Summer in Iceland. I’ve been asked many times about it. Is it warm? Is it really always bright? How do you sleep at night? …
[pullquote]This year, the official beginning of summer in Iceland was on April 19th, 2012.[/pullquote]Iceland has two seasons – Winter and (spring-like) summer. Spring-like weather is occasionally interrupted by summerish spells. This year, the official beginning of summer in Iceland was on April 19th, 2012. Traditionally, Icelanders celebrate the First Day of Summer (sumardagurinn fyrsti) on the second Thursday after the 11th of April.
But summer in April?? Something must be wrong?
Nope, not here. Icelanders celebrate the First Day of Summer, according to the ancient Icelandic calendar, which divided the year into only two seasons – summer and winter. This makes this day as old as the Settlement.
Of course, Icelandic climate in April can not really be considered summer-like, as April weather is unpredictable. But temperatures may shift from below zero to a bit more than average. Also Icelanders are enthusiast and after a long and dark winter they celebrate this as their start of summer the best way they know – with parties, concerts and countless other event – regardless of whether it snows or not.
As unpredictable the weather might be, with snow sometimes lasting until June up in the north of the island, you have to make the best of everything and it is surprising how much you adjust to slight temperature changes the longer you live in a cool place.
As soon as the sun gets out and the temperature rises above 10°C, Icelanders will put on shorts and flip flops and be all out and about. Favourite hangout spots are any kind of green areas like Austurvöllur, the park area in front of the Icelandic Parliament, or the geothermal beach in Nauthólsvík, where you can get somewhat of a holiday feel with the smell of sand, sea, lotion and hot dog and the buzzing noise of people all around you. Never mind that the thermometer shows only 15 °C as it will feel much warmer than it is…
That’s also a sign that you’ve been living here for too long…
If you want to be on the safe side, check out the weather forecast here. Although they can also get it wrong.
The Midnight Sun
Yes it is bright and sunny almost 24/7 (if it i not raining). Daylight increased steady over the last months. With all the daylight you might get over-active and hyper and excited to be on the go almost all the time, but be sure that tiredness and sleep will eventually catch up with you. If you want some darkness you gotta close the blinds or put your head under your blanket.[pullquote]Why not visit famous natural sights (like Geysir, Gullfoss, etc) that are normally overrun by tourists late at night when probably no one is around and you still have the brightness of the day?[/pullquote]
If you are visiting Iceland, I would recommend June as it is still not main season but you’ll get the best of the Icelandic summer. And with the long hours of daylight you will get plenty of time to see and experience your surroundings. If you are not a fan of big masses of tourists, why not try to visit all those famous natural sights (like Geysir, Gullfoss, etc) that are normally overrun by tourists late at night when probably no one is around and you still have the brightness of the day?
But wherever you go (especially if it is towards the highlands) its always safe to check the road conditions.
And to get a glimpse of what it feels like to be here in summer, check out this beautiful video.