Green northern lights above Hotel Rangá on a winter's night.

Rangá Recommends: February in Iceland

The new year has greeted us with exceptionally beautiful (but cold) weather and some wonderful northern light displays. When packing for your stay, think in freezing temperatures: building snowmen, hiking up frozen hills to view waterfalls and feeling the cold nibble at your cheeks as you take in the night sky. Also, think like an Icelander and eat plenty of good food.

February in Iceland is filled with cold temperatures, northern lights and sometimes snow. The days are slowly getting longer but we are still fully in a winter mood. It is a great month to explore during the day and relax and indulge at night.

The northern lights in February in Iceland.
Iceland had beautiful northern lights displays in February. Photo by Erna Sigurðardóttir.

February in Iceland: Eat, drink and be merry

February in Iceland is a time to try the most traditional Icelandic food: Þorramatur. Yes, that is an actual word describing an ensemble of dishes such as hangikjöt (smoked leg of lamb), lifrarpylsa (liver sausage, hrútspungar (ram’s testicles), svið (boiled sheepshead) and hákarl (fermented shark) – all served with plenty of sweet rye bread.

Brennivín is served at our bar at Hotel Rangá.
Brennivín served at the Rangá Bar.

Don’t fret if this list doesn’t sound appetizing – you can still join in the Þorri festivities by having a shot of Brennivín at the Hótel Rangá bar. Brennivín is a clear unsweetened schnapps with flavors of cumin. It is also Iceland’s signature alcoholic beverage. Icelanders prefer to serve brennivín frozen so that it’s cold going down but warms the heart.

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A healthy travel companion

Americans have beef jerky – Icelanders have harðfiskur!

Harðfiskur or “hard-fish” is dried fish, also known as stockfish in English. It usually consists of dried cod, haddock or catfish. In fact, dried fish used to be one of the main features of the Icelandic diet, especially during winter months. Today, Icelanders eat harðfiskur as a snack, often with butter. What’s more, a bit of harðfiskur is a very handy bite during a road trip or a hike. Harðfiskur doesn’t spoil for years (although we don’t recommend keeping it that long) and 100g of haddock contains 80 to 85% of protein.

February in Iceland: Warm belly equals warm heart

We love our head chef’s famous cream of mushroom soup. It is an extremely popular dish on the Hotel Rangá menu. In fact, our regulars demand that we keep in on the menu! The soup is the perfect rich and creamy pick-me-up your body craves on a cold winter’s day and yet, it still feels light and warm in your tummy.

The Hotel Rangá Mushroom soup.
Hotel Rangá’s famous wild mushroom soup.

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    A glass of red and white wine beside a vase of lupine at the luxury Rangá Restaurant.