Iceland, the Land of Fire and Water ice, is a land of extremes. From the midnight sun to the Northern Lights, and from striking volcanic landscapes to incredible wild fauna, this far-flung island is a feast for the eyes.
Because the seasons vary so dramatically this far north, choosing the best time to visit Iceland is really going to depend on what you lot’re heading there to experience. But no season should be discounted equally there’s plenty to see at any time of year.
While a visit to Iceland is off the well-worn tourist path, certain experiences and seasons attract a big number of tourists and should be booked well in advance.
Winters in Republic of iceland are brutal, but if you’re well prepared with the right gear it tin can be a very rewarding time to visit, non only to see the Northern Lights. Hiking and whale-watching are best done in the summer when at that place are also loads of festivals to check out.
If yous need help deciding on the best time to visit Iceland to get the experience you’re been dreaming of, read on. We’ve gathered all the details to aid you cull that perfect time that balances price, climate, and crowds.
Best Time To Visit Iceland
Best Time To Go To Reykjavik
Best Fourth dimension To See the Northern Lights– October-November
Best Time To Do the Aureate Circle– Spring (May–June), autumn (September–Oct)
All-time Time For Sightseeing
– May–mid-June, September
Cheapest Time To Visit Republic of iceland
– Spring (May–June), autumn (September–October)
Table of Contents
- When is the Best Time to Go to Republic of iceland?
- When to Visit Iceland – A Month by Calendar month Breakdown
- FAQ Nigh the Best Time to Visit Iceland
- Final Thoughts on the All-time Time to Visit Iceland
When is the All-time Time to Go to Iceland?
The best time to go to Iceland for smashing conditions is during the summer, between May and August. The days are at their longest, and then you can cram plenty more sightseeing in, and the temperatures are pleasant and mild.
This is as well the elevation tourist season for visiting Iceland, so prepare for large crowds of tourists at sightseeing spots and attractions, not to mention the increase in prices for hotel rooms and flights. Of form Iceland is never cheap even in low season.
Belatedly spring and early autumn offering a great compromise – all the benefits of mild weather without the height flavor crowds and inflated costs. April to May and September to Oct offer this perfect balance – ideal for sightseeing. Yep, the days are slightly shorter and it may be a trivial cooler, but your reward will be a far more relaxed and upkeep-friendly experience.
Whale-watching is best enjoyed between April and October – this is the elevation season for travel, then make sure to program and book well in accelerate. It is even so possible to run into whales exterior of the summer flavour in certain regions, providing at that place aren’t whatever storm conditions. Yous’ll likely be given a thermal suit to protect you from the icy temperatures.
The northern lights are a popular reason for travel to Republic of iceland. Unremarkably, you tin encounter these from around late September until March when the nights are darkest. Precipitation and deject embrace are not ideal for seeing the northern lights, then months where there’south less chance of cloud encompass are ideal – October and November tend to be best.
The cheapest time to travel is during the winter months, exterior of the Christmas and New year menstruation. Rates on Icelandic accommodation and flights are the cheapest at this time. Yet, if you want to balance costs with better weather for sightseeing, and so aim for the shoulder seasons of bound and autumn.
Best Time to Become to Reykjavik
Reykjavik, Iceland’s vibrant upper-case letter city, is great to visit at any fourth dimension of year. In the summertime, the city gets effectually 21 hours of daylight and experiences the best atmospheric condition. Maximum daytime highs reach into the loftier teens with precipitation at its lowest.
While summer offers groovy weather, it comes at a price. Adaptation in Reykjavik will be significantly more expensive at this time, tourist numbers are at their highest, and you can’t see the northern lights at this fourth dimension of year. On the upside, there are plenty of festivals and celebrations during the summer months, and it’s a smashing time for whale-watching.
Autumn (September and October) is slightly libation and the days start to get much shorter. However, prices on flights and hotels are much lower and the hordes of summertime tourists have left. At that place’southward a small gamble y’all could run into the aurora borealis on clear days, but if this is your principal reason for visiting, rather plan for a winter trip.
Rain and snow characterize the winter months. Information technology’southward dark and cold and perfect for seeing the Northern Lights. You’ll easily be able to selection upwards a practiced deal on accommodation and flights. However, certain experiences might be unavailable due to poor atmospheric condition conditions and the affect of this on the roads.
Jump is a mixed purse when information technology comes to conditions, but information technology’south still much cheaper than peak flavour. The days are getting longer and warmer, which is slap-up for sightseeing but not for seeing the Northern Lights.
Best Time to See the Northern Lights
The magical aurora borealis, or Northern lights, are a popular reason for travel to Iceland. The distances between cities hither brand it easier to avoid light pollution, and the winter months are dark, making it easier to see this incredible phenomenon.
Like most natural occurrences, predicting the visibility of the Northern Lights is not an exact scientific discipline, so there is e’er a small-scale chance you could miss it. Of course, in that location’s non much you tin do to encourage a solar flare or solar wind to increase your chances of seeing the aurora, but you can program your trip for a time when information technology’s more probable that you lot’ll see them.
September to belatedly March is commonly the time when it’s dark enough for the Northern Lights to be seen. Months where in that location’s less or no atmospheric precipitation are preferable every bit cloud cover is the concluding thing you lot want. October and November offering nighttime nights and low chances for cloud cover, increasing your odds of seeing the Northern Lights.
February and March also offering good conditions for seeing the Northern Lights, just with a slightly increased take chances of cloud comprehend.
All-time Time to Practice the Golden Circumvolve
The Golden Circle is (equally the proper noun would suggest) a circular route that starts in Reykjavik and takes in some of Iceland’southward most cute landscapes. It is a cornerstone for most Iceland tours. The route takes you to three of the state’southward acme attractions: Þingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall, and a whole host of extra little gems along the mode.
The route can be done in one day, or you could take your fourth dimension to explore some of the smaller, but no less fascinating locations in between. Scheduled group tours can have you back at your hotel before a full workday has passed, but a self-drive adventure at your own pace tin be very rewarding.
While the summertime months offering the long days and mild weather ideal for sightseeing, information technology does come with the pitfalls of coach-loads of other tourists. If you’re doing a cocky-drive, adaptation along the way can get pricey at this time of year.
Of course, doing the Gold Circumvolve in winter volition offer a completely different perspective on the landscape. It will exist common cold, simply it does mean you could be rewarded with sights of the Northern Lights equally well. Gullfoss waterfall will be frozen and hauntingly beautiful at this time.
Best Time for Sightseeing in Iceland
The long daylight hours and balmy weather of summer go far a great time to enjoy sightseeing. So not bad, that that’southward when everyone does it. This means y’all’ll probable take to endure long waits at major attractions, straining to run into past big crowds and the typical elevated pricing of high flavour.
May and September, the months immediately before and afterwards high season, offer the best weather for heading out to the many sights, while simultaneously fugitive the crowds and costs of top flavor. While the days are shorter than in high summertime, at that place’southward still plenty of daylight to enjoy your sightseeing. Whatsoever earlier than May or later than September can run into the weather condition becoming more variable, and the days very much shorter.
Winter is significantly cheaper for a visit to Iceland, however, aside from the icy temperatures, the snow and pelting can make some roads impassable, meaning some sight will be inaccessible. The days are too very curt, offer only around four or v hours of daylight to get your sightseeing in.
Pocket-size Pack Problems? 😉
My missus travels with all her clothes in ziplock bags:don’t exist like my missus.UP YOUR PACKING GAME!
Packing cubes for the globetrotters and compression sacks for theexistent
adventurers – these babies are a
traveller’s best kept secret.
They organise yo’ packing and minimise its book too and so you can pack MORE.
Or, y’know… y’all can stick to ziplock bags.
View Our Fave Cubes
Or Check Out the Sacks!
Cheapest Fourth dimension to Go to Iceland
|One way flight to Reykjavik from Europe||$38||$77||$195|
|Private hotel room||$323||$300||$428|
|National Museum of Iceland admission||$20||$20||$20|
Winter, outside of the Christmas and New Year holiday catamenia is the cheapest time to visit Iceland. This time of year is characterized past intense common cold, dark days with but a few hours of daylight, and in times of bad conditions, inaccessible roads in some places.
The shoulder seasons of spring and autumn offering a happy compromise between the lovely atmospheric condition of summer and the low costs of winter. During these shoulder seasons, yous can still enjoy good weather and a oversupply-free experience.
Another benefit of travel outside of top season is that you lot have the option to hold out for final-minute offers which can further save y’all on accommodation and flights.
If you lot are trying to save a few quid when visiting Iceland, bank check out the pod hostels in Reykjavik.
Busiest Time to Visit Iceland
Despite its long and dark winters, Iceland is a rewarding destination all twelvemonth circular and attracts tourists throughout the year. Of course, certain times are busier than others, and so it’s always all-time to accept all the facts when it comes to choosing the all-time fourth dimension to visit Iceland.
The busiest tourist season is during the summertime between May and September. These months offer the warmest weather, with daytime temperatures in the depression 20s, and in some places about 21 hours of daylight.
The long days and mild weather are ideal for sightseeing, whale-watching, and hiking. The Northern Lights are non visible during the summertime months.
The winter months are the quietest time to visit Iceland, with the exception of the Christmas and New Yr vacation menstruation when we see a brief return to peak conditions with more tourists and higher pricing.
The shoulder seasons of jump and autumn are busier than the winter months in terms of tourist numbers but not as crowded as the peak summertime flavor.
Atmospheric condition in Iceland
Republic of iceland has four very distinct seasons, although the weather at any time tin exist variable and unpredictable.
The due west of the country benefits greatly from the warm Gulf Stream electric current that flows from the Caribbean. When this warm air meets the Arctic air from the n, things can become very temperamental.
There’south a proverb in Iceland, ‘if you lot don’t like the weather, wait five minutes,’ and these swirling competing air masses are to blame for this. In the winter, this can lead to windy, stormy conditions.
Summer in Iceland is characterized by long daylight hours and mild temperatures. Days rarely reach temperatures exceeding the low-20s, and while it’s mostly sunny and bright, information technology tin also turn misty and rainy at the drop of a hat.
Winters are cold in Iceland, with frequent snowfall and rain. It’due south dark, with only a few hours of daylight, and high temperatures rarely break into the double digits (Celsius). Stormy conditions can crusade problems with travel as some roads may become impassable.
Interestingly, although Iceland is located further north than most of Europe, the The states and parts of Canada, its winters aren’t as cold every bit, say, New York or fifty-fifty Russia. The warm Gulf Stream ensures that the country doesn’t quite live up to its name equally much every bit nosotros would expect.
Where is the Best Atmospheric condition in Iceland?
The southern littoral region of Iceland is generally characterized past mild summers and cool winters which don’t often become too cold. The influence of the warm sea currents causes an overall milder climate. The differences between summer and wintertime are not extreme, and rain can exist expected at any time of year.
Further inland and in the higher elevations, the climate is much libation. Summer peak temperatures rarely suspension into the teens (Celsius) and the winters are much colder than the southern coastal regions.
The northern regions of the country tend to showroom cooler temperatures overall, with maximum daytime highs in winter hovering at effectually x°C – significantly colder than in the southward, which averages 0°C.
Festivals in Iceland
Iceland celebrates many festivals annually, from aboriginal Viking traditions and religious observances to more contemporary celebrations. The population of Iceland may be small-scale, only its capacity for celebration is large.
A slightly modernized Viking tradition featuring loads of singing and dancing and eating. The gastronomically adventurous and strong of stomach can effort traditional delicacies like fermented shark, sheep’s head, and pickled ram testicles, and wash it down with a potent shot ofbrennivín – a schnapps-like spirit nicknamed the ‘Black Death’.
- Winter Lights Festival:
Hosted annually in February, the lights festival originated as a way to burnish upwardly the darkness of the long wintertime months. Reykjavik is lit upwards with spectacular light installations, landmarks are illuminated, and various performances and shows.
Over the iv days of the festival, yous tin can also savor Pool Night and Museum Nighttime – extended opening hours and free admission at the city’s pools and museums.
While not technically a festival or a celebration, the inflow of these shy, goofy-looking birds is worth taking note of. The puffins arrive on the shores in impressive numbers (over 10 million birds) in the jump for their breeding season, departing again by mid-August. Iceland is the breeding domicile for over 60 per centum of the globe’s Atlantic puffins, with colonies located all over the land.
The best time to see and photograph them is in late summertime.
- International Viking Festival:
A celebration of the country’south Viking heritage, this is the oldest and biggest festival of its kind, held annually at Viking Village in Hafnarfjörður.
Five days of staged battles, dances, and story-telling offer visitors a glimpse into traditional Viking life. Visitors can learn to utilise traditional weapons like spears and axes, learn woods carving techniques, and purchase a variety of handmade goods from the market place.
Icelandic sociology is filled with tales of monsters and supernatural creatures. These dark tales are likely a issue of the deep, night winters, volcanic landscapes, and dramatic scenery of the state.
This penchant for dark themes has birthed an annual horror film festival jubilant these macabre, foreign, and downright terrifying movies.
Horror flick fans can head to Akranes, a small town north of Rejkyavik, for the Iceland Horror Film Festival which celebrates both local and international horror films.
Christmas is a special fourth dimension to be in Republic of iceland. From traditional Christmas concerts, festive markets, and twinkling lights that cut through the wintertime darkness, the country is transformed into a winter wonderland.
Any Christmas in Iceland is well-nigh guaranteed to be a white Christmas, and the chances increase the further n you lot travel.
When to Visit Iceland – A Month by Month Breakdown
If yous’re still in any uncertainty equally to the all-time time to visit Iceland for the feel you’ve been dreaming of, take a look at our month-by-calendar month guide.
We’ve gathered all the details for each month of the year to help yous find the ideal balance of costs, crowds, and climate.
January in Iceland
Jan in Iceland iscold and nighttime. Average high temperatures hover around ii°C and winds oft reach gale strength, making it feel colder than it is. There’s a good take chances of rain and snow also.
Information technology’due south very much low season, so definitely thecheapest time to visit Iceland, and there aren’t too many other tourists to contend with at tourist attractions. However, the days are short and offering only a few hours of daylight for sightseeing. Sure roads and attractions are probable to exist closed or inaccessible due to weather weather condition.
Feb in Republic of iceland
It isn’t much warmer in Feb, but the adventure of pelting and snowfall decreases. The days are getting longer so there’south more fourth dimension for sightseeing. Most of the roads should be accessible by now unless there’s a bad storm.
Y’all’ll still benefit fromlow season atmospheric condition: sightseeing is still pleasantly crowd-complimentary and prices are low.
March in Republic of iceland
March is still common cold withoccasional rainy days. Snow isn’t likely unless you lot’re headed to the higher elevations. The days are getting significantly longer now, and there’southwardmore daylight than darkness now.
In that location are few tourists effectually and so sightseeing is withal relatively uncrowded. This is a slap-up time for winter sports in the mountains as in that location’s far more daylight to relish the slopes.
April in Iceland
This is the unofficial offset of the summertime flavor in Iceland. Equally the snow melts, the mural is blanketed in greenery, and flocks of migratory birds go far. While it’s nevertheless chilly with maximum temperatures only hitting the single digits (Celsius), at that place’due south significantlyless rainfall and much longer days.
Tourist numbers showtime to increase from April, but information technology’south still not height season so costs and crowds are manageable.
May in Republic of iceland
May is the best time to visit Iceland if you lot’re wanting a skilful balance between crowds, costs, and climate. The days are lovely and long, if a trivial chilly, there arefewer tourists, and prices are still low.
Temperatures are withal fairly depression, with the boilerplate maximum rarely peaking over 10°C. And like any time in Iceland, the weather has the potential to be erratic. Snowfall is unlikely unless you’re headed to the mountains.
June in Iceland
It’s at present feeling a lot more like summertime. Average high temperatures can get every bit high as 20°C but usually hover around the low-teens. You can waitbright, sunny days for the most part, with the longest days of the year.
With the mild weather condition come thecrowds and pinnacle season pricing. Anyone wishing to visit in high season should volume well in accelerate.
July in Republic of iceland
Like June, July offerslong sunny days and balmy temperatures that concenter large numbers of tourists. Average daytime temperatures pitter-patter closer to the mid-teens, but can sometimes get much higher. You may experience low-cal pelting on occasion.
This is ane of the aboutpop times to visit Iceland, and so expect busy attractions, crowds of tourists, and elevated pricing. If y’all’re visiting at this time, there are plenty of outdoor festivals and celebrations to attend.
August in Iceland
It’s still fairly warm in Baronial, withdaytime highs in the low teens, just the temperatures start to turn down noticeably as the month progresses. At that place’s a slightly college hazard of rain, and days are getting noticeably shorter besides.
It’s still a great time to travel to Iceland in terms of atmospheric condition, merely you may nevertheless meetbig numbers of tourists and college pricing.
September in Republic of iceland
The days shorten significantly in September in the pb-up to wintertime. It’due south rainier at this time of year and thetemperatures are cool, with an average maximum of effectually 10°C. The showtime sightings of the northern lights are possible now, although non guaranteed.
If you’re visiting at this time, you can bask the oversupply-free conditions and the lower pricing that follows the peak season.
October in Iceland
Weather condition conditions becomemuch more wintery in October. While it’south technically but fall, the boilerplate maximum temperatures driblet into the single digits, the days are brusque, and pelting is common.
Atmospheric condition are still good for sightseeing and the weather hasn’t yet impacted the conditions of the roads. You’ll also benefit fromfewer crowds and off-peak pricing. The northern lights become much easier to see from October onwards.
November in Republic of iceland
Temperatures continue to drop along with the number of daylight hours. There are simply a few hours of daylight to enjoy, and then yous’ll demand to programme your time well. Light rain is mutual, and if yous’re heading further northward, your chances for snowfall increment. Some attractions and roads are impacted by the conditions and may not be operating.
Tourist numbers are depression at this time, making sightseeing pleasant and stress-complimentary. You may be able to pick up somegreat deals on adaptation during Nov.
December in Republic of iceland
The cities transform into festivewintertime wonderlands, with twinkling lights and festive markets brightening up the wintertime darkness. Snow is common at this time as is rain, and boilerplate daytime temperatures hover around four°C.
There’s a small spike in tourism around Christmas, merely if you book in advance, you’re however likely to choice upwardly a good deal on accommodation.
The Hereafter of the SIM Carte du jour is Here!
A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic –
buy an eSIM!
An eSIM works just like an app: you buy information technology, you download it, and BOOM!
It’southward simply that piece of cake.
Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims piece of work or click beneath to meet 1 of the top eSIM providers on the market and
ditch the plastic
Buy an eSIM!
FAQ About the Best Time to Visit Iceland
Don’t Forget your Iceland Travel Insurance
Information technology’due south good to get lost sometimes, but information technology’s also good non to get
lost. There are people that want you lot home in one piece.
At that place’s one travel insurance provider The Broke Backpacker trusts for all his wildest shenanigans…
Click the push beneath to go a quote on your insurance or read our in-depth review of Earth Nomads’ coverage.
And then… let the shenanigans begin. 😉
Terminal Thoughts on the All-time Time to Visit Iceland
Republic of iceland, the State of Fire and Ice, is a land of contrasts and extremes. Whether you lot choose to visit in the pinnacle of summertime or the very depths of wintertime, each feel will yield a unique perspective of this fascinating island.
Choosing the best time to visit Iceland will depend largely on what experiences y’all wish to have. It all comes down to striking a residual between the atmospheric condition atmospheric condition, the tourist numbers, and seasonal pricing.
If you lot’re planning a visit in the summertime – you’ll be treated to long sunny days, just it’southward essential to volume well in advance. If you’re hoping to go off the beaten track and explore outside of the tiptop season, yous might want to hold out for a terminal-minute deal.
Either way, there’s plenty to experience in Iceland. And when yous’ve washed it all? Come back and practise it all once more in a different season for a completely new perspective.
Good day for at present, but not forever!
If you want MORE top-tier Broke Backpacker content like this, then sign upwardly for our weekly newsletter below to get the latest and greatest!
And for transparency’s sake,
please know that some of the links in our content are chapter links. That means that if you book your adaptation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, nosotros simply link to the gear nosotros trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are upwards to scratch. Again, thanks!