How icy is Iceland? You might be surprised
Iceland enjoys a cool temperate maritime climate thanks to the Gulf Stream, but the weather is known to change quickly, and often. Icelanders have a saying: “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.”
No matter the season, when you are visiting you should always have wind and water resistant outerwear, as well as extra thermal layers on hand, before heading out on excursions.
As for winter, Iceland is not all covered by ice and snow as its name would suggest. In fact, outside of the higher altitudes or parts of North Iceland, snowfall rarely stays on the ground longer than a few days. Rain is more common, with October being the wettest month. Also, the cool northerly winds can be strong at times so we recommend an insulated or down jacket for winter visits.
Weather conditions and northern lights
When you are chasing the northern lights, weather conditions are important. Clear skies provide a better chance of seeing an auroral display.
For more information, visit our dedicated northern lights information guide.
Winter weather and driving
If you're going on a self-drive tour in winter, we always recommend checking road conditions before heading out, since conditions can change quickly.
Please drive cautiously at all times. Roads may be slippery due to rain or frost even if they appear to be in good condition. You can find more detailed information in our winter driving guide.
Useful weather resources
- See the Icelandic road authority website Vegagerðin for current road conditions.
- For up-to-date weather information, visit the Icelandic Meteorological Office website or call +354 902-0600 and press '1' to hear the weather forecast in English.
- If you have a smartphone, a mobile app is available here.
Average Iceland Temperatures in Celsius (Fahrenheit)
|January||-0.6 (30.9)||-1.5 (29.3)|
|February||0.7 (33.3)||-2.1 (28.2)|
|March||2.2 (36.0)||2.0 (35.6)|
|April||5.2 (41.4)||4.9 (40.8)|
|May||6.0 (42.8)||4.5 (40.1)|
|June||10.7 (51.3)||10.7 (51.3)|
|July||12.8 (55)||10.7 (51.3)|
|August||11.0 (51.8)||10.0 (50.0)|
|September||7.9 (46.2)||7.2 (45.0)|
|October||5.8 (42.4)||5.1 (41.2)|
|November||3.1 (37.6)||1.2 (34.2)|
|December||1.3 (34.3)||0.8 (33.4)|
Temperature conversion chart
Thinking of an Icelandic adventure? Browse our travel packages for inspiration.