Winter & Summer

Whether wearing snow shoes or sandals, there is usually one constant in Iceland: The blue skies. Though some coastal towns experience grayer and rainier winter months, the majority of towns get significant precipitation only in the higher elevations.

There is certainly an abundance of snow in Iceland, but most of it settles on mountains. In the most northern parts of the country, which experience the most extreme weather, summer doesn’t come until late June.

Despite the Arctic climate, the long winter season is usually a very mild one, and in December, with the temperature reaching 0 degrees Farenheight for a only a few days, the Winter Solstice arrives, blanketing the country with darkness for up to 20 hours at a time.

In the very early winter season, which begins in October, vestiges of the Northern Lights start to become visible, offering a tremendous light show. Even in the back country, October is still a mild enough month to go camping under Aurora.

In the summer, a very short three month season, the sun hardly ever sets. The skies take on a clearer blue, and suddenly fields are alive with flowers. The mountain snow melts into the rivers, and high waters ensure plenty of healthy fish and white rapids. The three months of June, July and August are some of the most beautiful days of the entire year – on any part of the globe. Highs typically reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing the perfect weather for a hike to a mountain, or a sailing trip to some far off glacier.

Iceland is a land of extremes, and the winter and summer seasons are no exceptions. Blizzards in the winter can be just as dangerous as getting lost without a compass in the summer. But getting lost in Iceland has its own rewards - like finding home all over again.

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  Copyright © 2003 Chris Coomey