The seven stages of summer in Reykjavík


As you may have heard we here in Reykjavík must have done something really bad to piss off the weather gods this year because our summer has been disappointing to say the least . I heard a meteorologist (you know, the weather man) say the other day that the long time memory of Icelanders was failing them because apparently in historical context this summer isn’t that bad. I think he must have consumed some happy pills before going on air.

Below you will find some of the emotions I’ve gone through this summer when it comes to the weather.

1. Shock or Disbelief

After 10 days of Israeli summer, where most days I was pretty much melting, I landed at Keflavík Airport in pouring rain and wind that would blow a troll out to sea. In May I had driven around Iceland in rain and snow and was convinced that when I would be back from my stint in Israel, summer would be here. I was wrong. On the flybus on the way back from the airport I called the boyfriend, in a state of shock and horror, and asked him to meet me at the bus stop with my parka for the short walk home. June 18th, I thought to myself, should I need a winter coat in the middle of June?

2. Denial

When I got back I decided to ignore the fact that the temperatures were more like March than June and pranced around the city wearing only a t-shirt and cardigan while the tourists in their goritex and woolen socks (maybe they read my post about how to dress in winter and concluded summer in Iceland is like winter everywhere else) looked way more appropriately dressed. I got a few strange looks. It’s summer, god damn it, what’s wrong with these idiots?

3. Anger

My Facebook stream has been filled with angry Icelandic weather comments so far this summer and I can’t say that I’m entirely innocent of taking part in that. I was also starting to resent my friends abroad who kept posting happy bikini photos of people frolicking in the sun and considered deleting them all from my friends list. The day started with a grumpy rant before I automatically put on my raincoat before going out, without even checking whether I needed it. I just knew. Stupid rain. Stupid Icelandic summer. I’m moving!

4. Bargaining

Dear weather gods. If you fix this mess I will do something good for human kind. I will also take better care of the plants in the garden and promise never to complain about the weather again. Seriously. Never.

5. Guilt

To be fair the summer hasn’t been a complete bust, there has been a day or two (or at least half a day – right?) where the sun has graced us with its presence. Unfortunately I was stuck inside working for most of those moments and now that it’s clear this summer isn’t getting any better I feel very guilty about not using those few precious hours of sunshine better. Why didn’t I go the pool? Why did I wear long pants and closed shoes? Why didn’t I get a job outside? Actually – phew! Why? Why? Why?

6. Depression

I’m not going outside ever again. Period.

7. Acceptance

Today is July 15th and half of the summer is gone. It’s probably not getting any better and hoping for it and then getting disappointed is a complete waste of energy. It’s better to just accept this and be pleasantly surprised if things change for the better. In all honesty it hasn’t been THAT bad. OK, pretty bad. On the bright side cloudy days make for much more interesting photo-ops than blue skies. This is all part of the Iceland experience.

I’m still not leaving the house today.


If there was an award that celebrated “The optimistic Icelander of the year” I think the boyfriend would be a serious contender for that one this year. He’s been wearing shorts every day (except when I make him wear pants because the occasion demands it) since the first day of summer in April. It was snowing that day.


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8 thoughts on “The seven stages of summer in Reykjavík”

  1. Jan says:

    I am sorry you are so disappointed. We just took our trip to Iceland, and having vague expectations had a great time. There was sun every day, there was rain every day. Maybe we timed our driving in some lucky way to catch less of the rain, but truly (and we camped for half the time) it was wonderful!!! Part of this came from not expecting it not to rain. I have to say, coming home to extreme heat in New York has not been pleasant.

    Thank you for your blog. It has been fun to read getting ready for the trip, and now it is a reminder. Warm thoughts!


  2. Aminah Syed says:

    We’ll be coming the first week of September. We’ll do the sun dance to bring it over with us. 🙂

    1. mm Auður says:

      Please do 🙂 I see you are a photographer specializing in my favorite thing: Portraits. Let me know if you want to do an exchange – guided tour in exchange for some photography tips. Or better yet, I take you to places nice to photograph and you let me sneak a peak at your settings 😉

  3. Wilson says:

    “First day of summer in April”? Out of curiosity, when is summer considered to begin in Iceland?

    (going in October, making sure to take lots of rain-proof clothes)

  4. Mylène says:

    You post made me laugh ’cause I live in the Canadian Arctic and we have similar stages of summer. The best was the snow fall on July 3rd! I’m going to Iceland beginning of September, at least, I will know not to expect too much for the weather! 🙂

  5. Stuart says:

    I just left Reykjavik after 10 days in your amazing country and got sunshine on every single day, including these last 5 days with pretty much full sun all day long (Kerlingarfjoll was spectacular!). 22-25º too. After reading your piece above, I was expecting terrible summer weather. Luckily not!!! It was amazing!

    1. mm Auður says:

      Yes, the summer in Iceland hasn’t been so bad – just the weather in Reykjavík. However, thankfully, it turned for the better last week and we actually got to see some sun here for more than 2 minutes at a time. My pink nose sure did appreciate it (although I’m hoping it will go from pink to tanned sooner than later) 🙂

  6. Michela says:

    Love this post. Funny. Maybe also a little bit depressing since I’m coming to Reykjavik next week, but still very funny. You’re an excellent writer.

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