Updated: Jan 16, 2020
People always ask us, "When is the best time to visit Iceland."
We, of course, think any time is best ... just go and enjoy!
The condensed answers for Reykjavík according to the historical data:
August is the warmest month. Average of 7°C to 13.9°C (44.6°-57°F)
January is the coldest. Average of -3°C to 1°C (26.5° - 33.8°F)
May is the driest (still has 16 days per month of precipitation - maybe snow).
October has the most rain (21 days per month of precipitation - maybe snow).
December 21st is the shortest day. (4 hrs, 7 min of daylight - less in the north).
June 21st is the longest day. (21 hrs, 9 min of MIdnight Sun - more in the north).
Here are a few great sayings in Iceland about the weather:
"If you don't like the weather, just wait a minute."
"There is no such thing as bad weather - just bad clothing."
The weather is always changing and is unpredictable. Be prepared for any weather when you are traveling around Iceland. Bring lots of fast-drying, breathable fabric layers, a windproof and waterproof long coat, insulated pants, and sturdy waterproof boots. Walking around Iceland is wet. Be prepared for walking on sand, rocks, and slippery surfaces. Even in the summer, you should bring along a coat, hat, gloves, and a scarf in case the weather decides to be blustery and cold.
In the summer, if the temperature rises above normal, you will here the locals talk about "sólafrí" - "sun holiday" where they leave work and go to enjoy the weather. Bring sunscreen and sunglasses for the long days of summer when the sun is shining.
Rain and wind can come anytime as well as the wetness of rushing waterfalls. So be prepared with your several layers and rain gear. You can get a photo with a double rainbow!
The winter is dark with lots of rain and wind. So be prepared with wind-proof and waterproof outer layer. A long coat and tall winter boots would be a good combination. If you go to Iceland in the winter (October - April) make sure to check the weather forecast and road conditions before leaving the city. Many people want to see the northern lights in Iceland during the winter. But the weather does not always cooperate. Do not take a chance on traveling the Icelandic roads and go explore the many coffee shops, stores, and especially the geothermal pools. So always bring a swimsuit and remember, it is better to be safe than sorry out on the icy, snow-covered, and windy rural roads!
Do not bother with an umbrella. The unpredictable wind will take it for sure. Also, the rain occasionally will blow sideways because of the wind. Sometimes, it seems as if the rain is actually blowing UP!
If you will be heading out for the nightlife and want to fit in with the locals, think about fashionistas! Icelanders love fashion and your hiking gear or sweat pants will stick out like a bull in a china shop for downtown Reykjavik.
When you go to Iceland: Have fun. Travel responsibly. Respect the weather. Stay safe. Be a good tourist. Do not trespass. Take special care of the fragile environment and leave no trace you were there other than in photos and memories which will last a lifetime.