Practical info
21 August 2019

A guide to the climate in Iceland

Despite its name, Iceland isn’t as cold as you would think. Iceland is categorised as having a
subarctic climate which is characterised by long, sometimes freezing winters and short, cool summers.
 
However, Iceland benefits from the warm ocean current North-Atlantic Gyre. Without it, it
would be nigh impossible to live here. Or so we tell ourselves.
 
satellite image of Iceland

So, what is the temperature?

The Icelandic weather, overall, is relatively mild despite being so close to the Arctic. The
average temperature hovers around 0° C for most of the winter months, and in the summer
the average temperature is around 11° C.
 
But the average temperatures do not tell the whole story. The temperature regularly goes
up and over 20° C in North and East Iceland during the summer months, but they can equally go as far down during winter. The temperature in Reykjavík generally does not go as high in the summer, but neither does it go as low in the winter.

How is the weather?

Being in Iceland, you should always be on the lookout for changes in the weather. We
recommend you dress in layers so you will be prepared for a sudden downpour or
snowstorm (if you are here during the winter months).
 
You should also check the weather forecast regularly because it changes more often than
you change your underwear. You can’t even trust the forecast to stay the same over 24-
Hours.
 
moss covered lava in Iceland

What about rain and snow?

Well, there is a lot of precipitation in Iceland. You have probably heard quip about the
constant rain in Seattle or London, right? Well, the average yearly rainfall in Seattle is 952
mm (37.49”;) and 601.7 mm (23.68”) in London. In Reykjavík, it is 843.3 mm (33.20”).
But don’t let those statistics fool you, a lot of the precipitation in Reykjavík and Iceland
overall is snowfall! And during the summer months, it’s often just a drizzle.
 
There is no such thing as bad weather; you’re just not dressed for it!
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