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The climate of Iceland
The name Iceland gives the impression that it is always freezing cold here. However, when you take the northerly location into account this turns out quite differently. The most northerly part of Iceland borders the Arctic Circle and has a cold maritime climate (type Cfc according to the Köppen climate classification) Which changes into a tundra climate (type ET). Both winters and summers are cold. A striking fact about the country is that the rugged weather matches the rugged landscape. The many depressions that pass over Iceland at a rapid pace cause bleak weather accompanied by rain (or snow) and fierce winds. Fierce gusts of wind in combination with cold rain or snow may cause an unpleasant feel on the plains and in the streets of Iceland.
Water doesn’t only fall from the sky. Water is also squirted into the sky by geysers on the island that has a lot of volcanic activity. The warm water that is squirted into the sky is one of the natural phenomena that contributes to the natural beauty of the island.


Climate information of places and areas in Iceland
The climate information given on this page is only brief. Specific information on weather and climate can be found on the pages per region or city. The following climate information is available for Iceland:

Vestmannaeyjar/Westman Islands

Influence of the Atlantic Ocean
Iceland benefits from the warm sea water that is supplied by the Atlantic Gulf Stream from the south. Because of this influence extreme cold is uncommon in Iceland. Countries at the same latitude do not have this influence and do get extremely cold weather. However, the Atlantic Gulf Stream also supplies depressions with moist air from the southwest and the west. During fall when remains of hurricanes are supplied from the Caribbean and the USA low pressure areas may pass Iceland in a weakened form. When this happens bleak weather and fierce winds may occur in the rugged landscape of Iceland.

Cool summers
Summers in Iceland are not suitable for a sun and beach holiday. The best place in Iceland to put on your bikini or swimming trunks is in one of the warm water springs that cause these natural swimming pools to be of a very pleasant temperature. During summer average temperatures during the afternoon are between 10-14 degrees Celsius. In the higher areas in the southwestern part of the country (Vatnajökull) temperatures even hardly rise above freezing point during summer. This is also where you can find glaciers and glacier lakes.

Mild winters
Grey, fairly wet and relatively mild. That is the best way to describe winters in Iceland. December and January only get 4-5 hours of daylight which makes this period very dreary. Under the influence of the warm sea water it doesn’t get really cold in the southwestern part and along the south coast. However, periods with harsh wintry weather are not uncommon in these areas. In the southern part of the country average 24-hour temperatures during the winter (from December till February) are just below freezing point. In the northern part this is a few degrees Celsius below zero. The volcanic mountain range in the southwestern part of the country get the coldest winters. At the glaciers average 24-hour temperatures are between -10 to -15 degrees Celsius. During cold nights with clear skies temperatures may even drop to extremely low figures of -30 degrees Celsius.

Annual precipitation figures in Iceland are between 700-800 millimeters on average. The northern part is the driest part; the south is the wettest part. This is because of the many depressions supplied from the south and southwest. The western part of the country is fairly dry by Icelandic standards. This part gets 800-950 of annual precipitation.


Climate figures
The figures below are based on long term weather and climate records. They are an average for Iceland.The north and southeast (Vatnajökull) are colder. The southeastern part is also slightly wetter. The southwestern part of Iceland is warmer and the northerly areas are drier.

temperature (°C)


temperature (°C)
hours of sunshine

average days with precipitation
per month
per month
temperature (°C)
January -1 -7 1 16 3
February -1 -5 2 14 2
March 1 -3 3 17 2
April 4 -2 4 18 2
May 8 2 6 16 3
June 10 5 6 15 5
July 12 7 6 16 7
August 11 6 5 17 8
September 8 3 4 18 7
October 4 -1 2 20 5
November 1 -3 1 18 4
December -1 -6 0 19 3
= 0-5 mm ● = 6-30 mm ● = 31-60 mm ● = 61-100 mm ● = 101-200 mm ● = over 200 mm
= 0-0.2 inches ● = 0.2-1.2 inches ● = 1.2-2.4 inches ● = 2.5-4 inches ● = 4.1-8 inches ● = over 8 inches

More climate information
Climate tables are useful but they don’t give an overall picture of the climate and possible weather conditions during a period of time. How high the chances are of hot or cold weather or hurricanes can often not be found in these tables. This is why we offer extra climate information per month. The figures below are for the larger part of Iceland. However, local deviations may occur. Chances of summer weather are almost nil in the northern part of the country as well as in the higher regions. Chances of wintry weather are higher in the northern part of the country and in Vatnajökull.

chance of
(very) hot


chance of
(very) cool
chance of

chance of
chance of
sunny days


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The information at this site was carefully composed from climate data collected by meteorological services, meteorological offices, climate experts and other sources. “More climate info” is based on statistics, climate data and personal experience. No rights can be derived from this site. Weather has no memory and gives no guaranties. Nothing is as changeable and unpredictable as the weather. The authors of this site feel in no way responsible for any damages caused by misinterpretation or other circumstances that may influence your holiday or trip to a certain destination. We provide information, it’s up to the reader to use it to it’s benefit.


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