While the "summer" nonstop service Icelandair started from Portland in 2015 normally ends in October, this month the airline announced an extension of its nonstop flights between Portland International Airport (PDX) and Reykjavík's Keflavík Airport (KEF) into January 2023. The news might soften the blow to hopeful overseas travelers who also learned this month that Delta is delaying the restart of nonstop direct service between PDX and Tokyo until next year.
The extended service means we're just a seven-and-a-half-hour flight away from Iceland during its darkest month of the year. But even the darkest month is not without light: expect to find towns ablaze with holiday lights, an absolutely pumping nightlife scene, New Year’s Eve fireworks, and peak season for viewing the aurora borealis (or northern lights).
While it will make for shorter daylight windows for the sometimes unpredictable winter driving conditions on Iceland’s Ring Road, December's 19 hours of darkness, on average, shouldn't hinder a trip to warm-up spots like the Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths, a 50-minute drive from Reykjavík. (Try the bread from its geothermal bakery, cooked for 24 hours in a hole in the ground.)
Icelandair's extended schedule runs through January 7, 2023, with four direct flights leaving PDX on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. If an Iceland trip isn't in the cards for you, remember that you can attempt a version of the Ring Road a little closer to home, with Oregon's own hot springs, waterfalls, volcanos, striking rock formations, dramatic coastline, quaint seaside villages, and hipster hotels.