Climate and monthly weather forecast

Flag of Iceland
Flag of Iceland

The climate of Iceland

Iceland, the island nation in the North Atlantic Ocean, lies on the fringe of the Arctic Circle. This geographical position contributes to a tundra climate, characterized by its cold, often freezing temperatures throughout the year, punctuated by cool summers and long, cold winters. The country is heavily influenced by the surrounding ocean, particularly the North Atlantic Current, which brings milder air masses, especially to the coastal areas in the south and west. Average temperatures in Reykjavik, Iceland's capital, range from -2°C (28.4°F) to 2°C (35.6°F) in winter and 9°C (48.2°F) to 15°C (59°F) in summer. Despite the cold conditions, the climate is not as extreme as one might imagine for a country near the Arctic Circle. The coastal areas experience an annual average rainfall of 800 to 1400mm (55.12"), which can significantly influence local weather conditions.

The Best Time to Visit Iceland

The ideal period to visit Iceland depends largely on the interests and objectives of the visitors. For those who are interested in experiencing the vibrant colours of the Icelandic summer and the midnight sun, the period from June to August is the best time. This is also the warmest period of the year, with temperatures ranging from 9°C (48.2°F) to 15°C (59°F), making outdoor activities and sightseeing more comfortable. Moreover, this period is optimal for whale watching, bird watching, and enjoying the lush green landscapes.

The Worst Time to Visit Iceland

Visiting Iceland during the winter months from December to February can be challenging due to the harsh weather conditions. Average temperatures range from -2°C (28.4°F) to 2°C (35.6°F), and sometimes drop below freezing. Also, winter in Iceland is marked by heavy snowfall, especially in the north, and short daylight hours, with the sun rising around 11 am and setting in the early afternoon. Besides, some roads, particularly those in the central highlands, may be closed due to severe weather, limiting travel possibilities.

Spring Weather in Iceland

Spring in Iceland, from April to June, is characterized by a gradual rise in temperatures and increased daylight hours. Average temperatures during this period range from 3°C (37.4°F) to 9°C (48.2°F). The country starts to thaw, and the landscape begins to transition from the snowy white of winter to the vibrant green of summer. Snowfall is less frequent but not entirely absent, particularly in the northern and central parts of the country. The increase in daylight hours, with almost 24 hours of daylight by the end of June, presents longer opportunities for exploration.

Summer Weather in Iceland

The summer months, from June to August, experience the warmest weather in Iceland, with average temperatures ranging from 9°C (48.2°F) to 15°C (59°F). The period is marked by the phenomenon of the midnight sun, where the country experiences nearly 24 hours of daylight. The long days provide ample time for outdoor activities such as hiking, bird watching, and exploring the dramatic landscapes. Rainfall is also common during the summer months, with southern and western parts of the country receiving the majority of precipitation.

Autumn Weather in Iceland

Autumn in Iceland, from September to November, is characterized by a drop in temperatures and a reduction in daylight hours. Average temperatures during this period range from 4°C (39.2°F) to 9°C (48.2°F). The country undergoes a transformation as foliage turns to hues of red, orange, and yellow, offering a different kind of scenic beauty. Rain and wind are common during this period, with the likelihood of early snowfall as November progresses.

Winter Weather in Iceland

The winter season in Iceland, from December to March, is defined by freezing temperatures, heavy snowfall, and brief daylight hours. Average temperatures hover from -2°C (28.4°F) to 2°C (35.6°F). Despite the challenging weather, winter offers a unique beauty with its snow-covered landscapes. It's also the prime season to witness the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), a natural light spectacle that graces Iceland's winter sky. Precautions are necessary when travelling during this period, especially regarding road conditions and unpredictable weather changes.

Weather in January

January in Iceland is typically the coldest month of the year, marking the depths of the winter season. During this month, average temperatures often hover around -2°C (28.4°F) to 2°C (35.6°F). However, more extreme temperatures are not uncommon, with the mercury occasionally plummeting lower, particularly in the central and northern regions. Weather in January »

Weather in February

February continues the winter season in Iceland with conditions similar to those experienced in January. Average temperatures remain cold, ranging from -2°C (28.4°F) to 3°C (37.4°F), with coastal areas such as Reykjavik being slightly milder due to the moderating influence of the ocean. Weather in February »

Weather in March

In March, Iceland begins its slow transition from winter to spring. Average temperatures rise slightly compared to February, ranging from 0°C (32°F) to 3°C (37.4°F). The coastal regions, including the capital Reykjavik, remain milder than the interior highlands due to the warming effect of the North Atlantic Ocean. Weather in March »

Weather in April

April in Iceland marks the true arrival of spring, with temperatures seeing a noticeable increase. Average temperatures typically range from 3°C (37.4°F) to 7°C (44.6°F), with the southern and western coastal regions, including Reykjavik, experiencing slightly milder conditions. Weather in April »

Weather in May

May in Iceland signifies the onset of late spring and pre-summer conditions. The weather becomes milder, with average temperatures ranging from 6°C (42.8°F) to 10°C (50°F), and coastal areas such as Reykjavik often experience slightly warmer temperatures due to the warming influence of the ocean. Weather in May »

Weather in June

June marks the official start of summer in Iceland. During this month, temperatures continue to rise, with averages ranging from 9°C (48.2°F) to 14°C (57.2°F). The coastal areas, including Reykjavik, are typically warmer due to the moderating influence of the North Atlantic Ocean. Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is typically the warmest month of the year in Iceland, marking the height of the summer season. The average temperature varies between 11°C (51.8°F) to 15°C (59°F), with the southern and western coastal regions, such as Reykjavik, experiencing slightly warmer conditions due to the moderating influence of the ocean. Weather in July »

Weather in August

August in Iceland signals the gradual transition from summer to autumn. Average temperatures in August range from 10°C (50°F) to 15°C (59°F), slightly lower than in July, indicating the onset of cooler weather. However, the southern and western coastal areas, such as Reykjavik, still experience slightly milder conditions due to the ocean's warming influence. In August, daylight hours begin to decrease, though the change is gradual. Weather in August »

Weather in September

September ushers in the autumn season in Iceland, bringing cooler temperatures and the onset of more frequent precipitation. Average temperatures range from 7°C (44.6°F) to 11°C (51.8°F), a noticeable drop from the summer months. Weather in September »

Weather in October

October in Iceland represents a transition towards the colder months, signaling the advancement of autumn and the onset of winter. Average temperatures during this month drop to a range of 2°C (35.6°F) to 7°C (44.6°F). The southern and western coastal regions, including Reykjavik, remain slightly warmer, courtesy of the ocean's moderating effect. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November in Iceland is a decidedly winter month, with a significant drop in temperatures and an increase in snowfall. The average temperatures range from -1°C (30.2°F) to 3°C (37.4°F), marking a distinct shift towards colder weather. Weather in November »

Weather in December

December in Iceland is characterized by the depths of winter. The average temperatures can drop to a range of -3°C (26.6°F) to 2°C (35.6°F), making it one of the coldest months of the year. As always, the southern and western coastal areas, including Reykjavik, maintain slightly milder conditions owing to the moderating influence of the ocean. December experiences the shortest daylight hours of the year due to the winter solstice, which typically occurs around the 21st of the month. Weather in December »


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