Iceland lies on the Arctic Circle and is, therefore, a relatively cold country by most people’s standards. The Iceland weather also doesn’t help matters as it is notoriously unpredictable.
Keeping this in mind, here are a few pointers to work around the Iceland weather.
Temperatures determine tourist season
Average summer temperatures hover around 20 degrees centigrade and winters are around 0 degrees centigrade.Needless to say, the summer months receive the maximum tourist traffic of any season, and the prices rise commensurately. This would be between the months of June and August.
To beat the crowds and the prices, it is best to visit a little before or after this time. That would mean the end of April or middle of September would be the ideal time. There are further two advantages of visiting Iceland in the autumn months.
The verdant scenery of Thingvellir National Park comes alive in its best colors at this time. Plus, the autumn months acquire some semblance of normalcy with a good amount of daylight followed by sunsets, as opposed to the 24-hour sunlight of the midnight sun during the summers.
If you come a little later in the year than this, say, early October, you also increase your chances of being able to witness a very decent display of the northern lights.
The Unpredictability factor
There is no rainy season as such, which means it can rain at any time of the day or year. It can also get very windy suddenly, causing a dip in temperatures even though the forecast might predict a sunny day.
Even if you’re visiting during the summer, make sure you pack windcheaters and warm caps with you.
Carry a swimsuit regardless of season
Yes, we did say that Iceland was an uncomfortably cold country. A swimsuit might seem like an odd travel item to an Arctic country, but remember that Iceland is also a country of many natural hot springs.
You can enjoy them in the capital, Reykjavik itself. In fact, lots of tourists and even the locals frequently make use of these natural springs to keep themselves warm from the chill.
Golden Circle open regardless of the Weather
For a lot of tourists, one of the top items on their list of things to do in Iceland is the Golden Circle Iceland tour. It consists of three-star items of the tour — Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall.
The roads connecting these are well maintained throughout the year, and the attractions themselves do not become inaccessible in the winters due to snow or any other reason.
It’s roughly a 250 km stretch, depending on your route, and will take you approximately 5-6 hours to drive around. While larger tours are more convenient, private taxi tours are also not a bad idea, and not as expensive as you might think.
The important thing though, is that the weather will not interfere with your enjoyment of these activities, so you can visit them any time of the year.
Since you need dark and clear skies to be able to see them, it is best not to go in the middle of winter where the notorious Iceland weather with the snow and the rain and the cloud cover can block your view. Here’s a post about how to maximise your chances of seeing the Northern Lights.
October-November and February-March are just as good to see and enjoy these natural wonders.