Weather in Iceland in February Travel Guide

If you're planning a trip to Iceland in February and you're curious to know what the weather is like there, what attractions are available and whether you can see the northern lights, you've come to the right place. In this detailed guide, you'll find the most important information about traveling to this magical Scandinavian island in winter. Let's dive in!

Visiting Iceland in February: an overview

Uncover the unique advantages and challenges of experiencing Iceland during the winter month of February. From the captivating allure of the Northern Lights to the potential weather-related hurdles, we'll guide you through what to expect on your Icelandic adventure.

Benefits of visiting Iceland in February

Visiting Iceland in February has many advantages. In the tranquility of winter, you get to experience the country’s spectacular landscapes draped in snow without dealing with large tourist crowds. This means less traffic and a more personal, immersive experience. Expenses such as accommodation and travel are often more affordable compared to the high season, making it an excellent choice for budget travelers.

The longer nights provide ample opportunity to witness one of nature’s most incredible phenomena - the Northern Lights. Iceland's iconic attractions such as volcanoes, hot springs, glaciers, and ice caves are at their most magical under a blanket of snow. Indulging in local experiences like snowmobiling or soaking in geothermal pools beneath the wintry sky offers a unique adventure that you wouldn't usually get in the warmer months.

Not sure about February? Explore our comprehensive guide to about the best time to visit Iceland.

Drawbacks of visiting Iceland in February

However, visiting Iceland in February may also have its downsides. The weather in Iceland in February is unpredictable and can be harsh, leading to unexpected road closures that can disrupt your travel itinerary. The shorter daylight hours, while great for observing the Northern Lights, limit the time you have available for sightseeing.

Another drawback is that you'll miss out on the Midnight Sun, a phenomenon where the sun remains visible at the local midnight, which can't be observed in February. Some tourist spots may also be inaccessible due to snow. Lastly, if you prefer milder climates, the chilly temperatures may not be to your liking.

Skaftafell, Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland © Jens Ottoson/Shutterstock

Skaftafell, Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland © Jens Ottoson/Shutterstock

What is the weather in Iceland in February

Before you embark on your journey to the land of glaciers and geysers, it's crucial to grasp the ever-changing and often dramatic weather in Iceland in February. 

Temperature range in February

The average temperature range in Iceland during February varies from -1°C (30°F) to 4°C (39°F). However, it's also common to experience several days where the temperature hovers above 5°C and can even reach up to 10°C.

In Reykjavík and the south of the country, average temperatures in February sit around 1°C (34°F). The north, however, is typically colder, with averages closer to -2°C (28°F). Despite the chilly numbers, you won't be stuck dealing with below 0 averages all day long, thanks to Iceland's shifting weather patterns.

It's important to keep in mind that these are averages and actual conditions vary. Always take local recommendations into account when preparing for the day.

Feeling inspired? Here's a list of other cool destinations in February.

Snowfall and road conditions in February

The snowfall in Iceland during February adds to the charm of its landscapes. The city of Reykjavík, for example, averages around 9.5 inches of snow on February 1, with a slight decrease to 8.7 inches by February 28. However, there can be variations in these norms, meaning some days may see less or more accumulation.

Driving conditions in February could be challenging. Iceland's whimsical weather means you’re likely to encounter snow and icy temperatures that can lead to poor road visibility, slippery surfaces, and abrupt road closures. There may also be instances of severe storms leading to risky driving conditions. 

Thus, if you're planning on renting a car, ensure it’s fitted with winter tires and you’re comfortable driving in winter conditions. Always stay updated with the weather forecasts and the Icelandic road administration's advisories.


Dalvik, Iceland @ Shutterstock

Must-see attractions and tours in Iceland in February

There are a ton of things to do in Iceland, but here's a breakdown of the best things in February.

The magic of Northern Lights

One could argue that Mother Nature saves her best show for Iceland's winter nights - the Northern Lights. These luminescent displays of swirling greens, reds, purples, and blues dancing across the night sky are truly a sight to behold. February, with its dark and clear nights, is hailed as one of the best times to witness this natural spectacle.

A strong solar wind hitting the earth's magnetic fields creates this fascinating light spectacle. A bright moon, tourist crowds, and artificial lights are less likely to potentially interfere with viewing the Northern Lights in February.

Keep in mind that although February is a more predictable time for the Northern Lights, their appearance is never fully guaranteed and depends on a combination of weather conditions and solar activities.

Forecasts for solar activity and cloud cover can be checked online, ensuring you have the best chance of witnessing the Aurora Borealis in its full glory.

Aurora Borealis as seen from Jolulsárlón Glacier Lake, Iceland

The weather in Iceland in February is perfect for observing the Aurora Borealis, Jolulsárlón Glacier Lake, Iceland

Ice caving in frosty February

Ice caving is a remarkable experience that is particularly memorable in February. Over the winter, the unusual caves are filled with striking icicles and natural ice formations. Water slowly drips through the porous lava rocks, and when temperatures drop, this water freezes, creating magical mini stalactites.

Well-known sites like the Leidarendi lava cave offer narrow entrances and small spaces that you need to scramble through, making it the ultimate thrill for adventure seekers. Alternatively, the lava caves at Raufarholshellir and Vidgelmir offer easier explorations, with wide-open spaces and clearly defined walkways to soak up the sights.

February is also an ideal time to visit the beautiful crystalline caves in Vatnajökull glacier. Most ice caves tours, such as the naturally formed crystal ice caves, take place in February due to the relatively calm weather. Winter rainfall, which can flood the caves, is typically less severe in February than other winter months.

Note that you need to be comfortable walking on slippery, uneven ground and be equipped with a helmet and crampons for your tour.

Inside the Langjokull glacier in Iceland

Inside the Langjokull glacier in Iceland

Enjoying the geothermal spas

Unwinding in naturally heated geothermal spas is an integral part of Iceland's culture. Regardless of the chilly weather in Iceland in February, these hot tubs and hot springs prove to be a haven during any time of the year. It's a surreal experience to soak in their warm embrace while the surrounding landscape is shrouded in snow.

The Blue Lagoon near Keflavík Airport is a famous geothermally heated spa, where you can soak in minerals-rich warm waters while relishing the unique landscapes. Other popular options are the Mývatn Nature Baths in North Iceland and the Secret Lagoon along the Golden Circle. Soaking in these naturally heated pools and taking in the snow-capped vistas all around you offer a truly authentic Icelandic experience.

Every town in Iceland is equipped with a public pool complex featuring a heated outdoor pool and at least one hot tub. They might not be as grand as the Blue Lagoon, but they offer a more local experience for travelers wanting to blend in.

Additionally, read the rules of etiquette when visiting a spa in Iceland.

Iceland, Reykjavik, The Blue Lagoon, Iceland's most famous tourist attraction is located among the black lava flows outside Reykjavik.

Iceland, Reykjavik, The Blue Lagoon

Can you see the northern lights in Iceland in February

In February, Iceland's snow-covered expanses become the stage for the celestial northern lights. These mesmerizing green, purple, and red flashes light up the Arctic nights. Explore the best opportunities to witness this mesmerizing spectacle and immerse yourself in the magic of a winter experience that will be remembered for a long time.

Where to see the Northern Lights?

A trip to Iceland in February would be incomplete without experiencing the surreal sight of the Northern Lights. While the celestial display can be spotted from anywhere given the right circumstances, there are a few places that offer a particularly high chance of sightings.

  • Reykjavik: While it's unusual to see the Northern Lights from a city due to light pollution, on a truly active and clear night, you might spot them from Reykjavik's dark spots, such as the Grotta Lighthouse.
  • The Golden Circle: The Golden Circle, home to the Gullfoss waterfalls, Pingvellir National Park, and the Geysir Geothermal area, serves as an excellent place for witnessing the spectacle away from city lights.
  • Vik: Known for its black sand beaches, the quaint town of Vik with minimal light pollution offers unobstructed views of the Aurora Borealis.
  • Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon: In Southeast Iceland, the beautiful Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon offers a fantastic backdrop for the dancing lights.
  • Akureyri: The second-largest city in Iceland, located in the north, has darker skies, which are perfect for viewing the Northern Lights.

Remember, viewing the lights depends, to a large extent, on solar activity and clear, dark skies. You'll often have to stay up late and brave the cold to enjoy the Aurora Borealis. It's best to check the daily aurora forecast and cloud cover to optimize your chances.

Make sure to read our article about the best places to see the Northern Light in Iceland.


Jokulsarlon, Northern Lights, Iceland

It depends on the weather conditions

Indeed, the appearance of the Northern Lights fundamentally depends upon the weather conditions. You need clear, dark skies to catch the lights' ethereal beauty - something that can't be guaranteed given Iceland's unpredictable weather. Even in February, which is historically a suitable time for Aurora Borealis, sightings can be affected by cloud cover, light pollution, and solar activity.

In cloudy conditions, your chances of seeing the Northern Lights significantly decrease, as the clouds can obscure these lights, no matter how active they may be above the cloud cover. The more remote and away from city lights you are, the brighter the lights will appear due to less light pollution. Don't be disheartened if you don't see them right away; patience is key.

It's also important to review the Geophysical Institute's Northern Lights Forecast, which offers 3-day predictions on the chances of sightings based on solar activity and local weather forecasts.

Unforgettable and fully customisable Iceland itineraries

Our tailor-made trip service allows you to fully enjoy the weather in Iceland in February without the planning or hassle. All of our planned itineraries are created by local Iceland travel experts and can be tailored to meet your specific needs.

  • Wild West Drive and Strandir (8 days): This trip is ideal for travellers who want to get off the beaten path and explore the stunning scenery of Vestfjord and Snefellsnes, including the remote areas of Strandir. With a rented off-road vehicle, you'll be able to schedule your exploration of the scenery.
  • Ring Road Express with the Golden Circle (7 days): The Iceland Ring Road is the most popular tourist route around Iceland. It has everything you dreamed of: breathtaking waterfalls, volcanic landscape, black sand beaches, glaciers, fjords and charming fishing villages.
  • The Magic of Eastern Iceland (11 days): You'll be mesmerized by eastern Iceland as you drive through glacial valleys and towering mountains, admiring treeless landscapes with brilliant silver streaks and marbled lava fields covered in emerald green moss. Enjoy whale watching in Husawik and soak in geothermal pools.

Discover the full range of our Iceland itineraries.

Skaftafellsjokull glacier, Iceland © Shutterstock

Skaftafellsjokull Glacier, Iceland @ Shutterstock

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to some common questions while planning your trip.

Is it worth visiting Iceland in February?

Without a doubt, Iceland in February offers a spectacular winter wonderland experience. Despite the cold weather, you will have the opportunity to explore majestic icy landscapes, take a dip in warm geothermal pools and perhaps witness the mesmerizing northern lights. 

This is the perfect place for those who want to dive into the winter season and enjoy unique adventures such as ice caving. However, always be prepared for unpredictable weather and shorter daylight hours.

How many hours of daylight does Iceland get in February?

In February, daylight in Iceland gradually increases as the month progresses. On the 1st of February, there are approximately 7 hours and 9 minutes of daylight, with the sunrise around 10:07 AM and sunset at 5:16 PM. 

By the 28th of February, daylight extends to about 10 hours and 5 minutes, with sunrise at 8:38 AM and sunset happening close to 6:43 PM. Keep in mind that, despite the increase in daylight hours, part of the day can still be quite dim.

Olga Sitnitsa

written by
Olga Sitnitsa

updated 18.12.2023

Online editor at Rough Guides, specialising in travel content. Passionate about creating compelling stories and inspiring others to explore the world.

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