If you spend any length of time in Iceland, you are bound to hear the word gluggaveður at some point. It’s an important Icelandic word to know because it encapsulates an incredibly common part of life here.

See Also: 5 Things to do When the Weather Turns Bad in Reykjavik

The word “Gluggaveður” literally translates to “window weather.”

Gluggi = Window

Veður = Weather

Gluggi + Veður = Gluggaveður

Window weather refers specifically to moments where the weather outside looks amazing. Then you head out only to realise it’s anything but nice.

A lot of people might think “how on earth can you not tell the weather is bad when you look out the window?” These people clearly live in warmer climates, so let’s put this into a bit of perspective for you.

Icelandic homes are insulated incredibly well. The windows are generally small and often don’t open the entire way. Heating in Iceland comes from incredibly cheap and plentiful geothermal hot water. Basically, the whole design of an Icelandic home is about keeping heat in.

Want to see the true geothermal power of Iceland? See it from above with this helicopter tour.

When you live here, chances are you will only ever feel the cold if you forget to pay your heating bill or have to actually go outside.

This scene might look lovely, but it could be freezing. You’d never know till you head outside.

There are days here when the sun is shining perfectly, and there is no snow on the ground, often during the transition from spring into summer. On these days, if you look out the window, the weather can look amazing.

The sky is blue, and the heat from the inside of your apartment can make it feel like it would be a perfect day for a stroll by the sea or to have a beer outside with friends. It can be hard to see the wind because the trees haven’t yet grown their new leaves.

It isn’t until you get outside that you realise the great outdoors could freeze a bottle of vodka and the wind hurts your face. This is gluggaveður.

The same can go for those days in winter when there is no wind, and the large fluffy flakes of snow turn the outside world into a winter wonderland. This is picturesque and magical, like living in a massive snow globe. It’s pretty to look at from your window sill with a nice cuppa, but you certainly don’t want to be out in it.

Gluggaveður, an Icelandic word for when the weather is beautiful to look at from a window, but you don’t want to be in it.