The Iceland Weather

  • If you plan a holiday in Iceland it is a good idea to study the weather
May 7 2017

The weather is one of the most unpredictable factors people live with and need to accept in Iceland. This applies both visitors and citizens all year round, independent of seasons.  Although the Meteorological Office in Iceland issues a daily and weekly forecasts the weather often behaves differently. Most people who live in Iceland have a built in factor where they always expect the worst weather but gladly accept anything better than expectations.  This attitude refers to all seasons, and good weather is a relative term in Iceland.  But one thing is clear, the winters are cold, and summers are warmer than winter. Another fact about the Icelandic weather, contrary to what a lot of people think, is the relatively narrow spectrum of temperature between winter and summer.  The winter is rarely extremely cold, and summer is seldom very warm.

Calm weather with no wind is our best wish for good weather

Lake Myvatn on a good day

The wind factor

But although the temperature is seldom very cold, at least by the coast and in most towns and villages as well as in Reykjavik, it can be much colder than it seems.  One reason is the wind.  Iceland has strong winds and bad storms, especially during winter.  The wind always makes a cold day colder as it magnifies the temperature.  So if we have a day during winter with minus 3 or 6 on Celsius it can feel like a day that is minus 13 or 16 on Celsius.

A confused tourist caught up in the unexpected cold on a winter day in Iceland

A confused tourist caught up in the unexpected cold on a winter day in Iceland

The altitude factor

If you are traveling in Iceland or plan to take a trip, it 's nice to know that the higher you go and deeper into the mountains the colder it is.  Although you can only travel to the mountains during summer, you need to be prepared for cold weather if you go into the Highland.  As a general rule, you would always take warm clothing with you when traveling into the mountains and the inland.  In winter you don’t go there without people who have professional knowledge of how to travel the Highland in winter.

The higher you go the colder it gets

The higher you go the colder it gets

The daylight factor

One of the factors affecting the weather in Iceland is the daylight.  Since Iceland is located near the Arctic Circle in the northern half of planet earth daylight is only available for a few hours during winter, but around the clock in summer.  So during winter, there is limited time to enjoy the sun and the warmth it brings but a very long time during summer that you can enjoy the sun. Often when the sky is clear this can have considerable influence on the weather.

At midnight you can experience and enjoy the sun

At midnight you can experience and enjoy the sun 

The psychological factor

These are some of the reasons Icelander's favorite topic of discussion is the weather. Many Icelanders are constantly affected by the weather.  The weather often sets the mood for the day and Icelanders are often gloomy in bad weather but overwhelmed with happiness and joy on a good and warm summer day.  If you ever experience a quiet and embarrassing moment with an Icelander, the best thing to get them going in conversation is to ask about the weather.  Better yet, just say “the weather has been terrible” or “the weather has been great, ” and you have a conversation.

Taking advantage of the weather as a tourist or a visitor

If you are planning to travel to Iceland, it is a good and solid reason to be aware of the weather factor and the different seasons.  You might want to read our article about the best and the worst time to visit Iceland.   You might want to plan a visit in accordance with your goal and see if they are attainable in the time you plan to visit.  Visiting Iceland in winter and summer is a huge difference. Even visiting Iceland in spring is a considerable difference compared to summer.  So if you are planning a trip to Iceland, you can not ignore the weather. 

To learn about the weather in Iceland here is the link to the Icelandic Med Office

Tours and things to do in Reykjavík Iceland

Find an interesting tour in Reykjavík. A tour in Reykjavík or a day-tour to nearby natural wonders, a scenic drive or an adventure tour if you are ready for action.

Aurora Borealis in Iceland

Pursuing the Northern Lights around Reykjavík in a small group

Iceland is a perfect place to see the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis.  If conditions are right, the Northern Lights can be seen in all regions.  Reykjavík and nearby countryside is an excellent place to search for and see the Northern Lights. Come with us as we search for the best place to experience this unique phenomenon.

2 Day South Coast Tour - Blue Ice cave - Jökulsárlón - and more

Blue Ice cave - Waterfalls - Jökulsárlón iceberg lagoon - Black Sands at Reynisfjara 

Join this tour along Iceland’s south coast to discover the unique landscape, natural blue Ice cave, glacier tongues, icebergs, lava fields, volcanos, black beaches, mighty rivers, and magic waterfalls.

Global Warming and Climate change adventure tour in Iceland

With a combination of travel and lectures, Geocamp Iceland and Hit Iceland offer a unique opportunity to get a view of and understand how climate change is affecting our planet in the form of a tour.  The trip takes you through exotic locations of volcanoes, glaciers, ice tongues, canyons, craters, lagoons, deep highland, small fishing towns, and other relevant and interesting places.  Our approach for this tour is based on geology, environmental science, and changes in nature.  We will also visit fishing villages to highlight how changes in the environment and natural resources affect various communities and their economy.

Northern Lights tour in Reykjavik

Iceland is one of the best places on the planet to see the Northern Lights.  This tour will take you to see this spectacular phenomenon near Reykjavík. We bring you away from the city lights to a place where the likelihood of a spotting Aurora Borealis increases even further. The destination varies, of course, depending on cloud cover, clear skies, aurora strength and likelihood of a sighting.  Visitors should be aware that although the tour endeavors to show the northern lights to as many of our guests as possible, seeing them is not guaranteed.  In winter weather always plays a large part in Iceland.

Golden Circle tour with Secret Lagoon

Step away from the crowd, the rush, and speed and enjoy the top sights and attractions in the south-western part of Iceland, without all the traffic. Take a convenient bus tour in a smaller bus and with a smaller group (max 16) at a time when fewer visitors are around. Why chase the crowds when you can enjoy the wonders of Iceland in a more friendly setting?  This peaceful excursion takes place in the afternoon and lasts into the evening and allows plenty of time to explore, view and photograph all the spectacular wonders.  And remember that evening in Iceland is bright during spring, summer and into the autumn. 

Þórsmörk tour

Þórsmörk is one of the most spectacular places in Iceland.  It is one of the most accessible areas in the Highland, a deep valley, and oasis cornered with glaciers on three sides.  It is truly a place of ice and fire as one of the glaciers; Eyjafjallajökull has recently erupted with glowing lava flowing into two parts of Þórsmörk.
2 presons minimum

Snæfellsnes Peninsula day tour from Reykjavík

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is one of the Regions in Iceland that offers an impressive scenic drive, many exciting attractions and natural wonders.  At the end is the Snæfellsjökull glacier towering over the landscape and dominating the view with its mystical power. A power sensed by many locals and visitors alike and inspired literary giants like Jules Verne and our Nobel Prize winner Halldór Laxnes. 
3 persons minimum 


Explore one of the most exciting places in the Icelandic highland in a super jeep day tour from Reykjavík.  Experience the magnificent colors of rhyolite mountains,  visit a beautiful waterfall, meet Hekla the active volcano and take a dip in the most famous geothermal pool in Iceland.   

Geysir hot spring in Haukadalur

This tour is operated from Reykjavík and offered to visitors in Reykjavík and the Capital City neighbors towns. The Golden Circle tour is the most popular adventure tour in Iceland and for many good reasons. It is a trip easily doable in a day from Reykjavík the capital of Iceland, a place most of our visitors begin their journey in Iceland, and also because the tour offers a stunning view of fascinating natural wonders. Also a tour of history and geology. History as the first stop is at Iceland’s most valued historical (and almost holy) places and Geology, as you will take a breath-taking look at the various states of earth’s most vital resource, water.  This tour has it all and takes you to lakes, rifts, geysers, waterfalls, rivers and glaciers.