One of the most important features of the weather in Iceland is that it changes frequently, so following forecasts and having the right clothing are both very important. However, it’s also worth remembering that since the weather moves fast and is so often very local, useful advice is to ‘wait 5 minutes’ as it will probably change. Because the weather is so unpredictable, being prepared and staying safe in Iceland is very important for all visitors and for independent travellers in particular.
Iceland’s location south of the Arctic circle means that it should be much colder than it is, and its mild coastal maritime climate is due to the effects of the Gulf Stream and the East Greenland Polar currents. The winter average temperature is around and slightly above freezing, while in July the average for Reykjavik is about 10°C. The range of temperatures varies widely around these averages which are affected mainly by the wind and where in Iceland you are.
Rain and snow are an integral feature of Iceland too. Winter snow is generally a longer lasting feature of the North than the South, with winter lasting into late April. For snowy conditions, early in the year is usually better, and rainfall is a regular occurrence at any time though prolonged periods of rain are not that common in our 20 years’ experience of travelling in Iceland.
When considering a holiday in Iceland, don’t let the weather put you off! It’s a reason to go for many reasons including hiking and walking, photography and all winter sports. With good preparation, having the correct kit is the key to seeing and enjoying all the great landscapes and features that Iceland has to offer. And don’t forget that everything indoors in Iceland is cosy and warm.