Green and pink northern lights above Hotel Rangá in south Iceland.

What to do in Iceland in January

Happy New Year! It's time to tally up our accomplishments and make new goals. We have had a fantastic year and want to thank all our guests for two decades of business. We have a great feeling about the new year and look forward to an exciting year ahead filled with more fun and adventure.

January in Iceland is the perfect time to start anew – go on an epic adventure, soak in the Hotel Rangá hot tubs or try new flavors in our gourmet Rangá Restaurant.

The Northern Lights dancing over Hotel Rangá
The Northern Lights at Hotel Rangá. Picture by Hreinn Magnússon.


  • Average high temperatures approx. 3°C (37°F).
  • Average low temperatures approx. -3°C (27°F).
  • You can expect snow and rain.


  • January 1st: Approx. 4.5 hours of daylight.
  • January 30th: Approx. 7 hours of daylight.

Cozy Up with A Good Book


Room 4 ar Hotel Rangá with beautiful wall murals by Icelanndic artists.
Room #4 and Room #9 feature wall paintings inspired by old Icelandic scripts. Read all about it in this blog post.

Iceland is a book-loving nation—most Icelanders receive a book for Christmas, and the new year is a great time to restart a reading habit. Want to learn more about Iceland before your upcoming stay at Hotel Rangá?

The latest edition of the Rangá Review includes our top recommendations for Icelandic literature. Reading a book by a local author is a great way to gain knowledge about Icelandic history and culture.

Icelandic Authors on Icelandic Literature


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Bring on the Daylight

January is the month where we gain the biggest increase in daylight—from 4 to 7 hours. Instead of focusing on winter´s long nights, we celebrate the start of January as the beginning of brighter days, something Hotel Rangá´s owner Friðrik Pálsson learned from his mother. The increase in daylight is very gradual, so there is still plenty of time for hunting the northern lights at Hotel Rangá before the summer’s midnight sun.

Dance with the Elves

The 6th of January, also known as ‘The Thirteenth Night,’ marks the end of Christmas. Icelanders all around the country celebrate this night with bonfires and the last of the New Year´s firework supply. One such bonfire is held every year by Goðaland in Hotel Rangá’s neighboring Fljótshlíð.

The event is called Álfadans or ‘elf-dance’ as the elves are rumored to be out and about during this time of year. Seals are also said to shed their skins and walk the beaches on the Thirteenth Night, while cows are said to speak in human voices. We recommend the bonfire over the cow-house – while Icelandic elves are friendly, the cows try to make their human listeners go mad.


Get inspired by Iceland

A picture of dómadalur at winter time in Iceland
Dómadalur. Picture by Jórunn Eggertsdóttir.

Getting ready for your upcoming stay at Hotel Rangá? Maybe you have already seen shots of our beautiful country in popular TV shows and feature films. From Game of Thrones, to The Real Housewives of Orange County and even a Justin Bieber music video, Iceland´s stunning landscapes have provided a backdrop to some of the most popular productions in both film and television. Learn more about where you can spot Iceland and even Hotel Rangá on-screen in this article.

Game of Thrones Locations in Iceland

The Real Housewives of Orange County in Iceland


Justin Bieber Music Video in Iceland

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