A few people have been asking about weather conditions in Iceland in November, and how well they’ll need to wrap up. So here’s a brief guide to Icelandic weather…
Weather doesn’t get more unpredictable than in Iceland. You can have blazing sunshine and then pouring rain on the same day, and then sunshine again an hour later. The only thing you can be fairly sure of not getting is thunder and lightning, as it’s a little far north for electrical storms. If you’re after seeing the Northern Lights, then ideal weather is cold and clear. But, having said that, conditions can be perfect and the Lights can still refuse to co-operate, and then they can appear at times when the conditions are completely wrong.
Iceland is a few degrees north of the top end of Scotland, so weather in southern Iceland is essentially Scottish weather on steroids. The Gulf Stream keeps the place relatively warm, so although it can be chilly and the wind can blow through every piece of clothing you have, there are no huge extremes of temperature on a Siberian scale. Even in November anything colder than -4° is unusual, and anything warmer than +10° should be treated as a pleasant surprise.
We can be fairly sure that it will be dark, it won’t be warm, it will probably be wet, at least some of the time, and there’s a chance that it could be cold with snow on the ground.
Don’t even try unfurling an umbrella, as the wind will have it inside out in seconds flat.
A hat that keeps your ears warm is handy, especially if you’re going on the Crime Walk on Friday or Yrsa tour on Sunday, and gloves wouldn’t go amiss. Go for a decent warm coat and a scarf that keep the wind out.
Heels are likely to be a mistake for anything happening outdoors. Sturdy shoes should do the business, while heavy walking boots may be taking things unnecessarily far, and crampons would be a terrible fashion faux pas, plus they play havoc with a polished floor.
If in doubt, opt for warm and waterproof. Like the Scouts, be prepared. It’s easier to take off a jumper if you’re hot than to shiver because you didn’t bring one. A little known sub-clause of Murphy’s Law is that the more you prepare, the better the weather is likely to be.
The local saying is that there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing to cope with whatever nature throws at you…
btw, there’s no special dress code for the dinner at Iðnó on Saturday evening other than whatever you feel comfortable with.