What is the weather in Iceland, and how does it differ between the summer and winter? How do you check the weather forecast in Iceland, and what should you bring to help make your visit comfortable? Read on to find out all the information travelers need to know about the weather in Iceland below.
What is the weather like in Iceland?
What type of weather you can expect depends entirely on what season you choose to visit Iceland. The depths of winter are notoriously dark, cold, and windy, with little more than 4 hours of light every day. On the other hand, Icelandic summers are famous for the midnight sun, a fantastic solar phenomenon that sees the country illuminated throughout the day and night.
These conditions are polar extremes. Typically, the conditions in Iceland fall somewhere in between. Guests often note how quickly the weather can change here, bright and sunlit one moment, then grey and ferocious the next. This unpredictably has given Iceland’s weather a fierce reputation, meaning it’s best to be prepared for all scenarios during your trip.
Winds tend to be highest in the central highlands, an area that visitors rarely stumble upon unless they’re participating in a glacier tour. However, given Iceland’s settlements are found on the coast, one should always expect strong winds. While the country is liable to withstand blizzards during the winter, it just so happens that thunderstorms are infrequent.
If you’re planning on seeing the Northern Lights during your trip to North Iceland, you will have to keep a keen eye on the weather reports as it is only possible to see them when the night sky is clear of cloud cover.
How to dress for the weather in Iceland
Naturally, Icelanders are more acquainted with their weather than most. However, many still dress in the traditional “lopapeysa” – a woollen sweater, proof that the cold is merely a part of living close to the Arctic Circle. There’s a well-spoken saying the locals live by that is just as fitting for guests:
There’s no such thing as bad weather in Iceland… just bad clothes.
With that in mind, it should be evident that packing your bag is crucial when preparing for any trip to the land of ice and fire. Be sure to bring with you comfortable layers of clothing, as well as extra accessories like a beanie hat, pair of gloves, and scarves.
Try to avoid items of clothing that will soak up water, such as denim. Though you may feel fashionable, you’ll be quick to reprimand yourself when the temperature drops. Finally, you will need a sturdy pair of hiking boots to combat the snowfall that always comes with winter.
What is the average temperature in Iceland?
The average temperature in Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, is 1-2°C (33-35°F) in winter and 12°C (54°F) in summer. Of course, in reality, the temperature is capable of dropping to -10°C (14°F) in winter and reaching as high as 25°C (77°F) in summer. The further north one goes, the greater these differences are (i.e., longer, hotter days in summer and shorter, colder days in winters.)
Many visitors expect Iceland to be far colder than it really is. Frankly, one can hardly blame them given its name. In fact, the island is relatively temperate, albeit with periods of strong winds and heavy precipitation. This is because Iceland lies directly in the path of the North Atlantic Current, the northern extension of the Gulf Stream.
If you are planning on setting out to explore Iceland, we recommend that you first check the Icelandic weather forecast on vedur.is. On this site, you are provided with a full overview of what conditions will be like over the following week. This is a great resource for those who might need to alter their itinerary.
Enjoy Winter Heli-Skiing in North Iceland
There is plenty of adventure to be had in Iceland during the winter. But, of course, we believe there is no action quite as thrilling and memorable as heli-skiing in the north.
Ask yourself; when it comes to high-altitude excitement, what competes with jumping out of a helicopter to land smoothly on your skis? Where else but North Iceland can you fall from the skies into the snow-laden heart of pure virginal wilderness? When else will you take your passion for skiing to (pardon the pun) entirely new heights? If you’re a skier visiting Iceland during winter, there’s simply no excuse not to experience this whole new take on the sport!
Though alternative adventures are available—be it horse-riding, ATV rides, or cold water snorkelling—heli-skiing takes the crown among daredevils. Best suited for intermediate backcountry skiers, guests are led on the journey of a lifetime by experienced and personable local guides. All necessary equipment will be provided to you, including Blizzard freeride skis and walking poles.
We offer a variety of heli-skiing tours, from customisable day-trips to multi-day adventures, with overnight stays in a luxurious country lodge.
When you spend your evenings with us, you’ll be offered comfortable accommodation that has a greater focus on luxury and elegance than many of the alternative options in the area. Besides being provided with delicious chef-made meals, you’ll also have full access to the onsite geothermal pool, hot tub, and sauna.
If you’re looking to explore Tröllaskagi, the Troll Peninsula, in this exciting manner, make sure to check out all the excursions available on the Summit Heli-skiing tour page. And don’t ever let the weather in Iceland put you off. Whilst sometimes extreme, the conditions add to this island’s beauty, drama, and majesty in ways that can never be fully appreciated.