The four wonderful seasons of Iceland
In Iceland, there are four seasons, all with their own climate characteristics. Take my word for it; one can enjoy each season but in a different manner and with a different mindset for each season. From 24 hours daylight in the Summer to about 3 hours daylight in the winter and everything in between.
The North Atlantic Drift, which is an extension of the Gulf Stream (a warm Atlantic Ocean Current), lies around Iceland. Therefore the climate in Iceland is more temperate than one would expect for its latitude, so close to the Arctic Circle.
The Gulf Stream helps to moderate the island’s temperature and make this paradise of the north inhabitable. Having said that, you need to keep in mind that in spite of the temperate weather in Iceland is still notoriously variable.
Iceland is not considered a big Island. However, the difference in the climate between the north coast and the south coast can be significant, especially during the dark wintertime. As a rule of thumb, spring is about two to three weeks earlier to arrive at the south-coast. However, after the spring equinox, the north-coast will catch up quickly and in late May the two antithetical coasts will reach equilibrium in climate.
For some visitors, the constant daylight can be a bit too much. When one is used to dark nights and bright days all year long, it can be tough to adjust to. But there is also a number of benefits; the better light condition for photography, you can enjoy the landscape longer, you will get more energetic (maybe more aphrodisiac) and much more. In addition, you can travel the ring road without any impassability (with some exceptions) and you can normally drive or hike to the highlands. We haven’t mentioned camping. If you like camping you only do that during summer, unless you are a tough cookie
When summer starts to give way to autumn the “blue darkness” appears. This is the time when it is not completely dark and not completely bright either. Photographers love this time of year (as well as the spring). Usually, it doesn´t start to freeze until October but Icelanders have learned not to trust any norms when it comes to the weather.
This is when the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) display their motley assortments of colors and sky-dance. But to catch the Northern lights in its blaze of glory you need to be a little lucky because winter is a time of blizzards and heavy clouds. However there are not always just gloomy days, the winter sun and blue sky are quite common during winter. You can find various such tours here at Iceland Travel Center during Autumn and Winter.
On a bright frosty day, you can get lucky and experience the merry dancers in the sky. Winter is a time of Snow-Mobile Tours and Super-Jeep tours where you get to experience the stunning beauty of the season. Better bring a warm coat with you or you can purchase one of the famous hand-knitted woolen sweaters.
You will find that Winter is also a time of cultural events; theatre, music, art shows, and more. In Reykjavik, during late fall and winter, we celebrate events like RIFF (Reykjavik Film Festival) Menningarnótt (Culture Night Festival), Secret Solstice Music Festival, and many many more festivals all over the country.
The spring in Iceland is a time when migratory birds arrive. Get ready for an exciting Puffin Watch or celebrate the arrival of the Arctic Tern, believed to be one of the most fascinating migratory birds in Iceland. The chance to catch one of the big whales during one of the Whale Watching Tour is positive.
The twilight during the springtime in Iceland is the Photographers’ dream come true. The stunning moments between day and night have produced many “Kodac moments”. Although some inland roads might still be closed, due to heavy snow, by the end of April you can travel almost everywhere around Iceland, but you have to wait for Mid-Summer to be able to drive the mountain roads.