Out of window weather in Iceland

Discover everything there is to know about Iceland’s weather – an island known for extremes! Explore average monthly temperatures, each season’s forecasts, how they vary between different areas, their effect on viewing northern lights and any other relevant information that will assist your planning of an adventure trip to Iceland. 

When is the best time to visit Iceland?” is often one of the first questions people ask when considering traveling there. Unfortunately, it can be hard to pinpoint an answer given Iceland’s wide array of landscapes and wildlife as well as unpredictable climate – your experience depending on when in year you travel can vary dramatically depending on which season or month.

Attaining the Northern Lights requires getting away from urban environments and into nature; renting a car can help. Cottage rentals offer another great opportunity to view aurora borealis or enjoy midnight sun in summer months. Our northern lights tours also make sure we know about weather before setting out aurora hunting

Every Time is the Right Time to Explore Iceland!

Summer weather on the road

While Iceland’s weather and seasons can change significantly throughout the year, making for an incredible adventure for nature enthusiasts. From summer’s midnight sun to winter’s beautiful northern lights – Iceland provides something spectacularly natural to admire at every season of the year!

Experiences available in December aren’t always accessible in June; and vice versa. In June, you can witness the midnight sun, see puffins, enjoy generally warmer temperatures, go camping, and much more!

December brings out the northern lights, ice cave tours and Christmas season lights in Iceland – there is truly something special happening every season of Iceland! No one season offers all its activities: there truly is something for everyone no matter the season.

Iceland can be visited during its off-peak season for reduced crowds, which makes summer more than enjoyable if that is what you seek. There are still wide open spaces to discover even in this busy period; nature-themed activities offer you ways to avoid them altogether.

Iceland's Weather: What to Expect?

Iceland may boast four seasons, but in reality they can vary considerably. Our weather can often play havoc by throwing unexpected changes our way!  

“If the weather’s not to your taste, just wait five minutes” This has become our motto here in Iceland. Despite what some might imagine it isn’t always an icy paradise.

Grasping Iceland's Climate Patterns

Walking on beach in Iceland

Iceland enjoys an exceptionally mild climate despite its name; thanks in no small part to the Gulf Stream which flows past it and brings warmth from the Caribbean region.  Heat brings with it sudden weather changes due to collision between warm Atlantic air and frigid Arctic air from up north, creating unexpected and abrupt shifts.  So Ireland experiences windy and stormy conditions year-round; precipitation rates tend to be relatively high with southern areas receiving more precipitation than northern ones.

Another cause for Iceland’s warmth lies within its geology – specifically that Iceland lies over one of Earth’s hot spots.

Iceland is home to an astounding geothermal activity – hot springs, geysers, geothermal pools, volcanic activity and earthquakes are just a few examples.

The Island is one of the rare locations worldwide where two tectonic plates meet on Earth’s surface (they typically meet under seawater).

Iceland is divided by an alignment between Eurasian tectonic plates and North American tectonic plates; their intersection runs down through its middle. You can visit Thingvellir National Park to witness it for yourself – dive or snorkel between continents at this spot! In billions of years’ time Iceland will divide in half, so take advantage of what time there is!

Do not be alarmed by volcanic activity or earthquakes; in most cases they become attractions rather than danger. Earthquakes tend to be minor events with only occasional impacts felt.

Reykjavik Weather

Reykjavik weather on average varies between 33-35 F (1-2 C) in wintertime and 54 F (12 C). Reykjavik temperatures vary with season: in wintertime they can dip as low as 14 F (-10 C), before rising up to 50 F (10 C).

Meanwhile during the summer, they can fall as low as 44F (7C) before reaching up to 77F (25C). Reykjavik lies in the southwest region, while as you move northward, temperatures become increasingly unique.

North Iceland Weather

North Iceland Weather in evening

Akureyri in North Iceland usually experiences warmer days during summer (though still lower than Reykjavik; around 52F or 11C), and colder temperatures during winter months (around 32F or 0C with more consistent snow coverage.

Weather in Iceland Westfjords Isafjordur


Isafjordur is often inaccessible during winter due to heavy snowfall in its surroundings – which also creates conditions that prevent it from being accessible as it serves as an economic and transportation hub of western Iceland and north/eastern Iceland. 

Unsurprisingly, Icelandic winters do not compare with those found in Canada or Russia or New York/Baltic states. Summer temperatures in Iceland can get fairly warm, although hot days are relatively rare. In 1939, in the eastern parts of the country, they recorded their highest recorded temperature: 86.9 F (30.5 C).

Temperature fluctuations between summer and winter tend not to be as dramatic – particularly compared to New England, for instance.

Mild weather conditions, however, remain entirely unpredictable. Start out on a beautiful sunny morning, start dressing, only to discover there’s an oncoming snowstorm by the time you finish dressing! Or when driving through a valley with nothing but blue skies overhead and then cresting a hill into an unexpected scene of fog and rain – anything can happen at any given moment! 

Weather differences also vary considerably, depending on where you stand: barren plains, protected valley or glacier top. On top of that, due to wind chill factor it may feel colder than indicated and on hotter days more humid air may make you sweat more than is usual.

Icelanders have come to understand and embrace Iceland’s unpredictable weather patterns; should your tour get cancelled due to bad conditions, you’re usually eligible for either a full refund or another date and time slot.

Which Season Offers the Best Experience in Iceland?

Glacier walk in Iceland

Iceland’s four seasons each bring their own kind of magic. But summer in Iceland is like hitting a jackpot. The pleasant weather and never-ending daylight make it an absolute dream for anyone visiting for the first time. It’s a must-consider for your trip planning. 

But if you’ve already had a taste of Iceland before, try exploring another season. Winter’s a whole different world—with possibly better deals on stays (except around Christmas and New Year’s), and the snowy landscapes are a  stunning contrast to the summer scene.

Winter in Iceland brings its own exclusive perks, like the awe-inspiring Northern Lights and the mesmerizing glacier caves—all unavailable during other seasons.

Imagine yourself on a thrilling adventure, cruising in super jeeps through snowstorms, taking your travel tales up a notch! It’s all part of the fun. Notably, Reykjavik hosts an exceptional New Year’s Eve celebration, truly remarkable!

For the latest on Iceland’s weather, check out the Icelandic Meteorological Office website. Just a heads-up though, Icelandic weather is quite the wild card—even during summer. So, forecasts are more like good guesses than certainties.

Springtime Climate in Iceland


Spring offers a beautiful contrast between melting snow and vibrant spring colours. Icelanders celebrate summer on the first Thursday after April 18 as it’s considered to be an official start date – though snow may occur! 

Iceland can occasionally experience snowfall during April and May; however, typically this period marks when snow melts from mountains and highlands to allow flowers in Reykjavik and along its coastline to flourish. 

Spring marks the return of migrating birds such as puffins to Iceland; with some appearing as early as April and remaining until September. Golden Plovers, as with most birds, are said to bring spring with them and may begin appearing around March’s end.

Reykjavik weather in spring can range from snow, sleet, and rain to sunny bright days – the average temperatures in Iceland during this time span typically fall within 32-50F (0-10C).

Springtime in Iceland may bring rainy conditions in its southern region while being considerably dryer (and colder) further North. Iceland’s Highlands can be considerably colder than its coastal areas and therefore close for traffic during spring, when their colors begin to emerge as nature comes back alive with grass not quite tall or green yet but tree leaves nearly back from hibernation.

Crocus and Easter lilies will start popping up across gardens this month, while you might also spot blooming blossoms adorning tree branches. At the conclusion of winter, many are often filled with optimism about summer’s imminent arrival. Spring in Iceland can be an ideal time for tourists

Northern lights are still visible, temperatures remain mild, and peak season has yet to start, meaning fewer visitors and lower prices. Finding accommodation and tour availability should also be easier for you.

Summer in Iceland

Iceland’s summer begins late May or early June and continues through August; this period is the peak season for visitors to visit. Iceland boasts long summer days under its midnight sun; some days last up to 21 hours until nightfall!

By renting a car in Iceland, it gives you freedom of exploration all night long! Daylight becomes longer each day until June 21 marks summer’s solstice, when days reach their longest duration ever. 

After the summer solstice, days shorten only by minutes each day; sunsets become sunrises with stunning color displays lasting hours on end. Iceland offers photographers an ideal setting in which to capture nature during its golden hour.

Iceland summer temperatures provide ideal travel conditions; you won’t ever get lost in the dark or race to reach your destination before dark falls. 

No darkness? That doesn’t worry me: just use blackout curtains or pack an eye mask when going to sleep and you should still be able to sleep soundly! 

Summer tours provide ample opportunity for exploration. In just one long day you can see many fascinating places – mountains, glaciers, volcanoes and waterfalls all with striking color contrasts that offer exceptional visual stimulation.

Iceland experiences its finest weather during summer; however, its unpredictable conditions remain an unpredictable feature of life in the country. 

Iceland’s temperatures in summer can range anywhere between 103 F (5 C) and 77 F (25 C), on average 50-59 F (10-15 C) on average, although average rainfall levels during this season average from about 10-17 cm per month on average (and vary significantly year to year).

On average, weather in Iceland during this season averages 50-59 F (10-15 C), rain generally remains manageable compared with spring weather; though sometimes rain does fall.

Being very windy makes summer days and nights chillier; with some luck you might even witness some warm summer days during this season! 

Iceland hosts numerous outdoor camping and music festivals during its summer, offering many people an opportunity to travel around and camp out under canvas tents. 

Some notable festivals are Secret Solstice Festival and Eistnaflug Festival among many smaller events that also take place throughout Iceland’s summer landscape.

At the end of June or the start of July, some highland roads that had been closed over winter begin opening back up for use. Now is the only time of year when Landmannalaugar and Thorsmork valley can be easily reached. If your dream of hiking Iceland’s Highlands on Laugavegur and Fimmvorduhals routes, July/early August would be the ideal time for it.

Autumn Climate in Iceland

Authum in iceland. Almost summer

Icelanders experience autumn from late August until late October or early November. Autumn in Iceland can be an amazing travel experience; temperatures still tend to remain fairly warm until late August but gradually get colder as time progresses. 

Prices of accommodations decrease substantially during September and October in Iceland, providing visitors with the chance to view its stunning fall colors while possibly witnessing snowfall for the first time or experiencing its magnificent northern lights show.

As long as winds, rain, or cold conditions don’t prevail (fall temperatures typically range from 32-50 F (0-10 C), fall leaves usually begin falling off trees in September; temperatures then range between 32-50F (0-10C); autumn tends to feel windier due to leaves falling off trees & blowing around.

Yet you could still witness days like those seen above in Thingvellir National Park with fresh snowfall combined with autumn’s vibrant palette of moss, lava rock & leaves creating breathtaking color combinations found nowhere else.

Autumn marks a change for birds to migrate south, and some tours such as river rafting or highland excursions close for the season.

Mushroom or berry picking opportunities abound throughout the countryside of Iceland; wild blueberries, crowberries, strawberries and redcurrants can all be found growing naturally while planted redcurrants may also be seen growing wild or in people’s gardens.

Keep scouting for northern lights – they could appear anywhere at anytime.

Winter Climate in Iceland

Winter in Iceland walking

Iceland’s winter season lasts from November to March and offers no sunshine at all, making these months dark as night. One may ask whether visiting during these darkest of months would even be worthwhile? Absolutely.

Specifically around December 21st right before Christmas, Iceland experiences the shortest day with only four to five hours of light per day; to compensate, fairy lights light up gardens and streets alike creating cozy wonderlands of light–ideal for warming indoor spaces with steaming cups of hot chocolate while exploring Iceland’s hot tubs or springs–don’t let cold scare you away–those hot springs truly transform during these darkest of months!

Winter in Iceland is something else. You’ve got the famous northern lights and incredible natural ice caves.

Come summertime, the scene changes drastically. Rivers run freely underneath Europe’s largest glacier Vatnajokull and make exploring caves off-limits; but as winter sets in and things freeze over again, Iceland transforms into an impressive blue cave maze awaiting to be explored!

Iceland’s glaciers are truly impressive year-round, but winter brings out their true grandeur. And that’s because not every corner is blanketed in snow all winter long; sometimes patches of color emerge to give a real sense of their enormity and scale.

Winter in Iceland can be one of the most unpredictable seasons when it comes to its weather. 

It may seem cold at first glance, but you should keep this in perspective: average temperature for Reykjavik in southern Iceland hovers between 32F (0C) and 41F (5 C); this range can go down as far as 23F(- 5 C), though you should always take wind chill into consideration when planning travel to or within Iceland.

When is Iceland snowfall likely? Anytime between October to April; December/January see the highest accumulation rates. As soon as you travel further north toward Akureyri or Isafjordur, temperatures become considerably colder with more snowfall and lower temperatures.

Winter brings with it restrictions to accessing highlands, yet some glaciers remain accessible. Be mindful that tours rely heavily on weather and visibility; tours may be canceled with as little as 24 hours’ notice from an operator, who will offer either another tour option or offer you a refund in its place.

These precautions ensure you won’t end up on top of a glacier during a snowstorm, though if Mother Nature takes everyone by surprise and forces us into one, temperatures could range anywhere between 5 to -4 F (-15 to -20 C). 

As always, our best advice would be to bring several layers made from wool or fleece material so you can easily adjust and layer up or take away according to how comfortable you feel. That way you’re never trapped under too many blankets if something changes quickly in temperature!

Climatic Patterns: Monthly Temperature Averages in Iceland

January average temperatures in Iceland reach 33 F (1 C). February and March temperatures also average 33 F (1 C). By April temperatures have averaged 39 F (3 C). 

Iceland experiences average monthly temperatures between 523 F (7 C) and 50 F (10 C), ranging between 44F (7 C) in May, 50F (10C) for June and 53F (12C) in July respectively. 

Average August temperatures can reach 52F (11 C). In September, Iceland boasts an average temperature of 47 F (8 C).

October sees temperatures at 41 F (8 C). November usually brings 36F (2 C). Lastly, in December it typically dips down to 33F (1 C).

Iceland enjoys an average yearly temperature of 41 F (5 C). But thanks to those warm summer days that help bring this average up! Iceland averages temperatures of 33F (1C). 

What is the average temperature in Iceland? Temperatures fluctuate month to month. Here is an overview that gives a quick snapshot of Icelandic average temperatures; please remember these numbers may increase or decrease depending on a variety of factors.

Iceland may seem milder than anticipated when it comes to temperature, but don’t underestimate how cold it still can get! Your temperature experience in Iceland depends heavily on where you come from and when/what season/how warmly dressed you are (along with other factors like luck and temperature trends). 

Chasing the Aurora: Northern Lights

No matter when or why you travel to Iceland, every experience will be uniquely unforgettable. 

Forecasts cannot guarantee sight of aurora performances every night – for instance when activity levels reach 7 out of 9, you might not witness anything at all; at other times though when activity falls below 2 on the scale (1 or 2) spectacular aurora performances might take place!

Iceland Meteorological Office offers an accurate northern light forecast. Their report displays their predictions about where and when aurora activity may appear at various times and locations across Iceland; when seeing aurora displays is best. White areas indicate clear skies – optimal viewing conditions!

From time to time, the northern lights become particularly active and spectacular displays are witnessed. One such instance occurred in 2013 – during a solar maximum. Since 2025 is predicted as being another potential solar maximum year.

By August, nights start becoming darker, providing opportunities to spot northern lights occasionally. September to March offers optimal aurora-hunting conditions when nights remain dark for extended periods.

From September through March is your best opportunity for seeing the northern lights; due to Iceland’s midnight sun which keeps the night sky bright during this period.

Robert Robertsson

Hey, I'm the founder of Airmango. My love affair with travel and entrepreneurship kicked off in 1994 in Iceland. Fast forward through two decades, and I've been lucky enough to weave my career through five different countries. Each place has left its mark on me, not just in my personal life, but in how I approach business too. With Airmango, I'm bringing all those global insights and experiences to the table – it's like seeing the world through a business lens.