Iceland’s breathtaking landscapes offer a captivating blend of natural beauty, but the country’s charm also lies in its unpredictable and ever-changing weather. The “Iceland Weather: Breaking Down Weather In Iceland 2024” guide aims to prepare you for just that, making sure you know what to expect when planning your trip.
With the island’s diverse climate conditions, understanding the typical Iceland weather patterns and variations across the four regions can significantly enhance your travel experience.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the weather conditions throughout the year in South, East, North, and West Iceland. Whether you’re chasing the summer’s midnight sun or winter’s Northern Lights, this guide will provide valuable insights into Iceland’s unique weather phenomena.
From the milder climate in the south to the arctic conditions in the north, you’ll gain an understanding of what to pack, when to visit, and how to make the most of your journey under the Icelandic sky. So, let’s delve into the world of weather in Iceland, region by region, season by season, and month by month.
Note: For the most up-to-date weather in unpredictable Iceland, keep an eye on Vedur.is.
If you’re looking for weather in a specific region of Iceland and in a specific season, use the links below to jump to that specific area and season. I have also curated a list of some of the most frequently asked questions about Iceland weather.
- South Iceland: Spring | Summer | Fall | Winter
- East Iceland: Spring | Summer | Fall | Winter
- North Iceland: Spring | Summer | Fall | Winter
- West Iceland: Spring | Summer | Fall | Winter
- Resources: Frequently Asked Questions
South Iceland Weather
As the most frequented region by tourists, South Iceland’s weather plays a pivotal role in travel planning. Characterized by relatively mild climates due to warm Gulf Stream influences, South Iceland’s weather does exhibit dramatic fluctuations.
However, a general understanding of the expected conditions will significantly assist in preparing for your journey. Let’s explore the conditions through the four seasons, starting with spring.
For a full breakdown of everything south Iceland has to offer, check out the comprehensive guide I have put together, available here.
Spring in South Iceland
Springtime in South Iceland witnesses an awakening of nature, as the region begins to thaw after winter’s chill. The months of April, May, and June bring milder weather, increased daylight hours, and picturesque landscapes draped in vibrant hues of blooming flora.
This season offers travelers the chance to experience Iceland’s landscapes as they come to life. However, each spring month carries its own distinct characteristics.
April in South Iceland Weather
April sees the beginning of Spring with temperatures gradually increasing, typically hovering between 0°C and 5°C. Although snowfall can still occur, it’s much less frequent than in winter months. The increase in daylight hours presents more opportunities for outdoor exploration and photography.
May in South Iceland Weather
May ushers in the heart of spring, with average temperatures ranging from 3°C to 9°C. The landscapes transform dramatically as wildflowers begin to bloom, and migratory birds, including puffins, start returning. The weather can still be unpredictable, with possibilities of both sunny days and unexpected snow showers.
June in South Iceland Weather
June marks the beginning of summer, with the longest daylight hours – even the infamous midnight sun. Temperatures range from 7°C to 13°C, creating comfortable conditions for outdoor activities. Weather is generally stable, with rain being infrequent, but sudden changes can still occur, hence always carry layers and rain gear.
Summer in South Iceland
Summer in South Iceland is a season of extended daylight and warmer temperatures, marking it as a peak tourist season. The verdant landscapes under the constant glow of the Midnight Sun create a mesmerizing backdrop for outdoor explorations.
The wildlife, including seals, puffins, and whales, is also more active during this time. However, each summer month has its distinct weather nuances.
July in South Iceland Weather
July is often the warmest month in South Iceland, with temperatures usually between 10°C to 15°C, though it can occasionally reach up to 20°C. The near constant daylight continues, providing ample opportunity for outdoor activities. Weather patterns can still be unpredictable, and rainfall, though not heavy, is common, so carrying rain gear is advisable.
August in South Iceland Weather
In August, the temperature range is similar to July, fluctuating between 10°C to 15°C. The Midnight Sun begins to wane, but daylight still lasts for about 15 to 18 hours a day. The weather remains mild, but wind and rain are more frequent, especially towards the end of the month. The onset of autumn can be seen in the changing colors of the vegetation.
September in South Iceland Weather
September marks the transition from summer to autumn. The temperatures start to drop, usually ranging from 5°C to 13°C. Daylight hours also decrease significantly, with darkness returning at night. The weather becomes more unpredictable with possibilities of both sunny and rainy days.
The first northern lights of the season can often be spotted in late September, making it an exciting time for visitors.
Fall in South Iceland
Fall in South Iceland is a vibrant season, characterized by shorter days, chillier temperatures, and the majestic display of the Northern Lights. The landscape turns into a palette of russet and gold, creating a scenic backdrop for your adventures. The weather, although progressively cooler, is generally milder than the harsh winter months. Let’s break it down further by month.
October in South Iceland Weather
October is the true onset of autumn, with temperatures dropping further to a range of 2°C to 8°C. Daylight reduces to roughly nine hours a day towards the end of the month. Rain is more common and can be coupled with strong winds, so pack waterproof and windproof attire.
This time also marks the beginning of the aurora season, so keep an eye out for clear, dark skies for the best view of the Northern Lights.
November in South Iceland Weather
November sees a significant drop in temperatures, averaging between -1°C to 4°C, marking the transition towards winter. Daylight hours decrease dramatically, with about five to seven hours of light per day towards the end of the month.
Weather can be unpredictable with a higher chance of snowfall, especially towards the end of the month. It’s a great time to visit if you enjoy winter landscapes and want a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
December in South Iceland Weather
December is the beginning of the harsh Icelandic winter, with temperatures often below freezing, ranging from -3°C to 2°C. Daylight is scarce, averaging only about four hours per day in the latter half of the month. However, this darkness enhances the ethereal beauty of the Northern Lights, making it one of the best times to visit for aurora hunters. Do pack heavy winter clothing to cope with the cold and potential snowstorms.
Winter in South Iceland
Winter in South Iceland is an enchanting season, encompassing a magical landscape of frosted mountains, frozen waterfalls, and frequently visible Northern Lights. Though the weather can be challenging, with very short daylight hours and sub-zero temperatures, the visual spectacle is absolutely mesmerizing. Let’s explore the weather nuances for the winter months.
January in South Iceland Weather
January is the coldest month in South Iceland, with average temperatures hovering between -3°C and 2°C. With approximately four to five hours of daylight, it’s the heart of the Icelandic winter. It’s not uncommon to experience snowstorms and blizzards during this month, so ensure you pack appropriate thermal clothing and check the weather forecast regularly. Despite the challenging conditions, it’s an optimal time for Northern Lights sightings.
February in South Iceland Weather
In February, temperatures remain cold, ranging from -2°C to 3°C. Days start to lengthen slowly, with daylight increasing to approximately seven hours by the end of the month. The weather remains unpredictable with a mixture of calm, clear days and bouts of heavy snowfall.
It’s an excellent month for winter sports such as skiing or snowmobiling, and the Northern Lights are still often visible on clear nights.
March in South Iceland Weather
March sees the transition from winter to spring, with temperatures ranging from -2°C to 3°C. Daylight hours continue to increase, offering up to 12 hours of light by the end of the month. Weather conditions remain variable, with a mix of sunny days, snowfall, and occasional rain.
The extended daylight hours allow more time to explore, while the evenings can still provide spectacular Northern Lights viewing opportunities.
East Iceland Weather
The unique geography of East Iceland shapes its weather patterns, creating a landscape of scenic fjords, high mountains, and charming coastal towns.
Known for having some of the country’s most favorable weather, East Iceland experiences mild temperatures and less rainfall than other regions, especially during spring and summer. However, winter conditions can be harsh. Let’s delve deeper into the seasonal shifts starting with spring.
For a full breakdown of everything east Iceland has to offer, check out the comprehensive guide I have put together, available here.
Spring in East Iceland
Spring in East Iceland is a season of rebirth and reawakening. As the region emerges from its winter slumber, the icy landscapes start to thaw, revealing lush greenery and blooming wildflowers. The lengthening days bring ample opportunities for outdoor exploration and bird watching. Here’s a more detailed look at the weather conditions during this season.
April in East Iceland Weather
In April, the winter frost begins to retreat, making way for spring’s arrival. Average temperatures range from 0°C to 5°C, with daylight hours extending to around 13-16 hours a day. This increase in sunlight allows the natural beauty of East Iceland to shine through.
It’s an ideal time to explore the region’s hiking trails, although visitors should still prepare for chilly weather and occasional showers.
May in East Iceland Weather
May sees a further warming of the climate, with temperatures ranging from 3°C to 9°C. The region bathes in nearly 24 hours of daylight towards the end of the month, a phenomenon known as the Midnight Sun. This provides ample time to experience the wildlife and landscape of East Iceland, including its abundant birdlife and newly sprouted flora.
June in East Iceland Weather
June marks the height of spring, with temperatures averaging between 6°C and 13°C. The days are long and bright due to the Midnight Sun, offering endless opportunities for exploration.
The weather is generally dry, making it ideal for hiking, bird watching, or visiting some of the region’s spectacular waterfalls. However, it’s always wise to check the weather forecast regularly and dress in layers, as conditions can change quickly.
Summer in East Iceland
As summer rolls around in East Iceland, the region basks in long days and relatively mild temperatures, creating perfect conditions for outdoor activities. The landscape is at its greenest, adorned with wildflowers and the arrival of migratory birds like the puffin.
With almost round-the-clock daylight, there is no shortage of time to enjoy everything East Iceland has to offer. Here’s a closer look at the summer months.
July in East Iceland Weather
July is the warmest month in East Iceland, with average temperatures ranging from 9°C to 15°C. Days are long and bright, and the Midnight Sun phenomenon allows for extended exploration into the late hours.
Outdoor enthusiasts can take full advantage of the weather, exploring the magnificent fjords, mountains, and waterfalls that make East Iceland a summer paradise. Don’t forget a light jacket, though, as evenings can still be cool, and weather conditions can change.
August in East Iceland Weather
August signals the end of summer, with temperatures slightly dipping to between 8°C and 14°C. Despite this, the region still experiences up to 18 hours of daylight. It’s an excellent time to hike or visit some of the region’s most scenic spots, like the dramatic fjords or the ancient Skaftfell forest. The weather remains generally dry, but be prepared for occasional rainfall and cooler nights.
September in East Iceland Weather
The start of autumn in September brings a notable change in the climate. Temperatures decrease to around 5°C to 10°C, and daylight hours begin to shorten. However, it’s a great time to experience the fall foliage, with vibrant hues blanketing the landscape.
You might also catch the first glimpse of the Northern Lights towards the end of the month. Despite the cooler weather, September still offers many opportunities for outdoor exploration in East Iceland.
Fall in East Iceland
Fall in East Iceland is a season of crisp air, shorter days, and landscapes adorned with autumnal hues. As the summer crowds dissipate, it offers a peaceful time to explore this part of Iceland, accompanied by cooler temperatures. The change in weather sets a dramatic backdrop for scenic drives and hikes. Let’s dive deeper into the fall months.
October in East Iceland Weather
October is a transition month in East Iceland, with temperatures dropping to an average of 2°C to 7°C. As the days grow shorter, the Northern Lights become more visible, especially on clear, cold nights.
Rainfall can increase during this month, and the first snowfall often occurs in the higher altitudes. Despite the variable weather, October’s autumnal colors are breathtaking and worth braving the colder conditions for.
November in East Iceland Weather
In November, East Iceland’s weather can be quite unpredictable, with temperatures typically ranging between -1°C and 3°C. Snow is more likely, especially in the mountains, and the Northern Lights frequently dance across the sky on clear nights.
The shorter days and colder weather signal the beginning of the winter season, but the fall foliage still lingers in some areas, offering a beautiful contrast of colors.
December in East Iceland Weather
December in East Iceland is considered the start of winter, with average temperatures dropping below freezing. The region sees fewer daylight hours, often just a few hours around noon. Despite the cold and dark, December can be an enchanting time to visit.
The Northern Lights are often visible, and the snow-covered landscape is simply magical. It’s a quieter time for tourism, offering a more serene, if chilly, experience of East Iceland.
Winter in East Iceland
Winter in East Iceland transforms the region into a stunning snow-draped wonderland. Although the weather conditions can be challenging, with short daylight hours and freezing temperatures, the sight of the Northern Lights and the snowy landscape make it worthwhile for many travelers. Let’s take a closer look at the winter months.
January in East Iceland Weather
In January, East Iceland experiences its coldest month of the year, with temperatures averaging from -6°C to 1°C. Daylight is limited to just a few hours each day, giving a mystical quality to the snowy landscape. The cold, clear nights increase the chances of viewing the Northern Lights.
Be prepared for unpredictable weather, including snowstorms, and always check the weather forecast and road conditions before setting out on any journeys.
February in East Iceland Weather
February continues the chilly trend in East Iceland, with average temperatures between -6°C and 1°C. Daylight begins to increase, but winter weather conditions still prevail, and the landscapes remain blanketed in snow.
February can offer some fantastic opportunities for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding, and of course, continued chances for spotting the Northern Lights. As with any winter travel in Iceland, preparedness and awareness of weather forecasts are vital.
March in East Iceland Weather
By March, East Iceland starts to hint at the arrival of spring, but winter conditions largely persist. Temperatures begin to slowly climb, ranging between -3°C and 3°C on average. The days become noticeably longer, allowing for extended exploration of the region.
The snow starts to melt in the lower altitudes, but the mountains stay snowy, providing opportunities for winter sports. The Northern Lights can still be seen on clear nights. March combines elements of both winter and spring, offering a unique time to experience East Iceland.
North Iceland Weather
North Iceland is another region in the country that offers a unique blend of weather conditions, contributing to the overall fascinating spectrum of Iceland weather. With its own microclimates, influenced by its diverse landscapes of mountains, fjords, and coastal areas, North Iceland’s weather is as captivating as its breathtaking scenery. The variation in its weather pattern plays a major role in defining the charm and appeal of this region.
For a full breakdown of everything north Iceland has to offer, check out the comprehensive guide I have put together, available here.
Spring in North Iceland
Spring in North Iceland heralds a season of rejuvenation, as snow recedes to reveal an increasingly vibrant landscape. Daylight hours begin to extend significantly, adding a sense of optimism and excitement in the air.
However, temperatures remain on the cooler side, averaging between 0°C to 10°C. Travelers can expect some rainfall, but the beauty of the blooming flora against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains is truly a sight to behold.
March in North Iceland Weather
As winter transitions into spring, March in North Iceland is a month of unpredictable weather conditions. Temperatures begin to slightly rise with averages ranging from -3°C to 3°C, but cold spells and snow showers remain common.
Daylight hours significantly increase during March, giving way to longer days which allows for more exploration. This is also an excellent time for spotting the Northern Lights due to the still prevalent dark hours.
April in North Iceland Weather
In North Iceland, April typically marks the departure of the harsh winter, making way for the revitalizing spring. During this time, the average temperature ranges from 0°C to 4°C. The days begin to get longer, providing more sunlight for exploration.
It’s a great time to enjoy the landscapes as they come back to life, but do remember that the weather can be unpredictable, so dress in layers and bring waterproof gear.
May in North Iceland Weather
May in North Iceland sees a further rise in temperature, with averages falling between 3°C and 9°C. This period sees nature awakening in its full glory, with lush greenery taking over the landscapes. It’s also the start of the puffin season, which attracts bird watchers from around the world. Despite the relatively comfortable weather, always be prepared for sudden changes, and carry suitable clothing.
Summer in North Iceland
Summer is arguably the most favored season for travelers in North Iceland. The region experiences the ‘midnight sun’ phenomenon, offering nearly 24 hours of daylight at its peak.
Temperatures hover around a comfortable 10°C to 15°C, and the landscape explodes into life with verdant vegetation and lively wildlife. It’s a great time for hiking, wildlife watching, and exploring the region’s many natural wonders.
June in North Iceland Weather
By June, North Iceland experiences the full force of the Midnight Sun, with almost 24 hours of daylight. The average temperatures are usually between 7°C and 12°C. This is an excellent time to visit places like Lake Myvatn and Dettifoss Waterfall, as the access roads are clear and the views are stunning. However, remember to bring eye masks for sleeping, as the continuous daylight can disrupt sleep patterns.
July in North Iceland Weather
July marks the peak of summer in North Iceland, with the warmest temperatures of the year. The averages lie between 9°C and 14°C, although it can occasionally go higher.
The Midnight Sun continues to light up the landscapes, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities and sightseeing. It’s a great time to visit places like the whale-watching hub of Husavik, but always carry light layers, as temperatures can drop in the evenings.
August in North Iceland Weather
August in North Iceland continues to offer warm weather with average temperatures ranging from 8°C to 13°C. There’s still plenty of daylight to explore, and the landscapes are beautifully lush. This is an excellent time for hiking or exploring the majestic Godafoss waterfall. Despite being summer, it’s prudent to have waterproof and windproof gear handy, as sudden showers can occur.
Fall in North Iceland
As fall arrives, North Iceland starts to cool down, with temperatures dropping to between 2°C and 10°C. The landscape dons a spectacular palette of autumnal hues, making it an excellent season for photography enthusiasts. The length of daylight starts to decrease, yet there’s still enough light to explore the natural beauty. Also, it’s a time when the Northern Lights begin to make their appearance, weather permitting.
September in North Iceland Weather
In September, summer slowly transitions into autumn. The average temperatures drop slightly, falling between 5°C and 10°C. The daylight hours begin to reduce, but there’s still enough light to experience the region’s beautiful vistas.
This month also marks the beginning of the Northern Lights season, so keep an eye out for this magical display. As the weather begins to cool, it’s a good idea to pack a mixture of light and warm clothing.
October in North Iceland Weather
October in North Iceland experiences a distinct change in the weather as the season transitions to autumn in earnest. The temperatures hover between 2°C and 7°C, and daylight hours continue to reduce. This time of year sees the landscapes transforming into beautiful hues of red, orange, and yellow. The Northern Lights are also a common sight, making it a magical time to visit. Remember to bring warm clothes, as it can get chilly, especially during the evenings.
November in North Iceland Weather
By November, the winter chill starts to set in, with temperatures ranging between -1°C and 3°C. Snowfall begins to dust the landscapes, and daylight is limited to just a few hours. Despite the colder weather, it’s a great time to witness the Northern Lights, which are at their peak. Make sure to bundle up and bring sturdy shoes for walking on potentially icy terrain.
Winter in North Iceland
Winter in North Iceland is marked by heavy snowfall, transforming the region into a winter wonderland. The daylight hours shorten significantly, with only about 2-4 hours of twilight around mid-winter. Despite the chilly temperatures, ranging from -10°C to 2°C, the breathtaking sights of frozen waterfalls, snow-clad landscapes, and frequent appearances of the Northern Lights make it a magical time to visit for adventurous travelers.
December in North Iceland Weather
December in North Iceland marks the beginning of the winter season. The average temperatures drop below freezing, often ranging from -3°C to 2°C. Days are short with only a few hours of sunlight, but this darkness provides the perfect backdrop for the stunning Northern Lights. Snow and ice are common, so pack accordingly with warm clothing, good boots, and layers for insulation.
January in North Iceland Weather
In January, North Iceland remains in the heart of winter, with temperatures often dipping below 0°C, ranging from -4°C to 1°C on average. With just a few hours of daylight, the landscapes turn into a winter wonderland of snow and ice.
This period offers excellent opportunities for Northern Lights sightings. Warm, waterproof clothing, including insulated jackets, thermal layers, and sturdy boots, is essential to enjoy the outdoor activities.
February in North Iceland Weather
February continues the winter season in North Iceland with average temperatures between -3°C and 1°C. Although the daylight hours start to increase, the landscapes remain covered in snow and ice.
This month still provides optimal conditions for viewing the Northern Lights, and winter activities like ice cave exploration are still popular. Remember to dress in layers and have sturdy footwear to handle the wintry conditions.
West Iceland Weather
The beauty of West Iceland comes with a diverse climate that complements its stunning natural landscapes, from the glaciers and fjords to the beautiful coastal towns. The region experiences a fairly temperate climate, but like the rest of the country, the weather in West Iceland is famously changeable, with distinct variations by season.
Understanding the weather in West Iceland can enhance your planning and help you make the most of your visit to this fascinating area.
For a full breakdown of everything west Iceland has to offer, check out the comprehensive guide I have put together, available here.
Spring In West Iceland
Spring ushers in a season of change for West Iceland, with gradually rising temperatures and longer daylight hours that bring new life to the land. It’s a transitional season, offering a perfect blend of winter’s chill and summer’s warmth. Visitors during this time can witness the melting of snow, the blooming of flora, and the migration of various bird species.
April in West Iceland Weather
In April, winter begins to loosen its grip, and West Iceland starts to experience a slow but noticeable rise in temperatures, typically ranging from 1°C to 5°C. The snow-covered landscapes begin to melt, revealing the lush greenery underneath.
This period is particularly great for bird-watching, as migratory birds like puffins start to return. Be sure to pack a mixture of light and warm layers to adjust to the unpredictable weather conditions.
May in West Iceland Weather
May brings warmer weather to West Iceland, with average temperatures fluctuating between 4°C to 9°C. The landscapes become increasingly vibrant, and daylight hours extend, allowing more time for outdoor exploration. It’s an excellent time to visit the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and other outdoor attractions. Remember to carry waterproof clothing, as showers can occur.
June in West Iceland Weather
In June, West Iceland experiences mild weather, with temperatures ranging from 8°C to 13°C. The region becomes a haven for nature lovers, offering stunning views of wildflower fields and accessible hiking trails.
With nearly 24 hours of daylight due to the Midnight Sun phenomenon, it’s a fantastic time to explore the natural wonders of the region. However, remember to pack some eye masks to help with sleeping in the bright nights.
Summer In West Iceland
Summer is a vibrant time in West Iceland, offering mild temperatures and almost endless daylight due to the phenomenon known as the Midnight Sun. The lush landscapes and calm weather create perfect conditions for outdoor adventures such as hiking, bird watching, and exploring geothermal hot springs. This is also the peak season for tourism in the region, thanks to the pleasant weather and the spectacular natural beauty on display.
July in West Iceland Weather
July is the warmest month in West Iceland, with average temperatures ranging from 10°C to 15°C. It’s the peak of the Midnight Sun, where the sun barely dips below the horizon, offering almost 24 hours of daylight.
This gives you plenty of time to enjoy attractions like the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and Breiðafjörður Bay. Remember to bring sunscreen and light clothing for the day, but also warmer layers for the cooler nights.
August in West Iceland Weather
August sees slightly cooler temperatures ranging between 9°C and 14°C. It continues to offer extended daylight hours, though not as long as in July. This is a great time to visit historical sites like Reykholt or explore the fascinating lava caves in the region.
It’s also the start of the berry-picking season, a popular pastime for locals and tourists alike. Pack rainproof gear as there can be occasional showers.
September in West Iceland Weather
In September, the weather starts to cool down, with temperatures ranging from 6°C to 11°C. The daylight hours begin to shorten, and the region starts transitioning into the colors of fall. It’s the start of the Northern Lights season, so keep an eye out for clear, dark nights. The weather can be quite unpredictable, so layering clothes and having waterproof gear is recommended.
Fall In West Iceland
Fall in West Iceland is a season of change, as the lush summer landscapes transform into a canvas of vibrant autumnal hues. The temperatures drop gradually and the days become shorter, offering a different kind of beauty compared to the endless daylight of summer.
This is a great time to explore the outdoors, enjoy the stunning fall colors, and experience the beginning of the Northern Lights season.
October in West Iceland Weather
October is truly the heart of fall in West Iceland, with temperatures ranging between 2°C and 7°C. The autumn foliage is at its peak, painting the landscapes in shades of gold and red. It’s a great time to hike in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and capture stunning photographs.
As the nights lengthen, the chances of witnessing the Northern Lights increase. Don’t forget to pack warm clothes and waterproof gear as rain showers can be frequent.
November in West Iceland Weather
November signals the transition from fall to winter, with average temperatures dropping to between -1°C and 3°C. The landscapes take on a more subdued palette and snowfall begins, especially in higher altitudes. It’s a quieter time in terms of tourism, offering a peaceful atmosphere.
The dark, clear nights provide excellent conditions for Northern Lights viewing. Be prepared for colder weather and possible snow by packing layers and insulated clothing.
December in West Iceland Weather
By December, winter has fully set in, with temperatures often dropping below freezing, ranging from -3°C to 1°C. Snow-covered landscapes and frozen waterfalls create a winter wonderland, offering unique photo opportunities.
This is also an excellent time for Northern Lights sightings, due to long, dark nights. Travel can be challenging because of the weather conditions, so warm, waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear are essential. It’s also important to check road conditions before setting out on any journey.
Winter In West Iceland
Winter in West Iceland paints a picture of ethereal beauty, with snow-draped landscapes, frozen waterfalls, and crisp, clear skies that make for stunning Northern Lights displays. The chill in the air and the short days can’t dampen the awe-inspiring spectacle of nature in its winter glory.
If you are undeterred by the cold and seek a winter wonderland experience, this is the perfect time to visit West Iceland.
January in West Iceland Weather
January is typically the coldest month in West Iceland with temperatures ranging from -5°C to 1°C. Snowfall is frequent, transforming the landscape into a serene white paradise.
While daylight hours are limited to about 4-5 hours per day, the darkness provides ample opportunity for Northern Lights viewing. Do remember to pack thermal clothing, snow boots, and other winter essentials, as the weather can be unpredictable.
February in West Iceland Weather
In February, the days start getting longer in West Iceland but the winter chill remains. Average temperatures hover between -3°C to 2°C. Frequent snowfall continues to keep the landscapes enchantingly white.
This is also a good time for winter activities such as skiing or snowmobiling, and Northern Lights sightings continue to be high. Make sure to pack warm clothing and be prepared for potential road closures or delays due to weather conditions.
March in West Iceland Weather
As winter begins to give way to spring, March sees slightly warmer temperatures, ranging from -1°C to 3°C. While you can still expect snow, especially in the early part of the month, the longer daylight hours begin to hint at the spring to come.
March can still offer opportunities for Northern Lights viewing, especially during clear, dark nights. Remember to pack accordingly for winter conditions, but also be ready for the emerging signs of spring towards the end of the month.
Frequently Asked Questions About Iceland Weather
Iceland’s unique geographical location near the Arctic Circle, combined with its volcanic landscape, creates a weather pattern unlike anywhere else in the world. Questions about Iceland’s weather are among the most common from travelers planning their visit, from what to expect during different seasons to how to dress accordingly.
We understand that weather can significantly impact your travel experiences, so we’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions and their detailed answers to help you prepare for your Icelandic adventure. Below are the questions covered, so you can quickly jump to a specific question if you’d like.
- What’s the weather like in Iceland during the summer?
- Do I need to pack winter clothing for summer in Iceland?
- How cold is winter in Iceland?
- Is it safe to drive in Iceland in winter?
- Can I see the Northern Lights during my visit?
- How is the visibility during the Icelandic winters?
- What kind of clothes should I pack for a summer trip to Iceland?
- Can I see the Northern Lights in the summer?
- How frequently does it rain in Iceland?
- Are there any specific safety tips for driving in Iceland’s weather conditions?
- Is it possible to visit Iceland’s highlands in winter?
- Does Iceland have a hurricane season?
- How cold does it get in Iceland?
- Is Iceland always windy?
- What is the Midnight Sun?
What’s the weather like in Iceland during the summer?
Summer in Iceland, which is from June to August, typically sees long days where the sun barely sets. The weather can be relatively mild with average temperatures ranging from 10°C to 15°C. However, it’s important to note that the weather can change quickly and unexpectedly, and rain or cooler temperatures can occur.
Do I need to pack winter clothing for summer in Iceland?
It’s a good idea to pack layers even if you’re visiting in the summer. Icelandic weather can be unpredictable, and temperatures can vary significantly between day and night. Consider packing light thermal layers, a windproof and waterproof outer layer, and sturdy shoes.
How cold is winter in Iceland?
Winter in Iceland, from December to February, can be quite cold with temperatures often falling below freezing. Average temperatures can range from -5°C to 2°C. Snowfall is common, particularly in the north, and the days are short with only 4-5 hours of daylight.
Is it safe to drive in Iceland in winter?
Driving in Iceland in winter can be challenging due to icy roads, snowfall, and limited daylight hours. It’s crucial to check the weather and road conditions regularly, drive cautiously, and equip your vehicle with winter tires. Some roads, particularly in the highlands, may be closed.
Can I see the Northern Lights during my visit?
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, can be seen in Iceland from late September to March. They are visible when the sky is clear and dark, usually on colder nights. Viewing the Northern Lights is a matter of luck and patience as it highly depends on the weather and solar activity.
How is the visibility during the Icelandic winters?
Visibility during the Icelandic winters can be challenging, especially during heavy snowfall or blizzards. However, there can be clear days with excellent visibility, especially in the urban areas. It’s always good to check the local weather forecast before planning any outdoor activities.
What kind of clothes should I pack for a summer trip to Iceland?
Even in the summer, Icelandic weather can be unpredictable. It’s best to dress in layers. Pack lightweight, warm clothing, a waterproof jacket, sturdy walking shoes, and don’t forget a hat and gloves. Although temperatures are milder, sudden drops or rain showers can occur.
Can I see the Northern Lights in the summer?
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are typically visible in Iceland between September and April. During the summer months, the nights in Iceland are too bright due to the Midnight Sun phenomenon, meaning the Northern Lights are not visible.
How frequently does it rain in Iceland?
Rain in Iceland can vary significantly depending on the region and the season. On average, the south and west coasts tend to receive more rainfall, with the heaviest downpours typically occurring from October to February. However, precipitation in Iceland can come in many forms, not just rain – including snow, sleet, and drizzle.
Are there any specific safety tips for driving in Iceland’s weather conditions?
Yes, it’s essential to check the weather forecast and road conditions before starting your journey. Iceland’s weather can change rapidly, and roads can quickly become dangerous, especially in winter or in the highlands. Always travel with a charged mobile phone, keep your gas tank filled, and let someone know your travel plans. Iceland has an excellent rescue service, and a national network of gas stations and service centers for assistance.
Is it possible to visit Iceland’s highlands in winter?
The Icelandic highlands are usually not accessible from late September until late June due to heavy snow and adverse weather conditions. Many roads are closed for safety. Always check road conditions before heading towards these areas and consider joining a guided tour with experienced local guides.
Does Iceland have a hurricane season?
Iceland does not have a traditional hurricane season like some countries. However, it can experience severe windstorms, particularly in the fall and winter months. It’s important to check the local weather forecasts regularly and heed any weather warnings.
How cold does it get in Iceland?
Temperatures in Iceland vary by season and region. In winter, the average temperature in Reykjavik ranges from -3°C (27°F) to 2°C (36°F), but can occasionally drop lower. In summer, average temperatures are generally between 10°C (50°F) and 15°C (59°F), but can reach up to 20°C (68°F).
Is Iceland always windy?
Iceland can indeed be quite windy, and sudden changes in weather can bring strong gusts at any time of the year. This wind can make temperatures feel colder than they actually are, so it’s advisable to have windproof outer layers when exploring the outdoors.
What is the Midnight Sun?
The Midnight Sun is a natural phenomenon occurring in the summer months in places north of the Arctic Circle or south of the Antarctic Circle, where the sun never fully sets and remains visible 24 hours a day. In Iceland, you can experience this phenomenon from late May to late July.
Our Final Thoughts on Iceland Weather
Understanding the nuances of Iceland’s weather can significantly impact your travel plans, and we hope this comprehensive guide provides you with the detailed insights you need to plan your trip. Always remember that Iceland’s beauty lies in its unpredictable and diverse weather, making each visit unique. Prepare for the elements, stay informed about weather updates during your journey, and you will undoubtedly have an unforgettable Icelandic adventure.