Icelandic Winter

Icelandic Winter

Subarctic Weather Vibes

Weather in Iceland is an adventure in itself although the climate in Iceland is relatively mild despite its northerly location. The Gulf stream sends us warm currents all year around so we normally do not have severe low temperatures.

When planning an outdoor adventure in Iceland – the first thing that comes to mind is the weather. How accountable can the weather forecast be? Icelanders tend to be ready for anything. Literally. As in the weather sometimes changes every five minutes and all four seasons might show up within the same day.

Surrounded by the Arctic Sea, with an added pun of its name, the idea of Iceland in winter doesn’t immediately give off a sense of welcome or warmth, nor does it give a wanderlust Icelander a free pass to complain about the cold winters in Minnesota or the East Coast of the United States. It’s expected that Icelanders can tolerate freezing blizzards successfully. It’s common to think that the plummeting months in Iceland are intensely brutal.

Turns out that the climate hovering over the Arctic Sea in Iceland is far milder than visitors expect. Though Icelanders passionately talk about the weather, frequently it doesn’t really affect the functions of the country or society. We tend to be equipped for any and all situations –  snow vortex and all. Cities and villages are fast to clear the streets and cars must have winter tires installed by a certain date on the calendar.

Iceland being a Subarctic island, it isn’t easy to put a description on its weather other than to call it unpredictable. It hardly ever gets hot, summers are cool to warm-ish and the temperature in winters is quite milder than what happens in New York (as an example), and the volumed celsius feels higher than it reads.

Not to shy away from the fact that the wind can be fierce with a side of horizontal hail. That being said, winters in Iceland are not to be avoided and can actually be the most stunning time to visit and go on a winter tour, including witnessing the Northern Lights.

There are certain cultural behaviours and traditions that might raise an eyebrow of visitors. Proving that Icelanders don’t allow the weather to break traditions or moods: snow or shine, we swim outdoors, eat ice cream, let our babies nap in prams outdoor, and fire up the barbeque in January to answer the craving for grilled lamb.

Exploring Iceland in all its elemental beauty, from lounging in magical hot springs and outdoor saunas during snowy days, to outdoorsy bespoke trips in the rugged landscape; the weather isn’t going to get in the way, or it will need to be highly extreme to forgo an adventurous itinerary.

Icelanders work with the weather given and aren’t familiar with the concept of canceling. When it comes to adventure or sightseeing tours for visitors, there always seem to be a plan B and even C on hand. It might take the extremity of an avalanche for activities to be canceled.

Turns out, the Subarctic winters suit people easier when there’s a dash of Icelandic method to stay warm. Wild and strong at heart, we sit on a large collection of monster trucks (or super jeeps), impressive outdoor garment collections, heated geothermal pools and hot springs, along with a talent for making hot drinks, with added spice or not.

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