Your Trip to Iceland: The Complete Guide SEE FULL GUIDE prev next Top Places to Visit in Iceland Keflavik International Airport Guide Best Hotels in Reykjavik Driving in Iceland Tipping in Iceland Staying Safe in Iceland Helpful Words and Phrases Best Tours in Iceland Top Northern Lights Tours Seven-Day Iceland Itinerary 48 Hours in Reykjavik Day Trips From Reykjavik Top Things to Do in Iceland Best Beaches in Iceland Hiking in Iceland How to See the Northern Lights Best Icelandic Hot Springs Skiing in Iceland Top Things to Do in Reykjavik Free Things to Do in Reykjavik Reykjavik's Best Museums Shopping in Reykjavik Guide to the Blue Lagoon Food to Try in Iceland Best Restaurants in Reykjavik Top Reykjavik Bars Craft Beer in Iceland Best Time to Visit Weather & Climate Your Trip to Iceland: The Complete Guide close Overview Europe Iceland Weather in Iceland: Climate, Seasons, and Average Monthly Temperature Written by Terri Mapes Facebook Twitter Terri Mapes specializes in giving first-time Scandinavia visitors practical tips for their travels. Tripsavvy's Editorial Guidelines Terri Mapes Updated 04/10/20 Fact-Checked by Reviewed on 12/14/20 Jillian Dara Facebook Twitter Jillian Dara is a freelance travel writer and fact checker. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, USA Today 10Best, Michelin Guide, Hemispheres, DuJour, and Jetsetter. About TripSavvy Fact-Checking Jillian Dara Share Pin Email TripSavvy If you're planning to visit Iceland, the most popular travel times are during the summer months of May through August when you can enjoy lots of daylight hours. December is also popular for the winter holidays and seeing the Northern Lights, although it will be quite dark during that time and you will see very little—if any—sunlight at all. Iceland, near the Arctic Circle, actually has a cold, temperate climate due to the North Atlantic Current that carries Gulf Stream warm water north. That means that even though winters are cold, Iceland generally experiences higher average temperatures than other places in the world located at a similar latitude. Iceland's climate includes conditions typical for a Nordic country, but there are are some variations between different parts of the island: The south coast tends to be warmer, wetter, and windier than the north, and snowfall in winter is more common in the north than in the south. Known as the Land of Ice and Fire due to its many volcanoes, Iceland is always subject to the possibility of volcanic activity. Iceland's temperatures reach extremes at times. In 1939, the island nation recorded a high of 86.9 degrees Fahrenheit (30.5 degrees Celsius) on the southeastern coast, and Grímsstaðir in the northeast of Iceland dipped way down to minus 36.4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 38 degrees Celsius) in 1918. Reykjavik, Iceland's capital and largest city, reached 76.6 degrees Fahrenheit (24.8 degrees Celsius) in 2004 and minus 12.1 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 24.5 degrees Celsius) in 1918. Fast Climate Facts Hottest Month: July (57 F / 14 C) Coldest Month: January and February (36 F / 2 C) Wettest Month: September (4.6 inches) Spring in Iceland Spring might be the best time of year to visit Iceland—aside from the busy tourist season of summer—because of its crisp weather, normal daylight hours (compared to North America), and significantly cheaper pricing for accommodations, flights, and travel. Spring first arrives in April, bringing with it warmer temperatures and the first signs of green grass and flowers. Travelers can fish, go whale and bird watching, golf, horseback ride through the thawing landscape, or even visit an off-season ski lodge to watch the snow melt off the mountains. What to Pack: Temperature averages range from 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) in early April to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) in early June, so you'll still need to pack warmer clothing, especially for the slightly colder evenings. Average Temperatures by Month: March: 38 F (3 C) / 30 F (minus 1 C) April: 43 F (6 C) / 34 F (1 C) May: 48 F (9 C) / 40 F (4 C) Summer in Iceland Summer is the height of tourist season in Iceland, and in midsummer—during the entire months of June and July—daylight takes over during a time known as the Midnight Sun, when there is virtually no nighttime darkness. There are plenty of outdoor activities like horseback riding, hiking, and even swimming, but many theatres, operas, and symphony performances are suspended during this busy time of the year when Icelanders take their summer vacations. What to Pack: It never really gets hot in Iceland due to the Gulf Stream bringing cooler air into the country throughout the nightless summer, so bring a light jacket even in the warmest season. Average Temperatures by Month: June: 54 F (12 C) / 46 F (8 C) July: 57 F (14 C) / 49 F (9 C) August: 55 F (13 C) / 47 F (8 C) Fall in Iceland As September comes around, the tourist season abruptly ends and many museums outside of Reykjavik close down until the following summer. However, there's still plenty to do in the fall. Keep in mind that because the Gulf Stream brings milder air from the Atlantic Ocean in contact with colder Arctic air, the skies are frequently overcast with driving wind and rain and abrupt weather shifts—you might just experience four seasons in one day! Be sure to plan ahead so you can stay safe. October through December is also the rainy season in Iceland, making outdoor adventures harder to find. Still, with the cultural events like plays, musicals, and orchestra performances resuming in the off-season, there's plenty to keep you entertained throughout the fall. What to Pack: You'll need to pack a variety of clothes for fall, given the diversity of weather. No matter what, it is the wettest season in Iceland, so proper waterproof clothing, especially a coat and boots, are musts. Average Temperatures by Month: September: 50 F (10 C) / 42 F (6 C) October: 44 F (7 C) / 36 F (2 C) November: 39 F (4 C) / 30 F (minus 1 C) Winter in Iceland Prices for airfare are drastically lower in the winter season due to a decrease in tourists traveling to the country, but keep in mind that Christmas and holiday travel will still be slightly more expensive than other non-peak travel days. In midwinter, there is also a period of no sunlight and darkness prevails during a phenomenon known as the Polar Nights, which is a perfect time to view the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). Thanks again to the Gulf Stream air, winters are typically milder than elsewhere in the world. In fact, New York's winter is much colder even though it's technically further south on the globe. What to Pack: Pack warm layers, including sweaters, multiple base layers, and a heavy coat or jacket. Sturdy, warm footwear is a must as well. Average Temperatures by Month: December: 36 F (2 C) / 29 F (minus 1 C) January: 36 F (2 C) / 28 F (minus 2 C) February: 36 F (3 C) / 28 F (minus 2 C) Average Monthly Temperature, Rainfall, and Daylight Hours Month Avg. High Avg. Low Avg. Rainfall Avg. Sunlight January 36 F (2 C) 28 F (minus 2 C) 4 inches 5 hours February 36 F (2 C) 28 F (minus 2 C) 4.3 inches 8 hours March 38 F (3 C) 30 F (minus 1 C) 3.7 inches 12 hours April 43 F (6 C) 34 F (1 C) 2.9 inches 16 hours May 48 F (9 C) 40 F (4 C) 2.3 inches 18 hours June 54 F (12 C) 46 F (8 C) 2.1 inches 21 hours July 57 F (14 C) 49 F (9 C) 2.7 inches 19 hours August 55 F (13 C) 47 F (8 C) 3.5 inches 16 hours September 50 F (10 C) 42 F (6 C) 4.6 inches 13 hours October 44 F (7 C) 36 F (2 C) 4.5 inches 9 hours November 39 F (4 C) 30 F (minus 1 C) 4.2 inches 6 hours December 36 F (2 C) 29 F (minus 2 C) 4.1 inches 4 hours Northern Lights in Iceland Winter may be the coldest time to visit Iceland, but one of the biggest draws during this time of year is the chance to see the aurora borealis, or the northern lights. The darkest months of December, January, and February are the best time to visit for this natural phenomenon, but the season lasts from October to April. You'll need to get away from Reykjavik to see them, and several different tour companies offer Northern Lights packages. If you are planning to visit Iceland in the winter to see the Lights, look at the lunar calendar before finalizing your travel plans, because visiting Iceland during a new moon will give you a better chance of seeing them. The Best Places to Go in Iceland Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit The Weather and Climate in Buffalo The Weather and Climate in Montreal The Weather and Climate in Nashville, Tennessee Weather in Sweden: Climate, Seasons, and Average Monthly Temperature Weather in Orkney: Climate, Seasons, and Average Monthly Temperature The Best Time to Visit Finland The Weather and Climate in Budapest What Is the Weather Like in Yosemite? 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