Iceland is a spectacular vacation destination for the winter. The country’s snowy landscapes are pristine and beautiful. Outdoor activities like glacier hikes on Skaftafell or exploring the Crystal Ice Cave in Breiðamerkurjökull are everywhere. February is a great time to visit Iceland, but there’s something very important to keep in mind when planning a trip during this time. The weather can have a huge impact on your trip. Our country’s climate is unique, and everything from temperature to the amount of snowfall you encounter to the daily hours of sunshine will affect many aspects of your trip. You need to pack the right items, avoid winter storms, and time your excursions to make sure you have the most amount of daylight possible. Let’s look at Iceland weather in February.
Temperature in Iceland in February
The mercury reading on the thermometer is quite low in February. Temperatures usually hover around the freezing point (32 ºF or 0 ºC) at this time of year. As with most places north of the Equator, Iceland is colder in the north and warmer in the south. I’ll be providing average temperatures for Reykjavik, the capital. But if you’re headed to Akureyri or somewhere else along the North Coast, expect more frigid temperatures. Vatnajökull, Vík and other areas along the South Coast might be warmer.
Average highs in Iceland in February get to around 37.4 ºF (3 ºC). Keep in mind that this is just the average. Looking at this week’s forecast, the actual highs are between only 20-26 ºF (-7 to -3 ºC). Talk about cold! I’m shivering just thinking about it! Normally the warming waters of the Gulf Stream help to negate the effects of being so close to the Arctic Circle and the North Pole. But some days, you can feel your nose and cheeks starting to freeze the minute you step outside. Frostbite is real, so you really need to be prepared!
Lows this week are even worse (14-30 ºF or -1 to -10 ºC) but it’s usually not so extreme. The average low in Reykjavik in February is 28.4 F (-2 ºC). It’s not exactly bikini weather, so you’ll still need to bundle up with lots of warming layers.
Average High in Reykjavik in February: 37.4 ºF (3 ºC)
Average Low in Reykjavik in February: 28.4 F (-2 ºC)
February Snowfall and Precipitation in Iceland
Iceland gets a lot of precipitation throughout the year. Most months see around 13 or 14 rainy days on average. The fall and winter months are particularly wet. You’ll need to bring a high-quality rain jacket as part of your cold weather arsenal. Average precipitation in February is around 3 inches (7.8 cm). And because temperatures fluctuate above and below freezing, you’ll get a mix of every, often within a short span of time.
Something important to keep in mind is that Icelandic weather is extremely temperamental and unpredictable. It can change very quickly from rain to snow to sleet to hail to blue skies. Storms and blizzards are still common. It’s extremely important to check the weather forecast multiple times a day, especially if you are driving. Nothing is worse than getting caught in a winter storm in Iceland. It could even be fatal, as Mother Nature does not mess around.
Average February Precipitation in Iceland: 3 inches (7.8 cm) over 13 days.
Iceland’s Daylight Hours in February
Thankfully, the days are getting longer and providing more and more daylight. The winter solstice happened back in late December, and each day adds several more minutes of sunlight. By the time we reach the beginning of February, the sun is rising a little after 10 am and setting around a quarter after five. This is around seven hours of daylight. Towards the end of the month, we’ve got ten hours of sunlight. The sun rises as early as 8:39 a.m. and sets close to 6:45 p.m. There’s a great website called timeanddate.com, where you can check sunshine and daylight hours for the specific dates of your trip.
1st of February: Sunrise at 10:09 am | Sunset at 5:15 p.m. | Hours of Sunshine: 7:05
15th of February: Sunrise at 9:24 am | Sunset at 6 p.m. | Hours of Sunshine: 8:36
28th of February: Sunrise at 8:39 am | Sunset at 6:42 p.m. | Hours of Sunshine: 10:02
One bonus of coming to Iceland in February is that you just might see the Northern Lights. The cold weather makes it more likely that you’ll have clear nights with which to view the natural light show in the sky. Shades of emerald green and bright violet light up the firmament as their colored waves undulate high above.
Iceland’s Weather in February – Temperature, Snowfall, Daylight
Taking a winter road trip to Iceland in February can be an amazing experience. Between cold weather activities and the Northern Lights to keep you busy, there is plenty to enjoy. Pack multiple layers with lots of wool items and waterproof clothing; you’ll need them. Check the weather forecast regularly and time your trips to make sure you have plenty of time to arrive, given the amount of sunshine that day. Have a great time!