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Best time to visit Iceland - View the Northern Lights

When is the best time to visit Iceland?

Home to glaciers and geysers, volcanoes and lava fields, the midnight sun and the Northern Lights, nature puts on an unforgettable show in Iceland. Find out the best times to travel to Iceland and experience its striking landscape.

The summer months from June – August, are the busiest and best times to visit Iceland. During these months, the cities see days with 20 + hours of sunlight and temperatures in the mid-50s – the warmest it gets in the country. 

The shoulder months of May and September also present good conditions for sightseeing though if you want to view the Northern Lights, the best time to visit Iceland is from October to March. Here’s an overview on the weather by month and things you can do in Iceland with us.

  Most Ideal Low Season

OVERVIEW

With day time highs hovering just above freezing and frequent rain spells, it’s the coldest month of the year. The days are short, with only four hours of sunshine at the start of the month.

WE RECOMMEND

  • Warm yourself with a dip in the Blue Lagoon
  • Feast on traditional Icelandic dishes at the Þorrablót winter festival

OVERVIEW

Weather conditions are similar to January though daylight hours increase to 10 by the end of the month. Rainfall levels decrease, indicating a return to more favorable weather conditions.

WE RECOMMEND

  • Go on a dog sledding adventure in Lake Mývatn
  • It’s one of the best times to view the Northern Lights

OVERVIEW

It’s the last month of winter, and though temperatures remain similar to the previous months, the number of daylight hours keeps increasing over the course of the month to 13 hours.

WE RECOMMEND

  • Walk down the historic Laugavegur neighborhood and stop at its many bars and restaurants
  • Head off on a boat tour to Snaefellsnes to spot the mighty orcas

OVERVIEW

Weather conditions start to get better with the arrival of spring. Reykjavik, the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon region see temperatures rise to around 40°F. Sunlight hours increase to 16, and precipitation levels drop further.

WE RECOMMEND

  • Hike the Reykjadalur Valley for a one-of-a-kind experience – a dip in a hot river!
  • Walkthrough the world’s largest human-made ice tunnel at Langjökull

OVERVIEW

Often considered a shoulder season, May is a good month to visit Iceland. Day time highs are now in the upper 40s; days see 20+ hours of sunshine, and the countryside is covered with wildflowers.

WE RECOMMEND

  • For a dip in warm blue waters and some duck spotting, head to Lake Mývatn
  • Sit back and relax on the black sands of the Djúpalón Beach

OVERVIEW

The country sees 24 hours of sunshine with a pink glow emanating even after the sun goes down for a few hours. Temperatures in the 50s, along with dry weather conditions, make this month one of the best times to visit Iceland.

WE RECOMMEND

  • Experience the Midnight Sun, a phenomenon that happens only in regions that fall in the Auroral Oval
  • Be awed by the majestic Gullfoss Waterfalls
  • Head to Reykjavík’s Old Harbor and set off on a whale watching expedition

OVERVIEW

With average daytime highs in the mid-50s, it’s the hottest month of the year. The snow melts, making roads accessible and presenting innumerable opportunities for outdoor activities. It’s also peak wildlife spotting season.

WE RECOMMEND

  • For incredible sightings of the country’s iconic orange beaked birds, make a trip to Puffin Island
  • Set off on a midnight sun sailing tour at the Troll Peninsula


OVERVIEW

It’s the last month of summer, and though there is a slight drop in temperatures and an increase in rainfall levels, it is still a great time to explore the country.

WE RECOMMEND

  • Visit the picturesque fishing town of Stykkishólmur
  • Dive into the waters of the Silfra Fissure at Thingvellir National Park


OVERVIEW

With the crowds gone, it is a quiet time but pleasant weather conditions during the first half of the month make it a good time to visit Iceland. By the second half of the month, day time temperatures drop below 50F.

WE RECOMMEND

  • To view the most beautiful sights of Iceland, drive down the Golden Circle route
  • Go glacier hiking at Skaftafell National Park


OVERVIEW

It is the wettest time of the year but also the month with the best fall colors. Temperatures hover in the low 40s, and daylight hours reduce to 8 by the end of the month.

WE RECOMMEND

  • Head out on a boat tour of the beautiful Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
  • Watch the Strokkur geyser blow off steam at Haukadalur


OVERVIEW

Temperatures drop to just above freezing, snowfall is a common occurrence, and sunlight hours are now significantly lesser than nighttime hours. The Northern Lights start appearing from the latter half of the month.

WE RECOMMEND

  • Take a snowmobile ride across the Langjökull glacier
  • Drop by one of Reykjavik’s most iconic buildings, the Hallgrímskirkja church

OVERVIEW

Snow blankets the landscape of Iceland. Temperatures are in the range of 32°F -34°F, and daylight time is now just around four hours. The country compensates for this with festive lights and celebrations across the country.

WE RECOMMEND

  • Trace the history of the region at the National Museum of Iceland
  • Welcome the New Year with a spectacular fireworks show at Reykjavik
Excellent / 4.9 out of 5
Traveler in ice cave, man standing underground inside of a glacier, climate specific, Vatnajokull National Park, amazing nature of Skaftafell, Iceland

Best Time to Visit by Season

Contrary to its name which suggests a snow white land all year round, Iceland experiences all four seasons. The country’s winter runs from November to March, with day time highs in most parts of the country hovering around freezing temperatures. This is the best time to view the Northern Lights and the country’s surreal landscapes draped in snow on guided and safe excursions with us.

Thanks to the Gulf Stream, which flows along the southern and western coast, Iceland experiences a much milder climate despite being located just outside the Arctic Circle. The country experiences a short spring during April and May. Temperatures inch up into the 40s, and the snow starts to melt. The summer months of June, July, and August are the most popular times to visit Iceland. We can plan a host of experiences for you during this season – hiking, wildlife viewing, experiencing the midnight sun are just some of them. By September, you will find the fall season rolling in and temperatures starting to fall with rainfall levels increasing.

Best time to visit Iceland

What to Pack

Iceland is notorious for its unpredictable weather, with locals joking that one can experience all four seasons in a single day!

The key to packing for your trip to Iceland is to take layers. Long-sleeve T-shirts, water-resistant hiking and rain pants, and a good pair of hiking shoes are a must for this country that is known for its outdoor activities. We recommend you take a waterproof jacket, woolens, gloves, scarves, thermal inners, and warm hats too.

If you are planning on visiting the thermal springs, pack a swimsuit and a quick-dry towel. An eye mask is recommended if you are visiting the country during the summer season. If you are traveling during the cold months, plan on getting a windproof, heavy-duty winter jacket and snow boots.

Get in touch with our travel experts who will help you find out the best time to visit Iceland and create a tailor made itinerary so you can experience this incredible country in all its glory.

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