MARVEL AT THE POWER OF NORTHERN ICELAND’S WINTER
THE WEATHER OF AKUREYRI
If you’ve ever wanted to experience winter, and we mean WINTER – head to North Iceland. Akureyri, Iceland sits at 65°41’N, 18°4’W, 27 m (89 ft). It’s set within one of the longest fjords in Iceland with surrounding mountains towering between 1000-1500m. The city sits just 60km south of the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Circle is the most northerly of the five major circles of latitude that marks the maps of Earth. Surprisingly, the climate is still mild in comparison with summer temperatures reaching up to 25 degrees C. The winter temperatures average around 0 degrees C. These mild temperatures are all thanks to the circulation of ocean currents and sea temperatures. Through the actions of a branch of the Gulf Stream and the Irminger Current that flows along the southern and western coasts, the temperature is moderated. Mild as it can be, Akureyri still packs a mean punch when it comes to winter. The inhabitants and those brave enough to travel to Akureyri in winter will experience the power of a true Icelandic winter. If you’re traveling to Iceland in winter, we’ve got you covered with a complete guide to winter travel in Iceland.
THE RESILIENT PEOPLE OF AKUREYRI
With a population of about 18,500, Akureyri is the second largest urban area after Reykjavik. Its inhabitants only first made the written text in 1562 when a woman was sentenced to death by beheading. She was ‘punished’ as she had relations with a man without being in the possession of a marriage certificate. The culture has quite a dark and mysterious past worth reading up on. Between the Icelandic Sagas and belief in elves and trolls, one would think people weren’t always thinking straight! The the first residential house was built in 1778 beginning with a booming population of 12 people. From there, the population has certainly grown! Thanks to modernization the homes have made life in the north a little cozier and bearable!
WINTER IN AKUREYRI
Lasting from October to April, the north becomes a scenic winter wonderland for all to enjoy. Winter in the north doesn’t only include snow, it deals out aggressive North Atlantic winds and periods of nearly complete darkness. At the peak of the winter solstice on December 21st, the sun rises at 11:39AM and sets at 2:42PM with max sunlight occurring at 1:11PM. Unfortunately, sunrise and sunsets aren’t entirely accurate words when describing Akureyri. The sun in the winter peaks slightly above the horizon, sometimes blocked by the towering fjord mountains then slips back quickly below the horizon stealing all light from the sky. However, this sky void of any sunlight provides the optimal viewing conditions for the northern lights. Check out our recent post: the complete guide to finding and capturing the northern lights.
NOW LET’S HAVE A LOOK AT THIS ALL-MIGHTY WINTER!
PHOTOS BY JULIEN RATEL
The man behind the lens is Julien Ratel, photographer, and adventure guru. Julien, the French man, is from the Alps and moved to Iceland 5 years ago to pursue his photography. Iceland is a photographers dream that draws lens-lovers from all over the world. Enjoy the ride as Julien takes you through his images of the snowstorm that took over Akureyri and show you some great landscapes of the north Iceland area in winter!
FOLLOW JULIEN RATEL’S PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY
And there you have it! Want to see more stunning images of Iceland?
Have you experienced winter in Iceland? If so, do share the comments and tell us about your winter adventure!
Pathfinder & Adventure-Guru