Iceland is a country that offers a unique and breathtaking experience throughout the year. From the magical Northern Lights in the winter to the Midnight Sun in the summer, there is always something to see and explore when you visit Iceland.
However, choosing the best time to visit Iceland can depend on various factors, including weather, seasonal activities, and personal preferences. In this article, we will explore the different seasons, the best time to get multiple experiences and provide information to help you decide when to plan your trip to Iceland.
Weather by Month
January is the coldest month in Iceland and offers an excellent opportunity to see the northern lights when you visit Iceland. Tourists enjoy the snow-covered mountains, but the weather can be challenging, with temperatures ranging from -3°C to +2°C, and driving on the roads can be difficult due to snow and frost. The Sun is closer to Iceland during this month, which can be unfavourable for some people’s eyes. Warm clothing is necessary if visiting Iceland in January.
February is a cold and unpredictable month in Iceland, with changing weather conditions such as snow, sleet, rain, and sunlight. The daylight lasts 7-10 hours, ranging from -3°C to +3°C. Warm clothing is essential when you visit Iceland, and caution is necessary when driving on icy roads. To see the Northern Lights, tourists should bring a warm coat for the night.
March is a great month to visit Iceland, with 10-13 hours of daylight and temperatures ranging from -2°C to 3.3°C. Tourists can enjoy the winter attractions and witness the increasing sunlight and temperature. Ice caves offer dramatic scenery, and when you visit Iceland, tourists should bring clothes suitable for all weather conditions. Skiing enthusiasts can enjoy skiing in Hlidarfjall and Blue Mountain near Reykjavik in March.
April in Iceland begins spring with temperatures ranging from 1°C to 7°C and over 16 hours of daylight. Icelanders celebrate the birth of summer during this month and use wool for outings. While there may be rare snow, there can still be icy conditions in Northern Iceland or the Highlands. As it is the off-season, tourists can enjoy lower prices when they visit Iceland in April, making it an excellent option for those on a budget.
May in Iceland marks the beginning of summer, with temperatures ranging from 4°C to 10°C and 16-20 hours of daylight. The daylight increases to 24 hours by the end of April, and tourists can witness the start of the summer season with trees leafing and grass getting greener.
Lambs and other cattle can be seen running and playing, and BBQ is a popular choice for Icelanders this month. However, tourists should prepare for rain as May is a rainy month, making it an ideal time to visit Iceland for those who enjoy the lush green landscapes and vibrant outdoor activities.
June in Iceland is a great time to visit, with average temperatures ranging from 9°C to 15°C and 20-21 hours of daylight. The month is highly recommended for tourists as the Sun never fully sets, allowing for a unique and enjoyable experience of the Midnight Sun. Tourists can witness the magical sight in the Northern Highlands of Iceland.
It’s a perfect time for hot spring bathing and enjoying various outdoor activities. Remember to pack shorts and T-shirts for local sports and exploration. However, it’s important to note that June also sees some rainy days, so bringing waterproof clothing is advisable to enjoy your visit to Iceland fully.
July is the most popular time for tourists to visit Iceland as it is one of the hottest summer months, with an average temperature between 10°C and 15°C and 18 hours of daylight. It is the perfect time to explore the stunning landscapes and enjoy outdoor activities under the Midnight Sun.
Tourists can make the most of their trip by wearing shorts, a Prim aloft® jacket, and a hat to stay comfortable in the North Atlantic breeze. Although there is almost no rain, a windproof arrangement is advisable to cope with occasional gusts. Moreover, visitors can look forward to beautiful sunsets during this time. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness Iceland’s breathtaking beauty and unique experiences in July.
August is an excellent time to visit Iceland for tourism. The average temperature ranges between 8°C and 13°C, and the daylight decrease from 18 to 14 hours, marking the end of the summer season. Iceland’s Northern and Eastern parts experience relatively warmer temperatures during this month. It is a great time to explore the stunning landscapes and partake in outdoor activities under the natural warmth of the Icelandic summer.
Guided trekking in the Iceland Highlands is recommended for adventurous travelers, and there is still a chance to witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights. To stay comfortable in the changing weather, layered clothing is advised. Don’t miss the opportunity to have a memorable and diverse experience when you visit Iceland in August.
September marks the beginning of winter in Iceland, with average temperatures ranging between 5°C and ten °C, and the daylight hours decrease to 11-14 hours. Despite winter’s arrival, warm South American winds can prolong the summer feel, but visitors should still expect rain and windy conditions.
September is an ideal month for photography in Iceland, as the changing landscapes and vibrant colors create stunning and unique opportunities to capture this magical country’s beauty. If you are a photography enthusiast, this is a fantastic time to visit Iceland and capture its awe-inspiring scenery in all its splendor.
October in Iceland offers a unique and enchanting experience for tourists. The average temperature ranges from 2°C to 7°C, and there are 8-11 hours of daylight, making it a perfect time to explore this beautiful country’s stunning landscapes and natural wonders. One of the highlights of visiting Iceland in October is seeing the mesmerizing Northern Lights. Despite the occasional intense storms, witnessing the dancing lights in the night sky is a truly magical and unforgettable experience.
As October transitions into winter, Icelanders celebrate the beginning of the season by the end of the month. Visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture and traditions as they prepare for the colder months ahead. However, tourists need to be well-prepared for the rainy weather characteristic of this time of year.
Packing appropriate rain gear and other protective clothing will ensure a comfortable and enjoyable visit to Iceland during this season. So, if you are a nature enthusiast and want to experience the wonder of the Northern Lights, October is a fantastic time to visit Iceland.
November in Iceland offers a unique and ever-changing experience for travelers. The average temperature ranges from -1°C to 3°C, and the duration of daylight gradually decreases from 8 hours at the beginning of the month to 5 hours at the end. Despite the shorter days and fluctuating temperatures, there is still much to explore and enjoy in this captivating country.
To make the most of a visit to Iceland in November, travelers are advised to dress in layered clothing to stay comfortable in the varying weather conditions. Bringing woolen and waterproof items is essential, as rain and snow are common during this time of year.
Additionally, checking road conditions is crucial, as roads can become slippery and challenging to navigate. Preparing for the weather and road conditions will ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to Iceland in November.While the days may be shorter, there are still numerous activities and sights to experience in Iceland during this season.
From exploring the breathtaking landscapes to soaking in natural hot springs, travelers can still create unforgettable memories in this magical destination. So, if you don’t mind the cooler temperatures and want to witness the beauty of Iceland in a quieter and more intimate setting, November is a beautiful time to visit.
December in Iceland is a time of enchanting darkness and winter wonder. The country is immersed in a captivating, wintry atmosphere with an average temperature between -3°C and two °C and daylight limited to 4 to 5 hours. The first snowfall transforms the landscape, adding a magical touch to tourist attractions and making it a perfect time to explore icy caves and indulge in indoor activities.
One of the highlights of visiting Iceland in December is the possibility of witnessing the mesmerizing Northern Lights dancing across the night sky. Reykjavik, the capital city, experiences milder weather than the colder countryside, making it an excellent base for exploring the country.
Wear warm, thick socks and sturdy shoes to keep your feet cozy and comfortable if you’re planning outdoor activities. While the days may be short, the charm of Iceland’s winter scenery and the potential for Northern Lights sightings make December a fantastic time to visit. So, bundle up and get ready to experience the enchanting beauty of Iceland during this magical season.
Iceland experiences four seasons: summer, fall, winter, and spring.
- Summer – From June to August
- Fall – From September to November
- Winter – From December to February
- Spring – From March to May
Best Time to Travel
Below are some of the main factors to consider before choosing when to travel to Iceland
To See Iceland’s Golden Circle
The Golden Circle is a must-visit route in Iceland, encompassing some of the country’s most renowned natural wonders. Easily accessible from Reykjavik in winter and summer, this popular tourist route takes you on a memorable journey through Iceland’s stunning landscapes.
One of the key attractions along the Golden Circle is Thingvellir National Park, where you can witness the fascinating contrast between the seasons. The park comes alive in the summer with lush green meadows and meandering freshwater streams. In contrast, winter transforms Thingvellir into a winter wonderland, with snow covering the landscape, frozen creeks, and even parts of the large Thingvallavatn Lake partially freezing over.
Another spectacular stop on the Golden Circle is the Geysir Geothermal Area. Clear summer days provide an excellent opportunity to witness eruptions, while in winter, you can experience the intensity of the heat churning below you, creating a unique and thrilling experience.
Gullfoss Waterfall, the final gem of the Golden Circle, presents different facets throughout the seasons. In the summer, the river flows through lush rocky fields, and the falls appear out of nowhere before vanishing from view. In contrast, winter wraps Gullfoss in a white blanket, and the falls create frozen chunks along the boundaries of the fields, creating a picturesque winter wonder.
Regardless of the season, the Golden Circle promises unforgettable sights and experiences, making it a must-visit destination for anyone planning to “visit Iceland.”
To See the Northern Lights
Each year, the Aurora Borealis, known as the Northern Lights, puts on a mesmerizing display in Iceland from late September to late March. Iceland experiences longer and darker evenings during winter, providing a perfect backdrop for the magical light show.
However, it’s essential to note that cloudier skies may sometimes accompany this seasonal change, potentially reducing your chances of witnessing the Northern Lights. While the appearance of the Northern Lights is natural and cannot be guaranteed, Iceland offers an excellent chance to catch this breathtaking phenomenon.
By visiting the right spot at the right time, you may have the opportunity to witness one of the most incredible nightlights of your life. So, if you’re eager to experience the captivating beauty of the Northern Lights, don’t miss the chance to “visit Iceland” during the winter months when the auroras dance across the Arctic skies.
To Get the Greenest of Iceland
If lush scenery and warm weather appeal to you, spring and summer are the most significant and perfect periods to “visit Iceland.” During the early spring, the days become more generous, providing ample time for exploration and outdoor activities. Iceland experiences extended daytime hours with few evenings as the summer arrives, creating a unique understanding of almost continuous daylight.
The hottest months, July and August, are viral among travelers, and the country comes alive with tourists seeking to embrace Iceland’s natural wonders and vibrant culture. However, it’s essential to be prepared for the bustling tourist season.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the Icelandic summer is the long daylight hours. Even in the hottest part of the day, when the Sun sets for almost three hours, there is still some light in the sky, allowing for extended adventures and unforgettable experiences amidst Iceland’s breathtaking landscapes. So, whether you’re exploring the lush scenery in spring or embracing the vibrant energy of summer, “visit Iceland” for an unforgettable journey filled with natural wonders and endless daylight.
To Beat the Crowds
If you don’t like long lines, crowds, and higher-than-normal costs, “visit Iceland” during the shoulder seasons or off-seasons, such as Autumn (September to November) and the middle of Spring (April to May). During these months, tourism tends to be slower, offering travelers a more relaxed and peaceful atmosphere.
In September, the changing weather and potentially more challenging access to the countryside might deter some tourists, making it an excellent time for off-peak travelers to explore Iceland without the usual hustle and bustle. Autumn in Iceland showcases stunning autumnal foliage, adding vibrant colors to breathtaking landscapes.
Moreover, the early arrival of the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, is one of the most magical experiences during the shoulder seasons. Witnessing the beginning of this natural light show is a special treat for those who choose to “visit Iceland” during this time.
So, if you seek a quieter and more serene Icelandic adventure, consider planning your trip for the shoulder seasons, when you can still enjoy a variety of attractions while avoiding the crowds and higher prices often associated with peak tourist periods.
In conclusion, the best time to “visit Iceland” depends on what you want to see and do. Whether you prefer the magical Northern Lights during the winter, the lush scenery and warm spring and summer weather, or the quieter and more budget-friendly shoulder seasons, Iceland’s natural beauty and unique culture will leave a lasting impression whenever you choose.
So pack your bags now, and let’s “visit Iceland” to embark on an unforgettable journey of breathtaking landscapes, enchanting experiences, and special memories.