Icelandic weather and your travel plans.
There is a phrase in Iceland that you will probably hear when on your travels, and even find fridge magnets, mugs and tshirts in the gift shops: “If you don’t like the weather in Iceland wait five minutes” This phrase can be used as a fun slogan but should also be heeded as advice. Iceland is a rock in the North Atlantic, an island exposed at all sides, and subject to a number of weather systems which can cause intense weather that may result in disruptions to your travel plans.
Whilst uncommon in other European countries, Iceland experiences strong winds especially during the winter classed as storm conditions. These can be as strong as 40-50mps (140-180kph). Whilst Icelanders are used to these kinds of conditions and are well prepared by way of experience and advice in the local media, the winds often take visitors by surprise. One of the main things to remember when travelling especially in winter is to check conditions before you set off on any drive. There are a number of websites you can use, as well as taking advice to locals which can stop you ending up in any uncomfortable situations.
Is the Icelandic road authorities website in English, here you can see live updates on the conditions, wind speeds, closures as well as webcams. It is recommended that you check this before setting off on any journey.
Here you can see the weather forecast for up to a week in advance and it is available in English.
This is the website run by the Icelandic association for search and rescue. Here you can see weather alerts and travel warnings that may affect your journey. There is also a function to log your travel plans, this is especially useful if you intend to embark on any multi day hiking tours where contact may be limited, allowing the authorities to know your whereabouts.
Leave enough time
Always leave extra time, if conditions are unfavourable you may need to drive slower, and it is always a good idea to have time on your side so you do not end up rushing.
One of the most important pieces of advice all travellers should take note of, is that itineraries should be flexible. If strong weather conditions move in, and road closures take place you may not be able to reach your next destination, this means you may have to stay somewhere else, or re-arrange pre booked tours. If you cannot make your tour with Local Guide due to weather, we will always do our best to re-schedule (weather and availability permitting). It is important to make sure your contact details are logged correctly with us when you make your booking and you check your emails the night before the tour.
You should not be afraid to drive in Iceland in the winter. Cars are equipped with studded tires in the winter months. With planning there is no need to be concerned, but by using the tips above you can be best prepared for a successful road trip.
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