General Weather in Iceland

Weather in Iceland can vary drastically month-to-month, season-to-season, and year-to-year.  The long running joke among Icelanders: if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes 🙂

Generally, spring is a mix between rain and dry days with temperatures on the warming from the winter, summer is warm (depending on what climate you are coming from), sunny and dry, autumn is the rainy season, and winter is dark, cold and windy.


Northern Lights

The Northern Lights season typically runs from 15.August, through the winter, until 15.April, on average.


To see the Northern Lights with your naked eye, you need:

  1. Darkness (winter only)
  2. Clear skies (no clouds)
  3. Aurora activity (Northern Lights)


Some will recommend the period between November to February as the most likely time for viewing the Aurora, as these are the darkest months with the longest possible window to see the lights. It is good to keep in mind however, that these months also have inclement weather with rain, snow and clouds. It is also not unheard of to see the lights as early as mid-August.

Winter (December to February)

Depending on what climate you are coming from, winter in Iceland is quite mild with minimum temperatures in January and February dropping to just about -2 degrees Celsius (28 degrees Fahrenheit).  The problem for most with winter is the wind, which is extremely strong during the winter seasons.

During winter (and all seasons in Iceland) it is best to bring/wear layered clothing with a warm, waterproof/resistant outer layer.  In winter, the day can be bright and sunny while the evening can be windy with rain.

December:  The shortest day of the year is in December: 21.December, with just 4 hours of daylight, but on average the length of day is about 5 hours.

The temperature will have a low average of about -2 degrees Celsius (28 degrees Fahrenheit) and a high average of about 4 degrees Celsius (39 degrees Fahrenheit).


Precipitation in December is approximately 32 mm (1.25 inches).  This comes in the form of snow, rain or sleet.

January: already in January hours of daylight are getting longer, but the temperature might be getting colder.  If you have headed to Iceland to see the Northern Lights, this is a very popular month.

The temperature can be as low as -3 degrees Celsius (26.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and as high as 3 degrees Celsius (37.4 degrees Fahrenheit).  This month is also known to have the most storms, both with snow and wind.

Precipitation in January is approximately 41 mm (1.61 inches).  This can also come in many forms, depending on the temperature of the day.

February: following the trend, daylight hours are even longer this month – on average 7 hours on 01.February and 10 hours at the last day in February.

The temperature is also slightly warming, with lows of -2 degrees Celsius (28.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and highs of 3 degrees Fahrenheit (37.4 degrees Fahrenheit).  Storms persist, but typically these storms will be snowy.

The precipitation this month can be up to 38 mm (1.5 inches), again, in the form of snow, rain, or sleet.  Wind persists on, meaning layered clothing is still crucial.

Spring (March through May)

March: this is a great month – the Northern Lights are still showing, but the daytime is also getting more enjoyable with rising temperatures and longer daylight hours.

The daylight hours are much longer, between 10 hours and 13 hours, which is more “normal” depending on where in the world you are visiting from.  Temperatures range from a low of -2.2 degrees Celsius (28 degrees Fahrenheit) to a high of 3.3 degrees Celsius (38 degrees Fahrenheit).  This is not a huge increase from the winter, but with the longer daylight hours it will feel warmer than it is.

The rain keeps coming, with an average precipitation between 82 mm (3.2 inches).  Very high for the year, though the snow on the ground will be nearly gone.  Rainboots/shoes are strongly recommended for this month.

April: nearing the end of the Northern Lights season, April is a wonderful time to visit.  The daylight hours are long (about 14 hours in length), which allows for long days of exploring, but the nights remain dark – meaning great for Aurora.

Temperatures are still rising as summer nears, with average lows of -1.1 degrees Celsius (30 degrees Fahrenheit) and highs of 2.8 degrees Celsius (37 degrees Fahrenheit).  It has been known to rise to about 7 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit) in April, which is a wonderful spring day!

Keeping with the start of the year trend, precipitation is still high, with about 58 mm (2.3 inches).  This is lower than March, but still quite a low so do not forget that rain gear!

May: summer is right around the corner and you can feel this in May.  Plants are returning to the green color as the ground and air temperature warms – expect lots of daylight hours now.  On average the daylight hours can be as long as 18 hours.

The temperatures will now be on the higher side, average highs of 11.7 degrees Celsius (53 degrees Fahrenheit) and lows still hovering around 2.2 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit).  Remember, depending on what climate you are used to this could either feel quite warm or still quite cold so it is always best to have many layers of clothing with you to be prepared for anything.

The average for precipitation is lower now with 42 mm (1.65 inches) to be expected.  The forms of precipitation now should include light rain with a very low chance of snow – though ti is possible.

Summer (June to August)

June:  summer is here and the whole country sighs relief as summer festivities begin.  This is the month of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, on 21.June with 24 hours of daylight.  If you are looking for long hours of adventuring, this is the month for you – midnight hiking and midnight golfing are very popular now.

Temperatures are high, averaging lows of 5.5 degrees Celsius (42 degrees Fahrenheit) and highs of 12.8 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit).

Generally, this month should be the lowest precipitation of the year with just 45 mm (1.8 inches).  There is nearly no chance of snow, but it can happen.

July:  summer is in full swing now with temperatures hovering around 11 degrees Celsius (51 degrees Fahrenheit) as a low and 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit) as a high.  This can vary drastically.

The daylight hours remain very long with about 18 hours of daylight.

As usual, dress in layers, as precipitation is still at 52 mm (2 inches) on average.  This is considered light precipitation.

August: summer is coming to an end, but it is hard to tell in August when summer festivities are at an all-time high.  The daylight hours are shortening, but still remain at an average of 15 hours.

The temperature during the day this month will be much higher than the temperature in the evening, so remember to carry a jacket with you if you are transitioning from day to night.  On average, the highs will be 13 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit) and with lows at 8 degrees Celsius (47 degrees Fahrenheit).

Precipitation is at an average of 62 mm (2.4 inches), an increase as Iceland heads in to autumn.

The Aurora has started so these dark nights come in handy!

Autumn (September until November)

September: as the Northern Lights season picks up, temperatures are also getting lower.  The average low temperature is 11.6 degrees Celsius (53 degrees Fahrenheit) with highs around 13.9 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit).

Daylight hours are quickly shortening, with the daylight length averaging about 13 hours.  This means it’s still possible for some daytime adventures, but the main key is the dark nights for Northern Lights.

Precipitation will be at about 71 mm (3 inches) so be ready for wet days.

October: autumn is in full now with temperatures as low as 2 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees Fahrenheit) and highs of about 7 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit).

The precipitation can be expected to be around 18 mm (0.7 inches), but with windy conditions and some cloud cover.

The daylight hours are decreasing still, with the average day being about 10 hours.  Dark and cold nights, which is perfect for Northern Lights.

November: bordering winter, November is getting colder and darker.  The average temperature will get as low as 3 degrees Celsius (38 degrees Fahrenheit) and as high as 4 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit).

The daylight hours are lowering as winter nears, with just about 7 hours of daylight.  The precipitation will come in the form of rain and sleet at a level of 80 mm (3 inches).