The weather in Iceland can get quite crazy sometimes.
However, when you arrive on our little island, odds are that you’ll be greeted by a climate that you’re familiar with, but have never experienced before.
What do I mean by that?
Well, we obviously have all the different kinds of weather you know and love, but Iceland – ever the special little flower – has to put a fun little twist on everything.
So here I am to tell you about five ways Icelandic weather will surprise you!
Make sure to read until the end so you can be prepared for your trip to Iceland.
So let’s jump into it!
5 ways the weather in Iceland will surprise you
I’ve lived in Iceland for almost my entire life and so I like to believe I know what the weather is going to be like. Or rather, I’ve realized the futility of trying and now I just dress up for any type of weather.
Let’s start with our best friend on this island….
You might not be familiar with the upside-down-sideways wind, a staple of Icelandic weather.
We’ve all experienced lots of wind before, you might even be from a country that’s windier than Iceland!
However, what you need to be prepared for when coming to Iceland is how fast it can change.
And how it always manages to blow in your face!
The days of the year when we have little to no wind are rare and always welcome. If you’re here in the winter, you can forget about windless days.
Our little island gust will be your ever-present companion while you travel our country.
It will come at you from all sides and make the rain, snow, and cold bite harder than they should!
Therefore, it’s extremely important that you bring a garment or rent (wink wink) a garment that is windproof.
The Icelandic weather website is a good site to visit daily to stay up to date on the wind.
If you click the link you’ll see a map of Iceland, the little arrows next to the sun/cloud/rain cloud represent the wind direction and speed.
Generally speaking, everything below 10 is just fine and dandy. Between 10 and 20, you should be careful, if you’re not used to driving in lots of wind, be mindful.
Then, above 20 is when you really should start to reconsider if you really have to travel that day. If the wind is measured at 30, it means that the gusts are higher still and they can be dangerous.
Or you can just listen to the warnings.
Yellow is normal but if you’re in Iceland when the map turns orange or red, you shouldn’t be driving.
But enough about the wind, what about the rain?
Umbrellas in Iceland?
Don’t bring an umbrella to Iceland.
The wind and rain form an unholy alliance and if you think the rain is coming from up above, you’re in for quite the surprise.
This is why it’s incredibly important to be wearing waterproof gear. Cause if you’re not, then the weather in Iceland will not be your friend.
I would go as far as to say that it’s imperative that you bring a waterproof garment to Iceland.
For example, the summer of 2018 was the rainiest in Icelandic history. It rained so much in Akureyri that it has only been matched once in recorded history…
And that was back in 1914.
So please, please, please, bring something waterproof!
All the seasons in 30 minutes
Yes, it is quite normal to experience all the seasons in a single day, and if you stay long enough, you can be lucky enough to catch them in 30 minutes.
During spring and fall, the weather doesn’t know what it wants to be, so it chooses to be everything at the same time.
It’s beautiful and annoying at the same time.
It is common to be relaxing in the Blue Lagoon on a sunny day, only to be experiencing Christmas snow a moment later.
This is the main reason why it’s hard to dress for Iceland.
Do you need waterproof clothing? Windproof clothing? Warm clothing? Thermals? Waterproof hiking boots?
The key thing is to have waterproof clothing. You can work on getting warm later.
You should not expect a lot of snow in Reykjavík.
I’m not saying we don’t get any, just not a lot. And when we do, it’s usually gone in a few days.
Taken over by sleet and icy roads. You can’t even make a snowman!
However, you never know! This is sort of the theme here if you haven’t noticed.
So don’t be surprised by the lack of snow in Reykjavík. Enjoy it if it’s there, but you should fully expect icy sidewalks and wind.
No need to fear! You’ll find plenty of snow in the north and the south coast
Now, this only goes for obviously.
But don’t be fooled by how much the dark will affect you.
When driving around our little island, you need to factor in how much daylight you’ll have.
You don’t want to show up to Seljalandsfoss at 5 pm when it’s already dark out (don’t worry, only in December and January).
The dark will also affect your mood. So you have to make sure to fight the urge to stay in bed until the sun rises.
Cause if you do that in December you’ll be getting up at 11 am!
The good thing about the dark is that you have more chances of seeing the northern lights. And you don’t have to stay out until late since it gets dark so soon!
And also, once in a while, the wind dies down and the sky clears up.
And you find yourself in pitch black looking at the stars (and the northern lights if you’re lucky) and you think to yourself-
‘Huh, this is nice’
Then it’s gone the day after.
Now you have a better idea of what to expect when coming to Iceland.
You know about the wind, rain, dark, and crazy weather!
So make sure to prepare for it!
And if you need some clothes, check out our selection!