfort, premium and luxury.
The comfort package includes your entrance, a silica mud mask, towel and a drink of your choice. This is the one we chose, and honestly, it was fine for us.
Premium adds the above along with some added extras. There’s a second mask of your choice , slippers, a bathrobe and a table reservation at Lava Restaurant . The meal isn’t included in the price, but a complimentary glass of sparkling wine is.
The last tier is for those who love their travel experiences with a touch of luxury. It includes a private changing suite, and 4 hours at the Retreat Spa. The package also includes unlimited access to both the Retreat Lagoon and the Blue Lagoon as well as Blue Lagoon skincare products.
Prices can vary according to the day you visit too. Unsurprisingly, weekends cost considerably more than the prices during the weekday.
To give you an example, we went on a Wednesday, and paid kr 10,690 ($78 / €71 / £63) per person. As I mentioned before, Iceland is expensive and you need to be prepared for when you visit.
Tips on visiting the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is less busy the earlier you arrive. Also, try and visit on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday to avoid the busy periods.
If on a tight budget, bring your own flip-flops (they charged for these too). Shower gel is included, but bring hair conditioner and body lotion.
The minerals from the water make your hair and skin considerably drier after being in the water.
Don’t believe me? My dad, who never uses body lotion, kept asking for mine an hour after we’d left the Blue Lagoon.
Worth every króna, the Blue Lagoon
Boutique hotels in Reykjavik
For a luxury experience in the capital, why not consider staying at the gorgeous Hotel Borg?
It was the first luxury hotel built in Iceland, and its stylish interior certainly lives up to its name.
Equally charming, the boutique 101 Hotel is a long-standing favorite in the Reykjavik. The hotel has a slick interior and an onsite spa, just in case you didn’t get enough at the Blue Lagoon.
Come and experience for yourself Iceland in November
A healing holiday and more
Though we only spent 3 days in Iceland, it’s one place I’ll always hold dear.
The coldest country I’ve ever visited left me with only the warmest memories.
Friendly and hospitable people, and a landscape unlike any other in the world, it’s one I can’t wait to revisit.
And it’s for this reason, that I’ll never turn down an opportunity to visit Iceland — and in November — again.
Till next time, happy boutique travels x
*Prices correct at the time of printing
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I’ve recommended. Thank you for your support.
Welcome to my site! I'm Lisa, founder of Following the Rivera. I write primarily for a ‘flashpacker’ audience, a demographic (late 20s onward) that enjoys glamping over camping and staying at boutique/luxury boutique hotels. Flashpackers also like to indulge in the local food and wine, cultural activities, as well as a spot of wellness on their travels. Want to know more? Read on....