An extraordinary and magical place of geysers and volcanoes as well as the ‘midnight sun’, Iceland is not as cold as it sounds due to the effects of the Gulf Stream. Temperatures are moderate throughout the year with average July temperatures being around 11°C in Reykjavik, the north and east often being the warmest parts in the summer. By October snow has usually arrived and it can remain until April. There is 24 hour daylight from the middle of June to the end of July but in the middle of winter you can expect only four or five hours of daylight each day.
Icelandic people are Scandinavian, friendly, helpful, well-educated and very modern. Their culture has its origins in the nation's Norse heritage and most Icelanders are descendants of Norse and Gaelic settlers. Most Icelanders (especially those from their teenage years through their fifties) speak almost fluent English and welcome the opportunity of practising it on visitors.
If you are joining a ship in Iceland, it is well worth considering adding a few days to your trip - pre or post voyage – to explore more of this extraordinary and highly geologically active country.
Fiona’s travel tipsWHAT TO WEAR: Good walking and waterproof shoes are a must. In summer, light clothing is often all you need - but be prepared for both cold and wet weather at all times of year. You can swim year-round in countless geothermal pools and lagoons with a typical temperature of 25-28°C, so a bathing suit is a must, whenever you visit!
“Once I got north of the Baldur Ferry it was more like Scotland. My hire car was excellent and the weather was kind – a cool wind but sunshine. In the Westfjords, the Fisherman Hotel at Suoureyri is lovely as is the Breidavik.”
Martin Dawson, Iceland and Greenland, June 2017
“I had a splendid holiday, I liked the Polar Star very much. Nansen Fjord was superb, at last we had sunshine. That night there was a good display of the aurora, the first time I had seen it. I had never been to the Westmann Islands and I found the harbour at Heimaey delightful. The arrangements you made for me were very good and I recommend Arcturus to all.”
Elizabeth Lonkhurst, Steam to Ice (Polar Star)