Iceland’s January Weather, Temperature & Length of Days

Magazine Iceland’s January Weather, Temperature & Length of Days

January is a great time to visit Iceland. this is a great time of year to view the Northern lights, you can take advantage of great travels deals and there’s are very special Bonfire events around the country on January 6. These so called, “Elf Bonfires” celebrate the final day of Christmas and the departure of the last of Iceland’s Yule lads.  Catching one of these bonfires is worth a trip all by itself! Now that we got you interested, here’s what you can expect from the weather and length of days.


With the Winter solstice behind us, the days are now getting longer. That said, let’s not forget that Iceland is a high-latitude country which has a dramatic effect on daylight - and other natural phenomena! In the beginning of January, sunrise is at 11:19 AM; great for visitors who want to sleep in but less awesome for the hard working people of Iceland. Sunset on January 1st is at 3:43PM. That’s only 4 hours and 23 minutes of daylight folks. The good news is that we are gaining a significant amount of daylight with each passing day, from a little over 4 minutes per day in the beginning of January all the way up to over 7 minutes on the last day.  January 1st has 4 hours and 23 minutes of daylight and the 31st will be a little over 7 hours!  That’s a big increase in one month.   


As for the temperatures, you can expect the average low to be approximately -3 degrees Celsius (26.6 F) and the average high temperatures to be 3 degrees Celsius (37.4 F).  Iceland’s temperatures are mitigated by the gulf stream, which brings relatively warm water up from lower latitudes. Without this, Iceland would be much colder. Many people who visit Iceland, experience much colder temperatures back home.


In January, the average rainfall in Reykjavik is approximately 41 mm (1.61 inches), the highest of the year.  This precipitation can come in all forms, depending on temperatures. You may get snow, rain or sleet. Though at this time of year, you’re likely to see a nice blanket of white. These averages aside, you can expect fairly windy conditions, persistent cloud cover and light rain.

Not that you need to be told, we recommend bringing lots of layers so you can enjoy whatever weather Iceland throws at you. And, when you are ready to relax and rest, we humbly suggest staying at one of our 8 Iceland hotels, located in all the prime locations including two in Reykjavik. Cheers.

Here’s a link to a blog about what to do in Iceland in winter.

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